Fireside on Lakeshore Drive was one of the three restaurants to take advantage of the weekend closure to motor vehicles by setting up a sidewalk patio. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake/News

Sylvan Lake extends weekend closure of Lakeshore Drive to vehicles through long weekend

The Lakeshore Drive Closure and Sidewalk Café Initiative has been extended to include Sept. 5-6

The partial closure of Lakeshore Drive to motor vehicles on the weekends has been such a success, the Town is extending it through the long weekend.

Town Council passed the motion to add another week to the closure, Monday night, as recommended by Town staff.

Amanda Mercer, economic development officer with the Town of Sylvan Lake, says overall the endeavour has been seen as a success.

“In speaking with local businesses along the affected area, we were told that the Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend would be the preference, as on the Monday people are packing up and leaving,” Mercer said during her presentation to Council.

The Lakeshore Drive Closure was put into place as a way to counteractive potential overcrowding along the lakeshore, and give people more space to move around.

READ MORE: Sylvan Lake closing Lakeshore Drive to vehicles over the weekends in August

The closure also gave local restaurants the chance to expand their patios on to the sidewalk. Three restaurants successfully applied to extend their patios during the weekends.

“Most businesses said that they loved the closure and that it was going great! They noted that their customers enjoyed being able to sit out on the sidewalk cafe’s and that they enjoyed the scenery,” Mercer said.

Business owners who set up sidewalk patios mentioned they wished they were able to play music outside, and those with more elaborate setups stated they would scale the patios back if the program returned next summer.

Businesses with the patios also felt customers were very respectful, according to Mercer.

Mercer says the restaurants who chose not to participate did so because of time constraints.

“We gave them about a five day notice, so it was just a little too close for some businesses,” she said.

Many of the councillors said they had positive feedback about the street closure.

Coun. Teresa Rilling said she has “heard really good things about the program.”

“Many people who I have spoken too expressed the wish to see it back again next year,” Rilling said.

Council approved the closure of Lakeshore drive on weekends throughout August at the July 27 meeting.

Lakeshore Drive is closed to motor vehicles on weekends from 8 a.m. Saturday to 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Lakeshore Drive Closure and Sidewalk Café Initiative will continue this weekend and over the Labour Day weekend, Sept. 5-6.

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