BURLINGTON The idea of a wind turbine on the Brant Street pier isn’t dead if Councillor Marianne Meed Ward gets her way.
The Ward 2 councillor wants her colleagues to revisit the scheme in the wake of information from staff that it did not have all the data for council when it voted in early May to nix the turbine on the pier because of cost.
Staff had originally told councillors the city would have had to spend $70,000 to add a battery pack to the turbine and that it would take 53 years to see a return on its investment. Staff then found out the power generated by the turbine could be linked into a transformer station through a program run by the Ontario Power Authority. City manager Jeff Fielding apologized for staff’s misstep at a recent community services committee meeting, where council decided not to reopen the issue.
Meed Ward told council Monday night that many residents have approached her in support of seeing the turbine on the pier and that she remains “unsettled” on whether council made the right decision to nix it. The turbine was supported by BurlingtonGreen and other green energy proponents.
“I think on this important issue we need to make the right decision,” Meed Ward told council. “I am not clear, and still not, why at the end of the day we have cancelled this project … My view is that we need to continue the dialogue. I think the process has been unsettling.”
Her council colleagues appeared lukewarm to reconsidering the issue, but noted the correct spot for her to restart the debate is at the next community services committee meeting.
Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor said none of his constituents have raised the issue of the turbine on the pier with him. He also said if the city was to revisit the issue it might have to look at additional costs because the original turbine planned for the pier “might not be the most up-to-date.”
In other news, council received information the troubled pier is facing another work delay due to the rejection of steel plates that did not pass a quality assurance process. That has pushed work back four months to August. The $15-million pier is set to open June 2013. The pier was supposed to open in 2010.
Meed Ward noted problems remain for the pier, even though the contractor has been changed and more oversight is in place. She asked whether the problems will ever be solved.
Fielding said he wished he could offer 100 per cent assurance the pier will be delivered on time, but said he recently talked to all those involved in building the project and was “confident that we are all on the same page. That’s the best assurance I can give you.”
Council also approved the contractor to rehabilitate the Drury Lane pedestrian bridge. Jarlian Construction Inc. of Burlington won the tender with a bid of $350,339.55.
Council in February approved spending $380,000 on interim repairs to the bridge over the CN Rail line between Drury Lane and Orpha Street. The city closed it last November due to safety concerns.
The total cost has now been budgeted at $440,000, taking into account design and contract work, and flagging by CN Construction is to run between June and August.