City and lovers of the falls mull improvements to safety
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.