City to assess Mooney's Bay hill where girl died in toboggan accident

·2 min read
An Ottawa bylaw officer patrols Mooney's Bay Park to inform park users that sledding is not permitted on the hill on Dec. 28, 2021. (Hugo Bélanger/CBC - image credit)
An Ottawa bylaw officer patrols Mooney's Bay Park to inform park users that sledding is not permitted on the hill on Dec. 28, 2021. (Hugo Bélanger/CBC - image credit)

The tragic death of a 10-year-old girl who was sledding on the hill at Mooney's Bay has people asking the city to make the activity safer, even on hills where it isn't sanctioned.

In a statement, the city said bylaw officers have increased their presence in the park to inform people that it's not an approved sledding hill.

The city also said it was planning to conduct a "longer-term assessment" to determine what could be done to further discourage people from tobogganing or sliding on the hill.

River Ward Coun. Riley Brockington said he wants a more thorough review of the safety of the hill and he doesn't think it's reasonable to expect people 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.

Stu Mills/CBC
Stu Mills/CBC

Brockington said there have also been issues at non-sanctioned hills on federally-owned land in his ward and he wants risk assessments to be done, so they can also be made safer.

"Barring security guards and barbed wire, the public will continue to use these hills. and the respective owners have a responsibility to make them as safe as possible."

He said while the city doesn't have the resources to police the use of every 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 to sledding, but staff recommended against revisiting the decision.

Hugo Bélanger/CBC
Hugo Bélanger/CBC

As early as Tuesday, the City of Ottawa had removed some posts and signs at the Mooney's Bay hill and installed hay bales around some objects that could not be moved.

CBC News asked whether the city is taking some of those same measures at the other 58 sanctioned hills it lists on its website.

The city said the addition of hay bales at some parks is the result of the formal, annual review of sanctioned hills conducted by staff between Oct.1 and Dec,. 20 — where staff assess the landscape, signage and identify additional safety measures.

The city also addresses issues raised by the public or staff at non-sanctioned hills — though, according to their statement, "there may be landscape hills that residents use for sledding purposes that the city is unaware of and risk inspections would not have been completed."

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