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Sylvan Lake council approves fire pits and mobile stage

Large fire pits for group gatherings will be located on pier next winter

Get your marshmallow sticks ready.

Sylvan Lake town council gave staff the green light to be begin designing and planning wood-burning fire pits for use in the winter months. During the summer, the pits will be used as charcoal-dumping stations.

Coun. Megan Hanson kindled the fire pit idea during a council meeting last month. Staff came back with a report on the pros and cons this week.

Hanson told council she had seen how popular larger fire pits where people could gather and roast marshmallows were in another community. The town’s existing fire pits are small and mesh-topped and not suited to group gatherings.

Two fire pits will be located on the pier next winter near where a winter village lights display is set up.

It was decided not to keep the fire pits burning in the summer months because they would likely attract people leaving the lakeshore bars “increasing the potential for behaviour the town is trying to discourage.”

Council also approved adding $6,250 to the parks department budget to pay for staff to keep an eye on the fire pits.

Sylvan Lake may also soon have a mobile stage to be used for musical acts and other events.

The town has long considered building a band shell on the pier. There was already $100,000 set aside, which was donated by the Heart of Town Association when it dissolved in 2010.

In 2017, the Sylvan Lake Cultural Master Plan was completed. One of its recommendations was to buy a portable amphitheatre and related sound and light equipment to create a venue that could be moved around the community.

“This will provide a similar function to a band shell but will be more versatile,” says a report for council.

A proposal to use the Heart of Town’s donation was taken back to them and seven of eight members approved.

The town had to go back to the association because a condition of its donation was that the money was used to be held for a band shell for 10 years. If one was not built by then, the town could use the cash for something else that benefits the downtown area.

Given the association’s strong support for the town’s plan to reallocate the money, a legal challenge would likely fail, says a report to council.

Council voted to reallocate the money for the portable venue. Another $300,000 was already set aside in this year’s budget for the project, which is expected to cost around $350,000.

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