The City of Lacombe approved an update to its current stormwater pond (SWP) policy. The policy outlines the ways in which the city monitors the public use and service levels of the ponds.
Currently, there are three ponds in Lacombe that are available for recreational use by the public. These are Cranna Lake, Iron Wolf and Royal Oak. These are the only ponds that are managed by the city out of the total 9 storm ponds in Lacombe.
Previously, the policy was in a draft form from 2012 and so it required council’s attention to become officially approved. At the regular council meeting on Nov. 9 it was adopted unanimously. There were no significant chances to the policy from 2012 other than the addition of another pond, which was built after 2012.
A stormwater pond is a facility that may contain standing water, is situated within city limits and is designed for the primary use of storm water management.
Typically, these ponds are used for winter ice activities such as pond hockey, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. However, recreational activities are only permitted on the three ponds that the city manages. All other ponds, including ones that aren’t designated as SWP’s, are to be used at a person’s own risk.
If an accident were to occur on an unmanaged pond the city would not be liable. According to the Community Services Director for the City of Lacombe Deborah Juch, she is not aware of any accidents on any of the ponds in the city in recent history.
“There are activities going on the other stormwater ponds we just don’t acknowledge that activity,” said Juch.
“We don’t approve it or disprove it.”
As the province prepares for another wave of COVID-19 many more residents will likely be taking advantage of the outdoor ponds. However, the city won’t be considering adding any more ponds to its manageable area because the parks department is at capacity.
“They’re already really challenged to keep all the paths clear and parks open as far as they are,” said Juch.
“We did ask that question before we finished the policy because there’s other stuff going on at some of the other ponds and we would want to help out with that, but we can’t.”
The city is in charge of clearing snow, measuring ice thickness and informing the public of SWP related announcements among other things to make sure the rinks are safe to use.
There are no motorize vehicles permitted to be used on any of the ponds except for the cross-country ski club who is allowed to use a snowmobile to set the tracks needed for skiing.