Has the City of New Westminster lost that loving feeling?
Quayside resident Stephen Herman recently contacted the Record with a concern – and we took his question to city hall.
“Amazing to see with all the development projects underway in New Westminster, the engineering department has time and resources available to have two workers remove the “lovers locks” that are attached to the chain link waterside fence at the far end of the waterfront park, near the largely abandoned industrial area, well past the new Bosa development,” he wrote in an email to the Record. “One can only imagine the locks needed to be removed to improve the unobstructed views of the rotting and aging wooden pier underneath the SkyTrain bridge. These lock fences are popular with residents and tourists around the world, and are actually tourist attractions in cities like Frankfurt. Apparently not in New Westminster.”
Why did the City of New Westminster remove the love locks from the chain-link fence along the Fraser River?
Dean Gibson, the city’s director of parks and recreation, explains why some locks have been removed from the fence along the waterfront.
“This issue is a tricky one for the city. Like the arts, the ‘beauty’ of love locks is largely in the eye of the beholder. We recognize the desire for members of the public to tangibly express their affection for a loved one in public spaces and that in recent years, one form of this expression is through ‘love locks’. That being said, these sorts of trends, if left to evolve organically, can result in unintended damage to city infrastructure, and in extreme circumstances, potential public safety risks. In the case of many urban cities throughout the world, this situation has escalated to the point where the matter has become at the very least a public annoyance, and at the worst, a public safety issue.”
“In New Westminster, we have taken the approach of quiet tolerance for the temporary placement of the locks in a confined area within Westminster Pier Park (the only location that seems to attract any significant attention of love lock lovers. Accordingly, we gradually remove locks over time so as not to allow a significant accumulation that contributes to the challenges facing other cities around the world. I have been advised that in the recent past, this maintenance practice has not been followed so recently staff have been playing a bit of catch-up to bring things more into balance.”
“All that being said, the public is reminded that that unauthorized placement of items like love locks in city parks is contrary to the city’s parks bylaw.”