The city began taking down the fencing that runs along the median on Second Avenue West on Tuesday.
© Herald photo by Alex Di Pietro
The city began taking down the original fence along the median of Second Avenue West on Tuesday. It will be replaced with a fence of industrial quality.
Council approved work to replace the ornamental fencing in August, citing safety concerns.
The project, which has received some criticism, will cost nearly $170,000. Work got underway Tuesday morning and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31.
“It was passed by council I think with two dissensions,” Mayor Jim Scarrow said. “The work is going ahead as council wished it to be.”
Mayoral candidate Dean Link is opposed to the work, stating that the money should have been put toward repairing roads and sidewalks and building a new fire hall on the east side of town.
“(It’s an) absolute waste of taxpayers’ money!” Link said.
Damage was found on the fence in 2011 and a contractor was hired to make repairs, according to a city administration report released on Aug. 1.
The report reads, however, that “the subsequent inspections discovered that the fence was severely rusted and in danger of falling down.”
Link said he can’t see how it would fall.
“I went and pushed against that fence in three or four different sections. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that fence,” he said.
“But because it’s on Second Avenue, the mayor, with Councillor (Greg) Dionne’s support in council, has voted to replace it when all it needed was a bit of sandblasting and repainting,” Link continued. “I’m just shocked that the taxpayers are letting them get away with this.”
The original ornamental fencing was installed in 1990, with the main purpose of stopping pedestrians from crossing Second Avenue West on the hill.
Wes Hicks, manager of capital projects, said it would take two to four days for the original fence to be removed. He said the new fence panels will be four feet on flower bed and six feet on the median to remain at same height level as it descends down the hill.
“The one we’ve purchased is the kind that is manufactured on a regular basis,” he said. “And we also purchased I think eight extra sections, so if someone hits it with a car, then we can quickly go in and replace that section, without having to go back and order one that can take weeks and weeks.”
The new fence is of industrial quality and comes with a 20-year warranty.
Hicks said that the fence was ordered based on the number of lineal metres needed.
“They gave us a lump sum quote,” he said. “Whatever it takes for them to install it, they have to live by that number.”