Albion Falls is a 19-metre cascade waterfall located at the southernmost top of Upper King’s Forest Park and forms part of the environmentally-sensitive area of the Red Hill Creek Escarpment Valley. The site is a popular destination point for locals and tourists who want to view the falls and enjoy the natural landscape setting.
In 2005, the City of Hamilton built the North viewing platforms, associated trails and parking area to provide a safe and accessible location from which to view Albion Falls and to discourage the creation and use of informal trails.
Informal trails do continue to be created and used by the public on the South side of Albion Falls as there is no formal access or viewing platform. There is evidence of erosion and ecological degradation along the South slopes and safety concerns have required the City to fence off the area to protect the public. Despite the warning signs and physical barriers, there have been continued attempts to by-pass the safety measures and continue to use the informal foot paths.
In 2017, the same year the South access was fenced, the City of Hamilton applied for grant funding and allocated capital budget to help fund the investigations and studies required to determine if and where constructing a South access and viewing platform was feasible. The investigations include engagement of relevant stakeholders and authorities having jurisdiction and a component of the works will include functional and detailed design of an access and viewing platform.
Project Mission Statement
Provide an access and viewing platform that is safe and improves views to Albion Falls while balancing the need to protect the site’s natural and culture heritage.
Goals and Objectives
Achieve Short and Long-Term Safety
- Avoid areas within hazardous fall zone of steep cliff with eroding rock face
- Avoid areas within Regulatory Floodplain that are prone to flash flooding
- Locate areas with stable bedrock to support structures and identify areas with undercutting to keep clear of that will be subject to dynamic erosive forces
- Select materials that are durable, have good traction and require little long-term maintenance
Improve Access and Views
- Provide a series of stairs and elevated boardwalks that lead to a viewing platform on the South side of Albion Falls
- Ensure viewing platform is situated to achieve a sense of “closeness” and “immersion” (i.e. acoustics, creation of ideal selfie spot)
- Address road crossing at Mountain Brow Boulevard from the Arbor Road parking lot
Protect Cultural and Natural Heritage
- Protect the Significant Natural Features within the area of development
- Protect the Euro-Canadian heritage features remnant of the historical mill
- Prevent further erosion of slopes and revegetate exposed areas with native species to discourage colonization of invasive species
- April 2020 - Public Information Consultation (PIC); exact date to be determined
- 2019 until early 2021 - Continuation of Required Studies and Detailed Design
- Fall/ Winter 2018 - Functional Design Development
- Summer/ Fall 2018 - Start of required studies and investigations (e.g. survey, Environmental Impact Statement, Archaeology, Geotechnical)
- March 2018 - Award of Hamilton Future Fund Grant
- 2017 - Hamilton Future Fund Grant application and allocation of capital funds
Next steps include: Setting a public consultation date, continuation and finalization of required studies, investigations and detailed design, securing construction funds, submit permit application to required authorities and secure permitting.
Mission Statement and Where We Are Now (PDF, 429 KB)
The City of Hamilton is excited to welcome the Hamilton Future Fund boards of Governors to the project team and to thank them for their contributions to help fund a portion of the studies and investigations required for the Albion Falls Access and Viewing Platform project.
Accessible design is about designating spaces for people of all abilities. Accessible design of outdoor spaces is regulated by the Accessibility Standard for the Design of Public Spaces, which is part of Ontario Regulation 191/11 under the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).
The Albion Falls South Access and Viewing Platform is defined as a recreational trail under the Act. Exceptions do not apply for areas of trails where modifications for accessibility would negatively impact the ecology or heritage or cases where making the trail access route accessible would have a negative effect on water, fish, wildlife, plants, invertebrates, species at risk, ecological integrity or natural heritage values.
To keep in line with the project's core mission statement and be in compliance with the AODA, the Albion Falls South Viewing Platform and Access will strive to make the viewing platform as accessible as feasible to all residents of all abilities, unless modifications negatively impact the site's natural heritage.
Please note that the existing North Platform is fully accessible. For further questions, clarifications or comments, please contact the City's Project Manager listed below.
If you have any questions or wish to submit a comment, please contact:
Louise Thomassin, OALA, PMP
Landscape Architect, Landscape Architectural Services
Email [email protected]
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