Loaner lifejacket program to be available at provincial park next summer

A plan by the province to provide lifejackets through the town’s Beach Ambassador’s hut was heartily endorsed by Sylvan Lake councillors

A plan by the province to provide lifejackets through the town’s Beach Ambassador’s hut was heartily endorsed by Sylvan Lake councillors Monday night.

Alberta Parks and Lifesaving Society representatives spoke to councillors earlier this year about the Kids Don’t Float lifejacket loaner station and requested the town’s participation.

The program has been implemented in a number of other provincial parks around Alberta. Kiosks in other locations are unsupervised and lifejackets available on an honour system. Due to the higher population around Sylvan Lake Provincial Park, the provincial department asked for the town’s assistance to ensure success of the program and supervise the loaner process.

A written report to council, by communications officer Joanne Gaudet, indicated the town has determined the best course of action will be to have beach ambassadors supervise the station in their hut. The supervised program would be accessible Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A few life preservers may be accessible during hours outside of the beach ambassador hours.

“The beach ambassador staff is already a relatively consistent presence on the beach and has shown an interest and ability to assist in the program. Beach ambassadors will have the minimally added responsibility of recording the condition of each life preserver once a week.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve participation of the beach ambassadors and the town in the Kids Don’t Float program “with responsibilities and service levels not to exceed those identified in this report”.