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.