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Lacombe County fishing for boat launch funding

County investigating whether provincial funding available for Gull or Sylvan Lake boat launches
Lacombe County is planning to investigate whether there is any provincial funding available for new boat launches on Gull or Sylvan Lakes. (File photo from Black Press News Services)

Lacombe County is testing the waters to see if there is any provincial or federal funding available to build new boat launches on Sylvan or Gull Lakes.

Boat launches have been on the county’s radar screen for well over two decades. A number of studies have been done over the years to narrow down the best locations.

Sunbreaker Cove Boat Launch was significantly upgraded over several years beginning in 2010 and developers built a new boat launch and marina as part of the Sandy Point Resort project on Gull Lake.

Lacombe County holds an undeveloped road allowance northwest of Half Moon Bay on the west edge of Scouts Canada’s Camp Woods that a 2010 study identified as a top prospect for a future boat launch. However, that is as far as the project has gone.

“We have not moved forward with that initiative simply because we do not have the funding in place for it,” said county manager Tim Timmons on Monday.

In 2017, the county commissioned a report to see what it would cost to develop a boat launch at Anderson Park, a 26-acre recreation area on the east side of Gull Lake.

At that time, it would cost about $1.4 million then to build a basic double boat launch. Building a boat launch that reaches the lake through a small inland marina would cost around $2.9 million.

A boat launch with 50-slip marina is priced at $6.6 million and a 90-slip marina would cost $9 million.

An environmental study found there was nothing to rule out a boat launch in the area, although various provincial and federal approvals will be required. Council decided to take no further action at that time.

Sylvan and Gull Lake boat launches are often extremely busy on nice weekends and many have called for more places to put boats in the water.

Timmons recently provided council with an update on the potential for boat launches at Anderson Park and Sylvan Lake. Council directed administration to investigate whether there is any funding available that could be tapped to get a boat launch project moving.

“We’ll pursue all options,” said Timmons, adding both federal and provincial funding sources will be sought out.

“Certainly if we were to move forward with that initiative it would not be a Lacombe County initiative by itself. We would need to engage our partners around the lake, which includes all of the summer villages, Town of Sylvan Lake, Red Deer County, as well as provincial government agencies.”

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Paul Cowley

About the Author: Paul Cowley

Paul grew up in Brampton, Ont. and began his journalism career in 1990 at the Alaska Highway News in Fort. St. John, B.C.
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