The ponds that are throughout the community are more than just nice to look at, says Hans van Klaveren, the General Manager for Community Services and Recreation for the Town of Drayton Valley.
Van Klaveren says the ponds play an important role in controlling runoff. The Lanterns on the Pond event was started to demonstrate some of the sustainability measures the Town has taken.
“They are important in the water shedding of storms and making sure we drain water from downpours and rain in an efficient manner,” he says.
By guiding the water to the ponds, the Town can help prevent flooding in the community. While the water does carry the dirt from the streets, van Klaveren says that isn’t the reason they recommend that no one swim in them.
“They’re not really contaminated in that sense,” he says. “The water levels can rise and fall rapidly.”
He says that’s also why they don’t recommend people use them for ice skating in the winter. While there may be ice on the pond, the water doesn’t necessarily sit directly under the ice. The water level fluctuates even in the winter.
“The water underneath might be gone and drained out,” says van Klaveren.
By placing the lanterns out on the pond, the Town, along with their partners the Eagle Point Blue Rapids Park Council, can show there is a slow current on the pond. If there is no wind, all of the lanterns will drift to the east end of Northview Pond.
Van Klaveren says there are several ponds throughout the community, and new ones are continually being added as the town grows.
He says the Town holds the event on the autumn equinox each year. The weather, the changing leaves, and the darker evenings all make it an ideal time.
“We can do it in the early evening, get families out there, make lanterns and have a nice family get together at the pond,” says van Klaveren.
Each year, the Town provides paper lanterns for children to decorate and tea light candles to light them up on the pond. EPBR provides hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, and information about the plant life and animals in that type of ecosystem.
Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Drayton Valley and District Free Press