This dog appears to be looking longingly at the water. Sylvan Lake has asked residents in a survey if they think the town needs a spot for dogs to paddle in the lake and the response has been huge. Black Press file photo

Sylvan Lake dog swimming area decision on hold while vision for the lakefront is developed

A big summer lineup of concerts and outdoor movie nights planned

Sylvan Lake dog lovers panting for a lakeside spot to take their pets for a swim will likely have to wait until fall for a town council decision.

There was strong support in a recent survey for setting aside a spot on the lake where dogs could go for a dip, with 80 per cent in favour.

However, it looks like a summer swim is not going to happen after council voted to defer a decision until consultants have completed their work on developing an overall vision for the lakefront area. That is not expected to be completed until the fall.

Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said dog lake access is just one of many ideas that are being considered to improve the lakefront experience.

If it goes ahead, council must decide where to allow dog access and whether it should be an off- or on-leash area and fenced or not.

Building large firepits that people could gather around in the winter months, and that could be used as charcoal-dumping stations for barbecues in the summer, has also been proposed.

The town is also looking at what sorts of barbecue amenities could be installed and how tents — which are proving popular with lakefront visitors, including large groups — should be handled.

Sylvan Lake, which draws more than a million visitors a year, has been embarking on a major effort to take full advantage of the community’s recreational and visitor potential.

Council approved the purchase of a $206,000 portable stage and up to $94,000 on all of the stage, audio and lighting equipment needed.

The cost will be offset by $100,000 turned over to the town years ago by the now-defunct Heart of Town Association, a local business booster group. The money was earmarked for a band shell, however, a mobile stage is seen as a better option.

“The stage is a big deal for us,” said Gaudet. “We’ll be working on a fee schedule and a bylaw, and it inevitably will become something the public can rent from us for events.”

The custom-made stage from Edmonton’s Stageline Mobile Inc. and FM Systems is expected to arrive in September.

Gaudet said the town has lots of projects in the works.

“We’ve got a really cool summer planned with a series of events,” she said. “We’re going to be having regular Centennial Street artisan markets (on Saturdays).

“This will expand our ability to do a better job at some of those outdoor events and, hopefully, attract new ones.”

Regular outdoor movie nights and outdoor concerts are also planned, while popular attractions such as Food Truck Thursdays will continue.

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