Better boat launch access needed

As a Red Deer County taxpayer and frequent user of the Half Moon Bay (Rural Route 21) boat launch for the past 10 years, I feel the need to “wade” in on the subject of closing the Rural Route 21 boat launch.

As a Red Deer County taxpayer and frequent user of the Half Moon Bay (Rural Route 21) boat launch for the past 10 years, I feel the need to “wade” in on the subject of closing the Rural Route 21 boat launch.

One of the issues linked with Red Deer County’s attempt to close this launch is garbage and litter left behind. Many more people use this area than just boaters (the little beach area may currently be the longest on Sylvan Lake). Most boaters take their refuse home in the boat.

About one year ago, as I was loading my boat onto the trailer, I witnessed a small shiny, dark-coloured car come from the cabin area towards the lake. The car turned and stopped near the onsite garbage can, a well-dressed woman got out and deposited a large bag of domestic/household in the already-full can and left. If summer villages do not have garbage pickup, and people choose to make their cabins their second homes, they should be responsible for their garbage, not Red Deer County taxpayers.

At a time when Lacombe County and other Central Alberta lakes are building new boat launches and promoting use of their lakes, Red Deer County and the Town of Sylvan Lake are attempting to restrict access for local boaters and visitors to the south half of the lake.

The developers have done a great job of making the $40 launch very user unfriendly. Boaters have to make a blind right hand corner as they approach their trailer. Different types of boats steer very differently at slow speeds, and there is no truck/trailer parking provided for that $40.

The average working person getting home around 6 p.m. has less than one hour to take their kids fishing and be off the launch property by 7 p.m. Is this the kind of family town we want? Pigeon Lake Provincial Park has a great boat and parking (free too!).

Myself and others enjoyed taking our boats (and business) there this summer. We feel the town of Sylvan is forcing locals and tourists to take their business elsewhere (check closed buildings and vacant lots downtown). We would prefer to enjoy our time locally. Many friends who have visited Sylvan frequently in the summer now go to Pine, Gleniffer and Ghost lakes, etc.

Elections are soon, it is time for taxpayers to make their vote count.

PS. In most democratic societies, the locally-elected officials have a duty to lobby (for their constituents) the governing departments, provincially and federally. These include Alberta Transportation (highways, intersections, traffic control lights), Alberta Heath Services (urgent care and hospitals), and Oceans and Fisheries Canada (water level control). The City of Calgary has stated that it is going to “work” on the Bow River, I suspect they will not take a lot of advice from Oceans and Fisheries.

Ken Somerville

Red Deer County

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