Napier's new viewing platform has fallen short for many ratepayers who are criticising the Marine Parade structure online.
"We never called it a pier," Napier City Council CEO Wayne Jack said in response to the public criticism.
"It is just a small number of people venting their views," he said.
Although it looks like a pier, the only time it will be surrounded by water is during a storm - the rest of the time the $1.4 million structure sits on dry land, hiding the new Tennyson St stormwater outfall opposite the new museum and gallery.
Not yet officially opened, it sports a steel canopy and stands on concrete-encased steel piles hammered 15m into bedrock.
Social media comment says a pier that stops short of the water is a missed opportunity for recreational uses such as fishing and swimming.
"I thought this was going to be really cool and be much longer than this sad piece of concrete," Angelene Hirini of Hastings said.
Laura Hartley called it a "bloody joke", and an expensive one at that, and Kay Cooper described the structure as "pathetic", a "waste of money" and "an embarrassment to the city".
"She ain't no Brighton Pier that's for sure," Rebecca Hogg said.
Simon Thomsen was slightly more supportive.
"It covers the new stormwater pipe and if you found out before you started whinging there's a whole bunch of logical reasons it doesn't go into the sea."
In its resource consent application to Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council said it would provide a benefit "in masking the pipeline and providing an opportunity to obtain views of Hawke's Bay and back over the city, which aren't easily obtained".
Mr Jack said it was always designed to stop at the high tide mark.
"To go out that few more metres has significant cost and resource consent issues," he said. "Extending the platform, to make it into a pier, would be unlikely.
"I think it will stay where it is."
On its Facebook page the council has reassured critics.
"We're sure you will be impressed with the view once it is completed. Despite some thinking it is too short, the view back to the Marine Parade is sensational."