Sylvan Lake councillors approved plans for reorientation of the boat slips at the marina during their meeting Monday night after hearing concerns from an unhappy businessperson.
The reorientation will see docks running east to west with a travel lane on the west side of the marina, instead of the current north-south configuration for the docks. The change maintains the same number of boat slips (179) as proposed in earlier plans.
“The applicant has indicated the reorientation is required to streamline functionality and provide a safer design for boat traffic areas,” according to a report provided to councillors by Tim Schmidt, director of planning and development.
He added in reviewing the application for council that the project includes installation of sheet piling along the north side of the marina, adjacent to land that will become a municipal reserve in the future, and changing the launching area.
Cynthia Giguere, of Sylvan Cruises, filed a written objection before council and spoke to her objection.
She indicated in her written submission the plan “is in direct contravention to the contracted lease to moor the Miss Mermaid at its current docking spot. This plan completely ignores this legally binding contract which does not expire until July 2014.”
The lease was one of the conditions of her purchase of the boat in 2004. A caveat is on the property’s land title listing the lease, she said.
Giguere said the 46 feet long boat needs turning space to be able to moor and the 40 foot channel proposed doesn’t provide the needed turning radius.
“There’s no way we can operate the vessel in that marina plan. If we can’t turn the boat around we can’t operate it. 40 feet is absolutely unworkable,” Giguere said.
Asked about the Zoo Cruise’s future, Giguere said she didn’t mention it because she doesn’t have a lease for its use of the marina. But she indicated both would no longer be able to operate.
“I sympathize,” said Councillor Graham Parsons. But he added, “I don’t know what we can do about it. There has to be a solution to this problem going forward.”
He suggested, “maybe it’s time to open discussion of a day marina between the waterslide and pier.” He’d noted there were plans for something in that area a number of years ago.
“This council values the business you are doing. I think our goal would be to look at other options,” Mayor Susan Samson told Giguere.
Asked for advice, Schmidt said the legal issue and the development issue are totally separate. “The town doesn’t have the ability to deal with a caveat that it is not party to.”
Giguere said, “I’m absolutely shocked that legal and moral obligations aren’t taken into account on every development.”
Councillors then voted unanimously to approve the development permit to allow work on the marina to proceed.
Councillors Ken MacVicar, Sean McIntyre and Dale Plante were absent from the meeting.
Work on the marina is scheduled to begin this fall and be completed by spring. This is the first step in a plan approved in May by council that will also see condominiums and commercial rental space built on a portion of the property.