Hamilton

Councillor calls meeting about safety of Albion Falls after weekend death

Tom Jackson says the injuries and rope rescues over the last two years, as well as the death of a man in his 50s this month, have prompted him to call the city to look into it.
Emergency crews have done a number of rope rescues at Albion Falls in the last two years. Last weekend, a man died after falling into the ravine in front of his family. (Sheryl Nadler) (Sheryl Nadler/CBC)

A Hamilton Mountain councillor will meet with emergency services and others in August to see how the city can make Albion Falls safer after a man fell to his death last weekend.

I'm still trying my hardest to recover.- Corey Dixon, who fell at Albion Falls in February

Tom Jackson of Ward 6 says there have been enough incidents in the last two years — including numerous rope rescues involving children and adults — that it needs to be examined.

"That impacts me, and I want to see what further we can do," he said.

The move comes after a man in his 50s fell into the ravine in front of his family on July 16.

The man was hiking with family members when he slipped and fell around 3:45 p.m., police say.

It's not the first such incident this year. In February, 21-year-old Corey Dixon slipped on the ice during a nighttime walk and fell 12 metres. Dixon broke his back and other bones, shattered his arm, and had a concussion and a brain bleed. 

Dixon is still calling for better fencing around the falls.

In 2014, fire crews did five rope rescues at Albion Falls over a two-month period. One of them was a 10-year-old boy.

I'm trying to strike a balance between providing accessibility to this beautiful natural area without legislating behavior.- Tom Jackson, Ward 6 councillor

Jackson said the falls are increasingly popular with cyclists, hikers and other visitors, and he's happy to see that.

"It thrills my heart to see this as part of the new Hamilton," he said. "But with this comes some new issues."

Over the past decade, the city has built lookout platforms for people to view the falls, and added warning and directional signs.

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      Jackson said it's a matter of balancing safety with letting people explore the falls.

      "I'm trying to strike a balance between providing accessibility to this beautiful natural area without legislating behavior," he said.

      Jackson will meet with emergency responders, city parks and communications staff, the conservation authority and others to look at how the incidents occurred.

      Dixon said this week that the area needs fences or barriers. One of the paths is deceptively close to the edge, he said. "Those signs don't do it justice."

      The Mississauga resident said he may never fully recover from the fall. He still has cardiac and lung issues, as well as memory problems.

      "My accident had a huge effect on my life both physically and mentally," he said. "I'm still trying my hardest to recover."

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