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Pier-less Burlington still waiting for its promised—but seemingly doomed—downtown waterfront attraction

A shot of the bay in Burlington (Image: Brie79)

Standing proof that mismanaged construction projects that drag on for years aren’t just the stuff of the 4-1-6, more than eight years and millions upon millions of dollars later Burlington residents are still waiting for what was supposed to be a landmark waterfront attraction to be complete. The Brant Street pier, an extension of Burlington’s main drag designed to curve outwards more than 130 metres into Lake Ontario, has seen its construction marred with unexpected costs, huge delays and freak accidents, including an incident where—seriously—a crane toppled over back in 2008.We turn to the Toronto Star for more on the jinxed project (and a terrible peer pressure pun):

The problem-plagued structure has sat partially completed on Burlington’s waterfront since 2008. Now — feeling the pier pressure — council has all but rubber-stamped an injection of $5.8 million more to finally get the job finished.

The overrun would bring the total cost to $15.07 million — well above the city’s original budget of $8.1 million.

“There’s no way to sugar-coat this,” said Burlington mayor Rick Goldring. “It’s a significant increase in the cost of the pier, but the cost of taking it down is just as much.” Council would have to pay back millions in provincial and federal funding, and there would be demolition expenses, he said.

In addition to the crane incident (no one was seriously injured), the project has also seen challenges from safety and regulatory boards, a protracted legal battle between the city and the original contractor, and an embarrassing moment where 27 of the pier’s 36 completed and installed support beams failed to pass muster as structurally sound. The high cost of cancelling and demolishing the work thus far has handcuffed Burlington city council, which had no real choice but to approve the extra costs. Residents can now expect to take their first stroll out onto the pier sometime in 2013, if they’re lucky.

We know this is probably cold comfort to residents who will have endured more than a decade of construction chaos before they take their first stroll on the pier sometime in 2013, but they may want to take cues from a city that has also endured its share of construction slogs (see: St. Clair, Roncesvalles, Bloor Street, Toronto’s own waterfront, etc.): sometimes these things do turn out pretty nice.

Burlington paying up to finally finish jinxed pier project [Toronto Star]

 

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