Sylvan Lake digging into dredging prospects

The Town of Sylvan Lake plans to explore the feasibility of dredging up a beach to replace the sand lost to high water levels.

The Town of Sylvan Lake plans to explore the feasibility of dredging up a beach to replace the sand lost to high water levels.

Graders were regularly used in the 1980s to scrape sand up into a beach, but stiffer environmental regulations ended the practice.

But now that water levels are at an all-time high and the popular beach has disappeared, there is interest in checking out ways to restore it.

“It’s really quite a challenging task that we’re up against,” said Mayor Susan Samson.

The town doesn’t know if Alberta Environment would allow dredging, how much it would cost or even whether it is physically feasible.

“Now, we’re faced with the highest lake levels in the history of Sylvan Lake,” said Samson.

“What if we dredged all the sand up and we had a big storm? Where would the sand go? It could be gone in an instant.”

Staff have been asked to check into the issue and come back with a report.

There was much discussion at council about whether to ask residents in the upcoming census if they would like a new beach created.

Samson said there were concerns that the answer would inevitably be yes, but the town may not be able to deliver.

A report to council says that Alberta Parks has already said it would not support a dredged beach, which could create a sharp dropoff where the new beach ended.

Council has already approved a Plan B. This year’s budget includes $25,000 to create a manufactured beach somewhere in the green space on the lakeshore.

Exactly where it will go has not yet been decided, but it is expected to be ready for this swimming season.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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