As ice continues to plague parts of Metro Vancouver, some beach-goers were spotted scooping up sand from Kitsilano Beach on Thursday.

One group of people used old Starbucks cups and planks of wood to shovel the sand into plastic bins.

kitsilano beach salt

A salt shortage in the city has led to desperation among locals looking for a solution for icy sidewalks. The city says beach sand is not a solution. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

Icy streets and sidewalks caused by a record-breaking cold spell have led to a salt shortage in Vancouver.

People desperate for a solution snatched up free salt offered at fire halls within minutes.

Some lined up for hours for the supplies, and chaos broke out when the salt appeared.

Despite the high demand for a fix, Howard Normann — Vancouver's director of parks — said people shouldn't look to the beach for a solution.

"I know some people are desperate to get something down onto their sidewalks to prevent people from slipping and falling ... but we do not want people to start coming down there and start loading up truckloads of beach sand," he said.

"That's an integral part of our ecosystem and our beachscape."

City bylaws state that no one can remove soil or turf from park grounds, including beaches. Doing so can lead to a fine of up to $2,000.

The rules don't explicitly mention sand, but Normann said the mineral falls under the soil category.

The director said he's never heard of people taking sand from beaches thus far, but said park rangers will be on the lookout as the cold weather continues.

"If things were to get out of hand, we'd have to bring some fines and enforcement into place," he said.