Sylvan Lake’s re-imagination of its lakefront continues.
Even as the finishing touches are being put on an almost decade-long, $24 million-plus project to transform the lakeshore area, more park improvements are envisioned.
Town council gave the idea of a new public space a push when it invested $5 million buying the 3.5-acre former Wild Rapids Waterslides park.
How that space will be transformed will become more clear in the next 18 months and after plenty of public input, said town economic development officer Vicki Kurz.
In the meantime, some modest changes will be made at the water slide site, beginning with a new temporary name — Lakefront Park.
“It will basically be sodded with a trail connecting from Lighthouse Point to the Chateau Suites,” said Kurz.
“It will be a relatively passive park until we decide what we are going to do with the entire site.”
This spring, the parking lot will be spruced up and turned into visitor-pay parking.
On Friday nights, it will become the site for the Farmer’s Market. Former water park washrooms have been kept and will be open to the public.
A handful of recreation-focused businesses will also operate nearby; Canadian Jetpack Adventures, SunSport Recreation and Sylvan Lake Aqua Splash.
The planning process to redevelop the entire area is just getting started. Council has set aside $215,000 for a waterfront redevelopment strategy for the water slide land, as well as the Sylvan Lake Provincial Park.
The town wants to take control of the park and tie it into the future recreational area. A 60-day public consultation period led by the province is still underway.
Local residents and businesses will get opportunities later this year to make their suggestions for the waterfront area as preliminary work gets underway.
Serious design work is expected to take place next May at a design charrette, which Kurz calls an “intense, three-day workshop.
“That will determine site attributes and what we can physically fit on (the site), all those sorts of things.”
There will be many other opportunities for public input before a concept goes to council for approval.
One of the reasons the planning process is not being rushed is because of the October municipal elections. It will be up to the new council to decide how the project proceeds.