Lacombe lake still not ready for skating
Even last week's deep freeze hasn't solidified ice surface
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:00 am
Public works staff are determined to open Lacombe Lake up for recreational skating at some point this winter. Just when that will be, however, is difficult to predict.
“We are determined to get it useable this year if we can,” said Bruce Thompson, the operations manager for public works.
The lake, a popular spot in all seasons, has had a difficult year. First the city had to fence off a significant stretch of the shoreline because of an unstable bank, a problem that won’t be repaired until at least 2014.
Then, last December, as the city was getting ready to open up all its outdoor ice sheets for the winter, crews discovered someone had used a chainsaw to open up three giant holes in the lake’s ice surface. Water bubbled up through those holes, mixing with the thick blanket of snow that had fallen on top.
That water has been stubbornly refusing to freeze, even after last week’s cold snap.
“It was amazing,” Thompson said. “Even when it was -20 C and -30 C there was water under the snow.”
City crews must wait until the ice reaches a thickness of 12 inches before they start preparing it for public use. The snowpack on top is acting like insulation, keeping the water from freezing, and the holes in the ice have weakened the surface, meaning the city can’t even clear the snow from the ice surface.
“Not having the ability to move the snowpack off, we’re at the mercy of the ice,” Thompson said.
He added the some of the water is starting to solidify and the city is hoping it will soon be able to remove the snow and flood the ice surface.