Skip to content

Narrow screen resolution Wide screen resolution Auto adjust screen size Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color brick color green color
CHILD'S TOBOGGANING DEATH leaves family devastated & non-condo OCCUPIER SCRAMBLING 2022/01/15 11:07  
Not legal advice, as usual.

Nor was the tragedy technically on condominium nor Building Scheme property. The "occupier" was The City of Ottawa.

How do young children have fun during COVID-19 disruptions approaching the 2 year mark ?

AND - despite EXTREME DANGER / NO SLEDDING etc signage - if the children & their parents are comparatively recent immigrants from a warm climate, would they even properly grasp the statistical dangers of sliding down a snow-covered hill that day ?

Others of all ages were out on the slope. Some possibly not wearing safety helmets. A sunny winter day at The City of Ottawa's Mooneys Bay recreation area in downtown Ottawa.

But on her FIRST-EVER day of tobogganing - along with siblings & ( reportedly ) two adult family members - what is reportedly a merely eleven year girl suffered a severed spine.

She had been the ( NON - HELMETTED ) rear rider on a toboggan that during descent rotated 180 degrees & eventually hit some City metal poles at the bottom.

Whatever the skillsets of the tobogganers, it's unclear if icy surfaces were present or even a factor.

A helmet may not in any way have prevented the backwards impact injury that took her life by the end of the day.

The City's EXTREME DANGER / NO SLIDING signs at the hilltops & parking areas were unfortunately accompanied by trees & trios of City metal signs at lower levels.

The City's hill is described as artificially constructed fifty years earlier on waste.

The City's press releases indicate that in 2017 winter recreation - such as sledding & tobogganing - were totally banned after prior injuries. EXTREME DANGER signs were & are still conspicuous at the site and nearby parking.

Immediate press attention included photos of trees and trios of metal posts at the base of the hill. Some were quickly removed or buffered.

And the usual questions got asked.

Even if notified enough to bind adult violators, could the SIGNS bind minors ? Could any supervising parent or adult bind or vicariously waiver a minor child to risks , and how much ?

Is the site even a "child allurement" or "child-attractive danger" ? ( see one letter excerpted below ). Especially given widespread ongoing violations despite by-law enforcement - whether or not adequate?

By-law reported having to expel 60 to 70 folks from the site the next day .

Within a week the death was a CBC National News item, reaching potential members of civil juries IF this gets as far as litigation.

A family tragedy and occupier liability nightmare with close attention towards what the occupier City did for many years before and in response after the death.

Jan 7/22 Citizen “Take care, don a helmet when sledding permitted, paramedics say after string of mishaps sub : Paramedics received six emergency calls for serious injuries in sledding accidents during a period of 10 days” by M Gillis string-of-mishaps-paramedics

Jan 6/22 Citizen “Child died after sled crashed backwards at Mooney's Bay” by K Egan mooneys-bay

Jan 6/22 CBC News “Family devastated after 11-year-old girl dies after 1st time tobogganing” by J Trinh, local & days later on CBC National News

Jan 3 2022 Ottawa Citizen “Today's letters: City hasn't done enough to dissuade kids from the 'attractive nuisance' at Mooney's Bay” from-the-attractive-nuisance-at-mooneys-bay

Dec 29/21 Ottawa Citizen “Ottawa police say fatal sledding accident not criminal” by Kelly Egan

Dec 28/21 Ottawa Citizen 'Banned' Mooney's Bay hill made safer after fatal sledding accident. "The hill at Mooney’s Bay is part of the landscape of the park and is not a sledding hill." by Kelly Egan sledding-accident
  The administrator has disabled public write access.
CHILD'S TOBOGGANING DEATH leaves family devastated & non-condo OCCUPIER SCRAMBLING 2022/01/15 11:57  
Not legal advice.

The tragedy will invite some of the usual questions. More to come about occupier liability issues, waivers & child victims. How much can occupiers rely on imputed or greater consents by risk-takers, parents or guardians of later-victims etc ? Was this actually a "child-attractive danger" at all ? Do Extreme Danger signs even encourage risk taking trespass ?

Failing to earlier demolish its 50 year old artificial hill at a major downtown recreational site, posting EXTREME DANGER signs but erecting trios of metal posts at the bottom etc . . . . did the City meet its occupier Liability duty of care ?

Did its quick response do so ?
  The administrator has disabled public write access.
CHILD'S TOBOGGANING DEATH leaves family devastated & non-condo OCCUPIER SCRAMBLING 2022/01/15 19:02  
unproven allegation in excerpt from one reader's published letter :

" . . . . The city has described the hill not as a toboggan hill, but “part of the landscape.”

This is not the whole story: it may be part of the landscape now, but it is not part of the natural landscape.

Those who grew up in the Mooney’s Bay area will recall this landscape was flat until the manmade hill was added in the early 1970s as a recreational hill for winter sports.

It appears the accident was caused by municipal signs placed near the bottom of the hill.

It also appears the city at some point decided the hill was not appropriate for winter sports, and put up signs to discourage tobogganing.

This is not enough; the hill is what is known as an “attractive nuisance,” which means children will take their toboggans to the nearest hill and slide down it unless there is a fence or other means to prevent this.

Failure to take steps to protect children from an attractive nuisance can amount to negligence. A sign is not enough.” . . . - unquote & unproven
  The administrator has disabled public write access.
postscript 11 months later : some neighbours OPPOSE SHUTDOWN decision announced AFTER ELECTION 2022/11/30 13:25  
For worried occupiers to consider, a postscript 11 months later : announced shortly after 2022 election, a full tobogganing shutdown of the artificial hill.

But demands from some neighbour users have persuaded their local Councillor to push for tobogganing usage howsoever limited . . . Confirms that the hill had been totally man-made, was actually on Federal land, and that tobogganing had once been lawful but became prohibited since 2017.

BUT tobogganing had NOT been effectively prevented thereafter. And then occurred a child`s fatality.

Shortly after the recent municipal election the City of Ottawa announced a total prohibition against toboganning on the entire hill. A formal safety review had accompanied inquest recommendations.

But days later those voters who want to use it in violation of municipal prohibitions, are screaming loudly.

A cautionary tale about urban planning, whether or not amidst other recreational spaces. Getting something shut down may not always be so easy . . . .

CBC Ottawa Nov 28/22 “Don't end tobogganing at Mooney's Bay, councillor pleads. subtitle : Most residents want hill to stay open even after fatal 2021 sledding incident (Councillor) says”

( photocaption : Ward Councillor says most residents want the steep hill at Mooney's Bay Park to stay open for tobogganing )

Nov 26/22 CBC Ottawa “ Mooney's Bay Park too dangerous to toboggan: city review”
  The administrator has disabled public write access.
contact webmaster