On the fence: a larger guardrail might not be necessary to protect Bluffs visitors

The Scarborough Bluffs are a natural wonder that attract people to its edges every day. Unfortunately, its beauty can be deadly.

A group of teenagers jumped the waist-high fence on June 30 last year to relax on the cliff’s edge. The next day, the body of a 17-year-old boy was found in Lake Ontario.

His friends reported he went too close to the edge and plummeted 15 metres to his death.

 Following this tragedy, Scarborough city parks staff talked of raising the height of the guard wire to deter people from going over it.

“When I walk along the Bluffs, I respect that the edge of the cliffs are dangerous.”

 – Gary Crawford

Today, however, the post and wire fences remain unchanged.

 “When I walk along the Bluffs, I respect that the edge of the cliffs are dangerous,” said Gary Crawford, city councillor for Ward 36. “I would never consider walking on the other side of the precautionary fence.”

Crawford discussed with his staff members what could be done to protect visitors to the Bluffs. He said they do not feel that a larger fence would deter people from wanting to go to the other side of the barriers.

“In fact, a large fence could be even more of an enticement for those individuals who even consider going on the other side,” he said.

William Gray, a frequent visitor to the Bluffs, believes erecting a larger fence would take away from the beauty of the cliffs.

“The fence that is there is fine,” Gray said.  “If it was any taller, then the great view of the lake would be compromised and I think everyone would be unhappy.”

Crawford said he moved to the Scarborough Bluffs area because he was drawn to the unique landscape.

“We all need to recognize that the Bluffs can be dangerous if you go too close, but we also have to allow people to enjoy the view that they provide,” Crawford said.

Crawford ensures that the cliffs have visible warning signs about the steep drop. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining the existing fences to keep everyone as safe as possible.