Sig­nage, tick­ets hav­ing de­sired ef­fect at Al­bion Falls

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - ROSIE-ANN GROVER rgrover@thes­pec.com 905-526-3404 | @RosieSpec

De­spite the gloomy sky, scores of hik­ers went to Al­bion Falls over the week­end — with­out need­ing a rope res­cue, po­lice and by­law of­fi­cials said.

As fam­i­lies had pic­nics and peo­ple walked their dogs along Moun­tain Brow Boule­vard, a by­law of­fi­cer stood at the east Moun­tain falls’ en­trance — a mas­sive black fence be­hind him, lined with dan­ger and cau­tion signs. Keep to the path, he says. The city has spent up­wards of $75,000 to put up new fenc­ing and signs to try to put an end to the rash of fall­ing in­juries — one of which was fa­tal. They’ve also started tick­et­ing hik­ers $126 if they don’t com­ply.

Is the zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy for tres­pass­ing work­ing?

“Based on my un­der­stand­ing, it’s mak­ing a huge im­pact,” said Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla on Sun­day. “The ac­tual en­force­ment is work­ing and we will con­tinue purs­ing the zero tol­er­ance ac­cord­ingly.”

A few me­tres into the marked path, a sec­ond by­law of­fi­cer emerges from the brush with a cou­ple hik­ers in tow. They’d taken a dirt path to get a closer look.

While he says it’s not of­fi­cially his job to pa­trol the in­tri­cate dirt path­ways, he does it out of con­cern.

“I’m go­ing to go out of my way to save a life,” he said. “Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand, it’s for their safety.”

Be­cause he wasn’t au­tho­rized to speak of­fi­cially, he de­clined to give his name. He said they’d handed out a small num­ber of tick­ets on Satur­day and fewer on Sun­day.

He un­der­stands there are so many smaller paths that ap­pear invit­ing. “But they are ex­tremely dan­ger­ous to fol­low,” he says.

The of­fi­cers be­lieve the fence is work­ing as a de­ter­rent. But with them sta­tioned at the main trail en­trance un­til about 10 p.m., it’s pos­si­ble their pres­ence is mak­ing hik­ers abide by the signs.

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