St. John`s – St. John’s South-Mount Pearl MP Ryan Cleary says the proposed permanent fence around much of the St. John’s harbour apron is not the only option — the port authority could re-instate port security officers. Transport Canada requires the port authority to increase security measures at St. John’s harbour, but government officials haven't directed the port authority on exactly how to do so.
“I have been trying to learn for weeks what the other security options are besides a permanent fence,” says Cleary, whose riding takes in the port of St. John’s. “Today we find out that there is another option that the public wasn't aware of.”
During a conference call Tuesday morning, Cleary says St. John’s Port Authority CEO Sean Hanrahan admitted 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,” says Cleary. “The public should have been made aware of the other option right from the start. If security officers worked in the past, they can work again, and both options need to be fully explored before a final decision is made.”
Cleary is calling on the St. John’s Port Authority to release the cost comparisons for both options.
“The public has a right to see the detailed analysis of the costs of both fencing and port security as well as any other options considered in the back rooms at the St. John’s Port Authority,” says Cleary. “I look forward to increased public dialogue following this full disclosure.”
There have been calls in recent weeks for increased public consultation and engagement on the harbour-fence issue, including a call from Cleary and Jack Harris (St. John’s East) in December. As recently as last night, a motion calling for a public consultation was defeated by St. John’s City Council.