Sylvan Lake marina expansion set for 2012

A project to expand and improve the Sylvan Lake Marina will not be launched until next fall.

A project to expand and improve the Sylvan Lake Marina will not be launched until next fall.

Sylvan Lake Harbour Ltd. is proposing to expand the marina to 205 slips from 180 and to widen the slips to accommodate larger boats.

The boat launch will also be widened to 12 metres and relocated.

“That has to be a winter project. So the earliest that would start would be fall, late fall in 2012,” said developer Al Laplante.

The project involves building a coffer dam and draining the marina to allow for construction.

However, it is only one part of an estimated $16.5-million project that would involve the construction of several condominium buildings overlooking the marina, a boardwalk and walking paths.

Preliminary plans, which were forwarded by the town to communities around the lake for comment recently, are not the final version. Laplante expects to release more details about what is planned in coming weeks.

The project sparked concerns at Lacombe County last week where planners expressed reservations that not enough environmental work had been done and there was too little public access and not enough open space preserved.

Laplante said all of the necessary background work has been done, including environmental assessments and visual impact studies.

“You can’t get Alberta Environment approval without those studies already being done,” he said.

“It’s extremely difficult without doing a tremendous amount of environmental work to get approvals from both the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Alberta Environment.”

The entire project is not expected to come before Sylvan Lake town council for a decision until next year.

“There are still a lot of steps to do between now and then,” he said. “With a project of this magnitude … it takes a long time to do the due diligence to make sure everybody’s got a say in it and get their feedback.”

The marina project stirred debate at a recent town council meeting because of a proposal to install wrought iron fencing around the boat facility.

Mayor Susan Samson said she was concerned that the fence would send the wrong message to the public.

“The marina, no matter what happens with the development, is meant to be an attractive, iconic property that invites people in, whether there’s condos in there or private boat slips, it’s meant to have public access,” said Samson.

It has been agreed that when construction begins, the site will be enclosed by a standard temporary chain-link fence.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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