Jul 14, 2017
Over the past few years Hamilton has branded itself as the "waterfall capital of the world" with the escarpment lending it's many naturally occurring valleys and gorges to this title. As it's popularity grew it brought a new onslaught of visitors with the goal of snapping selfies with the picturesque backgrounds that the waterfalls provide.
This year alone, Hamilton's emergency services have been called to Albion Falls on six accounts - each one of them the result of a fallen or stuck hiker. Some of the calls ended with minor injuries and others are more severe - ending with fatalities.
Recently, fencing has been put up around the Albion Falls as well as "shock signs" warning people to not climb the fences as well as depicting the danger of falling from cliffs. City councilors will also be taking efforts to secure other popular waterfall attractions along the escarpment - most notably the Devil's Punch Bowl - in an effort to keep the public safe.
The rescue efforts used in these incidents are costly and dangerous maneuvers involving a high-angle rope rescue that not only takes time and patience, but also puts the rescuer at risk. The costs of the rescues, fencing and signs come out of the budget for the local ward that includes Albion Falls, which is run by Councilor Tom Jackson. "I care about every life", Jackson says. "But sometimes I'm just dumbfounded by the risks people are willing to take."
To recoup these costs, the city's bylaw enforcement will be patrolling the area around Albion Falls and will be ticketing trespassers with a fine of $105.00. City councilors are looking into a future development of a viewing platform at the base of the falls with the hopes of providing a stunning view of the terrain from a safer vantage point.