Resident petitions to close Gord Downie Pier at night

Local man states concern over protecting 'youth and city assets'

The Gord Downie Peir after its rededication this summer.

A local man has voiced concerns to Kingston City Council over an increased number of late-night parties at the pier.

Phillip Brown is a Kingston business owner behind Goodway secondhand store and Brown’s Catering Services.

Brown created a change.org petition to encourage Kingston’s City Council to “protect our youth and our assets” by closing the pier at night. So far, the petition has gathered 381 signatures. 

In an interview, Brown said “the big issue is the risky behaviour.” He noted late-night traffic has increased since the pier’s rededication. He was also concerned about an increase in broken bottles, litter, and waste left behind on the waterside.

Brown said he believes the volume of parties has “overwhelmed people” living beside the waterfront. He added there were several local residents who were upset about the neighbourhood disturbances.

“It's a quiet neighborhood, and on a calm night that noise reverberates through the neighbourhood. You get 20 or 30 people down there, singing a song or whatever,” Brown said. “We're not talking three people. I've witnessed large groups, dozens of people.”

Brown mentioned his concerns over noise in the petition, stating the increased use of the pier “disturb[s] tranquil evenings.”

Brown denied any concerns about noise were motivating factors in writing the petition.

According to him, closing the pier at night would prevent access to unsafe behavior. He added he didn’t think there was a halfway measure to solve the issue. 

“I would put a patrol down there from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. every night next summer,” he said. Brown also suggested installing “a lovely, beautiful, welcoming gate that we open in the morning and close at night” if needed. 

He acknowledged employing patrol officers to prevent people from accessing the pier would have some cost attached. 

Brown doubts cameras would have any effect. “I'm conscious of my behaviour in public, I'm aware of the fact that there are cameras,” he said, adding “today’s generation” might not be.

Brown said he didn’t think there was any need to resent the possibility of community members losing access to the Downie Pier at night. He added the park was a kilometre long and there is shoreline west of the pier for people to enjoy instead.

Brown said he doesn’t think a middle ground exists on this issue. “I don't think that's the business we're in.”  

On Oct. 31, Mayor Bryan Paterson told The Whig-Standard the petition’s safety concerns were understandable and the City takes safety at Downie Pier into consideration.

He also said citizens were expected to exercise “personal responsibility and common sense.” The mayor added he “could not think of a precedent at any other city park that could be used to support closing the pier at night.”

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