Feedback wanted on Sylvan Lake park transfer

Town of Sylvan Lake has requested lakefront provincial park be turned over.

Alberta Environment and Parks wants public feedback on a proposal to transfer a waterfront park to the Town of Sylvan Lake.

The municipality has formally requested that the province turn over the Sylvan Lake Provincial Park to the town.

Taking over the park is seen by town council as an opportunity to diversify the economy and boost public recreation and tourism. The town, which draws more than a million visitors annually, has spent years revamping its lakefront as part of a Waterfront Redevelopment Plan.

Before making a decision on the request, the province wants to hear from the public. A 60-day public feedback period began on Wednesday. To comment go to www.AlbertaParks.ca/consult

“It’s good to see our message has been received,” said town communications officer Joanne Gaudet on Wednesday.

See related story: Sylvan Lake has eyes on park

Mayor Sean McIntyre and the town’s chief administrative officer met with Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips last week during an Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conference to discuss the park proposal.

As part of its request, the town plans to ask for almost $2 million to cover future upkeep costs.

“We’re optimistic that everything will work out,” said Gaudet. “We’re not going to take on anything that doesn’t work in favour of our residents.”

In a statement, Phillips acknowledged the park is already a popular destination “creating huge economic benefits for the region.

“We have the potential to further support job creation, tourism and the local economy,” says the minister.

Should the transfer be approved, the park must remain open for public recreation only.

“No commercial or residential development would be allowed,” says the province.

Since the park is for day use only it generates no revenue for the province. The money saved on maintenance and upkeep would go to other provincial parks, says the province.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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