The tragic death of a 10-year-old girl who sledged on the hill at Mooney’s Bay has prompted people to ask the city to make the activity safer, even on hills where it is not sanctioned.
In a statement, the city said statutory officers have increased their presence in the park to inform people that it is not an approved sled hill.
The city also said it planned to conduct a “long-term assessment” to determine what could be done to further deter people from sledding or sliding on the hill.
River Ward County. Riley Brockington said he wants a more thorough review of the hill’s safety, and he does not think it is reasonable to expect people to stop tobogganing at the popular spot.
“People have been tobogganing at Mooney’s Bay Hill for decades. They will continue to toboggan here,” Brockington said.
Brockington said there have also been problems with non-sanctioned hills on federally owned land in his ward and he wants risk assessments to be made so they can also be made safer.
“Subject to security guards and barbed wire, the public will continue to use these trays. And the respective owners have a responsibility to make them as safe as possible.”
He said that although the city does not have the resources to monitor the use of each hill, there are other steps that could be considered in a more complete review.
Over the summer, Brockington asked staff to reconsider the 2017 closure of Mooney’s Bay Hill for sledding, but staff did not recommend revising the decision.
As early as Tuesday, the city of Ottawa had removed some poles and signs at Mooney’s Bay Hill and installed hay bales around some items that could not be moved.
CBC News asked if the city is taking some of the same measures at the other 58 sanctioned hills as it shows on its website.
The city said the addition of hay bales in some parks is the result of the formal, annual review of sanctioned hills conducted by staff between Oct. 1 and December. 20 – where staff assess the landscape, sign and identify additional safety measures.
The city also addresses issues raised by the public or staff on non-sanctioned hills – although according to their statement “there may be landscape hills that residents use for sledding purposes that the city is not aware of and risk inspections would not have been conducted.”