Neighbourhood Ice Surfaces Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Neighbourhood Ice Surfaces Program?

Through the Neighbourhood Ice Surfaces Program, which was approved by County Council on December 19, 2016, County residents are now able to create outdoor ice surfaces on the Municipal Reserve land in their residential subdivision.

What are the requirements for those who wish to create outdoor ice surfaces in their neighbourhood?

A minimum of four residents are required to work together as a volunteer group, or be part of an official neighbourhood association to install, maintain and deploy the ice surface in their neighbourhood.

The volunteer group must first complete and submit an application form by October 31 of each calendar year with an exception being made for the pilot year of winter 2016-17 to parksandrecreation@countygp.ab.ca or in person at the Community Services Building located at 10808 – 100 Avenue in Clairmont during regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday excluding holidays.

The Parks & Recreation department will process the application form and then contact the group and schedule a pre-site inspection of the greenspace intended for the neighbourhood ice surface to determine if the ground is suitably frozen and if the proposed location is safe. If Parks staff deems the site as safe and the site has a rink hydrant, they will show the volunteer group how to access the standpipe and provide them with a valve key.

Once the ice surface has been installed, the Parks team will come back to inspect the ice surface to double check for hazards. At the end of the season, the Parks team will inspect the site to ensure that all boards or alternative edging (if applicable) have been removed and that the ground has not been damaged.

See Neighbourhood Ice Surfaces Policy, Applications Form and the Best Practices – Set Up & Maintenance pdf  for further information.

Will the County help me set up a Neighbourhood Ice Surface?

The County is not responsible for helping install, maintain and the deconstruction of the natural ice surface; however, the Parks & Recreation department will process the applications forms and perform all required inspections.

Are there any other requirements aside from ensuring the County has completed and signed off on all documentation and inspections?

The Volunteer Group will also be responsible for:

  • repairing and/or covering costs to repair any excessive wear or damage to the grass at the site.
  • Covering costs incurred from call-out fees to unthaw frozen lines and any damage caused to water infrastructure
  • Ensuring that the ice surface does not interfere with the enjoyment of residents use of Municipal Reserve or greenspace lands
  • Ensuring that emergency access routes are clear to the ice surface site

What is the difference between a Neighbourhood Ice Surface and an Outdoor Ice Rink?

The County of Grande Prairie defines a Neighbourhood Ice Surface as: any temporary, outdoor natural ice surface set up for the winter season on a Municipal Reserve greenspace within a neighbourhood or subdivision in the County.

An outdoor ice rink is considered to be a formal, permanent ice facility with high boards suitable for competitive hockey play.

Will the County provide boards for the ice surface?

At this time resources have not been allocated to provide boards. The Neighbourhood Ice Surface program is scheduled for review during Fall 2017 after its initial pilot launch, and will be re-evaluated at that time. Some subdivision developers, on their own initiative, have donated boards for residents to use. The County is also not responsible for storing or removing boards. Some residents have initiated fundraising events, solicited personal and business donations, or used social media to gather interest and channel resources.

How do I get access to water?

If there is a rink hydrant located in your neighbourhood green space, the County’s Parks & Recreation department will provide access to the hydrant at the pre-site inspection stage. Residents are not required to contact Aquatera unless there is an emergency water break; all normal water access for outdoor ice would be through the County.

What if there is no water hydrant at my greenspace?

Unfortunately, older residential subdivisions may not have had rink water hydrants included when their greenspace was originally constructed by the developer. In this scenario, residents are encouraged to work together to fundraise and bring in a water truck or use water from a residential faucet. In conjunction with the Neighbourhood Ice Surface program, residents can apply for a one time grant of up to $1,000 for the improvement of their Municipal Reserve space. See Policy K9 for more information. Groups can apply and further inquire about Policy K9 by contacting the Parks & Recreation department at 780-532-9727 or by email at parksandrecreation@countygp.ab.ca.

How do I build a neighbourhood ice surface?

Please refer to the Best Practices – Set Up & Maintenance pdf for suggestions.

Who is responsible for maintaining the ice surface?

The volunteer group is responsible for maintaining all aspects of the ice surface including ice preparation, flooding, ice repair and snow removal. They are also responsible for the deconstruction of the ice surface at the end of the season, including removing all boards and equipment, storing all equipment for use in subsequent years and returning the greenspace to its original state.

What happens if someone gets hurt on the ice?

If it is a medical emergency, please call 911 and state your location and the nature of the incident. All users of the Neighbourhood Ice Surface are advised to use at their own risk in the same way they would use a playground or participate in other greenspace activities.

Do the neighbourhood ice surfaces have hours of operation?

Under the County’s Neighbourhood Ice Surface Program, there are no formal hours of operation. Residents are asked to self-monitor the appropriate use of these surfaces to optimize the enjoyment for all persons and minimize unnecessary disruptions.

Is hockey allowed on natural ice surfaces?

Neighbourhood Ice Surfaces are intended for recreational use by all ages of the community. Due to the absence of high boards and the increased risk of property damage, competitive hockey play is discouraged. Competitive play should be re-directed to formal, permanent rinks. Recreational, low impact shinny is permitted as long as user safety or property are not compromised.

Who can I contact if I have concerns about how the ice surface in my neighbourhood? 

We recommend you bring your concerns forward to the volunteer group of neighbourhood association responsible for the ice first. If you aren’t don’t know who they are or their contact information, or require further assistance, contact the Parks & Recreation department at 780-532-9727.

Who do I contact if there is a water hydrant break or if the water hydrant is frozen or won’t turn on?

Please contact the Parks & Recreation department at 780-532-9727 if the water hydrant freezes or will not turn on. A Parks & Recreation employee will place the service call with Aquatera. Please note that volunteer groups are responsible for covering costs incurred from call-out fees to unthaw frozen lines and any damage caused to water infrastructure.

For emergency water hydrant breaks, please contact Aquatera directly at 780-882-7800.

Who can I contact to address any further inquiries regarding the Neighbourhood Ice Surface Program?

Please contact the Parks & Recreation department at parksandrecreation@countygp.ab.ca or at 780-532-9727.