The strip of beach provincially owned for many years now belongs to the Town of Sylvan Lake. The Government of Alberta approved the transfer of the park to the Town Jan. 17 for a dollar. Included in the transfer is a one-time funding allocation of $1.96 million from the Province to the Town to be used for park improvements and ongoing upkeep.
Mayor Sean McIntyre is thankful for the support from the province and is looking forward to the Sustainable Waterfront Area Redevelopment Plan being fully implemented.
“We are grateful for the provincial support of our efforts to increase access to Sylvan Lake, create opportunities to manage park visitor experience, and to contribute to our ongoing efforts to strengthen our local economy,” he said.
Long anticipated, the transfer will allow for the redevelopment plan to be fully implemented. The plan aims to bring more tourists into the community and encourage business growth.
Now that the property has been transferred, the Town will be able to promote, license and manage waterfront business activity and also authorize and manage large special events.
“We’re anticipating a complete, integrated plan for the entire waterfront area, with the goal of ensuring quality public access to the lakefront,” said McIntyre.
Over the years since Sylvan Lake was established as a provincial park in 1932, the Town has attracted tourists interested in enjoying the lake and about 72 businesses in town with products and services catering to tourism.
The average number of visitors to the Town between July and August every year is 761,223, with an economic impact of almost $75 million each year.
With the shared management of different parts of the waterfront property, it has been challenging to balance between two different standards. The Minister of Environment and Parks, Shannon Phillips said the transfer will allow for the Town to “fully explore the economic benefits” tourism can bring.
“Albertans love Sylvan Lake Provincial Park. This transfer will ensure the park remains available to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock there every year,” she said in the press release.
Since its initial designation as provincial park, the park has been passed back and forth between the town and the province two times with the park being transferred to the town early in the 1960’s and then back to the province in 1980.
As part of the terms in the transfer the land is only to be used for public recreation and will not be used for commercial or residential development.