SASKATOON -- In all his years living in Cochin on Jackfish lake, Mayor Harvey Walker says he has never seen anything close to what is happening this winter.

Large pieces of ice are jamming into the shoreline, causing damage to buildings, docks, fences, and the shoreline itself.

Walker said that due to erosion the ice did not anchor itself to the bottom of the lake near the shore as it does usually. When the temperature fluctuated the ice was free to move around.

Damage so far has been extensive. Walker fears that it could cost millions of dollars.

“It’s not insurable, you cant insure for coverage for this kind of damage. People who have cottages, a couple along here, I think they’re at terrible risk of losing them.”

Many of the residents of Cochin are part-time cottagers, so the town sent out notices, calling owners to their property this winter, warning them about the damage.

Walker said the town has been working hard to allow people to speed through the permit process and try to remove some of the ice.

“The village is responsible for the shoreline. We have a somewhat lengthy process to get a permit to do work along the shoreline.

“We’re cooperating with our residents and Water Security Agency this year to the point that if the Water Security Agency issues a permit to pull ice back, we will automatically give a permit for that to occur under our jurisdiction.”

John Mathison, a shoreline homeowner, said he noticed it beginning back in November but didn’t think things would get this bad.

“We saw the ice come in right after the first big show in November, it came in and it pushed up these banks. It pushed it up two or three feet and then in the last month it’s come up another two or three feet.”

Mathison recently bought the cottage beside his, doubling his shoreline and doubling the damage.

Mathison said he is pitching in with some neighbours to rent a backhoe, but at this point a lot of damage has already been done and there’s no guarantee their efforts will make the ice stop.

“It’s not going back to normal for sure. We don’t know what can happen here.”