The County of Grande Prairie is focused on making the recreational use of stormwater ponds as safe as possible for those user groups who choose to move forward with the project. Earlier in the week council moved forward with editing policies that reflected a decision made in October to permit the use of stormwater ponds in residential subdivisions. County of Grande Prairie Reeve Bob Marshall says that the county is working with user groups on these policies because they have the experience.
“The reality is these user groups have been out on those ice surfaces for probably eight to ten years, and they have some good procedures in place,” Marshall says. “So we just want to make sure that if we can supplement them, and make sure that it is as bulletproof as possible so people can be safe out there.”
Marshall explains that along with the changes to policy regarding the use of stormwater ponds, the county will also be providing training for these groups. So those who are wanting to volunteer to manage their local stormwater pond ice surface can apply to take part in this training.
“There will be training around checking ice thickness and managing it appropriately. We will also be working with them around signage.”
He adds that the main point of this training is to keep everyone as safe as possible while giving people the opportunity to get out and have fun in the winter and enjoy the outdoors. Marshall says that one of the benefits of the recreational use of these stormwater ponds gives the opportunity to build relationships in the community, especially after the last two years of social distancing and isolation.
“Typically when you look at our indoor ice surfaces there are times when people can come and skate, otherwise the ice is booked. This just gives a lot more flexibility and allows people, when the weather isn’t too cold, to get out in the community, enjoy the outdoors, and get to know their neighbours.”
Find the county’s full breakdown of rules and guidelines for the recreational use of a storm pond here.