Sylvan Lake town council has approved the construction of stairs providing access to the Lakeshore at 35th Street, following concerns from town residents that the project would be delayed until next year.
At its Aug. 25 regular meeting, council unanimously approved a budget increase for the $24,663 project, which will see wood stairs with wood rails installed at the site.
The project was first approved in May, at which time a $20,000 budget for the project was set.
Quotes received from contractors presented options of wood stairs with either wood or metal railing. With an engineering estimate included in the cost, both options exceeded the initial budget, and administration recommended deferring a decision on the matter until 2015 budget deliberations.
A tendering process would have been required, should the cost of the project have exceeded $25,000.
Town resident John Law, speaking as part of a delegation, said he felt area residents have waited long enough, and encouraged council to take action.
“We’ve been working on these stairs since May of 2013, and here we are at the end of summer 2014, and we still don’t have stairs,” he said. “To delay building them another year will only add to the cost. You won’t save any money by delaying another year.”
The $5,103 engineering estimate included in the cost, he felt, was “ludicrous.”
“In this case, (engineering fees) are 25 per cent of the cost you have budgeted,” he said. “All we’re after is some stairs. This isn’t the Taj Mahal.”
Gavin Fick, a property owner on 35th Street, said he was frustrated by the lengthy process it was taking to get the stairs in place.
“These stairs already exist (at other locations along the lakeshore),” he said. “We’re not asking for something new, and we’re not asking for something fancy, or anything other than what you’ve (already) put in there.”
Coun. Matt Prete said he felt the process was equally frustrating for councillors, who he feels have been doing their utmost to see the stairs installed.
“I think we’ve really bent over backwards to try and make this project a go,” he said. “This is not an entitlement; this is a request that was made to council, and council has tried to accommodate the residents down there the best that they can.”
Discussing the project as part of 2015 budget deliberations, he felt, would be the most prudent option.
Coun. Graham Parsons said he understood Prete’s uncertainty with the project, but felt it wouldn’t matter if the stairs were constructed now or in the future.
“I do agree on that fact that it isn’t an entitlement, but we did approve the project,” he said. “We’re going to spend the money whether it’s now or next spring, so let’s put this one to bed.”