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Transit, tobogganing and violated codes of conduct at city council

A Hamilton councillor will push to establish designated tobogganing areas when city council meets on Wednesday.

Hamilton banned tobogganing after a 2004 incident when a lawyer suffered a spinal injury

Janina Pinho, 4, barrels down the Chedoke hillside this month. City council will discuss having designated tobogganing areas in Hamilton. Currently, it's banned. (Jeff Green/CBC)

A Hamilton councillor will push to establish designated tobogganing areas when city council meets on Wednesday.

Coun. Terry Whitehead of Ward 8 will introduce a motion to look into setting up designated tobogganing areas on city property, and to look at other options to allow tobogganing in Hamilton.

The popular winter activity has been a controversial one in Hamilton. The City of Hamilton has a ban on tobogganing after a 2004 incident when a Hamilton lawyer suffered a spinal injury after hitting a draining ditch concealed by snow. The lawyer was awarded a $900,000 settlement in 2013.

The city-wide ban puts a $105 fine on tobogganing that can go as high as $5,000, although no one has ever been fined. Tobogganing enthusiasts have an online petition to change the bylaw, and held a protest this month.

Whitehead’s motion calls on the city solicitor to work with other staff to look at options and report back to the general issues committee.

Council meets at 5 p.m. at city hall. CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs will tweet live during the meeting. Follow her at @SamCraggsCBC or in the window below.

Here’s what else they’ll discuss:

  • A motion from Coun. Sam Merulla that’s sure to draw debate: the notion of putting transit on the general levy. Currently, it’s area rated so the amount that urban and rural areas pay varies. Merulla will also introduce a motion that kids 12 and under ride HSR for free. Both motions ask for staff reports examining the feasibility.
  • A report from the integrity commissioner that found Coun. Lloyd Ferguson violated the city's code of conduct when he grabbed a local journalist a year ago.

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