It’s wintertime in the Great White North. And while it might be cold, the silver lining is that if you like to skate, play hockey or go cross-country skiing, there’s an abundance of frozen H20 all across our great Dominion. Indeed, bodies of water ranging from small ponds to large lakes have already frozen over, so let the frigid frivolity begin, right?
Well, not so fast. At least, not in Richmond Hill, Ont. You see, the authorities in this city, just north of Toronto, don’t want people skating on frozen bodies of water. And so it is that the city has put up an abundance of signage next to ponds, warning would-be skaters to stay off the ice, and that the ice is dangerous because it is too thin… except that it isn’t!
We checked out the ponds in question, and the ice is thick enough for elephants to make a crossing. So, could it be that the real reason for the fake danger signage is that the city is embracing the fear factor so that people won’t congregate at the ponds… thereby creating social distancing concerns in this day and age of the Wuhan virus pandemic?
Check out this report in the tragically named Richmond Hill Liberal newspaper:
The City of Richmond Hill issued a public statement on Jan. 4 to advise everyone to stay off of lakes, rivers, ponds and stormwater ponds as the ice may not be safe. The warning came one day after York Regional Police were called in to help city staff clear people from the ice at Mill Pond Park on Sunday, spokesperson Ash O’Malley wrote in an email on Jan. 4. While Mill Pond Park remains open, the pond is currently not safe for skating and is closed to the public, the statement says.
Ah, but here comes the kicker: “The city’s community standards officers visited the pond and installed barriers and additional signage on Sunday after concerns were raised about safety and breaking COVID-19 rules in the community.”
So, there you go. It seems to us that the city is creating an artificial boogeyman. It’s not really worried about people plunging through thin ice; but rather, catching COVID. How sad is that — dissuading kids (who are incredibly resilient against this virus, by the way) from skating and playing shinny? How anti-Canadian is that? Especially given that the ice is, we repeat, rock solid!
Bottom line: our message to bylaw enforcement, who periodically drop by to break up hockey games, is simply this: Puck off, eh?