HRM permanently ends ice thickness testing program

Halifax Regional Municipality employees will no longer test ice on lakes and ponds amid warming winters.

The municipality announced on Wednesday that it is ending its ice thickness testing program. Under that program, workers with the parks and recreation department would check how thick ice was on bodies of water across HRM, and post to the city’s website where it was safe to skate and take part in other activities.

“Due to warmer winters, there is a smaller period of time where testing ice thickness is even possible,” the city said in a statement. “For example, there was only two to three weeks this past winter where testing could take place. This resulted in one day of approved skating each year over the past few years.”

The statement said the program required significant resources from the parks and rec department.

HRM is advising residents to follow the Canadian Red Cross guidelines for ice thickness – at least 15cm for individual skating and 20cm for a group of skaters. In particular, it said people should be careful where streams flow into and out of lakes.

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