RELEASE — More than 400 concerned residents of Kingston have recently signed petitions asking the City of Kingston to close the Gord Edgar Downie Pier, located at Breakwater Park, at nighttime.
The Gord Edgar Downie Pier officially opened earlier this summer at the newly restored Breakwater Park on Kingston’s waterfront.
Kingston resident and businessman Phillip Brown started an on-line Change.org petition Close the Gord Downie Pier at Night, which includes photos and a video, just a few weeks ago after speaking with Kingston residents who have grown increasingly concerned about the safety at the pier since its inauguration in July. He has also created a print petition, allowing those who are without access to a computer or who prefer to hand sign documents, to show their support to the initiative. “More signatures are coming in everyday as word continues to spread. I really think we have tapped into a community nerve with this topic,” declares Brown.
Phillip Brown, whose family has lived in Kingston for more than 120 years, will present the community’s concerns to Kingston’s Administrative Policies Committee on November 8th at 6 p.m. Included in his address to the City will be a short presentation, which includes the signatures gathered from other concerned residents, asking that the Gord Edgar Downie Pier be officially closed at nighttime.
The City of Kingston webpage describes the Breakwater Park and the Gord Edgar Downie Pier and its features. It also lists the park safety guidelines and rules, including cautions and specific prohibition of the use of drugs, alcohol, smoking, and excessive noise after 9 pm.
“Young people have partied late at night on the pier for years. With the prominence of the newly restored pier, the numbers have increased dramatically to the point where dozens of people make it their last stop after Kingston’s bars close to party at the pier late into the night. Now, there’s a new term called “AP – At the Pier” (After Party) that circulates among the bar crowd once the bars close to indicate the party will continue down at the pier,” states Brown.
“Most early summer mornings, Kingston residents out for a run, bike ride or walk on the Gord Edgar Downie Pier and Breakwater Park frequently find discarded and broken beer and liquor bottles, cigarette butts, damaged recycling bins, life rings and ropes askew as well as other trash leftover from partying the night before. Several residents have reported finding used hypodermic needles on the new beach,” says Brown.
“My personal concern, which has been expressed by many during this process, is that someone will be seriously injured or will drown off the pier late at night. Time is not on our side,” says Brown.
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“We simply want the pier to be inaccessible at nighttime,” Brown expresses. “I’m proud of what the City has accomplished with this project. The pier is an amazing attraction within a beautifully renovated park that needs to be treated specially. If you look at other famous piers or attractions around the world you will see that they are well maintained, supervised and secured. You can’t just use them in the middle of the night and throw a party for someone else to clean up afterwards.”
“We have lots of outdoor facilities and attractions in Kingston that are off-limits at night,” Brown continues: “I have spoken to community leaders many times about “civic pride” and this is a unique opportunity to do the right thing to promote respect and honour this gift we have created for all citizens. If we do this right the Gord Edgar Downie Pier can become iconic on a global basis. If we don’t, it may become an embarrassment, or worse, the site of a tragedy.”
Some ‘morning after the night before’ photos taken by residents are included in the petition and show broken glass, beer bottles and overturned garbage bins on the pier. During the summer this display was a daily occurrence. There is also a video that Mr. Brown thinks may surprise those who watch.
Brown says he is hearing from supporters that proper budgeting and funds allocation for maintenance, supervision, washrooms, fresh drinking water, management and enforcement of the park safety and rules by the City of Kingston is needed to maintain the integrity of this beautiful world-class renovation of the pier and beach. He says people realize that together, concerned residents and the City of Kingston must work to identify solutions to achieve these goals.
Brown goes on to say: “My efforts simply reflect the community’s desire to encourage the City of Kingston to ensure that the Gord Edgar Downie Pier and beach are honoured, protected, properly supervised and maintained to the benefit of all.”
Kingston and area residents who share the concern about safety on the pier at night, protecting their youth and City assets are asked to sign the print petition or visit the Change.org online petition or search Phillip Brown – Close the Gord Downie Pier at Night online, and that will link you to the petition, before November 8th when Phillip Brown will bring their concerns to the City of Kingston.