02/26/2015 12:10 EST | Updated 02/26/2015 12:59 EST

Tobogganing May Soon Be Legal In Hamilton

Hamiltonians may soon be able to dust off their sleds, thanks to a sympathetic city councillor.

Coun. Terry Whitehead moved the motion, which passed Wednesday at city council, to look into setting up designated spots to toboggan on city property, after hearing from residents upset about the city’s bylaw, according to CBC.

But risk management staff told the Hamilton Spectator in January that they had already started studying the possibility.

Hamilton has faced a lot of negative publicity after residents discovered that they can face a fine of up to $5,000 for tobogganing on city property.

One disgruntled woman even started a petition, in which she urges the city to “LET US TOBOGGAN."

"I do understand there's risk involved [with tobogganing] but there's risk involved in everything we do... Of course we accept the risk when we go down that hill. We're all aware of that,” Laura Cole told Vice.

Cole also co-wrote a catchy song about the ban that seemed to resonate with angry Canadians.

Hamilton's bylaw has been in place since the 1970s, when someone sued the city after they were injured while tobogganing, according to the Globe and Mail.

It was also forced to pay out $900,000 in 2013 to lawyer Bruno Uggenti after he was seriously hurt while sledding on a city hill.

Ontario municipalities have a good reason to fear these kinds of lawsuits. If a court finds them to be even one per cent liable, they may have to pay out 100 per cent of the damages because they're almost always wealthier than the defendant. This is something the city, along with others, has asked the province of Ontario to change, CBC reports.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he’d love if no one sued the city, but that they can’t stop people from enjoying themselves.

“You can’t take the fun out of winter,” he said.


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