Lakeshore Drive was first closed to motor vehicles in the summer of 2020. File photo

Lakeshore Drive was first closed to motor vehicles in the summer of 2020. File photo

Lakeshore Drive will close again this summer

The downtown patio program will offer added space for businesses and patrons alike

A full-time closure of Sylvan Lake’s Lakeshore Drive will allow patio expansion space to about a dozen businesses this summer.

Following success in the past, the town council approved a complete closure of Lakeshore Drive from 50 Street to 46 Street during the May 9 council meeting. The program will be in place from June 21 to September 5.

Mayor Megan Hanson said the initiative will create additional space for residents and visitors to gather.

“We expect yet another busy summer in Sylvan Lake and it will be great to be able to walk alongside your family with space for strollers and wagons,” Hanson said. “We hope to see the activation of the space as well through buskers or other activities which adds another reason to make an afternoon or evening of strolling our lakeshore and popping into a downtown business.”

The program will allow businesses along the designated stretch to apply for an expansion onto the sidewalk directly in front.

In support of the road closure program, council amended and approved the budget allocation of $15,000 to $18,500 from the 2022 operating budget. Any extra funds will be used for other recreation, culture, and tourism programs throughout the summer.

Administration estimates a revenue loss of $33,000 from the closure of paid parking stalls between 50 Street to 46 Street.

As a way to counteract potential overcrowding along the lakeshore, the council first approved the closure of Lakeshore Drive during the summer of 2020.

“The feedback we received from both businesses and residents was overwhelmingly positive when we did a trial run of this program during the pandemic. This year, we are excited to add programming to the space and improve pedestrian traffic flows.”

At this time, the town hasn’t received any expansion requests from businesses outside of Lakeshore Drive. However, those interested to apply would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.