The Take It Off campaign came to an end on March 31, but still a few ice shacks, and larger trailers were scattered around the lake.
With temperatures beginning to climb after a long cold winter, the ice conditions on the lake have begun deteriorate.
The structure remaining on the lake as of April 13 were on their way to becoming hazards, both physical and environmental, at the bottom of the lake.
“The lake itself is outside the Town of Sylvan Lake, but is beloved and important to all of us,” said Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre on Facebook.
Because the lake does not fall under the municipality’s control, the matter then becomes a case for Alberta Environment if nothing is done.
Alberta Environment does have the authority to remove shacks and trailers on the ice, but hadn’t taken it upon themselves to remove any remain structure by last week.
David Wasiuta, a Sylvan Lake resident, contacted Alberta Environment with his concerns about the shacks and trailers left on the lake.
“I was informed I wasn’t the first to call they have opened a file … and have referred it to an Environmental Officer for action,” Wasiuta said.
Wasiuta was told to call back if the fixtures weren’t removed from the lake by April 21, and he would be put in touch with the Environmental Officer in charge of his file.
A local Sylvan Lake business saw the potential risk and stepped in to help keep the lake healthy.
The team from Big Bear Energy had the “equipment and expertise to intervene” before the ice melted and the structure fell to the bottom of the lake.
On April 13, Big Bear Energy volunteered their time and equipment to remove the structures from the deteriorating ice.
“On behalf of Sylvan Lakers I want to thank the brave and awesome team from Big Bear Energy for volunteering their time and equipment to be difference makers for our lake,” said McIntyre.
The Take It Off campaign is an initiative adopted, supported, and communicated by all eight municipalities surrounding Sylvan Lake to remove ice fishing structures before the spring thaw.
After the upcoming by-election for Sylvan Lake-Innisfail, Wasiuta plans to contact he new MLA and ask for legislation on this matter.
“I intend to approach the new Sylvan MLA candidate’s in the pending Provincial election to introduce a new mandatory registration process for ice shack, huts and trailers,” said Wasiuta.
He would also like to “develop a process to hold owners of the structures abandoned on the lake responsible when they do not remove them by the mandatory established date/time.”
Wasiuta says everyone who utilizes the lake is affected by those who abandon their fixtures on the ice after a long winter.
“We’re all paying when [ice shacks] are abandoned by irresponsible people/anglers!” Wasiuta said.