People trapped on the Scarborough Bluffs might soon need to pay for their own rescue
Despite ample signage, no trespassing tape, and the possibility of a hefty $5,000 fine, Torontonians continue to venture out to the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs (which is, to their credit, an undeniably Instagram-worthy photo op).
Ward 24 Scarborough-Guildwood Councillor Paul Ainslie is presenting a new motion to enact more severe penalties for Bluffs trespassers at the Toronto economic and community development committee meeting this Wednesday; a motion that would see people having to pay for their own rescue, should they get trapped.
Rescue incidents at the Scarborough Bluffs require a significant number of resources that can't be deployed to other emergencies. Mind the signs/fencing when admiring the Bluffs. Crossing into restricted areas/climbing the Bluffs is dangerous and illegal. #dontgetstuckonthebluffs pic.twitter.com/wu1XC9FVJV— Get Involved Toronto (@GetInvolvedTO) October 15, 2019
Councillor Ainslie says that his main concern is not only public safety, but the number of emergency vehicles that have to be dispatched for a rescue — eight fire trucks, on average.
"Firefighters say that every minute they’re delayed from a 911 call about a stroke or heart attack is the difference between saving somebody’s life and them losing it," he says.
"We need a more appropriate system so people understand that not only have they disobeyed the law, but what the implications of them disobeying the law could be on the community."
Once again, @Toronto_Fire is deploying rescuers on high angle ropes to rescue people from the Scarborough bluffs. @TorontoPolice @TorontoMedics on scene as well. The bluffs are a beautiful place to see - from a safe distance!— Matthew Pegg (@ChiefPeggTFS) July 8, 2019
Toronto Mayor John Tory hinted at the same idea of billing people for emergency services costs they incur for such misadventures earlier this year after two people had to be rescued by firefighters in May.
Two more wanderers called 911 to be saved after they got stuck on the cliffs in July, and there was that time last September that two residents stranded on the Bluffs tied up eight fire trucks for three hours.
How about we charge people for the cost of their rescue or at least scare them with the $$$ amount?— Brian Gonsalves 🇨🇦 (@BrianG416) July 9, 2019
The City of Toronto started the hashtag #dontgetstuckonthebluffs in June, tweeting a number of stats about Bluffs rescues, like the fact that 2018 saw 16 rescue incidents that necessitated a total of 123 fire trucks, 25 ambulances and 382 hours of service.
So, if you ever find yourself considering jumping a fence or ignoring a sign for a more scenic view of the Bluffs, for the sake of yourself and everybody else, just don't.
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