Waterfall lovers are angering neighbours around Dundas and Flamborough

One councillor says waterfall visitors will stop on people's private patios and eat their lunch there.

One councillor says waterfall visitors will stop on people's private patios and eat their lunch there

City councillors say it's nice that people are enjoying Tews Falls, Webster's Falls and Dundas Peak. But neighbours are suffering. (Sheryl Nadler/CBC)

Sometimes people wander onto lawns, sit down on people's patio furniture to eat their lunch.

Never mind in the parking lots. They're spilling over into the streets and surveys.- Judi Partridge, Ward 15 councillor

Sometimes people change their babies' diapers there, and leave the dirty diapers behind. Their cars clog the street, and people don't obey the signs.

To hear city councillors tell it, people are running amok visiting Hamilton's increasingly popular waterfalls. And the city needs to do more to keep them in line.

That's the gist of a vote held Thursday, when city council's general issues committee decided to investigate the "negative impacts" on communities such as Greensville and Dundas.

Visitors are flocking to Webster and Tews Falls, and Dundas Peak, they say. It's "a nice problem to have," said Coun. Tom Jackson, whose Ward 6 includes Albion Falls.

But the locals have had enough of it, said Judi Partridge, councillor for Ward 15 in Flamborough.

"Never mind in the parking lots. They're spilling over into the streets and surveys," Partridge said of waterfall visitors.

Neighbours have complained, she said. "People would be sitting on their patio furniture having lunch or changing babies' diapers and leaving the diaper behind. This is not the stuff we need to tolerate."

There aren't exact numbers for Hamilton's waterfall visitors. But judging from emergency services numbers, the number is up — at least for people who need rescuing when they fall.

Last year, firefighters did 25 rope rescues, which is the largest number in at least seven years.

Locals were most likely to need rescuing. In 2016, 73 per cent of people needing rescue lived here, compared to 27 per cent non-residents.

The most common locations were Tews Falls, Webster Falls, Albion Falls, Devil's Punch Bowl and Felder's Falls.

Last year, Hamilton Conservation Authority increased its visitor and parking rates for Webster and Tews Falls. Councillors even briefly pondered charging for rope rescues earlier this year, but decided against it.

The city will meet with EMS, traffic, parking, police and bylaw officials, as well as the Hamilton Conservation Authority and CN Railway.

It hopes to form a "multidisciplinary working group to conduct a comprehensive, multifaceted investigation of public safety and the negative impacts to the Greensville and Dundas neighbourhoods."

Staff will report back in September at the latest.

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC


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