Burlington Plans Fishing Pier
by Ken Signorello
The City of
Burlington invited a few fishermen, government
officials, landscape architects, engineers and
others with an interest in Lake Champlain to
brainstorm on the design of a fishing pier for
Burlington Harbor. The gathering took place at the
Burlington Water Treatment Facility on Wednesday,
Superintendent of Park Planning & Development; Ron
Bourne, consulting engineer; and Peter Bourgois,
Landscape Architect are leading the project. There
were no preconceived notions and the purpose of this
meeting was to come up with some ideas that would
satisfy public needs and regulators.
A fishing pier has always been a section of the
waterfront master plan. A location at the south-end
of the harbor was previously considered, although it
was never build. Apparently the fishermen felt that
the fishing is better at the north-end of the harbor
(something to do with the sewage treatment plant).
The bulkhead at the water treatment plant is now the
primary target site. This site is being used now by
fishermen, and seems to be productive.
Fishermen have been
fishing off various docks in Burlington harbor for
years. They have used a variety of boat slips in and
around Perkins Pier as well as the Community
Boathouse docks. Satisfying their needs is the
primary purpose of the pier. The combination state
and city project will be funded with about $300,000.
The state regulatory
agencies explained that a fill-based pier is not a
strong option. Although it would require less
maintenance, it would be harmful to the environment
and could have a negative effect on the fishing. A
floating dock was just about excluded because it
would need to be out of the water when the fishing
is season is still going strong. Marcel Beaudin,
president of the adjacent Lake Champlain Community
Sailing Center, is hoping that the pier could offer
some protection to his facility. Of course the city
is hoping for a low maintenance kind of structure.
The challenges are
many. It has to be high enough to survive buckling,
and low enough for fishermen to land fish. It has to
survive spring ice flow and still be low
maintenance, and it can't interfere with navigation.
Another requirement is there needs to be parking
nearby. One concept that seemed to have support was
to construct several concrete supports approximately
70 feet from shore connected by a walkway to the
present bulkhead. A fishing area would be
constructed with benches and lights as well as rod
holders. If done well, it would definitely be
benefit to the waterfront, not only attracting
anglers but also armchair anglers.
There will be public
hearings on the project, although no time frame has
been established. Interested parties should call Bob
Whalen (802) 865-7248.