King Township residents are being asked to stay off both stormwater ponds and other ponds on public property for a variety of safety reasons. This includes avoiding tragic events like the recent death of an 11-year-old boy who died after falling through the ice on a stormwater pond in Milton.
“Our intent is not to disappoint people, however we do have an obligation to reduce the risk to people’s lives from either breaking through the ice on a stormwater pond or congregating in numbers not permitted under current Provincial guidelines on public gatherings,” said Jim Wall, Chief of King Township Fire and Emergency Services.
There are several reasons why skating on stormwater ponds is dangerous.
- Stormwater ponds are designed to continuously collect stormwater from surrounding roads and neighbourhoods.
- No matter how deep into the winter or how thick the ice may appear, temperature changes and water flowing in/out can cause major variations in ice thickness.
- Air pockets are also easily formed under the surface and contaminants like salt weaken the ice.
The Township will be monitoring both stormwater ponds and other ponds located on land owned by King Township with the goal of educating people to get compliance.
“We know people have used the ponds on public land for many years,” said Chris Fasciano, Director of Community Services for King Township. “But this year is not like any year we have seen before. The pandemic has required we look at things differently. Since our indoor rinks are closed we’re seeing an increased number of people skating on ponds, which comes with risk associated with unknown conditions and is further exasperated by limits on the number of people that can gather. Our number one goal remains keeping people safe while offering recreational opportunities.”
Fasciano said in an effort to offset these challenges staff are operating four outdoor rinks that residents can register to skate on in King City, Nobleton, Schomberg and Cold Creek Conservation Area that are monitored and maintained by King Township staff. This is an increased effort in comparison to past years.
King Township is also maintaining some trails throughout the winter, in an effort to encourage our community to get outside and stay active during the colder months.
Please visit www.king.ca/trails to view an interactive online map of all the trails within King Township.