(More from the mayor’s forum last Friday night.)
The town should own a boat launch, mayoralty candidate Melesa Starcheski said.
“We should have addressed that 50 years ago,” she said. “That’s part of the problem, we’re always trying to catch up.”
“The marina has always been and will always be privately owned,” said Susan Samson. “I don’t know if it would have been a good use of our tax money.”
Commenting on the price to launch a boat, she said the town can’t dictate the price just as a person can’t go into Sobeys and dictate a price for an item.
To alleviate parking in the area of the marina, the town took down signs that said no over-length parking was allowed on Lakeshore Drive so boats and trailers can still use the parking spaces, she said.
The town is also working with Lacombe and Red Deer counties and the summer villages to look at a proper launch at Range Road 21, Samson said. “We’ve applied for a regional grant to develop a plan for that. It would be accessible for day use, with picnic tables, washrooms, and so on.”
Sean McIntyre said there’s no municipally owned land along the lakeshore, it’s either owned by the province or privately owned. A study was done several years ago to develop a public boat launch, “we were looking at about $10 million to make that happen. We’re also looking at parking, unfortunately with the value of property in Sylvan Lake, that’s not an easy problem to solve.”
He added there’s no law that says if a developer proposed another launch it couldn’t happen.
Starcheski, during rebuttal, said one of the problems is people aren’t necessarily going to stop in town to eat after they’ve been on a boat all day because there’s no place to park. “Just because the county is addressing it doesn’t mean the problem is fixed.”
“There’s no doubt we may see a drop in people coming in for dinner,” agreed McIntyre. “There are better solutions, they cost money, we have to decide who pays for it, the municipality or private developers.”