Lake access key for Lacombe County

Lacombe County is opposing plans by Red Deer County to close a road at the shoreline of a popular Sylvan Lake boat launch

Lacombe County is opposing plans by Red Deer County to close a road at the shoreline of a popular Sylvan Lake boat launch, which Red Deer County says is frequently misused and abused.

Bylaw No. 2013/1 was given first reading by Red Deer County council on Jan. 15, and, if passed, would see the closure of Range Road 21 where it meets the Sylvan Lake shoreline near the Summer Village of Half Moon Bay.

Red Deer County legislative services manager Nancy Lougheed, in a letter to Lacombe County commissioner Terry Hager, noted that the road, which leads directly into the lake, has been a popular site for launching boats in recent years, but lacks proper facilities such as garbage disposal, parking and washrooms.

Red Deer County is looking at installing a barrier at the end of the road, which would allow access to the lake by foot only.

But Lacombe County is against the proposed closure, and feels that the use of the site as a boat launch alleviates congestion at other public lake access points.

“We’ve been really focusing our efforts on attempting to find additional access points onto Sylvan Lake and expanding the existing access points, and we just don’t see the closure of this particular location as benefiting that cause,” said Lacombe County manager of corporate services Tim Timmons.

Timmons added that Red Deer County’s concerns regarding the road were acknowledged by Lacombe County, which has previously experienced similar problems with other lake access points.

Closing the Range Road 21 access point, however, he said would only compound Lacombe County’s lake access issues.

“We respect their concerns, but in the overall interest of access to the lake, we would encourage them to maintain (the lake access point).”

Lacombe County council at its Feb. 14 regular meeting approved a resolution to encourage Red Deer County to not approve the bylaw, and will have an elected official present at the bylaw’s public hearing on March 5.