Steep drop’s fence weeks away

A fence to block off a steep drop off in Botany Hill Park that was supposed to go up two weeks ago will now be going up three to four weeks from now.

The fence stops short of covering a path that leads to a steep set of bluffs, just off of Orton Park Rd. The bluffs are near the park’s tennis courts, behind the parking lot, and not far from a playground.

Not that stopping people from getting to the edge is what the city is after.

“There’s really no surefire method to keep people out if they want to get in,” said Ray Stukas, acting Parks manager for Scarborough. People just cut through fences if they want to get past them, he said.

When asked if the point was to make sure that people knew there was a hazard there, and not to stop people from getting near, Stukas said yes.

“We want to do it as soon as we can,” he said, but added that a backlog in the city’s work meant they would have to go to an outside contractor.

When The Observer spoke to a Toronto Parks manager two weeks ago, he said they would have some kind of fence up by the end of the week.

It's easy to get near the steep drop off of Botany Hill Park.Caution tape was wrapped around the trees on either side of the path leading to the cliff. Food containers, only a day or two old, were found on the ground at the bluff’s edge, past the tape, which could be walked around.

Toronto Parks also put up two new signs warning people to stay away from the steep drop.

The main reason for the delay is the need to stake the area out, said Nancy Lowes, a Parks supervisor. Before a fence can go up, it has to be ensured that workers won’t hit a water main or a gas pipe in the process.

The fence that eventually will go in won’t be a chain link fence – the type Stukas said gets cut through. A sturdier, less breakable, posting cable fence made of wooden beams and cables will go up instead.

Stukas said there were many sites near cliffs not fenced off throughout the city.

“Doing every stretch like that in Toronto isn’t feasible,” he said. “We’re concerned about the public’s safety, and we decide what to do based on what’s reasonable.”