City to ‘aggressively’ enforce law at Albion Falls
With an eye to reducing accidents at Albion Falls, the city will erect new warning signs and then “aggressively” enforce existing bylaws against trespassing.
Council approved that motion Friday, along with a call to ask police to increase their enforcement at the picturesque east Mountain waterfall, where a chain-link fence is also being installed.
A Toronto photographer lost his footing and fell to his death there last month. Firefighters have responded to emergency calls at the falls six times this year, in addition to rescues at Webster Falls, Devil’s Punchbowl and Wednesday at Chedoke Falls.
Coun. Sam Merulla said the city cannot send mixed messages on trespassing. The bylaw is on the books, he said. “We will enforce it.”
Mayor Fred Eisenberger said it defies logic why some take risks at waterfalls, adding enhanced signage and bylaw enforcement is the way to go rather than “walling off ” some of Hamilton’s most striking natural features.
The measures are intended to encourage public safety, but Stoney Creek Coun. Doug Conley did not mince words about the financial implications for the city over lawsuits.
“We need to do our due diligence with signs, and fences, to cover ourselves for future litigation. It’s a massive undertaking, and not just at Albion Falls.”
But Eisenberger cautioned council against “overreacting,” likening the situation to a few years ago when tobogganing on city property was declared illegal after the city had to pay $1 million in damages and court costs when it was sued by an injured sledder.
“We want people to enjoy our natural areas without taking unnecessary risks … it’s a balancing act.”