Permanent fence not the only alternative, says Cleary

MP Ryan Cleary says he was told Tuesday that there is an alternative to a permanent fence around much of the St. John's harbour apron.
The St. John's Port Corp. intends to replace this temporary fence with a permanent structure along part of the city's harbourfront. CBC (CBC )

A Newfoundland and Labrador MP says a proposed permanent fence that would limit public access to much of St. John's harbour is not the only option.

St. John's South-Mount Pearl MP Ryan Cleary said he was told on Tuesday that the St. John's Port Authority could re-instate security officers.

The St. John's Port Authority plans to erect a permanent security fence along Harbour Drive, covering several piers that are currently open to public access.

Transport Canada requires that the port authority increase security measures at St. John’s harbour, however officials have not told the port authority how to do it.

"I have been trying to learn for weeks what the other security options are, besides a permanent fence," said Cleary. "Today we find out that there is another option that the public was not aware of."

In a conference call Tuesday morning with the port authority, CEO Sean Hanrahan admitted to Cleary that fencing a portion of St. John’s harbour and limiting public access is not the only option. Transport Canada’s requirement for heightened security could also be satisfied by hiring port security officers.

"Port security existed at St. John’s harbour until the mid to late-1990s when they were eliminated," said Cleary.

Cleary was told it would cost about $250,000 a year to hire five security officers.

He has called on the St. John’s Port Authority to release the cost comparisons for both options.