Sylvan Lake councillors approved Phase 1 of a controversial plan to build condominiums next to a redesigned marina on Lakeshore Drive.
In a four to three vote, councillors approved the plan after developers brought it back to council when there were reservations about the number of parking spaces provided by developers, Sylvan Lake Harbour.
At an early April meeting, some councillors took issue with a request for a 66-stall relaxation in parking and planning staff were asked to review the issue with the developer.
The development proposal that council voted on at Monday’s meeting was the first of two parts of construction which includes a 40 unit residential building, 94 underground and 42 surface parking stalls, and marina redevelopment which includes 179 boat slips.
In both phases of the project there is a total shortfall of 98 stalls and administration had requested applying a parking relaxation of one stall for every two boat slips which takes the number of outstanding parking stalls down to 39.
A further recommendation was cash in lieu could be collected for all 39 remaining outstanding parking stalls up front at the time of the development of phase one. The town will receive $5,500 per stall which amounts to a total of $214,500.
Councillor Sean McIntyre still had some reservations about parking saying the developers still have no place to park trucks and trailers for when residents of the development drop off or pick up their boats. He added that would put extra stress on the street which would not be welcomed by local businesses and residents.
Councillor Laverne Asselstine said councillors might have to be proactive and bring forward a bylaw to not allow truck and trailer parking on the street.
Mayor Susan Samson said that is the reality of the situation in an urban setting like Sylvan Lake. She added that council agreed to work with the developers by providing off-site parking for day-use patrons and that could also help solve the problem of trucks and trailers when they pick-up and drop-off their boats.
“There are solutions for that situation,” said Samson. “I can’t tell you what they are but we are committed to help find what those solutions might be.”
A speaker for the developer said there will be no on-site parking for trailers at the condominium and felt that most people will deal with their boat and take their trailer right back to storage afterwards.
Samson added that residents will not be picking up or dropping off their boats all at the same time and a solution can be worked out to that problem at a later date.
Councillor Graham Parsons said if they turn down this development what message will that send to other people who want to develop in Sylvan Lake. The town already has a bad name for development issues and it is time for the town to start looking at the overall vision and move forward. He added to the opponents that say the development will ruin their view of the lake, that nobody is guaranteed a view unless you live directly on the lake.
The $18 million dollar project will continue to allow public access to the privately owned marina and the site, which will include walking trails and commercial uses. The second phase of the project would have to come back to council for approval and would include commercial spaces and 15 more condominiums.
The approval of the plan also includes a list of 18 other conditions the developer must meet before and during construction.