COMMENTARY: River piers need to go

When your car is on its last legs and you are about to get a new one, do you park the old one in your driveway next to the new one so you can remember the history and the memories? No, of course you don’t. It’s served its purpose and it’s time of move on. The same could be said for the piers in the St. Lawrence River next to the north channel bridge. Council will decide Monday night whether to tell the Federal Bridge Corporation to tear them down or keep them, with the idea of gussying them up.

The Federal Bridge Corporation wants to take the piers down. If the city says, keep them up, you don’t think for a minute the FBC won’t want to transfer the liability to the city. And this not just about us. This is the Three Nations Bridge. Certainly, if the city wanted to keep them, Akwesasne’s council should have a say in this too and also have a vested (we’re talking money) in this venture as well.

But, given the track record of Cornwall, we don’t need another artifact with no intrinsic value. The piers were covered up by the bridge decking. Now exposed openly to the elements, what are they going to look like 10-15 years down the road? People are already complaining about taxes going up just to maintain existing services. Do people want to pay more to maintain what would essentially be downloading from the feds?

We are talking about the same city that was gifted a historical locomotive and promised to take care of it and that couldn’t even be done. It was even tooth and nail to keep $100,000 in the budget to make sure it didn’t turn into a bucket of metal.

And what memories do we want the piers to serve? The seaway is still there. The memory that, once it was built, it was never used for its intended purpose to have ships travel under it. The memory that it was such as cow path it made the list of Ontario’s Worst Roads?

No, with a multi-million dollar infrastructure backlog, three pieces of concrete are something the City of Cornwall doesn’t need to add to its maintenance list.