Yellowknife, NWT – A Yellowknife houseboater says the city’s regulations for canoe storage at the government dock in Old Town could be putting people’s safety at risk.

Matthew Grogono says this is the most dangerous time of year for houseboaters.

He says they need to take canoes with them to jump into in case the ice gives out as they cross to their houseboats.

Grogono believes by-law officers have seized canoes from the dock because their owners haven’t paid the $200 fee for storing them there.

“If you came home and your canoe was missing, I don’t know what you’d do because you’d be unable to get home or you’d have to take the risk of walking on the ice without any additional protection. A friend of mine went through the ice and had to be rescued by two houseboaters using canoes.”

The city’s Senior Administrator Dennis Kafalas says canoers are given fair warning if their canoe is going to be seized.

“People have to take ownership of their own actions. We’ve given them notice, they know what the process is because this isn’t the first year. They knew this was coming and they knew the city would take action. All they had to do was come into City Hall, purchase a tag and put it on their canoe.”

Kafalas says there is no fine once a canoe is taken, but owners have to make arrangements with the city to get them back.

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