Rickshaws ruled out

Rickshaws won’t likely be trundling the streets of Sylvan Lake this summer.

Rickshaws won’t likely be trundling the streets of Sylvan Lake this summer.

But Dale Plante, the local businessman and town councillor behind the proposal, isn’t giving up on the idea to introduce the human-powered taxis to the resort community.

A motion to amend the business licence bylaw to regulate and allow advertising on rickshaws and pedicabs was defeated on a tie 3-3 vote last week.

Plante, who could not participate in the debate or vote on the motion because of his interest in the proposal, was disappointed with the outcome and believes rickshaws would be a popular feature.

“Obviously, I see it is a really good thing for the town in terms of being able to create some more atmosphere down there for the rickshaws.”

Plante, who said he was speaking as a business person, said the vote reflects the town’s uncertainty about what it wants to see in the lakeshore, which is nearing the end of a dramatic multimillion-dollar makeover.

“I think the town needs to know what it wants down there and then move forward,” he said, adding business people need to know what sort of ventures the town would like to see.

Plante, who is a realtor, said since he aired his proposal several weeks ago, he’s had interest from three other communities that wanted to use the rickshaws for special events.

Other people have asked about using them for corporate gatherings and weddings.

A mobile rickshaw service that can travel to other communities has some business potential, but there still needs to be a home base, he said.

“I’ve done my research, I’ve done my homework, there are many, many communities with rickshaw service in them,” he said.

Among the concerns raised by council was the local RCMP’s opposition to rickshaws for safety reasons.

Plante believes safety is not a problem because traffic on Lakeshore Drive crawls along slowly in the summer.

Worries that rickshaw drivers could be faced with unruly drunken patrons would be addressed by having rickshaws off roads by 10 p.m.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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