Taking over Sylvan Lake Provincial Park not costly says town

Town staff did some number crunching after concerns raised about cost of taking over park

Red Deer Advocate file photo

Taking over a lakeside provincial park won’t be a drain on taxes, says the Town of Sylvan Lake.

Concerns about the financial impact of taking over Sylvan Lake Provincial Park were raised by a local resident at town council’s April 10 meeting.

The town has made a formal request to the province for the park, but no decision has been made. A provincial 60-day public consultation period began in mid-March.

Town community service director Ron Lebsack responded to the resident in a letter included in council’s agenda for Monday night’s meeting.

Lebsack says that the town’s proposal to take over the park comes with a $1.96 million request, a figure arrived at after calculating 10 years of operating and capital upgrades to the park.

The number is based on what the province pays the town now to oversee and maintain the park from May to October, plus an inflation increase.

If the province approves the town’s request, about $370,000 would be used for immediate upgrades to the park. Another $115,000 would go towards annual operating expenses. Just under $1.5 million would go into a reserve fund for future projects.

A visitor pay parking program rolled out this year is also expected to be a revenue generator in about five years, after equipment and start-up costs have been paid off. That money is earmarked for downtown maintenance and upkeep, including the parks.

“This funding allocation model, along with increased efficiencies in the town’s operating model over time, are projected to to require little to no tax impact to residents for the acquisition of Sylvan Lake Provincial Park,” sums up Lebsack.

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