The owners of Sylvan Lake’s most prominent vacant site have been given another two years to build something.
Town council agreed this week to extend a settlement agreement, meaning the numbered company that owns the site, now has until Nov. 2018 to begin construction for a Nov. 15, 2019 completion deadline.
Located at the corner of Centennial Street (50th Street) and Lakeshore Drive, the site has been vacant since the historic Sylvan Lake Hotel was torn down in 2002. The wood-frame hotel had been trucked to the site all the way from Suffield, Alta. in the 1920s to replace another hotel that had burned down.
It was removed to make way for a proposed hotel and convention centre. An underground parkade and foundations were built in 2003, but construction went no further.
The site was grassed over and turned into a mini-park in 2009.
A legal settlement agreement was signed with the owners, a numbered Alberta company, in 2011 and renewed every year since.
The last agreement required the owners to begin construction by last November to be completed by November 2017.
That has not happened.
“The owner has stated that the reason why development has not yet commenced is because of the downturn in the economy and an over-supply of commercial units in the downtown area,” says a report to town council from Ken Kalirai, Sylvan Lake’s director of planning and development.
The report says the owner has kept the site in comparable or better condition than other vacant sites.
“The settlement agreement puts on onus on the owner to maintain the site as well for the town to monitor the timing of development, far greater than other undeveloped parcels,” says Kalirai.