Residents are being urged to show restraint and caution this winter, as the City of Grande Prairie is asking the public to stay off storm ponds throughout the cold season.
“They’re not designed to be used for recreational purposes,” explains Parks Manager Robert Carroll. “For one thing, the water level is unpredictable underneath them and raises and lowers with weather conditions. A lot of times you can end up with ice with no water underneath it.”
Carroll says there are significant safety risks associated with using the City’s storm ponds for recreational usage, especially during unpredictable weather conditions. He adds, on top of the inherent risk, they’re not looked after by the Parks department.
“We don’t monitor the thickness [of the ice]; we do no maintenance on them, so it’s very risky for people to go out on these for skating, or short cuts.”
Carroll adds, while they tend to hand out this warning a couple of times a year, some still don’t get the message.
“Sometimes it’s fairly obvious, as people clear the snow off and we’ve even seen some hockey nets in place, and benches and that type of thing, and our staff will respond to these and remove them.”
Storm ponds are located in several neighbourhoods around Grande Prairie, including Ivy Lake, Crystal Lake and O’Brien Lake.
Carroll says there are city-run and operated rinks available across Grande Prairie, including an already opened one just outside the pavilion at Muskoseepi Park.