Ice Thickness Testing

Please note that the municipality is no longer conducting ice thickness testing.

Over the last number of years, there has been a decline in the number of days available for skating. Based on these changed climate patterns, including rapidly fluctuating temperatures, ice thickness testing is no longer feasible.

We realize that some residents may wish to continue skating on  lakes, and there may occasionally be times when it is safe to do so.

Residents are asked to take safety precautions for themselves and their families by avoiding any further recreation activities on frozen lakes and ponds, including walking, snowmobiling, and skating.

The Red Cross recommends the following:

  • 15 cm for walking or skating alone
  • 20 cm for skating parties or games
  • 25 cm for snowmobiles

 See a complete list of guidelines from the Canadian Red Cross regarding ice safety. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the municipality no longer conducting ice thickness testing?

Due to warmer winters, there is a smaller period of time where testing ice thickness is even possible. For example, there was only two to three weeks this past winter where testing could take place. This resulted in one day of approved skating each year over the past few years. 

Ice thickness testing requires a significant resource demand from Parks & Recreation, including a number of staff members dedicated to the program. 

The municipality has been the only jurisdiction in Nova Scotia that conducts ice thickness testing. 

What are the guidelines for recreating on ice?

Residents can refer to guidelines from the Canadian Red Cross regarding ice safety. 

Ice should be at least 15 centimeters thick for individual skating, and at least 20 centimeters thick for group skating. Users should exercise extreme caution in areas where streams flow into and out of lakes. 

It is also important to note that ice conditions may vary over the entire surface of lakes and are subject to change with weather conditions. 

Where did the municipality conduct ice thickness testing? 

In the past, ice thickness testing was conducted at over 70 lakes and ponds throughout the region. These sites include municipal-owned land with safe access points and fall within a reasonable travel distance from site to site given available staff and resources.