Sylvan Lake Town Council is considering their options to make the lakeshore a more appealing and safe location for locals and visitors.
Council is looking to create a vision for the lakeshore area, which may include restricting the usage and types of tents along the shore for day use.
According to Lee Furlotte, parks manager with the Town, there have been two formal complaints about tents along the lakeshore this past summer.
“But we all know that two formal complaints equals 200 informal complaints that have been made,” said Coun. Megan Chernoff Hanson.
At the Monday night meeting of Council, Furlotte gave a report which was in favour of restricting the sizes and types of tents and umbrellas used for shade.
However Council worried about the message the Town would be sending if they were to simply restrict tents.
Coun. Hanson suggested the Town take its time in implementing a restriction to make sure it was done in a positive way.
“I don’t want to see signs around the lake that says you can’t do this or this or that,” said Hanson. “We need to make sure we are still and inviting community.”
Coun. Teresa Rilling agreed adding Sylvan Lake is a family destination.
With a negative stand point on tents and shading implements Rilling believes the Town is sending the message they don’t families and visitors to enjoy the lake.
“We need to be careful on how we put this into practise,” said Rilling.
Council and administration will be working towards creating a new vision that spans across lakeshore in tandem with the current ReImagine Sylvan Lake over the next while.
It is expected Town staff will keep a close eye on the lakeshore over the next tourist season to bring back more statistics so Council could make a more informed decision.
While Council recognizes something needs to be done along the lake in terms of the large tents sometimes seen there, they say it is something that can wait and be done properly.
However, there is a safety concern on the lakeshore that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Council and Town staff are concerned with the use of charcoal barbecues.
This is a danger, Furlotte says, because many people are not disposing of them properly.
Often people are leaving the hot coals in piles on the grass or under trees.
“My staff also deal with fires in the disposal bins,” said Furlotte. “It is a safety concern and that is why I am recommending banning the use of charcoal barbecues.”
Coun. Jas Payne is also in favour of banning charcoal barbecues, along with four other councillors.
He says he has seen first hand the dangers the barbecues can hold.
“I’ve had to put out a fire in a garbage can, not our disposal bins, because someone put their hot coals in there,” said Payne.
Before making an official decision on charcoal barbecues, Council requested more information from Furlotte.
An official decision on charcoal barbecues is expected to be made before the next tourist season.