Walkway Fences

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Further to my last post about the Eagle Crescent walkway.
In an email dated 2007/04/20, I alerted Ward 1 Councillor Roger Caranci to the post and asked about walkway fences:

Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 07:23:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: Eagle Crescent Walkway
To: Roger Caranci

Roger,

Today’s post about the walkway:
https://frommybottomstep.wordpress.com/2007/04/20/eagle-crescent-walkway-5/

Can you please tell me (or refer it to staff for a response) what design guidelines, if any, were placed upon the construction of this fence? Is there a current policy in place with respect to any fence which borders a pedestrian walkway?

Was any consideration given to the safety concerns which were raised by me in my July 2005 meeting with then-Councillor White and staff?

Respectfully,

Greg Fowler.

Councillor Caranci’s same-day response:

Subject: Re: Eagle Crescent Walkway
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 21:06:56 -0400
From: Roger Caranci
To: Greg Fowler

Hi Greg,

I’ll look into this for you but at first glance I have to tell you that if a fence is placed on someones own property they can conceivably build it as high as they like.

By the way why didn’t you ask me last night at the meeting?

Best regards,

Roger Caranci
Councillor, Ward 1
City of London

Fair is fair, so I’ll give Councillor Caranci full credit for responding. On this occassion. But I’ll also note that it’s one of the few responses that I’ve ever been able to get from him.

Perhaps things will be different now that he’s representing the ward that I live in (the new Ward 1). Although, his continued failure to respond to my concern about the Commissioners/Pond Mills intersection is very troubling.

My subsequent emails to Councillor Caranci:

Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 08:12:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: Re: Eagle Crescent Walkway
To: Roger Caranci

Roger,

I originally intended to talk to you at the meeting, but just as I was leaving the house my oldest called to tell me that the youngest had gone into St. Joe’s to deliver. You were just one of a number of things that I forgot about after that.

G.


Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2007 23:37:54 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gregory Fowler
Subject: Re: Eagle Crescent Walkway
To: Roger Caranci

Roger,

Further to my last reply.

Property owners certainly do have rights, but they are not absolute, especially where safety is a concern. I haven’t had much chance to investigate what legislation already exists… the result of what investigation I’ve managed so far is included below.

In the event that City Council hasn’t already passed sufficient legislation to cover this, my position will be very unforgiving. There have been ample number of incidents in city walkways, and no member of Council or staff can pretend to not be aware of the dangers that walkways represent.

I stressed the danger of the “tunnel environment” that existed in this particular walkway when I met with Sandy White and staff, and there’s been more than sufficient opportunity since then to revise any existing legislation as necessary in order to address those concerns.

IMO, the height of fences which border walkways should be restricted by the city’s by-laws, if that isn’t already the case.

Greg

Pedestrian Walkways

According to a document titled “DWG SR 7.0 Standard Pedestrian Walkway” (http://www.london.ca/…/…Pedestrian%20Walkway.PDF), dated 2003/01/17 and signed by D. Leckie, “In lieu of a chain link fence, an approved wooden fence in accordance with Fencing By-Laws PS-1 and PS-1A and Swimming Pool (as applicable) By-Law PS-2 can be constructed adjacent to the walkway access entirely on private property. The wooden fence is to terminate 6.0m from the street line and continue with a 1.2m wooden fence or a 1.2m chain link fence to the street line. All wooden fence details are to be reviewed and/or approved by the Environmental Services Department.”

Swimming Pool Fences

[not applicable in this case, but included for information purpose]

According to Residential Swimming Pool Fence Information (http://www.london.ca/Planning/Building/pools.htm), the City of London dictates that “Construction of swimming pool fences must comply with the City’s Swimming Pool Fence By-law” (http://www.london.ca/Cityhall/CorpServices/CityClerks/ByLaws/pools.pdf). “Homeowners are responsible for obtaining a permit to erect a swimming pool fence prior to any construction of the swimming pool. The Zoning By-law sets out the minimum setback and location requirements for swimming pools, decks, pool equipment and other accessory structures.”

Along with completion of The Swimming Pool Fence Permit Application (http://www.london.ca/Planning/Building/form0496.pdf), property owners must provide “plans showing the location of the pool including all swimming pool fences, gates and all the proposed/existing swimming pool equipment (such as filters, slides and heaters). A variety of construction materials may be used in fence construction including chain link, wood, steel or wrought iron. Where privacy lattice is used, the openings must not exceed 3.8 cm (1½ in).”

Property owners must also arrange for “the required inspection of the fence when construction is completed.”

Shared Fence Costs

According to Council Policy 16.5 (http://www.london.ca/Council/Policies/Chapter16.htm), adopted 1971/11/17, “That a policy be established that the City Treasurer, upon the approval of the Commissioner of Environmental Services & City Engineer that the bill is justified, be authorized to pay accounts submitted by citizens for fences erected in accordance with the standards provided in By-law No. P.S.-1 for sharing the cost of fences between their lands and lands owned by the City; and further since the City Clerk has been authorized to insert in “Living in the City” the relevant sections of the fence by-law pertaining to cost sharing, it be a part of this policy that strict adherence to the requirements of the by-law is necessary, particularly with regard to notice being given to the City prior to the erection of the fence to ensure that if the City has plans to fence the same property, that duplicated costs will not result.”

Building Permit

Although “Building Permits – A Home Owner’s Guide” (http://www.london.ca/Planning/Building/homeowners.htm) provides “…a list of projects that do not require a permit” which includes “fences other than for swimming pools,” that list is immediately followed by this caveat: “SPECIAL NOTE: Although a building permit may not be required, you must still comply with the requirements of the Zoning By-law and Building Code requirements.”

Property Standards By-Law

CP-16 (http://www.london.ca/…/propertystandards.pdf), passed 1999/08/03. Section 3.3.1 simply states “Fences, except for those on properties zoned and used for agricultural purposes, shall be maintained.”

I’ll keep you updated as this issue about safety in pedestrian walkways progresses.

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2 Responses to “Walkway Fences”

  1. Richard Says:

    See also http://www.london.ca/Cityhall/CorpServices/CityClerks/bylaws/fencing.pdf, especially sections 2.2 and 2.6 which deal with heights and proximity to intersections. There is no height restriction I can see, but you must built the portion over 7 feet to allow a certain amount of light through.

  2. fowgre Says:

    Thanks Richard. I don’t know why I missed that by-law when I did my original search back in April, but I have read it since then. Given the number of assaults on city walkways, I simply can’t understand why there is apparently no provision (exception?) in any of the legislation which specifically addresses the issue of fencing along walkways. I’ve been waiting since April for Councillor Caranci to respond to see what he’s got to say; he’s well aware of my interest in public-safety issues like this, but apparently he doesn’t share my concern for vulnerable pedestrians.

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