Don’t use retention ponds for winter recreation activities

Ice conditions can change quickly and without warning

Danger, thin ice sign

No matter how cold it is outside, or what the ice looks like, it’s never safe to use retention ponds for winter recreation activities.

Despite the signs warning of the dangers of thin ice posted at retention ponds, we receive reports of people going out onto the ice and even building recreational rinks on retention ponds each year.

 “Walking or skating on retention ponds isn’t safe at any time,” said Susan Lambert, Operations Engineer with our Wastewater Collections.

During the winter, water from melting snow or nearby water main breaks continues to flow into the ponds, and is often mixed with street salts that can cause the ice to melt and thin quickly.

“The water enters the pond underneath the ice, resulting in a thinning of the ice that can't be seen from the surface,” added Lambert.

Hockey net and chairs on a frozen retention pond
Recreational rinks on retention ponds like this are a serious safety hazard. Retention ponds should never be used for winter recreation activities.

Parents and teachers should remind children to stay off the ice and find other ways to play outside safely this winter.

If you see someone in distress on a retention pond or any other frozen body of water, call 911.

Was this information helpful?

How can we make this web page better?

Information collected will be used to improve our website. Do not use this form to submit a request for service or information because it will not be forwarded to departments for response. To submit a request for service or information, contact 311.

This form is not intended to collect personal information; however, any personal information you choose to include in your comments is collected by the City of Winnipeg under the authority of section 36(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of improving our website and will not be used or disclosed for any other purposes, except as authorized by law. Contact the Corporate Access and Privacy Officer by mail (City Clerk’s Department, Susan A. Thompson Building, 510 Main Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 1B9) or by telephone (311) if you have any questions about the collection of this information.