A proposed “boatel” that would have provided indoor storage for scores of boats along Sylvan Lake’s Lakeshore Drive has been scuttled by town council.
Sylvan Bay Resort Inc. was seeking to develop the 31,165-square-foot, 45-foot-high building at 5140 Lakeshore Drive — just south of Wild Rapids Waterslide Park and between Chateau Suites at Sylvan Bay and The Marina at WatersEdge. Described as an “indoor stacked marina,” the heated structure would have housed boats over multiple levels.
However, council concluded during its meeting on Monday that the project did not meet the requirements of Sylvan Lake’s Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan. Specifically, it was concerned about the building’s setback distance from the lake, its relationship to Lakeshore Drive, its design, the adequacy and location of parking, and impacts on public access to the waterfront.
“At the end of the day, we felt the development was not appropriate for this site, for which it was proposed,” Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre told the Advocate on Tuesday.
Sylvan Lake’s municipal planning commission had considered Sylvan Bay Resort’s proposal a week earlier. It recommend to council that the application be rejected.
Sylvan Bay Resort president Bert Messier expressed frustration with the process. He explained on Tuesday that he had modified the plans following the municipal planning commission meeting to address some of its concerns — including reducing the size of the building to 24,150 square feet and its height to 43 feet, and increasing parking. He also offered to modify the appearance of the building to whatever council requested.
However, these changes were not included in the package presented to council and Messier said he was not given an opportunity to speak at the meeting.
“I was really disappointed that the new information was not presented and I never had the opportunity to present anything.”
McIntyre said council was aware that Messier was willing to make changes, but had no choice but to proceed on the basis of the original application.
“We have to respect that the information that was circulated to adjacent landowners and our agencies, like municipal planning commission, had to also be the basis that council made their decision on.”
Sylvan Bay Resort could have made a new application with the changes, he said, and if those changes were substantial they would have been recirculated to the nearby landowners and municipal departments.
As for Messier’s claim that he was not given an opportunity to address council, McIntyre said such input isn’t allowed during the procedural part of council meetings.
But Messier could have spoken out during an earlier segment set aside for public hearings and presentations by delegations, he said.
Messier said he urged town administration to present his new designs to council.
“It would have given council a reason to table the matter and recirculate the new information,” he explained.
“I think they already had their mind made up, no matter what we did.”
An indoor stacked marina would have produced several benefits, he said.
In addition to creating storage space for 160 boats and allowing more people to use the lake, it would have protected the water. Boats stored in the boatel would have been fueled and serviced away from the lake, he said, and they would have been pressure-washed to remove foreign organisms before being placed by forklift into the water.
McIntyre agreed that Sylvan Lake needs more space for boats. But the challenge is creating it with the right form of development.
“This is an issue that will have to be tackled in conjunction with private developers.”
Sylvan Bay Resort can submit a new application to the town in six months, but Messier said at this point he isn’t planning on doing so.
“I’m not even going to think about it for the next six months.”