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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 to access and 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 cultural heritage.
Goals and Objectives
Improve Access and Views
- Provide access to a viewing platform on south side of Albion Falls
- Address road crossing at Mountain Brow Boulevard from Arbor Road
- Increase proximity of viewing platform to the falls
Protect Cultural and Natural Heritage
- Protect the significant natural features
- Protect the Euro-Canadian heritage features remnant of the historical mill
- Prevent further erosion of slopes and revegetate exposed areas with native species
Achieve short and long term safety
- Mitigate steep cliffs
- Avoid areas within regulatory floodplain
- Locate areas with stable bedrock to support structures
- Select materials that are durable and require little long-tern maintenance
To achieve the project goals and objectives, a series of stairs and elevated boardwalks will leave trail users from Mountainbrow Boulevard to a viewing platform on the South side of Albion Falls.
- Stairs and elevated boardwalks, with rest areas at the access point, mid-point and end point
- Viewing platform
- Benches and signage
- Restoration planting and seeding
- An East-West Pedestrian Cross Over (PXO) will be provided on Mountainbrow Boulevard
- Layout plans and 3D rendering are available on the StoryMap
- 2017: Hamilton Future Fund Grant application and allocation of capital funds
- March 2018: Award of Hamilton Future Fund Grant
- Summer/ Fall 2018: Start of required studies and investigations
- 2018-2019: Topographic survey
- 2018-2020: Geotechnical and Slope Stability Assessment
- 2018 (On-going): Environmental Impact Statement and Investigations, Functional Design Development followed by detailed design of access and platform
- May & December 2019 (On-going): Task Force Meetings with residents, Ward Councillor and City of Hamilton Staff
- November 2020: Launch of Engage Hamilton Project that features a Survey and StoryMap.
- January 31, 2021: Online survey closes
Next steps include: continuation and finalization of required studies, investigations and detailed design, securing construction funds, submit permit application to required authorities and secure permitting.
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.
The City would also like to thank the task force members for their positive contributions and commitment to the project. Their knowledge of the area, continued input and solution based problem solving are vital additions to the project team.
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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