Outdoor Ice Surface Safety
Stormwater Facilities, Lakes, Rivers & Ponds
The City of St. Albert cautions everyone to stay off rivers, lakes, ponds and stormwater management facilities (SWMF) throughout the city this winter. These ice surfaces are unpredictable and are not safe for any type of recreational activity.
Special care should be taken around SWMF. They are man-made, and the primary function is to collect stormwater in neighbourhoods, remove sediment, and reduce flooding of streets and yards during heavy rainfall or spring run-off. They can be mistaken for a pond, but a closer look will help you understand why they are not safe to be on:
- Stormwater drains from streets and yards into the SWMF through storm sewers, which means that contaminants (i.e. oil, grease, pesticides, fertilizers) and bacteria can be in the water. This makes them unsafe for swimming, boating or using any type of watercraft.
- Water is continuously flowing underneath the ice surface, even if it may appear frozen. This means that some areas may have ice while other areas may have little to no ice, making the SWMF very dangerous for walking, skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Each fall the City crews post “Thin Ice” signs where surfaces are not safe. Please obey all posted signs, and take proper care around ice-covered bodies of water. Parents are encouraged to teach their children about the dangers of playing on thin ice; safety on ice is a personal responsibility.
This great EPCOR video explains the dangers of stormwater ponds and why St. Albert residents should never go on them! You might break through the ice and drown!
Lacombe Lake Park
This is the only pond in the city that is safe for walking and skating once it is prepared for the public to use. Maintenance on the lake starts when the ice is thick enough for equipment to safely scrape and clear snow. Ice fishing is not allowed on Lacombe Lake.
Please refer to the Outdoor Rink and Ice Surfaces page for status information.
When skating on these outdoor surfaces, please consider the following safety tips:
- The sites are natural ice surfaces and injuries can happen due to ice conditions and natural/unnatural hazards such as uneven surfaces, cracks in the ice, holes, rocks, weather conditions and other skaters.
- Skaters use these surfaces at their own risk. Although the City maintains the skating surfaces, please do a thorough check of the ice before you skate.
- Always skate with a partner and dress in warm layers to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.
- Please be considerate of other skaters who are using the ice surface. Sharing is strongly encouraged so that everyone can have fun on the ice.
Outdoor rinks are not available for private rental, outside of the times assigned to local minor sport partner programs.
Last edited: September 2, 2021