The City of Lacombe has cleared a larger area for skating on outdoor ponds as is pictured here on Cranna Lake. Photo courtesy of the City of Lacombe

The City of Lacombe has cleared a larger area for skating on outdoor ponds as is pictured here on Cranna Lake. Photo courtesy of the City of Lacombe

Light Up the Night fireworks cancelled but outdoor facilities remain open

With new public health orders announced last week many events and activities were forced to cancel

The City of Lacombe and Lacombe Regional Tourism have announced that the annual firework display will no longer be taking place.

The fireworks were originally scheduled for Dec. 18 as the finale to the Light Up the Night festival. Due to strict public health order all social events, both indoors and outdoors, have been restricted.

A Facebook post from Lacombe Tourism said, “These cancellations are not only hard on the organizers, and all of the organizations behind events like these, we know they are hard on the community too. We look forward to a time, hopefully in the near future, when we can flex our organizational skills and wow you with in person events and activities where you can reconnect with our community.”

Despite social gatherings being banned for the next four weeks, Alberta’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw did say skating and other distanced outdoor activities would be allowed as long as all guidelines were followed.

In Lacombe, there are no additional restrictions for outdoor gatherings other than what the province has announced. This means that as long as a proper 6-foot social distancing is maintained and people are staying within their household cohorts, Alberta residents are permitted to utilize outdoor skating and hiking facilities.

In anticipation of people needing to get outdoors more this winter there are more rinks than usual being maintained by the city such as the one outside the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC) which has recently been cleared and flooded.

“I think the populations need is greater, and we also need to allow them to spread out,” said Deborah Juch Director of Community Services for the City of Lacombe.

“If you’re going to use the outdoors you can’t be forced together, we need to make sure people can be distanced.”

This rink, along with three other storm ponds, is maintained by the city under the newly announced Storm Pond Policy.

The policy acknowledges that the city will allow outdoor activities to take place on specifically designated ponds. However, it does state that the city can’t recommend people skate, cross country ski or snowshoe on any of the other ponds.

This is because the city only monitors the ice thickness on specified ponds. This winter there are five ponds that can be used by the public; Cranna Lake, Iron Wolf, Royal Oak, LMC and the Outdoor Rink. However, while the city does not clear snow from Iron Wolf they do monitor the ice thickness.

The City of Lacombe has also worked to ensure other winter activities can be completed safely and within the public health restrcitions.

This includes working with the Cross-Country Ski Club in the community to provide a properly maintained track for people to use during the winter months. The city will also have Parks and Facilities employees working on weekends and through theholiday season to ensure that all the trails in Lacombe are properly cleared and maintained in a timley manner.

“Normally we allow 48 hours between snowfalls to make sure paths are clear,” said Juch.

“This year we’re really stepping up that service level.”

The city is asking people to stay safe while utilizing these outdoor facilities and follow all provincial health orders.

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