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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Ice safety considerations support responsible operation of Lake Chaparral outdoor skating rinks in southeast Calgary

Lake Chapparel

Located along the southern edge of the City of Calgary, the residential neighbourhood of Chaparral has a population of approximately 12,000 residents and comprises three sub-sections, one of which is Lake Chaparral. During the winter months, the Lake Chaparral Residents’ Association is responsible for building and maintaining outdoor skating rinks on the frozen lakes in their community. Local residents use the ice rinks for recreational skating and ice hockey. 

The Association engaged Associated Engineering subsidiary, NOR•EX Engineering to help them better understand ice safety and mitigate risks associated with the operation of skating areas on the frozen lake ice.

Lake Chapparel

The NOR•EX Engineering team developed an Ice Safety Management Plan to identify and mitigate risks for personnel working on the ice cover. We reviewed equipment specifications and provided guidance on the minimum ice thickness requirements for large equipment and work crews, ice safety training, as well as templates to record ice thickness measurements for ice inspections.

Ice Engineering Specialist, Al Fitzgerald, tells us, “Some of the challenges we faced included the level of confidence regarding ice safety that the work crews had, as well as the variations in the ice thickness throughout the area of the lake.”

Lake Chapparel

As the climate changes, unpredictable winters and temperature fluctuations can create challenges for communities as they may not be able to rely on their traditional cold winter temperatures. These changes in temperature are becoming more common and thus require a more fulsome understanding of ice safety principles and best practices. Educating workers in ice safety principles and best practices allowed the community of Lake Chaparral to safely manage their ice cover successfully.

Ice Safety Management Plans and training help mitigate risks for communities responsible for operating public outdoor ice rinks

Lake Chapparel

As part of the quality assurance program, our team visited the site to verify ice thickness and ice integrity using Ground Penetrating Radar, an electronic device that measures ice thickness. With the combination of the technology and the ice engineering expertise provided by NOR•EX Engineering, the Lake Chaparral Residents’ Association successfully maintained the ice sheets and safely operated large pieces of equipment on the ice cover.

Our key personnel involved on this project included Al Fitzgerald, Ben Strokappe, and Oz Podolski.