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WHEREAS Alberta’s lakes are a valuable natural resource for all Albertans that must be used in a sustainable manner to ensure the long-term benefits are preserved for future generations; and
WHEREAS the wide variety of recreational uses on these lakes creates environmental challenges and results in potentially conflicting uses that need to be managed: and
WHEREAS an increasing number of fisherman engage in ice fishing on these lakes due to Alberta’s rapid population growth and the popularity of the sport has resulted in the placement of a record number of ice fishing shelters or huts on our lakes; and
WHEREAS many of these ice huts are left after the end of the seasons despite current legislation that prohibits the unlawful disposal of waste; and
WHEREAS these abandoned huts result in number of negative consequences including pollutants in our lakes, hazards for other lake users such as boaters and swimmers, unsightly debris on our lakeshores, and risks for those who are left with the task of removing these abandoned huts; and
WHEREAS legislation in other provinces of Canada that requires the mandatory registration of ice huts has proven successful in controlling this problem;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to provide increased education and enforcement with regard to responsible ice fishing including the introduction of a mandatory registration program for ice fishing huts to assist in their timely removal from Alberta lakes.
Section 181 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act prohibits the deposit of waste on ice or into water. Despite the legislation, many huts are being abandoned on Alberta lakes. For example, after the 2010-2011 ice fishing season there were still approximately 50 huts left on central Alberta lakes. Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development does attempt to remove some of these huts, sometimes under hazardous conditions, but still many sink into the lake or end up as debris on the shoreline.
In 2012 the Sylvan Lake Management Committee, a partnership of municipalities around the lake, spearheaded a voluntary registration program with the cooperation of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and the local RCMP. Registration of huts will allow authorities to contact their owners if they are left on the lake after the end of the season. They can either arrange for the removal of these huts or be held accountable under the legislation.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.