Two sailboats on Harrison Lake are sparking questions, and concerns, after this week’s winter weather saw one boat sink and another build-up with ice.
Heavy winds and freezing temperatures took over Agassiz and Harrison, resulting in a number of downed trees and power outages on Monday (Feb. 4). The weather did not leave Harrison Lake unscathed, as ice built up around the edges of the lake and on boats and docks.
At a glance, the majority of boats docked in official marinas seem to be free of significant amounts of ice as of Wednesday (Feb. 6). However, two boats anchored near the Harrison Hot Springs boat launch, just in front of the beach near Rendall Park, were particularly affected.
Residents posting on Facebook noted that both boats had significant amounts of ice. One has since sunk, presumably because of the ice build-up. Its mast is visible from the beach.
The other sailboat, named In Relief, continues to have ice forming on the bow.
Residents have been posting updates about the boats on Facebook, including pictures and commentary on the state of the boat. Some are becoming concerned about the fate of the boats, and have begun to try and track down the owners to prevent further damage to the boats or the beach.
This area where the boats are anchored is not an official moorage space for the village of Harrison or nearby marinas. According to village CAO Madeline McDonald, the village does not have jurisdiction over who anchors their boat in that spot and does not know who the sailboat owners are.
“We have no idea whose boat it is,” she said. “We have no idea what’s going on down there.”
She said the village has received a complaint about the boats, but isn’t able to tackle the issue as the village doesn’t have any sort of salvage equipment. If it becomes on ongoing problem, the village would bring in the province to deal with it.
Although windy weather and freezing temperatures are not unusual for Harrison’s winter, having boats encased in ice or sinking is.
“I’ve seen it before when I used to live on the coast, but I haven’t seen that happen particularly here in the past couple years,” McDonald said. “It’s not a common thing here.”