From left to right, Jason Young, Senior Structural Engineer, CBCL Limited & Sean Lee, Assistant Director, Engineering and Operations, City of Fredericton

Officers’ Square Decorative Fencing Barricaded Due to Safety concerns

Due to safety concerns coming out of an engineering report related to the retaining wall / decorative fencing around Officers’ Square along Queen Street, effective immediately, barricades will be put in place to keep the public away from the fence. 

The final “Condition Assessment of Retaining Wall Around Officers’ Square” report, completed by CBCL Limited Consulting Engineers and dated June 27, 2018, identified serious structural concerns related to the masonry rubble retaining wall and balustrades which support the decorative fencing.  Specifically, the report identified the “very poor condition” of the masonry rubble retaining wall, as well as the “poor condition” of the balustrades. Both support the decorative fence railing.  The report says that:

“Due to the disintegration of the underlying retaining wall mortar joints, the majority of the posts are leaning in towards the square, are loose and can easily rocked with hand pressure. This is considered to be a pedestrian safety concern since the posts must support any loads imposed on the railing. For this reason, we feel that the railing system should be either removed and a temporary system be erected in its place or the wall should be barricaded from both sides since there is a risk of the public trying to climb the rail from inside the square and pulling a section of the balustrade on top of themselves.”

Under a heading entitled “Remedial Work Urgent (Now),” the report recommends to:  “Remove all of the balustrade posts and rails along Queen Street and install temporary barricades adjacent the sidewalk until an alternative railing system can be installed.”

As a result of the findings, and considering the number of people expected in Officers’ Square for the Canada Day celebration, the decision has been made to install temporary fencing around the retaining wall / decorative fencing.

“I appreciate the timing of this is awkward considering our special Development Committee meeting last night, but from a public safety perspective, there was really no choice but to take immediate action,” said Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien.  “This will allow us to remove the immediate safety hazard.”

The current 19th-century style ornamental fence was installed in 1976. The original fence was erected in the early 20th-century, but was replaced in sections in the 1970s. The current retaining wall was put in place in 1901.

After working adjacent to Pointe-Sainte-Anne Boulevard, and hearing assertions from the public about the initial assessment of the wall’s condition by City engineers, the City commissioned the third-party report by CBCL on June 18, 2018.  The report validated the opinion that the fence poses a safety hazard. City engineers raised concerns about the condition of the fence, immediately following the City taking ownership of Officers Square from the Province of New Brunswick in August, 2016.

For more about the Officers’ Square revitalization effort, visit www.fredericton.ca/officerssquare