Residents react to harbourfront fence

Staff ~ The Telegram
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The proposed fence for the St. John’s harbourfront. — Submitted photo

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, which had over 1,900 names attached to it as of 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Organizations: Chelsea Food Services, Marquis, FMI Yum! Brands Inc. KFC franchises.Marquis The Telegram

Geographic location: Torbay Road, Freshwater Road, Elizabeth Avenue Clarenville Stephenville Mount Pearl Manuels Newfoundland and Labrador Carbonear Bay Roberts Marystown Lewisporte Deer Lake Corner Brook New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • Tax payer
    December 11, 2012 - 21:20

    I agree Tim,there should be a security fence what ever kind they decide on,but to do it with tax payers money from the city of St John,s no I don,t think my tax money should be used that way,when it could be spent other ways.And for the Mayor to decide this on his own and the councilors all on his side.I think that the councilors need to do their own thinking instead of saying well I,m on side with you Major as Debbie Hanlon did at the meeting today,she must still be looking for a raise.Bottom line don,t use my tax dollars as you wish when the Port Authority should be funding this 100 percent.

  • Tim Jamison
    December 11, 2012 - 20:06

    What a strange debate this is. Not only is this an industrial port (with deadly heavy machinery), but it's also a Customs entry point. Of course it needs to be fenced off. I'm surprised this wasn't done decades ago. There are plenty of ways to see the disgusting harbor that don't involve risks of industrial accidents or breachs of our Customs laws. So use those ways and stop complaining. Simple, no?

  • Dee
    December 10, 2012 - 17:02

    I agree Anna if the chain link has to go up then let the Port put it there why should us as tax payers have to fund this,and yes as for Old Topsail Rd to spend this kind of money when there are city streets that still don,t have side walks,the kids on my road have to stand on the street just to wait for the school bus because there is no where else for them to wait.And yes this is a 30km zone not 60-70 which they drive.but then again the city won,t even help us,but then again raise my taxes to almost double what they were.So city gang spend my money the right way,not the way you want to spend it.put it where it should go.Time to do something with Southside Rd.

  • Anna
    December 10, 2012 - 11:38

    if this fence is necessary why is the City using my tax dollars to help pay for it, let the Port Authority pay for it as they are the ones demanding it be put there. This mayor and council spend our taxes on whatever they see fit. Half a million for traffic calming on Old Topsail Road, when I drove down and saw what was done, my blood pressure shot up dramatically. What another waste of money. But come this winter when the sidewalks are full of snow, we will be told there is no money to clean them. Oh wait, we can all walk on those lovely bike lanes they have wasted another million on.

  • Andrew
    December 10, 2012 - 09:42

    Ok. So, what do these people want? Access to the waterfront? Why? So they can walk along it? I call bulls*** on that. Walk along the sidewalk. Too bad for you elitist knobs, guess you'll have to find somewhere else to throw you cigarette butts and Hava Java cups. Can any of them really say the waterfront is perused by hundreds of people a day who are there for the view who couldn't do the exact same thing from the sidewalk? The harbour stinks, the water is disgusting, and there is nothing to be seen that can't be seen from 20 feet back on the sidewalk. Go to harbourside park, go to the southside, go to the Battery. Get over yourselves. St. John's harbour is a working harbour. First and foremost. The limited space it has is needed for the businesses and industries it supports. If they require tighter security give it to them! Like it or not, this oil money you claim controls our government is necessary. Without we're back to being a laughing stock for the rest of the country. I love the harbour. I enjoy looking at the ships that are there, I grew up next to the ocean, and I'm going to be designing ships for a living, but I never need to go on to the pier itself to enjoy it. I can happily stroll along the sidewalk and see just as much from there. I don't get in the way of the supply trucks or forklifts that are there. Those are the people who need the pier, and if the fence helps their jobs go easier then I am all for it.

  • darls
    December 10, 2012 - 08:48

    well well...finally....i worked for the port for 7 years and was the person on the gate explaining to locals why they were not allowed's called security...the cruise ships would come in and the locals felt like they had the right to go on ship...i mean really...and when there was no cruise ships in you were taking your life in your hands walking the would cruise up and down like a racetrack...espically taxis...many tickets were given out by police for people speeding...and they are not closing off the whole pier...and whats wrong with walking on the southside...this is what our world has come too because of a bunch of idiots on 9/11....welcome to the new world...have a great day...cheers

  • Sean
    December 10, 2012 - 08:46

    If this is a requirement from the federal government, why hasn't anyone in the public seen the document(s) containing this requirement? Does it actually stipulate a fence, or would other security measures meet the requirement? Does it say how much of the harbour apron has to be permanently fenced off, or can access be routinely available and restricted only when certain vessels requiring high security are in port? Why was in not made clear last fall the extent of the harbour apron that would be fenced, and also that this fence would permanently exclude the public, (with the exception of certain areas that could be opened up for "special events" at the port authority's discretion)? Why was it that the picture that was released only contained a small detailed section of the fence, but didn't show how much area was planned to be fenced in?

