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Pier reopens

Insurance woes had left public access in question

The City of Oshawa has increased its insurance liability at the pier from $1 million to $5 million. (Oshawa Express file photo).

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The Oshawa pier has reopened following more than a month of uncertainty around future access for the public to one of the waterfront’s main attractions.

Speaking with The Oshawa Express previously, Mayor John Henry noted many of the issues surrounding insurance at the pier were nearing conclusion, and in recent weeks, maintenance and repair work has been ongoing at the pier to bring it up to snuff for the summer months ahead.

“My last conversation with staff they were working out a couple of the challenges with signage. We’ve had crews down there doing work on the pier, cleaning up some of the challenges, the cracks, making sure that the pier itself is safe,” he said.

The issue roiled into the public realm earlier this year when, following complaints from members of the public, councillors recommended that staff meet with the Oshawa Port Authority to discuss use of the pier. Currently, access to the pier is governed by a Promenade Agreement signed between the city and the OPA in 1986.

However, the request for further access to the pier appears to have backfired as a letter from the OPA to the city suggested the possibility of banning use of the pier altogether. According to a previous city report on the matter, that confidential letter from the OPA noted due to an incident last year with a vessel entering the harbour, “(the OPA) reviewed their liability implications to the general public’s use of the west pier. Their insurance broker has recommended that public pedestrian access to the west pier be eliminated.”

Now, Henry says that in terms of insurance, the city’s liability on the pier has been increased from $1 million to $5 million. He says those agreements are either concluded or should be finalized over the coming days.

“I’m excited, it is the people’s waterfront and we have federally owned lands located adjacent to municipal lands and there’s always, hopefully, ways to make things work and I’m positive that we’ll be there by Canada Day.”