Sylvan Lake ice fishing huts removed today

Officials will be out on Sylvan Lake today removing the last of the ice fishing huts. Despite the directive that the lake must be cleared by Monday, there were still four huts remaining on Tuesday.

Officials will be out on Sylvan Lake today removing the last of the ice fishing huts.

Despite the directive that the lake must be cleared by Monday, there were still four huts remaining on Tuesday.

Members of the Sylvan Lake Management Committee and the Rocky office of Alberta Fish and Wildlife will remove the huts.

The biggest concern is safety and environmental issues if one of the huts breaks through the weakening ice, said Keith Stephenson, chairman of the Sylvan Lake Management Committee.

“These huts, some of them are made of metal or they’re made of wood, but it’s the stuff that’s inside of them,” Stephenson said.

“A lot of them contain gasoline, furniture, propane bottles and plastics . . . and it leads to contamination of the water.”

The remaining huts will be dragged off the ice and become the concern of the municipality. Despite deadlines, there is no repercussions for being late in picking up an ice fishing hut since registration is not mandatory.

Only about half of the approximately 40 huts on the ice at the peak of the season were registered, said Stephenson, and none of the remaining four are.

Other provinces like Ontario and Saskatchewan require registration, and there are fines accompanied with a breach of regulations.

Authorities in Alberta have unsuccessfully lobbied Alberta Environment for mandatory registration of ice fishing huts for a number of years.

“It comes out of taxpayers’ money eventually, these guys are getting paid tomorrow (to drag the huts off the ice),” said Stephenson.

“We’d just like to get it so these huts have to be registered and then we can go after these people and fine them.”

The ice fishing season officially closes today.

jaldrich@bprda.wpengine.com