Save Skating on Palgrave Pond
Save Skating on Palgrave Pond
UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for your support today. The TRCA has just issued a new press release (see below). The gist of it is that they have listened to the "candid and swift" feedback from the community, and will NOT be enforcing closure of Palgrave Pond while they work on a long-term solution. They have invited me and my dad to be part of the meeting to figure out what to do next.
This is the best result we could have hoped for at this point and means anyone who wants to can still enjoy the pond in these awful times. Thanks to everyone who emailed, signed, and sent messages of support!
TRCA understands that educational messaging is not always positively received by those looking to enjoy winter activities on our lands, and that negative feedback in the Palgrave community has been candid and swift.
“The enforcement warning by TRCA regarding the need for water safety was not specific to the Palgrave Mill Pond and the area has essentially been an unfortunate side effect of something that is intended to keep people and their pets safe across our nine watersheds”, said Jennifer Innis, Chair of TRCA’s Board of Directors and the Regional Councillor for the area. “TRCA is committed to connecting people with nature and work with our dedicated network of supporters across our jurisdiction to achieve this goal. And during this difficult time, we understand that it is needed now, more than ever” she said.
TRCA will continue to focus on ice safety education, rather than on enforcement, with a message consistent with the York Region Police, who recently noted: “Remember no ice is ever completely safe. Any individual enjoying recreational activities near a body of water must make a personal decision to do so, realizing that there is a degree of risk associated with this choice”.
For 21 years, Ken Hunt has maintained hockey and skating rinks on the Palgrave Mill Pond for the community to use for free. The pond has become the heart of the community in the winter, with residents, families and visitors alike enjoying a great Canadian tradition. Over the years the local Rotary Club and fire department have become involved with maintenance, fundraising and planning community activities. In 2015, Ken was awarded the Town of Caledon's Distinguished Citizen award for his work, and in 2016 he received a message of thanks from none other than Ken Dryden for all he's done for the community.
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which owns the pond, has suddenly shut this down over concerns for ice safety. The ice thickness is checked every day and signs are posted when the ice isn't safe to use. There has never been a safety issue in the 21 years the rinks have been going.
The TRCA and the Town of Caledon are meeting to discuss the issue and the possibility of a formal skating program on the pond. I am urging them to partner with Ken to ensure the care he has put into the rinks over the years continues, and to allow him to continue volunteering to remove any concerns about the cost of a formal program.
Please sign the petition to voice your support for maintaining public skating on the pond and show the TRCA and the Town how important the rinks are to the wider Caledon community. Ahead of their meeting, let's make sure they understand what a loss this would be - please feel free to share personal stories and thoughts on what the pond means to you.