Advertisement

Liability issues force Beaconsfield Golf Club to shut down seasonal sledding

Click to play video: 'Liability issues force Beaconsfield Golf Club to shut down seasonal sledding' Liability issues force Beaconsfield Golf Club to shut down seasonal sledding
WATCH ABOVE: Pointe-Claire residents won’t be able to slide down the snowy hills of the Beaconsfield Golf Club this year. The annual tradition will no longer be permitted on the private property, according to the city and the club. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Dec 21, 2020

Pointe-Claire residents won’t be able to slide down the snowy hills of the Beaconsfield Golf Club this year.

The annual tradition will no longer be permitted on the private property, according to the city and the club.

Fences and signs now line the favourite slopes, stopping any tobogganing from happening.

Read more: Quebec ski hills grapple with new COVID-19 red zone restrictions

Click to play video: 'Pointe-Claire residents have a new outdoor venue to enjoy this winter' Pointe-Claire residents have a new outdoor venue to enjoy this winter
Pointe-Claire residents have a new outdoor venue to enjoy this winter – Dec 21, 2020

“Both the golf course and the city are upset, trust me,” Pointe-Claire Mayor John Belvedere said.

Story continues below advertisement

Liability concerns are the main reason for the closure. The golf club was unable to find a provider that would be able to issue insurance coverage for the sledding on the property.

“The required safety and logistics compliance requirements imposed on the City for a private property activity, combined with an extremely short timeline, leaves no alternative than to prohibit these activities for the 2020-2021 winter season,” the club said in a statement.

Despite sledding being a winter pastime for nearly a century, according to the city, the club was never properly insured as they thought.

“They hadn’t been insured and they never were and their company told them they have to close the sliding hill,” Belvedere said.

The city, in partnership with the club, is in the process of finding solutions to allow sledding.

Belvedere said “very strict rules” are needed to allow the public to slide down the hills. Rules on matters such as the pitch of the slope, grooming and monitors are necessary before the public is allowed to enjoy the space.

It is especially difficult because it’s a public event on private property, Belvedere said.

“It’s something people have been doing for a hundred years. The city and everybody appreciates it but we need to take this time to do it right so everyone is properly insured,” Belvedere said.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Despite no snow, Westmounters flock to local toboggan run

“I was disappointed. I thought it was Grinch-like,” Pointe-Claire resident Mike Leger said when he saw the signs prohibiting tobogganing.

He says closing access to the public couldn’t come at a worse time, as children are cooped up inside because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“If anything, open your doors to people — let them forget about the pandemic,” Leger said.

The sentiment was the same for mother Stephanie Myers, who was looking forward to the annual tradition of going down the hill with her daughter on her birthday.

“Now with COVID and so little for the little ones to do, the opportunity to be outside is critical,” Myers said.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus pandemic leads to business boom for Montreal companies amid high demand for backyard activities' Coronavirus pandemic leads to business boom for Montreal companies amid high demand for backyard activities
Coronavirus pandemic leads to business boom for Montreal companies amid high demand for backyard activities – Nov 27, 2020

“For the past 60, 70 years, liability has never been an issue here,” Pointe-Claire resident Mark Dingle said.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t think it’s going to keep people off if it’s officially closed or not.”

Regular patrols to keep people off the hills will be done by golf club staff.

City workers will also be called to the scene if people are not respecting the new regulations.

The goal is to limit the number of people and to have controlled access to the private golf course grounds.

Belvedere says the hills will be off-limits this winter until they can find a solution and meet the necessary requirement next year.

The golf club also cited coronavirus restrictions for making sledding a no-go activity this winter.

“Social distancing government directives on such activities and public gatherings further prevent the club’s and city’s ability to allow the tobogganing for this season,” said general manager Kerry Donohue.

Read more: Montreal snowfall welcomed by toboggan riders

While the hills may be closed, the city, in partnership with the golf club, will launch a pilot project on the golf course’s covered greens.

A cross-country skiing track and hiking trails will be placed throughout the space.

Story continues below advertisement

“These trails will be made available as a pilot project for the enjoyment, health, and well-being of the residents of Pointe-Claire as well as our club members and staff,” Donohue said.

The city will be grooming a two-kilometre skiing loop open to residents only.

Belvedere said the initiative will cost an estimated $50,000 — money that has been allocated from activities and resources not operating this year due to the pandemic.

Residents will have to register online to use the skiing track, according to the city.

Sponsored content