A wet pond, constructed near Valley View Manor is not to be used for public skating until town staff completes further investigation into the safety of the facility.
Director of public works for Rimbey Rick Schmidt said signs have been put up telling the public to stay off the pond.
“It’s a town facility and the concern is safety,” said Schmidt. “I would be worried about loved ones being out on it today (Thursday, Jan. 3). You can see water on top of the ice.”
Schmidt said he is investigating the policies of other communities regarding wet ponds.
“The water is ever changing and there could be anti freeze (or other liquids in the water) all of which make for poor ice which is weaker than normal.”
Joe Diggle, who lives in Calgary, but visits Rimbey regularly to visit his mother, a resident of Valley View Manor, said he was pleased to see two community oriented citizens clearing the ice on the west end of the wet pond on Christmas Day.
He said on Boxing Day he was among several other people from the neighbourhood who worked to expand the skating area.
“A successful skating party and game of shinny were held on the ice without incident.”
He said the residents very much enjoyed watching the activity.
Diggle said he was impressed with the community spirit shown in Rimbey by residents who took the time to clear the ice and use it so the residents could enjoy watching the activity.
He added that another community resident flooded the ice on Dec. 27 by dragging a slowly leaking plastic container over the surface on top of a large towel.
“I was impressed by both the ingenuity and the excellent quality of the workmanship.”
He said the ice is well over six inches thick.
However, Schmidt said he is not convinced the ice is safe and is also concerned about the pond’s liner.
“The liner keeps the water from leaching into the ground and is about one and a half feet above the water line. Equipment and/or skates could puncture the liner,” he said.
Schmidt said he wants to ensure the ice is safe before removing the signs.
“At the end of the day it’s all about making the community safe, not being a Christmas grinch,” he said.
While Valley View Manor was still in the planning stages, Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin had talked to the residents about the wet pond.
McLauchlin said the wet pond, would have extremely gradual slopes and not be full of stagnant water, but aerated by a fountain.
The aerated water will discourage mosquitoes and geese, he noted.
He added the pond would be stocked with fish in summer and made into a skating rink in the winter.
“The town has generously agreed to take care of it,” he said. “The purpose is to provide a focus and bring the community to the facility,” he added while in attendance at an earlier meeting held at the community centre.
McLauchlin stands by his earlier statement.
“I think it’s fantastic that people are skating on there. It is true you have to exercise caution and personal responsibility, but it’s exactly what we wanted. It’s what we need.”