Testing east pier safety taking place Wednesday, says town engineer

By Robert Washburn

A contractor will do an unplanned ultrasound test of the east pier Wednesday to determine its safety prior to the midway rides for Canada Day, council decided Monday night.

Public Works Director Barry Thrasher said the east pier will be closed all day to allow the company to do the $6,000 study and a draft report is expected within a few days to settle growing concerns about the safety of the rides for the Waterfront Festival on Canada Day weekend.

Councillor John Henderson raised concerns last week about the safety of the pier and the potential liability for the town.

The study was not part of the current budget, but the money will come from a contingency fund, approved by Treasurer Ian Davey and Director of Corporate Services Stephen Peacock.

“We all knew the sounding would have to be carrier out, if not prior to this event, we knew we were going to do it later,” Thrasher said following the council meeting Monday.

It was well know to officials there were holes, also known as voids, underneath the pier. Town officials have worked with the Cobourg Rotary Club to come up with solutions to ensure the safety of the rides. The current plan will have steel plates on the ground to distribute weight.

The town’s risk management team already approved this plan, saying it would reduce any potential for an accident.

However, after Henderson raised his concerns, the town decided it should have the study done to reduce further liability.

“This also gives us a level of comfort so we can share the data we find from the sounding with the Rotary Club. So, when they carry out the placement of their rides, we can tell them where the voids are,” Thrasher said.

The expense did not formally go through council as a budget item. Staff approved the study and the contractor was hired. Peacock said staff can approve expenditures of up to $50,000. Politicians were told Monday night prior to the meeting.

Council did approve a motion Monday night to proceed with providing the Rotary with an event permit, but only on the condition of the test results being positive.