OTTAWA — A multimillion-dollar phalanx of steel barricades is to be erected in front of Parliament Hill beginning Tuesday.
The $8.6-million project is intended to tighten perimeter security around the Hill by installing fixed and retractable bollards — short vertical posts — at the three main vehicular gates along Wellington Street.
Notice of the construction work was issued Friday to House of Commons staff by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers.
Public Works was unable to provide any immediate details, though a previous departmental document says the barriers must be able to withstand “significant physical impact loads,” suggesting they are not only intended to control routine traffic but to counter vehicular attacks. The department says pedestrian access will remain unchanged.
While the parliamentary precinct is a prime target for anyone wanting to make a high-profile statement, the government’s long-term vision and plan for the area calls for an “unobtrusive” security perimeter.
The new barriers “must be designed to suit the heritage characteristics of the Parliament Buildings and avoid impeding the welcoming mood of the national historic site,” the proposal states… [Doublespeak, anyone?]