Council votes to send proposed fence along centre’s frontage to building committee for further review

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To build a fence or not to build a fence, that’s now the question coming to the City’s building committee for discussion.
General committee had previously endorsed a motion to construct a fence along the McDonald Street frontage of the Busby Street Centre, in reaction to noise and behaviour concerns expressed by nearby residents.
However, when the issue came to council for approval on Monday night, councillors voted to send the matter to the building committee for another look.
Ward 2 councillor Keenan Aylwin had previously spoken supportively of building a fence to address residents’ concerns, but now says that council wants the Neighbourhood Liaison Committee to look into the matter to “come up with a dignified solution that addresses concerns from neighbours.
“After doing a walk around at the Centre, speaking with Busby participants and neighbours, it became clear to me that a fence could actually exacerbate the neighbourhood concerns. The fence is also not a dignified or compassionate solution and I think it sends the wrong message. I’m hopeful that we can come up with a compromise that works for everyone,” he told City Scene.
The liaison committee comprises representatives of the Canadian Medical Health Association (which owns the property), the Busby, and area residents. Ward 4 councillor Barry Ward told City Scene that the committee will meet to “determine the best steps to take” and that the City’s building committee “will wait to see if that group can reach a consensus on what can be done to alleviate some of the neighbours’ concerns.”
Ward said he isn’t sure if council thought the fence was a good or bad idea, as “we never really discussed it.
“I think councillors, including myself, thought the CMHA, Busby and neighbours had reached an agreement on a fence so we went along with it. In the past week, since the general committee recommendation was passed, we heard from both one neighbour, who questioned whether the fence was a good idea, and … from the Busby suggesting they also didn’t support it.”
Ward continued that he doesn’t think the residents will feel let down by the decision to continue discussions over building a fence.
“I think they will be happy they are being consulted about the next steps.  As I said, one of the most vocal of the neighbours had questions about the fence,” he told City Scene.
“I think the Busby wants to be a good neighbour and will take all practical steps to address some of the concerns. If residents have concerns, the Busby has an obligation to at least try to make things better, within reason.”