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Edmonton bank blocks sitting space with metal triangle barriers

Click to play video 'Metal barriers block sitting space on Jasper Avenue' Metal barriers block sitting space on Jasper Avenue
WATCH ABOVE: A bench in front of a downtown Edmonton bank has been outfitted with rows of metal pieces that make it uncomfortable to sit or lay down. Chris Chacon has reaction to the unusual installation.

Update: One day after this story was published, the metal triangles were removed from the benches (See pictures below).

A new addition in front the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on Jasper Avenue near 101 Street is getting all sorts of attention for the wrong reasons.

The installation of metal triangles in a common sitting area has many looking for a more comfortable option.

“There’s got to be a better way of dispersing the people that are sitting here then putting spikes out,” area resident Papin Amassi said.

Residents say the metal triangle barriers were installed roughly two weeks ago in front of the CIBC, making it next to impossible to sit down.

Read more: Beautification of downtown Edmonton street hitting a road block

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“This is a bench that is visible and available to everyone and then you’ve stuck these hurtful spikes on them. Imagine sitting on them — it looks like something from the middle ages and it’s not acceptable in our downtown,” urban planner Amos Kajner-Nonneskes said.

Image of metal triangles in front of the CIBC on Jasper Avenue.
Image of metal triangles in front of the CIBC on Jasper Avenue. Chris Chacon, Global News

It’s a form of architecture he says is unfortunately often used.

“This is [an] aggressive display of hostile architecture…. just ways of controlling peoples behaviour so they don’t use the space as they’d like to,” Kajner-Nonneskes said.

For those still wanting to sit in the space, Kajner-Nonneskes placed wooden boards with a cushion on top.

“The only thing I’ve seen like that is spikes to prevent pigeons from sitting on buildings. I’ve never seen it for people,” resident Julia Boberg said.

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“I particularly often want to sit down somewhere if I’ve been walking a lot, and that would be pretty off-putting.”

Global News reached out to CIBC for comment, in statement they wrote:

“The safety and well being of our clients and team is a priority for our bank. While the barriers were installed following a number of incidents, we appreciate the feedback we have received and will be removing the barriers. In addition, we have a long history of collaborating with non-profit and grassroots organizations in Edmonton to strengthen our community and address issues, including poverty and homelessness.”

“This is actively working against the work that the city’s been doing, the work that we’ve been doing, the work that so many other groups have been doing to not only beautify our downtown, but to create a safe and inclusive downtown for everyone, ” Kajner-Nonneskes said.

CIBC said it plans to remove the barriers before next weekend.

Metal triangles that were installed along benches outside a downtown Edmonton bank were removed Friday, July 31, 2020.
Metal triangles that were installed along benches outside a downtown Edmonton bank were removed Friday, July 31, 2020. Julien Fornier, Global News
Metal triangles that were installed along benches outside a downtown Edmonton bank were removed Friday, July 31, 2020.
Metal triangles that were installed along benches outside a downtown Edmonton bank were removed Friday, July 31, 2020. Julien Fornier, Global News