Banning a long time winter activity is becoming a growing trend with municipalities in Canada. Sudbury being the latest. Don’t expect the city of Sault Ste. Marie to follow suit, at least not yet.
The tobogganing ban stems from lawsuits from families that have been injured in the past that now have cities banning together to put an end to the fun for kids in the winter.
Could Sault Ste. Marie be next? The city banned children from climbing on board “Porter the train” at Bellevue Park several years ago due to liability issues. For similar reasons, many municipalities have put a ban on the popular winter pastime. The City of Hamilton has banned sledding in all city parks since 2001, Ottawa meanwhile has recently implemented bylaws prohibiting sledding in certain areas.
Sault Ste. Marie has a few popular spots for sledding, including Finn Hill on Black Road, often attracting hundreds of people, mainly families.
” As you know we do not ban sledding in Sault Ste. Marie. That specific question has never been (in my recollection) considered by Council.” City Solicitor, Nuala Kenny told Saultonline.com A decision on banning the sport would have to be initiated by council. “It would be Council’s decision and implemented via a by-law. Alternatively, the City could prohibit sledding on City owned land, erect signs advising of the ban and the enforcement would come via the Trespass to Property Act.” Kenny said.
Locally the brain injury association has not taken a stand on the issue but stress safety is always key with any activity. “there’s a risk with many sports, hockey, snowboarding etc., though nothing is a guarantee, kids and adults should be wearing appropriate helmets” said Elizabeth Eddy from the Brain Injury Association.
The Canadian Institute for Health Information claims 5,600 Canadian are injured every year from such winter activities as tobogganing skating, skiing and resulting in over 45,000 emergency department visits in Ontario.
Over 20% of the injuries are concussions, broken bones, or internal injuries that were caused by colliding with trees, signs, posts, or by being thrown from the toboggan according to reports.