Water­falls must be made safe

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: Hamil­ton’s water­falls

The re­brand­ing of Hamil­ton from “Steel City” to the “City of Water­falls” has worked.

We have peo­ple com­ing from ev­ery­where to see the beauty of our water­falls.

Sadly, those who are com­ing to our city to ex­pe­ri­ence th­ese beau­ti­ful works of na­ture just aren’t aware of their dan­ger.

I also find it sad that we have used our water­falls to draw oth­ers here, but now we are slap­ping up un­sightly tem­po­rary fenc­ing and no-tres­pass­ing signs. It’s like say­ing, “Come here. Go away.” at the same time.

As a Hamil­ton kid who hiked in and around those falls decades ago, I have learned first hand a great re­spect for the dan­ger they pose. Some­thing does need to be done for safety. Per­haps we need to in­vest in safe, en­viro-friendly, planned, guided hik­ing tours in clearly marked trails that help oth­ers learn about our es­carp­ment, re­spect for the dan­ger they pose, and up­date ob­ser­va­tion plat­forms that al­low for safe en­joy­ment and pho­tog­ra­phy.

Our water­falls re­ally are beau­ti­ful, de­serve to be pre­served, and safely en­joyed. Has any­one looked into a tourism busi­ness part­ner to get this done so we all ben­e­fit?

There will al­ways be those who break the rules, but brand­ing our city to get peo­ple to come see the falls, then pre­vent them from do­ing so, sets us up for fail­ure.

We didn’t see this com­ing, but now we have both an op­por­tu­nity and a re­spon­si­bil­ity to make en­joy­ing our water­falls safe for tourism.

Will it cost money? Yes, but Band-Aid so­lu­tions that peo­ple are al­ready ig­nor­ing are not the an­swer, even in the short term.

Please en­cour­age your coun­cil­lors, who bud­geted for the re­brand­ing of the city, to use sim­i­lar funds to ad­dress what we did not see com­ing.

I don’t think any Hamil­to­nian wants us to be known for the “City of Falls.” Kim­berly McKib­bon, Hamil­ton

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