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Hamilton councillor appeals to ‘idiots’: Stop stealing aluminum railings from Keddy Trail

A barrier with an aluminum railing on the Keddy Access Trail in Hamilton. Global News

A Hamilton politician is making an appeal to some in the community to stop stealing the aluminum railings along the Keddy Access Trail.

The active transportation link, which runs up and down the escarpment on the Claremont Access, is currently closed to cyclists and pedestrians between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day for repairs and maintenance.

Part of that work is replacing a number of railings that have been nabbed, bolts and all, from sections of the multi-use trail by “idiots,” according to Ward 8 Coun. John-Paul Danko.

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“It’s been an ongoing issue since the Keddy Trail opened,” a disappointed Danko told Global News.

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“Several sections of railings are stolen on a regular basis. We go in and replace them, and they’re stolen again.”

Acting Director Transportation Operations and Maintenance from Mike Field confirmed the thefts with Global News but did not reveal how many times the Keddy has been victimized.

“Yes, theft and vandalism has been occurring with the metal fencing and has been reported to Hamilton Police,” Field said in an email.

“We are replacing/repairing impacted sections and securing other sections in an effort to reduce theft.”

A vehicular lane repurposed in 2020, the Keddy is one of the city’s busiest mountain access corridors, named after the late Jay Keddy, an avid cyclist and Prince of Wales kindergarten teacher.

Keddy, 53, was killed riding up what was then just the Claremont Access on Dec. 2, 2015.

The Access has been an area of concern in the city of late.

In addition to the Keddy closure, “slope stability concerns” on the Niagara Escarpment have closed the downbound vehicle lanes of the Claremont.

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Director of engineering services Jackie Kennedy told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton that work is moving slowly to repair parts of a steel wall on the escarpment access between Hunter Street and Upper James Street.

The city still has no timeline for the reopening of the Access, which closed March 2 after a routine inspection identified escarpment erosion.

Other work during the Keddy’s daily closures includes general maintenance like sweeping, graffiti removal and snow fencing upkeep.

Danko says the Keddy is just one example of city property that’s been tampered with in recent years.

“Metal theft is an ongoing issue throughout the city,” he said.

“We have copper wiring still stolen all the time from city infrastructure and for private infrastructure, it’s extremely dangerous.”

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