Hm, must be something horrible!
This is a phrase used to show a strong objection to a proposal.
My brother's got a new business venture, would you like to be a partner?
No chance, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.
So, under no circumstances would I get involved.
But what's that barge pole? A barge is a kind of canal boat. It's long and thin and people used to live on them; some still do. Canals were man made waterways linking towns together before roads. There are still many open in England and it's a popular holiday to hire a barge. The barge pole is a long stick used for pushing the boat around.
In this old documentary, you see a man with one quite early in the film.