TAKE IT OFF - Mayor Sean McIntyre was joined by Constable Irving of the Sylvan Lake RCMP and Deputy Mayor Beverly Anderson of the Summer Village of Norglenwold on the lake over the weekend where they teamed up to spread awareness around the ‘Take it off’ program.

Ice fishing hut owners reminded to “Take it off” before April 1

The Sylvan Lake Management Committee (SLMC) is urging ice hut owners to do the right thing and remove the ice fishing huts.

The Sylvan Lake Management Committee (SLMC) is urging ice hut owners to do the right thing and remove the ice fishing huts from Sylvan Lake before the spring thaw arrives.

The “Take It Off” program is a partnership of all 8 municipalities around Sylvan Lake that encourages ice fishers to register all huts that are left on the lake overnight or over the season, and to take measures to enjoy the lake responsibly including removing their huts before March 31 and keep the area around their huts clean.

Mayor Sean McIntyre was joined by Constable Irving of the Sylvan Lake RCMP and Deputy Mayor Beverly Anderson of the Summer Village of Norglenwold on the lake over the weekend where they teamed up to spread the message.

“Thank you to Constable Irving of the Sylvan Lake RCMP and Deputy Mayor Beverly Anderson of the Summer Village of Norglenwold, for joining me in braving the cold today to visit ice fishers on Sylvan Lake and promote the “Take It Off” program,” said Mayor McIntyre. “We appreciate the added support from the RCMP and Constable Irving in helping to keep our beloved lake healthy and clean. Thank you as well to everyone we visited and spoke to today, for being so friendly and supportive of the program, even when facing the cold temperatures and wind that came with the recent late-winter storm.”

While ice huts do not need to be legally removed from local lakes including Sylvan Lake, Gull Lake and Buffalo Lake until March 31, it’s important to get them off before the ice surface deteriorates.

“On behalf of the committee, I urge owners to think of safety and the health of the environment when they consider their decision,” said Keith Stephenson, SLMC Chair. “We all want our lakes to remain healthy, so we can enjoy them safely all year round.”

Stephenson explained ice fishing huts are often abandoned on the lake during the spring thaw. He added the effects associated with abandoned huts left to settle to the bottom of the lake, are detrimental to lake health, and the safety of those that enjoy the lake, particularly in the summer. Debris can include wood, gasoline, furniture and plastic and ends up settling to the bottom of the lake, or floating to the surface. Careless disregard for the lake and for others results in serious contamination of the water, which is detrimental to fish and waterfowl habitat and creates safety hazards for other users of the lake.

“Thanks once more to all of the responsible users of Sylvan Lake who take all of their material, litter, and ice fishing huts off the lake in order to keep our beloved lake healthy and clean,” said Stephenson. “If you or your friends or family have an ice fishing hut on Sylvan Lake or Gull Lake, please remember to “Take It Off”before March 31.”

Mayor McIntyre added forecasters are predicting temperatures above freezing next week and he encourages everyone to consider removing their ice fishing huts and any other material before the deadline of March 31.

Take It Off is managed by The Sylvan Lake Management Committee, with the support of the five Summer Villages of Sylvan Lake, Sylvan Lake RCMP, Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development, Sylvan Lake Fish & Game Association, Lacombe and Red Deer County and the Town of Sylvan Lake. People can register their huts year-round at http://www.sylvanlake.ca/take-it-off.