If you ignore the signs, expect to be fined
Councillors support ‘aggressive’ enforcement of trespassing bylaw at Albion Falls
City councillors want to start fining people who venture beyond new barriers at Albion Falls.
Members of the public works committee supported a motion from Coun. Sam Merulla Thursday, directing staff to have police and bylaw officers initiate “aggressive, proactive enforcement” at the east Mountain waterfall this summer.
“At present, I think because we’re not proactively enforcing the bylaw, people are not taking it seriously,” he told the meeting.
The enforcement blitz is expected to begin after “No Trespassing” signs are put up on newly installed top-of-gorge fencing.
Some of the fencing has already gone up, and the remainder is expected to be installed by the end of this weekend, weather permitting, said parks manager Kara Bunn.
The chain-link fencing, which is expected to cost Ward 6 Coun. Tom Jackson about $75,000 from his area-rating cash, is one of the new safety measures being implemented since a Toronto photographer lost his footing and plunged to his death at Albion Falls last month.
The city is also installing new “pictorial” signs that use symbols to ensure all visitors understand the risks of walking to the brink of the 20-metre-high gorge as well as ones with maps that show the parking lots, viewing plat-
forms and authorized Red Hill Valley and Bruce Trail side trails.
Thursday’s motion directs Bunn to report back to the committee at the end of the summer season, updating councillors on how many tickets were handed out.
Bunn said she supports enforcement after the “No Trespassing” signs have gone up but that she will have to speak to the city’s bylaw department about exactly what it will look like.
Bylaw director Ken Leendertse said a fine issued by police under the Trespass to Property Act is around $150 and about $105 if laid through the city’s parks bylaw.
He said the department will have to rejig its resources to handle the enforcement because they don’t have the staff dedicated to it right now.
Currently, three or four bylaw officers would work on a typical Sunday, he added.
At this point, there is no safe route to the bottom of Albion Falls, said Bunn.
Jackson told his fellow councillors he will look at funding opportunities like the Future Fund to construct stairs to a safe viewing platform at the bottom of the falls — a project that could cost more than $1 million.
“That would be ideal, but it’s a very large project,” Bunn said.
Jackson said he is also interested in “shock signage” highlighting the number of rope rescues and deaths that have taken place there.
So far this year, firefighters have responded to Albion Falls six times for falls or stuck hikers.
Other rescues this summer have come at Webster’s Falls, the Devil’s Punch Bowl and most recently Wednesday at Chedoke Falls.
Stoney Creek Coun. Doug Conley, whose ward contains the Devil’s Punch Bowl, said the emphasis should be on Albion Falls for now, but he hopes a similar plan can be implemented eventually at other local waterfalls.
Kara Bunn, the city’s manager of parks and cemeteries, shows two of the signs to be posted along the newly installed fence at the top of Mount Albion Falls.