  • George S.
    December 10, 2012 - 08:46

    O' rally ye Supernewfs. Dress like mummers, mourne the loss of the cod fishery and centuries of poverty. (Oh, the good old days.) Protest the sustained limited access to the waterfront, which, as an island, we have in very limited quantity. Let's bang ugly sticks and sing Ron Hynes songs and pray for a violent act of nature so we can boast of how strong we are and write more books about storms. And after we leave Council Chambers this evening, let's head ot the Ship to get drunk and congratulate each other on a job well done. Hail Supernewfs.

  • willy
    December 10, 2012 - 08:34

    Can you image the outcry if a fence was erected at the Halifax, Toronto or Montreal waterfront ??? I'm surprised that the City Council did not oppose this fence from the get go. Add this to the list of ongoing blunders by this Council.

    • Do some research
      December 10, 2012 - 09:46

      Hey Willy .. THESE HARBOUR AREA ARE FENCE OFF ... good god, do some research before you post comments. Halifax just has more Harbour front to develope. The main area where the cruise ships and shipping ships come in are fenced of from the public ..... i know, I wokred there for 5 years.

  • John
    December 10, 2012 - 08:22

    Canada is a signatury to many organizations that affect shipping and other maritime businesses issues through the IMO such as SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea), International Rules of the Road, Licensing of ship crews and or Certificates of Competance for Deck and Engineering officers. We are required to follow the standards set by these treaties or suffer the consequenses. We aren't the only port that has fences erected around their facilities. That includes ports like Montreal and Halifax where you will be only be given access through a gate if you are a crew member of a ship or have business to conduct. It also seems that the city and Port Authority have done their best to balance the fence between the citizens concerns and the security of the port.

  • Molly
    December 10, 2012 - 08:14

    The some old complainers, wanna-be councillors., artsy bunch and the crunchey granolas. Give me a break 200 out of 112000 !!!!!

  • Wince
    December 10, 2012 - 08:07

    This is nonsense. If they take down the fence, then what? Are people going to walk around and enjoy the nice grey concrete, and enjoy the 'smell' coming from the harbour. If you ask me, the fence looks nicer because you can't go close enough to see the sh-t-brown water. Sheilagh is just out to make a name for herself. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • hockeyfan
    December 10, 2012 - 08:02

    OK, if a fence has to be erected to maintain the sustainability of the tourism industry and jobs than why not? There are parks downtown that provides a clear view of the harbor, actually a better and more accessible view than the harbor front itself. Also, they are not closing off the entire harbor front just a portion of it.

  • Early August
    December 10, 2012 - 07:47

    "Access to the waterfront"?! I've been shaking my head ever since all the opposition surfaced in the news; do people intend to go swimming?! In my opinion, this venture would beautify the harbourfront, which has always appeared industrial and dirty (i.e. see the mountain of salt on the east end of the harbour). People they are not building a wall, look at the plans; you can still stroll down the sidewalks and enjoy the views,and at night, it appears it will be better lit = a win/win for tourists and residents.

  • Bp
    December 10, 2012 - 07:43

    Federal govt. decision doesn't make it right. The federal govt. were the ones who moved SAR from St. John's. it's amazing what oil money can buy.

  • Joe Cool
    December 10, 2012 - 07:33

    Honestly - is the effort that's been expended on objecting to this fence justified? Could the organizers of this campaign better put their energy to something more charitable...maybe?

    • Paul
      December 10, 2012 - 07:45

      With the recent dramatic increase in our city property assessments, there should be no worries about how the city would pay their share! Then again, if the city didn't waste so much in spending outside its core mandate, our taxes wouldn;t put us in the poor house!

  • Joe Cool
    December 10, 2012 - 07:28

    Honestly - is the effort that's been expended on objecting to this fence justified? Could the organizers of this campaign better put their energy to something more charitable...maybe?

  • pat
    December 10, 2012 - 07:21

    The people that are demonstrating have to be townies, no question.This is a federal decision. Bayman

  • mike
    December 10, 2012 - 07:13

    I'm calling horse**** on this statement: "The port authority... 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."

  • s parsons
    December 10, 2012 - 07:05

    What did the port authority do in other cities? did it cut off the harbour from citizens in halifax, montreal, or vancouver?? There are other options than a 'prison' fence on our harbour. Why do we always default to the cheapest solution? The harbour is a tourist attraction and is important to the citizens of this city. The city should make the right decision and should not just default to the cheapest solution.

  • well
    December 10, 2012 - 06:51

    Listen you can plan you marches and your demonstrations and the result will be the same , for years the fence they have there now has been an eyesore and they will replace it with another and you can have your marches and demonstrations and your online petitions. The end will be the same the fence will go up and you will never walk along the waterfront again because St.John's has become like every other goverment that we know . They dont care what you want , its what they want and we all know it

  • Don Lester
    December 10, 2012 - 06:34

    The problem here is that people don't understand that this is not being imposed by the Port, but by the Federal Government acting in accordance with the International Ship and Port Facility Act.