Plan is going ahead: Fence by Aalborg harborfront can soon be reality

by Shellie Boudreau

Over the years, preventing drowning accidents in Aalborg has been a growing concern for the locals. 

In  2022, Oliver Ilbæk Lund disappeared by the harbourfront on the evening between February 3 and 4 in 2022. Two months later, his lifeless body was found. 

Since then, we’ve seen lights, ladders, and cameras installed to prevent accidental falls into the water.

Soon, fences will be strategically placed in several locations around the waterfront.

Inspiration from Aarhus

For years, installing fences around the harborfront was turned down by politicians.

However, the wind changed, and there is an increased political interest in exploring how fences along the harbor could help. 

The winds changed direction after the city and landscape councilor, Jan Nymark Thaysen (V), spent his winter holiday near the Aarhus Harbor. There he inspected how fences have been placed to prevent drowning accidents.

Jan Nymark Thaysen could see how a similar initiative could be done in Aalborg. An idea which has otherwise been politically dismissed until now:

“If drowning accidents can be prevented with reasonably simple measures, we must implement them,” Jan Nymark Thaysen tells MyAalborg.

Private photo
Private photo

That is why he has started lobbying to convince the rest of the decision-makers about the plans:

“We have walked down a path where everyone agreed that fences are not a solution. After discussions with Oliver’s mother and the trip to Aarhus, there appears to be a way to listen and learn from others.”

He used the trip to Aarhus to gather knowledge and inspiration for a similar solution in Aalborg.

“My group and I are convinced about the benefits of a similar solution. Now the rest of the city council needs convincing that the fence is a good solution,” the councilor says.  

A modified solution for Aalborg

In Aarhus, a temporary fence was eventually built and replaced by a permanent fence.

The approach gave Jan Nymark Thaysen the courage to propose a similar initiative to Aalborg:

“Aarhus is a perfect example of how a solution can be created without being architecturally or technically unsightly or complicated.

And a fence is even more critical now that we have worked to open the city to the fjord. In Aarhus, the fence doesn’t distract, and here we can easily combine the fence with an active port,” Jan Nymark Thaysen says.

“You can still sit on the quay’s edge and kick your feet or sail to the landing ladder and cross the fence.”

Private photo

Crafting a special Aalborg-solution

The plan is not to copy Aarhus but to create a solution that is most becoming for Aalborg. Especially since there are irregular low borders in several places along the water, it makes sense to further preventive measures there.

“In Aalborg, there are many openings at the waterfront, including at Obel’s Canal.

If you are new to the area and walk with your head on your phone, you can easily stumble into the water. A fence could prevent that,” Jan Nymark Thaysen adds.

He also says there are seasonal fences in Aarhus – for example, at the cable park, which is only fenced off in winter.

The councilor is also open to devising and creating flexible solutions and plans for Aalborg, should it come to that.

Possibly ready for Winter 2023

The prospect of a fence along Aalborg’s waterfront is approaching. If all runs smoothly, we may see fences this year. 

“It would be smart to get the fences up before the winter season.  But, we must clear it with the Port of Aalborg, which oversees the rights.

And timewise, it is realistic because building them should not be complicated, and I cannot imagine who anyone would be bothered by it,” Jan Nymark Thaysen states optimistically.

Before we reach that point, the city council must also pass the proposal.

If there is no majority in the city council, the initiative will only be included in the budget negotiations in August/September later in the year.

This means the fences will be supported by the 2024 budget year and come later.

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