City and lovers of the falls mull im­prove­ments to safety

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL -

The city is con­tin­u­ally try­ing to up­grade the se­cu­rity around Al­bion Falls and the trails in the area, as well as in other pop­u­lar wa­ter­fall ar­eas.

It’s also mon­i­tor­ing how ef­fec­tive the mea­sures are, so they can be stepped up if nec­es­sary, says Cara Bunn, man­ager of parks and ceme­ter­ies, City of Hamil­ton.

Right now, stronger fence bar­ri­ers are be­ing put in.

“We’ve got the posts in,” says Cara, “and we’re just wait­ing on the mesh, which will be in this week, early.”

Other ini­tia­tives are more and bet­ter sig­nage point­ing out des­ig­nated trail lo­ca­tions and di­rec­tions to view­ing plat­form, she says.

“It’s hard to tell yet if this is im­prov­ing the sit­u­a­tion. Some have def­i­nitely seen the fenc­ing and de­cided not to go down.”

She’s seen this her­self. But she knows that oth­ers still dis­re­gard the bar­ri­ers. And some of the or­ange snow fenc­ing has been dam­aged.

“Some de­cide to go even if it’s not safe. If they see some­one down there, they think, ‘If they can do it so can I.’”

This week more pic­to­rial signs will go up.

She spec­u­lates that so­cial me­dia might be con­tribut­ing to in­creased traf­fic at some of the wa­ter­falls.

Not just city of­fi­cials but many other stake­hold­ers and es­carp­ment-lov­ing cit­i­zens are ac­tively seek­ing so­lu­tions.

The Es­carp­ment Project peo­ple — they do an amaz­ing job on cleanup — had a think last Wed­nes­day, brain­storm­ing.

Con­sid­er­ing all the emer­gency res­cues, “we want to do every­thing we can to keep it safe,” says Es­carp­ment Project founder and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Greg Lenko.

“Some of the ideas were off the wall,” some were ex­am­ples of dream­ing out loud and some were more im­me­di­ately fea­si­ble.

“We thought about mon­i­tor­ing with cam­eras, so­lar-pow­ered mo­tion de­tec­tors, even build­ing a bridge across Lover’s Leap to the view­ing plat­form.”

Also fences with straight bars rather than chain link or mesh, and more fee-charg­ing park­ing lots.

There were car­rot and stick ideas such as, in the lat­ter cat­e­gory, fines for tres­pass­ing and pay­ing for any fire or other emer­gency res­cues one ne­ces­si­tates by tres­pass­ing.

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