Temperatures too high for ponds and ice rink to open

By Laine Mitchell (Twitter: @Laine_Mitchell)
December 5, 2017 - 2:52pm

Temperatures well above zero degrees means it will likely be a while before the outdoor skating rink and skating ponds open. 

All four ponds across Drayton Valley as well as the outdoor rink at Discovery Park have yet to accumulate enough ice to be suitable for the public, something town officials say has been burdensome considering the time of year.  

"It's been pretty difficult, ideally in December we would like to have people out there but the warmer temperatures are really delaying people to get out there and enjoy the ponds and outdoor rink," said Communications Coordinator Jennifer Stone. 

Stone says for the ponds and rink to be ready for use there has to be at least two weeks of -15 C weather to gain the proper thickness. The ponds have to be at least 11 inches thick to get equipment out onto the ice, while the outdoor rink must be two and a half inches to support the equipment. 

The urge to lace up your skates and play some hockey might be tempting for some, but Stone urges against that for the safety of the skater and the integrity of the ice. 

"People have been using the outdoor rink and pond and that makes it more difficult to build proper ice and it's completely unsafe especially on the ponds," said Stone. "When people are out on the rink, it's really setting us back in building the proper ice and getting the equipment out there."

She added that on the outdoor rink the danger is people can break through the thin ice and cause a tripping hazard. Damage could also be caused to the concrete itself, and to the skaters equipment when that occurs. 

The warm temperatures expected throughout this week extend the delay skaters are experiencing compared to last year. 2016 saw the outdoor rink be flooded on November 22, and on December 13 the snow was cleared off the storm ponds allowing people to skate on them.

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