Fence viewing around the Flats

Over on LeBreton Flats there’s an interesting array of fences. The newest one, still under construction as you read this, is along the aqueduct. It’s a stern fence:

At least 5′ high, maybe 6′, its a reasonably decorative metal fence, premade in sections, ready to rust.

I thought it looks … formidable. It’s high. There’s no mistaking this for a decorative fence to keep little Dakota or Zoe from tumbling into the water. It is a security fence.

I thought it is quite effective at separating the pedestrians and cyclists on the adjacent pathway from the attractive water view and historic pump house building. Heritage, but out-a-sight sort of thing.

I wonder why a 3′ feet wouldn’t have been just as good, keeping out tumbling toddlers and over-yappy condo pets. The previous fence, chain link, was much shorter, preventing accidents but not so firmly cleaving the public space into segregated zones. Walk there. Don’t look here.

I’ll give the city points for choosing a decorative but higher maintenance metal fence over chain link, but then demerit points are warranted for excessive height. Maybe the additional height is the premium to assuage the bureaucrats great bugaboo in the sky worry that “someone might sue us” should they decide to go skinny dipping in front of a power plant (the pump house uses falling water not to generate electricity, but to pump water to the top floor of downtown highrises like Place de Ville).

Mind, just a few metres downstream, the city isn’t so worried about jumpers or fallers off the Pooley’s Bridge, which has an easily climbable faux historic railing over the drop down to the tailrace-come-sewer outlet.

Along the tailrace portion of the aqueduct (ie, below the power plant) the city installed 5-6′ chain link security fence. I am a bit more sympathetic for that edge-of-the-escarpment location as it is useful to protect the steep slope. Although the city had to be battled back from their proposed high security fence on the gentler east side slope where the kayakers gather. Instead, a short rail fence marks the edge of the waterway but doesn’t provide “security”.

Now covered in fines and disguised by shrubs, much of the tall fence cuts passers by from the view into the aqueduct; but it remains a pleasant pathway with the occasional peep into the Bronson Creek gulch.

A bit further on, along the Ottawa River, the NCC isn’t so worried about peeps popping into the power plant headwaters. They installed short, maybe 3′, chainlink fences and installed tons of roses (a fence on their own…) and greenery to disguise the fence. The pathway is elevated a few feet too, which helps to minimize the fence. Safety, not security.

Even further upstream, at the back entrance to the War Museum, where there is a bridge half-way out to Zibi-land, complete with benches and decorative lighting, the fence is rather low both at the rolling gate and especially notice the low fence on the bridge itself:

And just upstream of that, the shoreline lies totally unprotected from drunken bluesfesters, people, dogs, geese, and whatever…

It’s obvious different bureaucrats have different views of what keeps people safe (to be charitable) or provides security (keep people out. period.). I find the aqueduct fence at the Fleet Street pumping station crosses the boundary from public safety to a more authoritarian “keep out” mindset. Too bad.




2 thoughts on “Fence viewing around the Flats

  1. Meanwhile, Primrose Park still has what I had assumed to be a temporary fence- it’s wooden and wire mesh and the mesh is broken in a couple of places so kids can crawl through to the dog run. The tall black metal fence would look much better there.

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