Stay off frozen water bodies: GRCA, emergency agencies

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and municipal emergency response agencies throughout the watershed are concerned about the increased public use of frozen natural water bodies for on-ice activities such as skating and ice fishing this winter.

The public is being reminded that accessing frozen water bodies for recreational activities is not permitted and may be considered trespassing.

While colder temperatures allow for some ice formation, most natural water bodies throughout the Grand River watershed are not monitored for the purpose of winter recreation and may not be safe, the authority states in a Jan. 13 press release.

Ice conditions are susceptible to daily changes in temperature, wind, precipitation and underwater currents.

“Accessing frozen natural water bodies puts both the public and municipal first responders at risk,” states the release.

“Anyone who falls through the ice could experience hypothermia and death within minutes.”

The GRCA also notes banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and, when combined with cold, fast-moving water, pose a serious hazard.

With schools closed and many families home, parents are encouraged to remind their children of the risks associated with these hazards and keep pets away from all water bodies.

Select Grand River Parks, including Belwood Lake, Guelph Lake, Pinehurst Lake and Shade’s Mills are monitoring ice conditions and may offer ice fishing if conditions permit. ‘

Information on these locations can be found at

GRCA conservation areas and natural areas are subject to provincial guidelines, and operations may change with little notice.

The GRCA states this notice will remain in effect until April 1 and will be updated as necessary.