Jan 19, 2023

By Christine Ross

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Will tobogganing soon be illegal in Oshawa?

A city committee voted this week to ban the winter activity from every park except two. The decision – to be voted on by council later this month – was apparently prompted after the death of a girl at an Ottawa tobogganing hill two years ago.

Officials say to keep all the hills open to meet safety standards would cost Oshawa $30,000 every year.

Social media was full of upset residents calling out overregulation and the loss of childhood freedom.

But Pamela Fuselli, executive director of injury prevention charity Parachute, says there’s no evidence to suggest bans make tobogganing safer, but the activity has well-noted physical, cognitive and developmental benefits for kids.

“There are going to be times when that hill is not going to be safe no matter what we do, and then there are others that are going to be safer or we can make changes that can mitigate those risks so that’s the kind of assessment approach we would take.”

Toronto personal injury lawyer Patrick Brown calls the proposal “ridiculous” and a “knee-jerk reaction,” saying municipalities rarely face successful injury claims for sledding injuries.

Brown adds the restriction appears to be an example of often overstated municipal liability risks outweighing tobogganing demand.

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