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Risk of ‘significant’ landslides, shoreline erosion at Scarborough Bluffs: TRCA

Click to play video 'Landslide warning at Scarborough Bluffs' Landslide warning at Scarborough Bluffs
WATCH ABOVE: People are being warned of landslides and unstable ground at the Scarborough Bluffs due to recent rainfall and higher water levels in Lake Ontario. Ashley Molnar reports – May 27, 2017

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is warning park users to stay away from the top and base of the Scarborough Bluffs after several “significant” landslides this year.

“Since April and May we’ve seen about 15 landslides and typically we see one small one every couple of years … it’s quite significant,” TRCA watershed specialist Nancy Gaffney told Global News Friday afternoon.

“You’re not just losing a couple of inches of materials, it’s taking metres of material away from the table lands and pulling it off and dropping it off at the bottom … sometimes it’s about 40 tonnes of soil that is moving.”

Gaffney said heavy rainfall and high water levels in Lake Ontario have resulted in large chunks of the Bluffs falling and erosion along the park’s paths near the water.

This month, City of Toronto and TRCA staff blocked public access to The Guild construction access route and the Doris McCarthy Trail. In a statement posted on the TRCA website, officials asked the public to “temporarily refrain from recreational use of the Bluffs and shoreline.”

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Gaffney also asked people to stay away from the top of the Bluffs near the cliff faces due to instability.

WATCH: More adventure seekers risking their lives at the Scarborough Bluffs than ever before (Aug. 30)

Click to play video 'More adventure seekers risking their lives at the Scarborough Bluffs than ever before' More adventure seekers risking their lives at the Scarborough Bluffs than ever before
More adventure seekers risking their lives at the Scarborough Bluffs than ever before – Aug 30, 2016

“What people don’t realize is that so much of the Bluffs are undermined and they don’t realize that there’s nothing holding them up. It’s just grass essentially,” she said.

Gaffney said there are no issues for the houses and house foundations in the nearby neighbourhood.

She noted officials are currently in the midst of studying ways to improve safety and access at the Scarborough Bluffs.

READ MORE: Confusion over Scarborough Bluffs Park prompts move to change the name

Meanwhile, as officials work to get an understanding of the impacts the recent rainfall has caused, Gaffney also warned park users about shoreline erosion and potential safety issues.

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“Because of the unpredictability of the water level, just stay away from the water’s edge at this time,” she said. “Because you just don’t know how the wind and the waves are going to react.”

The TRCA and City of Toronto have blocked access in certain areas at the Scarborough Bluffs due to landslides.
The TRCA and City of Toronto have blocked access in certain areas at the Scarborough Bluffs due to landslides. Handout / Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
The TRCA is warning Scarborough Bluffs park users to use caution due to recent shoreline erosion.
The TRCA is warning Scarborough Bluffs park users to use caution due to recent shoreline erosion. Handout / Toronto and Region Conservation Authority