Sylvan Lake is creating a vision for its waterfront in anticipation of taking over the provincial park.
Town council awarded a $187,360 contract to McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. this week to develop the Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan. The town expects to put about $144,000 in federal and provincial funding towards the project.
The redevelopment plan will update a similar plan approved in 2006. Work had already begun on an update in 2015 when a pair of significant events occurred.
Wild Rapid Waterslides closed and the land was sold to the town, which has turned it into a temporary park. As well, negotiations picked up speed with the province to turn over control of the Sylvan Lake Provincial Park to the town.
“It was recognized that it would be a missed opportunity not to include these important properties if the project were to continue without the finalization of these lands becoming town-owned,” says a report that went to council.
Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said consultants will be going to the public numerous times to gather feedback and input on proposals before anything gets final approval from council.
“They are leading the way for the public consultation process on the future of that lakefront park,” she said. The plan will extend beyond the park to cover the entire waterfront area.
The town envisions a “connected waterfront,” said Gaudet. “The product of this will be a vision, so to speak, of what that waterfront looks like and what that park will have,” she said.
“A secondary process on how to implement that vision will come much later,” she said.
“(The plan) doesn’t mean that we’re building it.”
It is expected the plan will provide recommendations on how the parks will be developed with an eye on what the town can realistically afford.
Meanwhile, the town is waiting to hear from the province on when the park will change hands.
A formal request was made to the provincial government to turn over the shoreline park to the town earlier this year. A similar deal was made in 2009 when Centennial Park, which is on the south side of the present boardwalk, was transferred to the municipality.
Taking over the park is seen by town council as an opportunity to diversify the economy and boost public recreation and tourism.
As part of the deal, the town will also ask the Alberta government for $1.96 million, which would cover future upkeep costs.