Months of planning and public discussion and input has finally culminated in draft designs and plans for the waterfront area.
The Town of Sylvan Lake held an open house at the NexSource Centre Thursday night to discuss the plans and ideas for the area.
The ideas presented are only drafts, according to Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre, and are not the final representation of the area.
“From here we will take the feed back from the town and do some tweaking and fine tuning,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre said the open house was part of Phase Three out of four. The “final phase” is expected to take place throughout the remainder of the year.
Phase Four will include a “post-workshop” before the final plan is adopted.
Though, don’t expect all the planned changes to occur with a snap of the fingers, McIntyre said.
“This is a 20 year project. It will be done in phases. You won’t see it all done and changed over night,” he explained.
Principals behind the planned waterfront changes include making the lake the heart of the community, protecting natural areas while also making a memorable setting full of local services and community gatherings and the arts.
The plan, according to McIntyre, will also bring more people to the downtown core to live and work.
“That is my favourite part. The downtown is the heart of the community, and to have people living and working there… It makes me happy and excited,” said McIntyre.
Part of the plan includes creating a public transit system which will act as a shuttle from parking areas to the beach area.
In the downtown area, the plan proposes to convert alleyways into pedestrian shopping areas. This would be similar to Calgary’s Stephan’s Avenue.
When planning the updates to the waterfront, the Town listened to the residents and what they would like to see. For instance, residents described the waterfront area as sandless, outdated, boring and dirty.
“We have actively seeking the public’s input on the waterfront, and we incorporated what we learned into our new plans,” said McIntyre. “We will then use what we learned [from the open house] and tweak it some more.”
The waterfront plan includes a plaza area at the current Lakeshore Park, more beach and sanded areas with beach enclaves and an extended pier.
There are also many of of opportunities for private investment. Potential private investments include an events centre and a facility which could include a theatre.
“When you look at the proposed map, anything coloured in red is actually private investments. That means it would be something that would not potentially increase taxes for the town,” said McIntyre.
Having private investment in the waterfront helps to keep the area sustainable, according to McIntyre.
Currently the Town is in looking further into the potential of a dog park in the waterfront area.