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Safety gate between Red Shores and Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown changes fans’ route

A passerby climbs the hill to go around the new gate in front of Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown last Friday. The arena and Red Shores teamed up to erect the gate to block pedestrians and traffic from accessing the Red Shores’ shipping and receiving area. It was recently identified as a safety and liability issue.
A passerby climbs the hill to go around the new gate in front of Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown last Friday. The arena and Red Shores teamed up to erect the gate to block pedestrians and traffic from accessing the Red Shores’ shipping and receiving area. It was recently identified as a safety and liability issue. - Jim Day

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Some sports fans now have to take a new route to get to hockey and basketball games at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

About a month ago, Red Shores and the Eastlink Centre erected a new fence and gate that blocks pedestrians walking from the main parking lot to the front of the arena.

Now, people who park in the main lot are left with a couple of choices — cross Kensington Road, walk down the sidewalk and then cross back over to the arena or walk through the Red Shores main lot to the trackside entrance of the arena. There is a third option and that is to park in the Park Street parking lot and walk up to the rear entrance.

Michael MacKinnon, managing director for Red Shores, said the gate was put up out of safety concerns for pedestrians.

The gate blocks people from walking through the Red Shores staff entrance and the main shipping and receiving area. It’s also where Red Shores parks its fleet vehicles that, he says, are coming and going all the time.

MacKinnon said the move was made after discussing it with the City of Charlottetown, as well as with Dave McGrath, general manager of Eastlink Centre.

“We talked about various options and our concerns, and everybody agreed that this was something that we need to address,’’ MacKinnon said. “We just can’t in good conscience let cars and pedestrians mix.’’

He said accidents can happen, and there have already been some near-misses.

“We have cameras at our facility, and there’s cars trying to get in the lot and all kinds of people floating (around) when you’re leaving and arriving. You can see people shoot across what is a very active entrance/exit . . . (and) it’s dark out and people can’t see.’’

- Michael MacKinnon

“Some of the provincial exhibition staff were hit with cars coming in, just bumped,’’ MacKinnon said, adding that there were no injuries. “We have cameras at our facility, and there’s cars trying to get in the lot and all kinds of people floating (around) when you’re leaving and arriving. You can see people shoot across what is a very active entrance/exit . . . (and) it’s dark out and people can’t see.’’

MacKinnon acknowledges Red Shores is concerned about liability.

“Certainly . . . but our perspective on this is just public safety.’’

“It was presented as a risk issue, an insurance risk issue, an issue of risk to the patrons visiting the facility,’’ added McGrath. “There was lots of consultation with engineers, with other risk management people and this is what was proposed . . . to alleviate any risk at this point and time.’’

MacKinnon said extra signage will be going up directing people to the entrance.

McGrath said, in terms of patron safety, improvements are needed. He is working on a capital plan for the city to make changes in front of the arena on Kensington Road. They include improved lighting in front of the arena, new crosswalks and crosswalk lights and a sidewalk on the arena side of the road.

“I’m developing a capital plan for this facility,’’ McGrath said. “There is a need for clearer markings of our crosswalks, and we need a sidewalk here. We have a complex with hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, and the sidewalk (on the arena side of Kensington Road) ends midway up in front of this building.’’


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