17.3 C
Niagara Falls
Monday, June 5, 2023
Creek freezes for first time in years and attracts neighbourhood skaters

It's the "first time in 24 years give or take" that One Mile Creek has frozen enough for skating, say longtime Chautauqua residents Stephanie Tribe and Shane Sherlock.

But this year it's pretty much perfect, and despite lockdowns, the ice is attracting lots of local skaters.

Their son Ty Sherlock was among a group of kids and adults using the ice Saturday afternoon.

Tribe, who lives around the corner from the creek, which abuts Niagara Boulevard, said the ice is a "pandemic blessing" and that so far no one has complained about people enjoying the outdoor surface.

"The kids have been every day and no trouble," she said. "A bunch of people old and young from Ty's crew played hockey for hours today."

She said a neighbour's son even came out and shovelled the ice.

Emily Foster, a mother from Virgil whose kids were skating for a couple of hours, said with arenas being shut, it's nice to get outside for some fresh air and exercise.

"We were desperate to do anything outside and get active," she said.

"They couldn't get out of the house fast enough when I told them we were going skating. They didn't care how cold it was, they were so excited to get out."

She said she hopes people will see being outside skating as a positive thing, rather than "counting the numbers" of people there.

In total at that time there were about 10 people skating around.

Ty, who said he's been on the ice a lot, said it's nice to be able to play hockey with his friends.

"It's all frozen and we get to play hockey every day," he said.

While the province remains in lockdown, provincial regulations allow for outdoor exercise.

Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Niagara's acting chief medical officer of health, said while skating is a great way to exercise, people shouldn't be gathering with friends from other households.

"Skating on a pond is a perfectly fine way to get your exercise, just like going for a walk outside would be. The thing to look out for here, though, is that we have a limit on the size of social gatherings right now that no more than five people can be together," he said.

"And so if you're on that pond, assuming it's not that large, it probably shouldn't be more than five people at any time there, so that you don't fall afoul of those gathering limits."

He said people should stick to skating with just their family members.

"So, you know, a couple of family members can go out to the pond and spend time skating together, but you shouldn't be going out and socializing with your neighbours or another friend outdoors at the skating pond because that goes against what the stay-at-home order is really asking us to do right now."

The same goes for hockey, he said. A scrimmage or shooting a puck around with the family is OK, but doing so with people from other households violates provincial orders.



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