We, the undersigned, call on all members of St. John’s City Council to support the motion of Councillor O'Leary to rescind the agreement to cost-share the proposed harbour fence with the St. John's Port Authority.
While the public has raised many questions, few have been answered. There also seems to be some confusion as to the necessity of permanently restricting access to the areas in question.
Considering that the harbour fence proposal will cost taxpayers close to $500,000, we feel it is prudent to allow for meaningful public input before committing such a large amount of money to this project.
On Monday, December 10th, St. John's City Council will be voting on a proposal to build a permanent, locked, fence that will restrict public to most of the St. John's harbour apron (it is contained in the annual budget). Information has not been shared with the public in an open and transparent manner, and when the issue has been discussed there were more questions than answers.
UPDATE: On December 10th Council passed the budget, including the $400,000+ harbour fence. Two councillors objected to key parts of this proposal. Councillor O'Leary will be bringing forward a motion to rescind the city's agreement to share the cost of the fence, and Deputy-Mayor Duff said she would like the city to call on the port authority to hold public consultations including the city and members of the public.
We need these two motions to pass!!
Please e-mail your City Council and ask them to support these motions, you can find their contact information here: http://www.stjohns.ca/city-hall/about-city-hall/council
In addition to this, Transport Canada recently made the following statement to CBC:
"Transport Canada is satisfied with the Port of St. John's current security plan and did not instruct the port operator to erect new fencing. Any amendments or changes to a security plan must be submitted to Transport Canada for review and approval."
So please do your part and e-mail or call members of City Coucil and let them know how you feel about this fence.
- 60% of the harbour will be closed to the public.
- The other 40% will have limited public access.
(You can see a photo on the Happy City website highlighting the areas that will be restricted to the public here: http://happycity.ca/fence)
The harbour in St. John's is part of the engine that drives the economy of the city, however it is much more than that! The harbour has always been a public space, and is one of the things that makes St. John's so special. It needs to be realized that our harbour serves many purposes: it is a working port, it is a sense of pride for St. John's residents, and it is a place to go to take in the amazing scenery enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. Walking along the harbour provides an experience that cannot be found in many other cities, and has been an enjoyable experience for people for many years. This is an experience that should be allowed to continue.
An advocacy group in St. John's, called Happy City, recently posed some good questions:
Is a fence that restricts public access to the harbour the right thing to do? Is it worth almost half a million taxpayer dollars? Does the fence fall within the city's long-term vision as developed by the people who live and work here? What alternative approaches were considered (temporary / movable options, alternate designs, etc.)?
These are all very important questions, however they are also questions that do not appear to have been answered.
If this proposal is allowed to go forward our harbour experience may forever be altered. A lot more public discussion needs to take place before a decision should be made on this project. Until those discussions take place City Hall and the Port Authority need to take a step back and put this project on hold. It is our harbour too, and we should have a say in its future.
Please take a minute to sign this petition, and share it with your friends. If we don’t act quickly it may be too late!!!
* This petition was not created by, or in affiliation with, Happy City St. John's.