Plans for new 250 slip marina, boat launch announced

A proposal for a new boat launch at 250 slip marina was publicly announced for the first time

A proposal for a new boat launch at 250 slip marina was publicly announced for the first time at Monday night’s Sylvan Lake council meeting.

The project will be located off the shore north of Wild Rapids Waterslide and Chateau Suites and include a floating breakwater and docks that will be held in place by screw piles in the bed of the lake. The boat launch would be on the west side of the waterslides. There will also be room for low draw pontoon boats like the Miss Mermaid, in the shallower part of the bay between the pier and waterslides.

Bert Messier with Bear Developments told councillors he and his partners, Clay and Brian Engel of Lakeview Contracting, began working on the project about four months ago. Mayor Susan Samson had been talking to him for more than a year about the need for more boat moorage, he explained.

Messier stressed the project is still at the ‘proposed’ stage because of all the obstacles that still have to be overcome.

They’re about 75-80 per cent there, he indicated, stating meetings have been held with various provincial departments and applications are being filed. He expects that if the process moves fast enough they will be operating by summer.

He chose to announce the project now stating, “let’s finish this year with something positive”.

“The biggest asset the town has is the lake,” Messier told the News in an exclusive interview Monday morning. “With no access it’s totally underutilized. People are coming here to take advantage of the water. This lake should be the water skiing capital of Alberta or something. There are so many things people should be doing.”

Announcing the project locally, he said, “people who live in the Sylvan Lake area should have the first crack at getting a slip”.

By creating new reasonably priced moorage slips, Messier believes they can reduce the number of daily launches and relieve congestion in the downtown area. “There’s a lot of traffic in and out during the day because people can’t get a slip. I think we can cut that down by at least 50 per cent.”

The plan is to have qualified staff who will disconnect trailers and launch boats because “one thing we’ve discovered is a lot of people don’t know how to back up a boat trailer”.

For those who do launch for a short period of time there will be trailer parking available in the waterslide lot or if there’s not enough space they may have to erect a storage rack beside the western fence.

An area just north of the waterslide is proposed for future development.

That could be used as a ‘meet and greet’ location, and may have such amenities as washrooms and storage lockers. They’ll have gas available and are considering a sewage pumping system for boats.

A six foot wide boardwalk is planned around the lake side of the waterslide property to connect with the boardwalk in front of Chateau Suites.

Asked about the floating docks and breakwater, Messier said in the fall they’ll be floated into the bay close to Chateau Suites where they’ll be left to freeze into the ice close to the boardwalk.

Messier said Sylvan Bay Marina, the name of the development, has priority applications now available for a moorage license for five or ten year terms. That gets a person a slip which is 10 feet wide and either 22 or 26 feet in length.

The license fee for a five year term is $7,500 for a 22 foot slip and $8,800 for a 26 foot slip. The ten year term is $12,000 and $14,000 respectively for 22 or 26 foot slips. The application also provides the opportunity to terminate the five year agreement after three years and receive a partial refund and the ten year agreement after five years.

Besides the license fee, slip users will be required to pay an annual moorage fee which would be determined prior to execution of the license agreement and based on costs to operate the marina.

The licenses are non-transferable.

Already about 20 per cent of the project has been spoken for. Messier’s plans include 150 slips in the first phase and 100 slips in the second phase but they could all be installed at once if demand is evident. “We need to know how many people are for real,” he said, indicating the screw piles to anchor the dock system could all be done over the winter.

Applications are available at the Bear Development office on the main floor of Chateau Suites immediately east of Bayview Market. For more information, Messier may be contacted by email at

“Everybody we’ve talked to is very supportive,” said Messier who added he’s been involved in Sylvan Lake for the past 15 years and always finishes a project he takes on.

His partners have been doing shoreline stabilization and reclamation work around the lake for many years and are familiar with various provincial government requirements. This will be his last project, Messier said.

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