John Jolliffe Park in Rockwood could soon be a no-tobogganing zone

A child flies through the air on a toboggan amid the snowy conditions on a hill.
Tobogganing may be on the outs at a local slope. Photo by Canva.
Riley Gillespie-Wilson - CICW - FergusON | 14-12-2023
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A popular winter activity may be no longer in Rockwood pending a council decision.

Tobogganing has the potential to be disallowed at the hill in John Jolliffe Park after a discussion at a council meeting in Guelph/Eramosa this week.

The recommendation before council pointed out an inspection "found the hill’s steep slope and short run-out" are hazards to public safety.

Coun. Corey Woods was against the idea. He explained how it's not fair to residents to reduce winter fun.

"I don't think it's the will of this council to remove toboggan hills. I think if there's a hill there and somebody wants to toboggan on it, I don't think we're going to stand in the way of that activity. I don't know if we need to remove it, but I think we need to add toboggan hills, not remove them," Woods stated.

Councillors had a robust discussion about the concerns that exist safety-wise and pondered safe-fails to decrease the worry surrounding the slope. Hay bales at the bottom of the steep hill were suggested to offset the short run-out.

Mayor Chris White said he can gather why the recommendation was before staff, but that there's a larger picture in this case.

"I understand where that thought came from, it's just once you start looking at it practically. Five-year-olds in the South end are not going to be walking down Highway 7 for that," White joked.

"But, that said, there are some concerns with the hill; there's a walking path that goes across the bottom, there's some steepness, there's tree concerns. We may need to mitigate some of that," he added.

White reiterated how crucial tobogganing is, backing up Woods by noting it is "a part of our culture."

He added the parks and recreation master plan shows the township is getting ahead of things to provide for residents.

"The fact that we're doing this master plan shows that we're trying to do more for the community, and that's what you want. You want everything to be put on the table and you say 'that's a good thought, or, 'no, we don't and here's why,'" he went on.

Staff elected to give the item more consideration before deciding, and Rockmosa Park was suggested as a possible location if the change were to be made.

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