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Hamilton issues 200+ tickets for infractions on long weekend, most at falls and parks

Albion Falls in Hamilton, Ont. Global News

Hamilton bylaw officers handed out 209 tickets on the Victoria Day long weekend to people entering restricted areas and to others not following COVID-19 orders, according to the city.

In an update on Tuesday, the city’s emergency operations centre director Paul Johnson said the bulk of the offences were primarily related to people not following ‘do not enter’ signs on city property during the weekend.

Read more: Ontario’s chief medical officer wants in-person schooling to resume before provincial reopening

Around 162 tickets were issued to individuals not following rules, including 133 at Smokey Hollow Falls, 25 near Chedoke Falls and four at Albion Falls.

“We do really have now a zero tolerance for that at the city of Hamilton,” Johnson said.

“If you are in areas you’re not supposed to be or doing things at the falls you’re not supposed to be, it’s not an education piece, it’s a charge.”

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Johnson said the low tolerance policy is tied to the number of times firefighters have taken on rescues to remove people from the falls.

In 2020, Hamilton Fire revealed to city councillors that emergency crews responded to 16 rope rescue calls, up nine from 2019.

“We needed to do the high angle rope rescue on occasion to remove people from the falls area, it puts our firefighters at risk as well,” Johnson said.

Read more: Ontario reports 1st fatal case of rare blood clot after man received AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Twenty-four tickets were also issued for COVID offences tied to the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) on the long weekend.

Seven of the offences were for gatherings Johnson said took advantage of the “good news piece” from the province which allowed outdoor social gatherings and organized public events of five people, including members of different households.

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“So there were larger outdoor gatherings and birthday parties and things like that held, which we attended and did lay some charges,” Johnson said.

To date, the city has issued 437 charges under the ROA amid the pandemic.

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