A plan put in place by the St. John’s Port Authority to build a security fence along the harbourfront has attracted renewed attention in recent days, with a local advocacy group suggesting a public consultation on the matter should have been held.
The port authority, which has jurisdiction over the harbour-front, has said the security structure is a necessity, without which the city would lose its port and be out $250 million in business resulting from vessel traffic and close to 3,000 jobs.
St. John’s city council voted unanimously in favour of the proposal at a meeting in August, and is set to cover half the cost of the $850,000 project.
Sean Hanrahan, CEO of the St. John’s Port Authority, told The Telegram on Thursday that 50 per cent of the harbourfront will be open to public access, while the remainder of it will be “access controlled.”
Happy City St. John’s, the group advocating for public consultations on the fence, claimed a vote on the port authority’s proposal was scheduled for today’s council meeting. However, Mayor Dennis O’Keefe told The Telegram that no such vote is scheduled to take place.
Meanwhile, a demonstration is due to take place today starting at 3:30 p.m. in front of the St. John’s Port Authority building, with attendees expected to march to city hall in time for the 4:30 p.m. council meeting.
An online petition has also been launched through the website change.org, which had over 1,900 names attached to it as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday.