A fence will be placed at the end of Whistler Street as part of efforts to deter the movement of transients, who sometimes engage in unwanted behaviour, through the troubled area.
Duncan city council voted unanimously at its meeting on Oct. 5 to contribute at least $5,000 for the approximately $10,000 fence.
Peter de Verteuil, Duncan’s CAO, said in a report that, after consulting the community, most of the concepts developed for the Placemaking design for Whistler Street that was presented to council last month had some form of fencing at the end of the block to deter transient movement through the area, at least until the street becomes the attractive destination for the community uses that are envisioned in the new draft plans.
He said the idea of placing a fence there is not new, and had been discussed with local businesses and the community before, so staff viewed it as an opportunity to discuss the fence again.
“Staff reached out in September and were surprised to learn that several individuals had already gotten together to raise funds for a fence at the end of Whistler Street,” de Verteuil said.
“The plan was ad hoc, grassroots, and very inspiring. Approximately $11,000 had been raised to date, as well as a lot of donated labour and some materials at cost. The design used rebar, and was planned to be installed on approximately Oct. 9.”
De Verteuil said the city decided to contribute financially to a fence and staff looked into its costs, placement and design.
He said the city received a quote of approximately $10,000 for Montage Plus Spear top fencing, that will see a wrought-iron look ornamental fence placed at the site.
It will be six feet high and cover approximately 86 feet near the boundary that separates the city from the Municipality of North Cowichan at the north end of Whistler Street.
De Verteuil said the city will contribute $5,000, which will cover half the cost of the fence, with the money coming from its COVID-19 grant program, that still has $70,000 from the original $100,000 that was allocated for the program.
He said the rest of the money that the local residents raised for the rebar fence that was originally planned will be left with the fundraisers to allow for any repairs in the early days of the new fence, as well as for other improvements the group has been organizing for Whistler Street.
“We found a way to work together with property owners and marry their concepts for the fence with the Placemaking concepts for the area,” de Verteuil said.
“This a good first step [in the plans for Whistler Street].”
Mayor Michelle Staples thanked staff for reaching out to the neighbours on the issue, and council for trying to find ways to come up with solutions for the neighbourhood.
“I also want to thank the business community for the grass-roots work that was done,” she said.