Harbour access denied

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Security personnel now working on the harbourfront

A security guard approaches a waiting vehicle at a security fence on the harbour apron Monday afternoon. The guard was checking vehicles as they made their way into a secure area of the apron that was closed off with temporary fencing.
— Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Anybody strolling along the St. John’s waterfront will now meet a security guard when they come to piers 9 through 11, and if they aren’t affiliated with the

St. John’s Port Authority or one of the vessels docked at those piers, access will be denied.

The port was in non-compliance with Transport Canada and would not be recognized as an International Ship and Port Facility (ISPF) if it didn’t make certain changes to the security of that part of the harbour, says Sean Hanrahan, port authority president and CEO.

“Any vessels that need to dock at ISPF ports wouldn’t be able to dock in St. John’s,” he says.

That includes offshore supply vessels and cruise ships, and would result in a big economic fallout for the port authority.

Hanrahan says the port was told to become compliant by Feb. 10, and that’s what it has done.

Anybody now associated with a vessel along piers 9 to 11 will have to enter via Pier 8 along Harbour Drive. Access to the area will be granted by the vessel master, in consultation with the gate security guard.

Upon arrival at the Pier 9 gate, drivers must present photo ID to the gate security guard. Drivers of commercial vehicles that are unable to exit via the Pier 9 gate, for instance, due to limited turning radius, must inform gate security upon arrival in order to make alternate arrangements.

The guard will be on duty 24/7, says Hanrahan.

Besides the security issue, there’s a safety issue with that part of the harbour that has now been addressed, he says.

“It’s an industrial area. It’s extremely busy. And it’s an accident waiting to happen,” he says.

This new security comes in the wake of a controversial fence the port authority is constructing with co-operation from the city. Although there’s already a chain-link fence along the waterfront from Prescott Street to Atlantic Place, and has been for years, there has been a huge public backlash to a wrought iron stonework fence the port authority plans to build with the city’s help.

A tender for the fence went out last week.

Hanrahan says there will be three seating areas along the barrier at piers 9 to 11 for people to enjoy, and other parts of the harbourfront will still be open for people to walk through.

Security personnel are also now working at piers 17 and 18, which are closer to the area of the old Battery Hotel and aren’t as popular with the public for walking.


Organizations: Port Authority, Transport Canada

Geographic location: Port Facility, Prescott Street, Atlantic Place

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Recent comments

  • why
    February 26, 2013 - 18:12

    why is the city helping to pay for this fence, you are not allowed to walk in the area, the port pays little or no taxes. mayor okeefe must really love to see to see cruise ship because he runs down to get on board all the time. WHY

  • anna
    February 26, 2013 - 15:51

    So why are the taxpayers paying half a million dollars has City Council ever answered that question

    February 26, 2013 - 13:28

    Sounds like a lot of oleary supporters commenting here. I wonder if it is similar to the latest MHA public poll scandal? Anyway, folks, allow me to let you in on a secret. "THE FENCE IS A DONE DEAL"...move on. The fact that public access to the wharf is now denied is not the citys fault. From the information Ive read, council wanted to ensure there would be a fence erected that was nicely designed and to help beautify the down town area. So, they became part of a "cost share" program. I dont know why so many of you are SO quick to blame council. Lastly, I am still wondering why Sheilagh Oleary voted in favor of the budget, which included the spending for the fence.So, that tells me she voted in favor of this fence AT LEAST 2 TIMES. She makes no sense to me......

  • steve
    February 26, 2013 - 12:53

    Why are they doing this was there a attack I don't know about, all of sudden counsel thinks we need this fence wasting more of the tax payers money when they could of put that money towards something good like spruce up the wharf with trees & flowers to make it look inviting to us and to travelers or put it towards good for the city not some needless eye sore we have to fight this and shame on that no good counsel we have and we have to get rid of that so called Mayor and put someone who love and take care of our city .

  • tom
    February 26, 2013 - 12:29

    Sad as you can see how nice the waterfront is in Halifax. Ours is an eye sore.

  • Newswatcher
    February 26, 2013 - 12:11

    To the people of St. John's, YOU voted in the current city council so YOU have to put up with its decisions.

  • Nasty Nate
    February 26, 2013 - 11:26

    Looks like time for a 10% reduction in property taxes then. Collect the difference from the port authority city hall.

  • Bk
    February 26, 2013 - 09:47

    What benefit do you the taxpayer see from these offshore vessels and cruise ships. That's right, nada. The rising cost of living and unaffordable housing,especially for seniors is the only benefit we see. Send them to Halifax along with the SAR.facilities.

  • david
    February 26, 2013 - 09:24

    Ohhhhh...that Harbour! T'inks he's right special. I hates him! He's right stiff, and he shakes hands with his kids! And Danny says we shouldn't like him anyway, and.... Oh.....wait....

  • tax payer
    February 26, 2013 - 09:01

    It's all well and good that this area needs to be secure but what about those of us that like to walk the waterfront? The sidewalk along the new stretch of fence has not been clear for most, if not all of this winter. Let's look after the citizens of St. John's too!

  • Dee
    February 26, 2013 - 08:49

    I can see putting the safety of people first in putting security or a fence,you can still be able to walk along the waterfront but not on the pier.But I do not agree that this fence,wall or whatever they decide on should be at a cost to the city of St.John's taxpayers.

  • hslaw
    February 26, 2013 - 06:57

    I am willing to be St John's was the last port to deny access.WE here in cbs lost access about three years or more ago. This is why I couldn't undestand people people complaining about the fence going where it is. Surely the people who complained knew it was requirements by Ports Canada. WE are not safe little Newfoundland anymore people. if we reep th big rewads we must acept what comes with it

    • Don
      February 26, 2013 - 08:13

      You are wrong. Corner Brook port access was closed of to the public in the early 1990's for the same reasons, safety and security.

  • Barney
    February 26, 2013 - 06:45

    I "used" to walk the harbour front everyday (weather permitting) but now I can't. To be honest, some of the harbour front was not safe to walk because it is very busy when there are vessels docked. There were times that I would not walk thru because I didn't think it was safe "just in case" something fell off a crane etc.....BUT I do hope that the port authority and the city make a nice walk way so that we can enjoy the harbour front safely. I'd hate to see the view all blocked up by fences. Some of the drafts I've seen for the fence does look pretty chunky and view blocking..............we'll see. But it's not safe to be walking by when they are working on these boats.