‘Don’t hold your breath’: council

After promising $3 million to help the Town of Sylvan Lake redesign Centennial Park, Alberta tourism minister Cindy Ady is getting a thank-you note from town council.

After promising $3 million to help the Town of Sylvan Lake redesign Centennial Park, Alberta tourism minister Cindy Ady is getting a thank-you note from town council.

But the note will also strictly reaffirm that the Town of Sylvan Lake has no interest in taking control of the provincial park beach front.

Town Mayor Susan Samson said she’s “very pleased” that Ady has committed $3 million over six years to help the town create a larger and more family-friendly Centennial Park.

But Samson expressed concern to town council on Monday that Ady’s letter, which confirmed the park funding, also stated she was “hopeful” the town would eventually take control of the lakefront, which is a provincial park.

“She’s saying ‘hopeful,’ I’m saying, ‘Don’t hold your breath, unless we can find a way to generate some revenue,’” said Samson, who noted there’s no other way the town could afford the responsibility of maintaining it.

Most town councillors also expressed reservations about the minister’s hopefulness.

Councillor Richard Backs was among those who wanted to write back to ensure that Ady knows the score. “If we accept this letter . . . we should make it very clear it’s not our intent. It’s her intent, not ours.”

Councillor Frank Peck was more concerned about collecting the $3 million, saying government has been known to change its mind.

But Samson said she’s hopeful the minister’s promise will be kept.

The money is needed for diverting a portion of Lakeshore Drive to go around the rear of the existing Centennial Park, which is the playground area across the road from the beach. Once the park is directly linked to the lakefront, funds will also be used to improve picnic shelters, the playground and washroom facilities. “We want to make it more attractive for visitors,” said the mayor.

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