Signage, tickets having desired effect at Albion Falls
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.