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Council votes in favour of new security measures at City Hall

Last Updated Dec 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm EDT

Skaters at Nathan Phillips Square with the 'Toronto' sign in the background. CITYNEWS/Patricia D'Cunha

The city will be making some changes to Nathan Phillips Square as part of new security measures debated at city council on Friday.

Councillors have voted in favour of new vehicle mitigation measures, which includes putting up perimeter posts around the Square to prevent any vehicles from mounting a curb and plowing into a crowd of people.

The deputy city manager has also been asked to review options for enhanced security measures in committee rooms 1 and 2 and council chambers.

Members of the public and city employees will also be surveyed on patron screening at City Hall.

Mayor John Tory says he hopes visitors won’t notice too much of a difference.

“They’ll be some subtle changes made to make the square more secure and safe for them,” said Tory. ” And I think that we, quite rightly with respect to the rest of the measures, either sought further advice from our officials as to less intrusive ways you could protect the safety of all the people who work in here and visit here and in some cases we sent those things back for considerable further study and, very importantly, public input.”

Councillor Joe Mihevic says his concern is the more security you have, the less accessibility you have.

“Yes, there is a sweet spot and I think the motions to okay the perimeter posts for vehicles coming in, that is basically not going to affect accessibility.”

Councillor James Pasternak says what they don’t want is for City Hall to become a fortress.

“It’s moving forward but it’s also making wise decisions.”

Councillor Stephen Holyday put forth a motion to have members of the public only use the main entrance, saying that would not take away from the enjoyment of people visiting City Hall. That motion did not pass.

Council also struck down a motion by Councillor Jim Karygiannis to have council staff and workers at City Hall obtain police clearance.

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