The best defence

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Some say the best defence is a good offence. When it comes to the St. John’s harbourfront, many find “the fence” just offensive. Citizens are outraged that access to the piers will now be more restricted.

The thing that strikes me the most is the fact that the City of St. John’s voted, unanimously I might add, to cost-share the building of this fence. Did anyone ask what’s in it for the taxpayers of St. John’s?

Why has it taken four or five months for anyone on council to raise a concern? Did they approve almost a half a million dollars in public money without having all the facts? Did the St. John’s Port Authority only put forth key information on access at the last minute? It seems to me it has to be one or the other if not both.

When the port authority applied to the city for money to help build the fence (or when it came back a second time looking for more money), city council should have taken the time to iron out these details.

I find it incredible that concerns such as access weren’t raised before now. Was there any negotiation along the lines of “We can help cost-share but this is what we want”?

As we have seen this week with the unveiling of the city’s largest budget ever, St. John’s has enough priorities to commit expenditure to.

If the port authority has jurisdiction over the harbourfront and a fence was going to happen anyway (as we’ve heard) and if there is no wiggle room to negotiate with the authority on the parameters of this fence (as we’ve also heard), we should not be helping to pay for it.

I don’t think this is being a poor neighbour or city partner. This is looking out for the interests of those who foot the bill.

In the end, if there is a fence and if access to the harbourfront is severely restricted by that fence, a lot of people are going to be offended. The only thing more offensive is making them pay for the locks.

Scott Fitzgerald

St. John’s

Organizations: Port Authority

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Recent comments

  • Jay
    December 15, 2012 - 16:45

    The Port Authority is a profit making corporation. Would City Council approe a grant to build a fence around anybody else's business? No, they would not. Why are they doing it for the Port Authority? Let the Port Authority spend its own money to replace its infrastructure.

  • crista
    December 15, 2012 - 09:05

    there way or no way times are not changing and if they are who are they changing for,what are they looking for now the harbour masters job???? they are spending tax payers dollars and revenue why don't they tell you about the moneys they spent that was not made public or is that in bill 29 but then we suppose it is only tax dollars and revenue and what they get paid for doing there jobs????

  • Happily Retired
    December 15, 2012 - 08:49

    This situation is merely a reflection on how Council conducts business. Many new developments, often poorly designed, are sanctioned at closed meetings. The only point of view heard is that of the proponent.. By the time the general public hears about them, it's too late to provide any meaningful commentary. Sometimes there's a public meeting,with the main focus being crowd control, and it you speak out, you're shut down. In this case, it doesn't really matter what Transport Canada says. Its most recent communication is only an annoyance to Doc and Hanrahan who want their fence, come hell or high water. At the end of the day, they'll get their fence. We, saps that we are, will pay for it.