City council to make tobogganing legal in Hamilton, Ont., ban dates back to 1970s
Thursday, February 26, 2015, 4:21 PM - In an effort to take back winter, Hamilton city council voted Wednesday to set up designated tobogganing areas, putting the end to an anti-tobogganing by-law that has been in effect since the 1970s.
The ban was imposed when two people successfully sued the city after tobogganing accidents, and recently a lawsuit was filed in 2004 where the complainant was awarded $900,000.
Currently, people caught tobogganing on Hamilton city property could face a fine of up to $2,000.
Councillors decided to re-visit the ban after hearing from the public, some of them children who learned there was a bylaw restricting one of winter's greatest pastimes.
“You can’t take the fun out of winter,” Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger was quoted by the CBC. “In a perfect world, I would love it if people didn’t sue the city, but we can’t stop anyone from suing us for whatever reason. We can’t shut down our entire city.”
Many municipalities across the country have similar bylaws in place, and the removal of a 'No Tobogganing' sign in Orangeville, Ont., earlier this winter lead to a social media backlash.
The motivation to ban tobogganing relates to a concept called the "1 per cent factor". This legal loophole states that if a city is found to be even 1 per cent liable for an injury, it will have to pay 100 percent of the damages because the city has more money than the defendants.
Hamilton will be asking the province to amend the Negligence Act to revise the 1 per cent factor.
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