The Completion of the Pier June 25, 2014
When first elected to Council the biggest challenge we faced was the completion of the Pier and the associated legal issues.
The following is my high level view of what happened and how Council got things back on track.
The City of Burlington had originally hired a designer to design the Pier and a Contractor to build the Pier, who in turn hired sub-contractors.
The Contractor started the build and two things went wrong, a crane accident occurred damaging the built structure of the Pier and a concrete pour was not successful causing further damage. When the work during the pour was reviewed, it was determined that the steel used to build the Pier was not up to the ordered design standard.
The original Contractor took the position that they were not responsible and that the current design of the Pier was not buildable. I do not agree with the position of the contractor. Anyone who takes on the responsibility and accountability of a project knows they are accountable and responsible for the work of the sub-contractors.
Because of the position of the Contractor, everything came to a standstill and in my view the City of Burlington had no other choice than to launch a law suit against the parties involved.
As a Council we agreed to separate the lawsuit from the build. We saw the two courses as separate. Each could function independently. We also believed that the City of Burlington was not at fault. A lawsuit would help us to recover some of our costs and potentially reveal what the problems were.
If the design of the Pier was flawed then the designer would be at fault. If the work of the subcontractors and contractor was improperly done then they would be at fault. If the steel was substandard, then the manufacturer of the steel could be a fault.
Without an investigation we would not know what caused the problem or problems with the Pier. We felt the lawsuit would help to determine this.
We also got a second opinion on the design of the Pier. The second opinion agreed the original design was buildable.
Some residents thought we should give up and destroy what had been built of the Pier. In my opinion it would have been more expensive to remove it than finishing it and it would have had a double effect because we would have had to return the grant money received from the Federal, Provincial Governments and The Halton Region. Removing the Pier economically was not viable.
Council made the decision to complete the Pier and as you know the Pier opened in 2013, it is serving our community well and is a huge asset to our lakefront.
The legal suit continued and was recently resolved. The City had come to the conclusion that the costs of the legal battle could be huge and it was in the best interests of residents to settle.
In the end the settlements paid to the City of Burlington and the Contractor demonstrated that the City was not at fault and that the Contractor was able to place responsibility on the sub-contractors for their part in all of this.
All parties agreed not to identify fault of any individual organization. I am comfortable with this position if it means a settlement.
It was never in the City’s best interest to place blame, our focus was to get the Pier built and as the client, have those involved take some financial responsibility for things gone wrong.
We were successful on both accounts and completed the Pier.
For more information, photos and articles on the Pier: https://www.burlington.ca/en/live-and-play/brant-street-pier.asp