Walking on thin ice
Police advise assessing risks before recreational activities
As tempting as it may be to step out on the ice-covered East River in New Glasgow, police advise against it.
“Nothing on the East River is monitored,” says Const. Ken MacDonald of the New Glasgow Regional Police.
There are several factors that make ice on the river unpredictable, including runoffs, salt from roads, the tidal salt-fresh flux and the rising tides.
When it comes to other bodies of water such as backyard ponds, MacDonald says police use the Canadian Red Cross guide when it comes to judging the winter dangers.
“We need to take extreme caution and realize the water depths and the minimum ice thickness alone is 15 centimetres for walking or skating,” he said.
For groups, he said it is 20 centimetres and for single snowmobiles its 25 centimetres. For normal bodies of water, because of temperature fluctuations, you have to be increasingly cautious at all times, he said.
“We do not post that the East River is safe for skating or snowmobiles because it is not monitored.”
MacDonald said the New Glasgow Fire and Rescue Department has specific equipment in their vehicles that helps people get pulled out of ice. 911 is the No. 1 option if you see that someone has fallen through the ice.
Some safe places to skate outdoors without the risk of breaking ice include New Glasgow’s West Side Community Centre and the North End Rec Centre which both have built outdoor rinks.
Jeremy Horne spends some time skating with his son Drummond, 3, at the West Side Community Centre in New Glasgow.