Trout pond deal possible

Lacombe County expects to dangle an offer to keep a popular Eckville-area trout pond open. Ernie Beskowiney, who owns the land where the trout pond is located about eight km southeast of Eckville, approached county council in March to ask if the municipality was willing to take over maintenance of the fishing hole known as Niemela Trout Pond.

Lacombe County expects to dangle an offer to keep a popular Eckville-area trout pond open.

Ernie Beskowiney, who owns the land where the trout pond is located about eight km southeast of Eckville, approached county council in March to ask if the municipality was willing to take over maintenance of the fishing hole known as Niemela Trout Pond.

Sylvan Lake Fish and Game Association has long handled those duties but a dwindling and aging membership has left the group with a shortage of members able to do the mowing and site cleanup work necessary.

Vandalism has also become a problem and Beskowiney has concerns about liability.

Beskowiney said if someone can’t be found to oversee the trout pond site, which has a parking lot and picnic tables, he may have to close the site to the public.

The pond, which is stocked by the province, is regularly visited by anglers and the parking lot is often full on summer weekends.

Council recently discussed the issue and directed administration to negotiate a deal to buy or lease the pond.

“We’re exploring our options,” said County Reeve Ken Wigmore, who said there are a number of details to be worked out.

Council expressed some concern about investing in a facility that it doesn’t own, or at least have a long-term lease on.

The Eckville trout pond is not the only one in the county and supporting one may lead to expectations that the county will pump money into other sites, said Wigmore.

Beskowiney was pleased the county was considering an agreement to take over the pond.

“That’s great news,” he said. He hopes to lease the site and plans to meet with the county later this month.

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