EPCOR PSA: Stay away from Edmonton stormwater ponds

by Epcor (@Epcor) – Sponsored Post

Welcome to winter! The season of snowmen, hot chocolate and toques. As we begin to embrace the shorter days and colder temperatures it is important to remember that not all outdoor locations are great places to take your family for fun.

This winter marks the fourth year of the Drainage Winter Stormwater Safety Campaign, designed to educate Edmontonians about the dangers at stormwater facilities. This year it is even more important than ever to make sure everyone understands what’s at stake. It is likely that COVID-19 restrictions will force families to look for options close by if local recreation centers are closed or operating at reduced capacity.

What does this mean for you, your family and friends?

It means you should find alternate locations for winter activities, like tobogganing, skating, and walking. Just don’t go on the ice, plain and simple. Recreation activities on these facilities is prohibited. To be safe, stay away. Please remind those in your circle that stormwater facilities are not safe for any type of recreation.

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What you will see in the coming days and weeks?

Our campaign has already hit the street. Transit shelter advertising started at the beginning of November and a direct mail campaign dropped in all stormwater communities earlier this week to more than 200,000 customers. In mid-December radio spots and digital advertising will begin.

In addition to the traditional marketing campaigns, EPCOR is once again offering Community Leagues in Edmonton the opportunity to apply for an $800 grant to build safe skating rinks for families. If you or someone you know is on a Community League board, please reach out to [email protected] for more information about the grant program.

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Did you know?

At the end of October, EPCOR received a Commonwealth Certificate of Thanks from the Alberta and Northwest Territories Lifesaving Society for:

  1. The leadership role we have taken to share water and ice safety messaging about the dangers of recreation on our stormwater facilities, and
  2. Our work to ensure customers have an appreciation of the North Saskatchewan River and to increase water safety awareness in Edmonton.

Have you seen this?

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Over the last four years, there have been five deaths reported in Western Canada as a result of drowning in a stormwater facility. The danger is real. In late October two young girls in Calgary were rescued by passersby after falling through thin ice on a stormwater facility. You can read the article on the rescue here. In addition, just when you thought that the local lake was safe, research is showing that climate change is impacting the stability of ice surfaces on lakes.

What are stormwater facilities?

Stormwater facilities help to mitigate flooding and filter contaminants out of the water before sending it off to the North Saskatchewan River. They are integral components of the drainage system that move snow melt and rainwater from community streets into the sewers and eventually to local bodies of water. The water in the facility has contaminants from our streets that research has shown increase the temperature of the water making ice surfaces very unstable.

EPCOR shares this information with our customers, and community groups, so that we can work together to keep everyone safe this winter.

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Please enjoy skating, sledding, snowmobiling and skiing at safe recreational facilities and do not walk across the stormwater facility as a short cut, it’s just not worth it.