Work on a fence surrounding the George Street Stage, where some people had previously been camping out to get out of the elements, has begun.
The city says it is erecting the security fence due to concerns over safety risks to those sleeping rough on the stage.
The city says that includes additional concerns about people breaking into the electrical room and incidents of infrastructure damage and vandalism which have occurred when the stage was not in use.
Plans to erect the security fence led to questions about how the city, and the province, are dealing with the growing housing crisis.
The capital city has more than 400 city-owned units which are provided to those in need through a variety of programs. Twenty-five of those units are vacant with four tenants “moving in soon and 10 others that have been matched with tenants and (are) in the process of being offered.” The rest are being prepped for new tenants.
Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser recently wrote Mayor Danny Breen, indicating that the city could be “more ambitious” in its application for access to funding through Ottawa’s Accelerated Housing Plan.
The city had been seeking $2 million dollars to construct 91 units, but the federal government is asking St. John’s to consider more “ambitious” plans to address the housing shortage.