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Closing tobogganing hills the right decision

Tobogganing on Snape's Hill (pictured  here) and the church hill will be prohibited because of safety concerns. K. Byrne photo.

Tobogganing on Snape’s Hill (pictured here) and the church hill will be prohibited because of safety concerns. K. Byrne photo.

The rush of sliding down a hill on a wooden sled or a magic carpet has become a right of passage for generations of Canadians.

It’s an activity that defines our winter habitation and reminds us of our carefree days as children.

From shrieks of joy to gleeful smiles, tobogganing is a quintessential part of growing up and harkens back to a time when the most important decision was what toboggan you were going to use and how many people you could fit on it.

For residents who grew up in Jasper and those with young children today, a tobogganing trip to Snape’s Hill and the church hill was a must do every winter.

Unfortunately, both of these areas will be closed by the municipality in the coming days after the areas were deemed unsafe by an independent risk management consultant.

At first blush, it’s easy to get upset, cry foul and label the municipality as the fun police, but if we take a step back and consider the implications it’s the right thing to do.

A quick visit to both of these areas shows they run out directly onto a road and there are several signs and a fire hydrant in the way, risks the consultant deemed unacceptable.

Fortunately, not all is lost. While tobogganing will be prohibited in these two areas, the hill at Centennial Park will remain open.

Taking this into consideration, not only would it be negligent for the municipality to ignore the risks from a legal standpoint, but the potential for a fatal accident is simply too great a risk to accept.

Stop for a second and imagine what could happen if a child went under a passing truck. The town’s emergency siren would scream, volunteer firefighters would drop everything they were doing, police and EMS workers would rush to the scene and the town would be suspended in disbelief wondering if there was anything we could have done differently.

Fortunately the municipality has done something differently and taken the proactive step to avoid this hypothetical scenario because this is one story we don’t want to have to write.

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