Moncton is closing a popular sledding hill in Centennial Park because of safety and liability concerns, says a city official. 

Dan Hicks, the director of operations for parks, recreation and leisure, said the hill off the main parking lot is close to vehicles and has "many trees and guy wires going down the hill."

"Another reason why we're doing this is to get access to the walking oval that's around the pond at Centennial Park," Hicks said.

"It's very difficult for people with strollers or mobility issues because there's a set of stairs to get down that runs beside the sliding hill."

He says the base of the hill will now be plowed to allow for easier access to the main trail.

centennial park hill

City officials say closing this sledding hill will give people, especially those with mobility issues, easier access to the paved oval around the pond at Centennial Park. (Vanessa Blanch/CBC)

Hicks says even though there haven't been any accidents on the current hill there have been many "near-misses."

"From a risk management perspective, it's the prudent thing to do … we're not removing all sliding activities from the park — we still have a sliding hill very close."

The new sliding hill is located across from Centennial Beach, at the bottom of Squirrel Trail, which is about 100 metres from the current hill.

"If you want to go for a walk and get some exercise and have fun sliding, it's basically one trip down the hill and back up again," Hicks said.

Other changes at Centennial Park this winter include an increase in the size of the rink at the main entrance and an increase in the number of snow shoe trails.

Snow shoe and ski rentals are available again this winter on weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

"We couldn't keep skis last year, they would run out of skis and run out of snowshoes … it's a real cheap way to get out and have fun with the family," said Hicks.