Councillor supports midway on east pier following test results

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By Robert Washburn

The  east pier should be good to go for the Waterfront Festival midway this upcoming Canada Day weekend, says the politician responsible for raising public safety concerns two weeks ago.

Councillor John Henderson said he is happy about the results from special tests done June 15 by a Whitby-based company to provide the location of holes inside the east pier known as voids.

Henderson raised safety and liability issues at a council meeting on June 6. He said he would ask council to stop the Cobourg Rotary Club from using the pier for its popular midway rides if it could not be deemed safe.

“I am very satisfied as to where we are,” he said today.

Public Works director Barry Thrasher met with Rotary officials once the test results from TSH/TBE Subsurface Engineering were complete in order to review remedial measures. The original plan called for steel plates to be used to spread the weight of the rides. With the locations of the voids clearly marked on the pier, it provides the Cobourg Rotary Club with the precise spots.

Thrasher met with the crew inspecting the pier at the end of the day when the tests was being done. While he does not have an official report, he said the crew was able to determine a number of voids in the north end of the pier and mark them with white paint. The south end is wider and where most of the activity takes place, Thrasher said.

A meeting was held with three Rotary representatives, showing them the spots.

“I was told by the Rotary that they would place the rides away from the voids,” he said, adding there should not be any unnecessary risk to the public if this is done.

“It is all good,” he said.

With this information, Henderson said he feels the matter is being handled appropriately to address the concerns he raised.

“I feel we can move forward making good decisions,” Henderson said.

The damage to the east pier was identified at a Parks and Recreation Committee meeting last month, but Councillor Larry Sherwin said there was no reason for concern since the town staff and Rotary had met to come up with a plan.

However, Henderson raised further concerns at a council meeting, saying there were not just public safety issues, but possible liability worries, too. If an accident were to happen, the town could do little to reverse the damage done and the negative publicity.

Town staff decided to move quickly and approved the tests for $6,000 taken from a contingency fund.

The 21st annual Cobourg Waterfront Festival takes place from July 1 to July 3 along the Cobourg harbour. It consists of an arts and craft show, midway, food vendors, music in the bandshell and a host of activities, including the Canada Day parade.