The public relations nightmare continues around the decision to block a hot air vent outside city hall. Plywood hoarding was quicky installed this week to deter homeless persons who had been gathering there to get relief from the extreme cold temperatures.
In a statement Friday, the city says “the temporary hoarding installed at the rear entrance of City Hall was put in place following occupational health and safety, property maintenance and fire code concerns. Those concerns also included several incidents of violence and drug use taking place at the entrance to the workplace.”
The statement goes on to say that in response to questions from the public and media an internal investigation revealed that no building permit was obtained for the work, contrary to regulations and the material used (plywood) represented a fire hazard.
Engineering firm hired to inspect hoarding
The statement continues: “the City has also hired a third-party engineering firm to review the structure. Professional engineers have confirmed with the Director of Facilities and the Director of the Building Division that both the airflow and the building are safe with the current temporary hoarding in place.
As a next step, City staff will be obtaining the necessary building permit to confirm that the structure is in compliance with the Ontario Building Code.”
The city of Hamilton lists 15 individuals as public relations advisers.
The city has posted a list of expanded shelter spaces and warming centres which are available.