NEWS
01/11/2017 18:50 EST | Updated 01/12/2018 00:12 EST

Kelowna skaters on thin ice: City issues warning

City officials in Kelowna, B.C. are cautioning against skating on public ponds and lakes even as temperatures there dip below  -24 C.

"In a typical year in Kelowna we get a lot of freeze, thaw, and skating on ponds in our climate is not very reliable," said Ian Wilson, parks services managers with the City of Kelowna.

The city has posted its usual warning signs at numerous local sites including Munson Pond and Blair Pond. But, people continue to risk their safety on the ice.

"It's not just people falling through the ice, on Blair Pond a quad clearing the snow went through," said Wilson.

City does not measure ice thickness

"We don't monitor the thickness and the safety of the ponds, so it's more to let people know in our climate it's not reliable, it may not be safe."

He said the city has previously looked into measuring the thickness of local ice, but says getting a precise measurement isn't easy.

"It's not an exact science to say how thick the ice should be, there may be some areas that are thinner than others," he said. "It's a tricky business, it's not an easy formula to say that this is safe or this is unsafe."

Despite warnings from the city, Kelowna Tourism has posted photos online encouraging people to enjoy the unusually cold conditions.

Wilson thinks skaters may be tempted because of the January cold snap, but wouldn't recommend taking the risk.

"Definitely we're not trying to shut down outdoor recreation, that's the business we're in and we love that. It's more that we want people to be safe."

Wilson encourages skaters to visit Kelowna's outdoor ice rink at Stuart Park. It's open daily from 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. PT weather permitting.

With files from Daybreak South

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