Problems at the Port wharf

  • Nov. 4, 2009 3:00 p.m.

By Alex Rinfret–Recently-installed aluminum railings around the Port Clements wharf are already bending, cracking and breaking, public works superintendent Pete Nelson-Smith told council members Monday night (Nov. 2). The broken railings are causing safety concerns, and Mr. Nelson-Smith recommended that they either be removed completely, or re-engineered. The aluminum rails were installed this summer as part of a major renovation of the wharf. Mayor Cory Delves said the railings were ordered about eight years ago, and have been waiting to be installed since then. But it now appears that metal was the wrong choice of material. “They do make an interesting sound out there in the wind,” Mr. Delves said, adding that he was on the wharf this summer and noticed that even a light breeze made the railings move. Councillor Cam Traplin, a welder, said metal rails will eventually break if there is any flex at all, and suggested that wood railings might work better. Council discussed the possibility of removing the railings. Administrator Heather Nelson-Smith said because barges use the wharf for loading and unloading, it is not required to have a railing. In fact, it did not have a railing until just a few months ago. “We’ve never had anyone fall over,” she added. Mr. Traplin offered to take a closer look at the situation, and council voted to delay a decision on what to do about the railings until the next meeting, Nov. 16.