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Pier set to open; court date set for June

Burlington pierResidents have been asking me, “Is it really going to open?” Yes folks, it’s finally here: the opening of the Brant Street Pier.

After years of delays, cost overruns, construction troubles and ongoing legal disputes, this $14.4 million project that began in 2006 for $6 million will soon be available for public use.

I invite the public to use it and enjoy it.

There will be two opening celebrations and the public is welcome to attend both:

Fri., June 14 at 1 p.m.
The seven Burlington children who left their handprints on a commemorative plaque on the pier will attend a plaque unveiling with the city’s federal and regional funding partners which contributed almost $7 million to the project.

Sat., June 15, noon to 3 p.m.
Following the Sound of Music parade, the Burlington Teen Tour Band will lead City Council, residents and federal and provincial representatives onto the pier to enjoy its waterfront view as well as some free refreshments and live entertainment. Part of the pier will close at 3 p.m. to allow Sound of Music organizers to get ready for evening fireworks.

My take: It is good to see this project reach completion. Though many in the community, myself included, believed our waterfront was spectacular without the pier and the millions spent would be better put toward our infrastructure deficit, the pier is here.

This is your pier, you paid for it, so I encourage you to visit and take time to enjoy it.

The next step in this process will be to resolve the outstanding legal issues with the original engineering firm, construction contractor, and other parties.

That process is currently in discovery. Before a trial date is set, mandatory mediation is required. A date for an initial court hearing has been scheduled for June 21. That is a public session that residents can attend.

As a resident I advocated for transparency on the costs and options for completing the pier. The public hasn’t had that transparency due to the outstanding litigation and concerns that public disclosure would compromise the city’s legal position.

Once the legal issues are settled I will be seeking release of all relevant documents on the pier, to provide transparency and accountability on the decisions made on this project leading up to its retendering and ultimate completion.

Residents will recall, I did not support retendering the pier, but advocated working with the original contractor to resolve issues and settle the legal claims. I remain supportive of mediation to resolve the issues, provided the details of any settlement are made public.

If the dispute heads to court, that will be a public process.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

What's your take?