Waterfall woes: Dundas councillor laments ‘unbelievable’ headaches at Hamilton’s scenic spots
Teviah Moro Hamilton Spectator Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Coun. Arlene VanderBeek gives city staff “outstanding” marks for efforts to curb rogue parking as visitors inundate Hamilton’s popular waterfalls.
“However, complaints are happening all over the city, and they grow, and they grew even during COVID,” VanderBeek said Tuesday.
That’s why she plans to ask staff to look into a possible pilot project to offer “enhanced enforcement” in neighbourhoods around the vista-rich natural areas.
The Dundas councillor’s ward includes tiny Greensville, which hosts Tews and Webster’s falls, as well as the Dundas Peak, each magnets in recent years for selfie-seeking visitors.
But after parking staff cracked down on scofflaws there, the headaches cascaded elsewhere, Coun. Judi Partridge said during Tuesday’s budget talks.
“The Grindstone waterfalls in Waterdown exploded as soon as you shut down the other waterfalls in Greensville and the (Dundas) Peak,” Partridge said.
“It was unbelievable. We had thousands of people,” she said, noting double-parkers trapped people in their driveways.
The Flamborough councillor joked she and her colleagues were “prepared to arm-wrestle” each other to second VanderBeek’s call for a potential pilot project.
VanderBeek said she plans to formally introduce her motion in coming days as 2021 budget talks continue.
The efforts of municipal law enforcement and animal services were in focus during department head Jason Thorne’s overview of planning and economic development’s spending blueprint.
In 2020, calls for bylaw issues were “relatively consistent” with previous years, Thorne said.
That included usual duties relating to property standards, noise complaints and animal control.
But staff also took on the added caseload of education and enforcement related to “ever-changing rules” of COVID-19, Thorne said.
“Your offices were very, very busy in 2020,” he told councillors. “We had about triple the number of service calls coming through your offices to our officers.”
In 2020, there were nearly 15,000 calls to bylaw via councillors’ offices, up from just over 5,000 the year before, according to a slide in his presentation.
In an email, Thorne told The Spectator many calls were in response to residents flagging concern about gatherings during the pandemic or people wanting information about restrictions.
Teviah Moro is a Hamilton-based reporter at The Spectator. Reach him via email: email@example.com
Bylaw/licensing calls in 2020
The six-most common:
7,359 for yard maintenance
3,628 for property standards
4,167 for COVID-19 issues
2,204 for noise complaints
1,799 for snow/ice clearing
1,268 for business licensing
1,236 for dog licensing
3,108 for dogs at large, injured animals, dead pets, surrendered pets, assistance for police, fire and paramedics
9,328 for injured or dead wildlife on public or private property
3,958 for enforcement relating to animal bites, animals at large, animal noise, “stoop n’ scoop,” limit of animals, feeding wildlife, park patrols
Source: City of Hamilton licensing and bylaw division