An Outdoor Ice Inspection and Maintenance policy ensuring the safety of the town’s outdoor rinks and lake ice surfaces has received Council’s stamp of approval.
The aim of the policy, according to a council report, is to mitigate “the risk of injury to outdoor rink users while providing a standard for rink maintenance (and) establishing criteria for lake surface town-sanctioned public events.”
The policy states that snow will be cleared from rinks following five centimetres of accumulation, and that public events on the lake rink will be permitted only after an ice surface evaluation has been completed.
Additionally, rinks and the Pier toboggan hill will undergo weekly safety inspections, and there will no longer be rinks constructed on storm retention ponds, such as the one in Lakeway Landing.
Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said the policy is believed to be unique to the Town after administration found none to exist in other municipalities around the province.
“From what we were able to determine, we are the only community with a policy like this,” she said. “We did look to other communities to see if they could pave the way for us, and no such policy exists that we could find.”
Town administration notes that ideas will be gathered from other municipalities as they begin to create their own similar policies. Those ideas will likely be put to a future council.
With co-operative weather, the Town typically constructs two lake surface rinks, five land rinks, a lake surface parking lot and a toboggan hill.
Snow last year prevented the lake surface from freezing properly, resulting in an environment that was deemed unsafe for activity.
The Town said that it has developed a method of testing ice safety on the lake surface, which will be carried out prior to the surface’s use. That method involves everything from measuring ice thickness to inspecting its colour and any cracks that may be present.
The policy’s approval means lake surface rinks might not appear before Christmas Day. Administration said that the Town and the Province will work to construct a rink at the Pier before then, if weather allows them to do so.