Stealing a pail of beach sand is not a solution to Metro Vancouver's road salt shortage – and it could result in a hefty fine.

That's the warning from the Vancouver Park Board after staff received a report of someone removing sand from Kitsilano Beach this week.

Park director Howard Normann described the alleged sand stealing as a "very creative idea," but an illegal one all the same.

"It is against our park bylaw to remove soil, rock, sand, plants, anything from our facilities and we do not want people taking sand from our beaches," Normann said.

The report came as many frustrated residents remain unable to get their hands on salt to help clear their sidewalks, despite three days of handouts at select fire halls across the city.

Friday's salt giveaway was much the same as the previous two days', with long lineups quickly clearing out the available supply.

With more snowfall forecast over the weekend, some residents told CTV News they were hoping to get prepared, but unable to find any road salt in hardware stores.

Normann said if people want to apply sand instead of salt, they need to buy it.

"Sand is fine, it sticks to the ice and helps people from slipping, but I'm recommending we not take sand from our beaches. There are other places to get sand," he said.

Park rangers have been diverted all week helping with ice-clearing efforts so they haven't witnessed any sand thefts first-hand, but Normann said they are back patrolling the beaches now.

"Of course, one bucket at a time you think oh, no big deal," he said. "But as you've noticed with the salt issue, one thing leads to another and next thing we're going to have 50 trucks lined up and we're going to have somebody with a Bobcat loading all our sand up."

The risk isn't worth the reward, either; the minimum fine for removing sand from a Vancouver beach is $50, while the maximum is a whopping $2,000.

With a report from CTV Vancouver's St. John Alexander