Lacombe County council narrowly decided that county residents should continue to pay to park and launch boats at Sandy Point and Sunbreaker Cove.
In a split 4-3 vote, council voted to continue charging parking and boat launch fees to all the users of the beach and boat launch at Sandy Point and the launch at Sunbreaker Cove.
Several councillors proposed various options that would see county residents pay only a $10 annual administration fee or be given a day that was free.
Coun. Dana Kreil pointed out that Sylvan Lake residents are not required to pay for parking near its beach.
“I think if they found a way we can find a way to have our citizens exempt,” said Kreil.
Coun. Allan Wilson, whose division includes Sandy Point on Gull Lake and Sunbreaker Cove on Sylvan Lake, said some residents have not taken kindly to the fees introduced last summer and some are now going elsewhere.
“The optics are that Lacombe County is out to chisel every dime we can,” said Wilson. “I would like to see an exception for our taxpayers, for sure.”
Coun. Ken Weenink proposed a motion that would see county residents pay a yearly $10 administration fee to use the facilities. It was defeated 4-3 with Wilson and Kreil voting in support.
Reeve Barb Shepherd said it is common to pay a fee to use facilities, such as recreation centres, and the beach and boat launches should be no different.
“Our ratepayers are used to paying for these facilities they use and I don’t see why we would back away from that.”
A motion to follow staff recommendation that the fees be maintained for Sandy Point and Sunbreaker Cove passed 4-3 with Shepherd and councillors Brenda Knight, John Ireland and Dwayne West voting in favour.
Kreil then proposed a motion that county residents get free Mondays. It was defeated with Weenink and Wilson in support.