Sylvan Lake has begun sprucing up its new waterfront park.
Paving began on the gravel trail that runs the length of the former provincial park that was turned over to the town in January and renamed Sylvan Lake Park.
Town council voted earlier this year to spend up to $200,000 paving the 850-metre red shale path through the lakeshore park as part of a general effort to jazz up the popular draw.
Other work will include replacing signs, landscaping, grade improvements, and sod repairs. A number of trees uprooted in last June’s windstorm will also be replaced.
As part of the deal to turn ownership of the former provincial park to the town, the Alberta government provided nearly $2 million for future upkeep and maintenance.
The upgrades are only the first phase of what is expected to be a major redevelopment of the park and connected lakeshore areas through a project the town has dubbed ReImagine Sylvan Lake.
One of the first steps town council has made has been to ban all smoking in the park.
The ban covers cigarettes, hookahs, pipes, electronic cigarettes, medicinal marijuana or “any lighted smoking implement designed to burn or heat tobacco, cannabis or any other weed of substance.”
Once the revised bylaw begins being enforced on July 1 — after an “educational” period in which signage is erected — fines for individuals caught smoking start at $250, and rise to $500 and $1,000 for a second and third offence.
The town has restricted access to the park to make way for paving. The area from the pier to Washroom 2 has been closed off. Visitors are asked to get to the park east of the washroom through Centennial Park.
While parts of the park are closed the entire beach remains open while work is underway.