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.