The prospect of Sylvan Lake once again enjoying a wide sandy beach has not been washed away by town council and plans are underway to lobby the province to help with the thousands of dollars needed for the project.
At its Monday meeting council unanimously agreed to ask the government to help maintain and restore the provincial park which includes the beach area.
However, even though Mayor Sean McIntyre said the restoration of the beach is a project he holds near to his heart, lobbying for an urgent care facility will remain council’s number one priority.
“Our lobbying priorities haven’t changed,” he said later. “We need to continue to work with the province for urgent care. That will remain our biggest pursuit.”
Before voting unanimously on the decision to lobby the government for more than $900,000 to offset costs associated with the beach enhancement project, council voiced several concerns and suggestions.
“It’s frustrating,” said Coun. Jas Payne. “I don’t understand why the province can’t see the sea wall is the problem. “And I’m not sure what lobbying will do.”
The first stage of the sea wall was built by the Province in 1973 and the second stage was built in 1976.
The wall interrupted the natural flow of the lake and caused the sand to recede back into the lake. McIntyre said further evidence of this is indicated by photos of the beach taken in 1988 which show the sand levels by the sea wall to be much higher than they are now.
Coun. Dale Plante expressed scepticism about lobbying.
“We can lobby, but I’m not convinced it’s going to make any difference,” he said.
Plante suggested the town look at creating a beach above the sea wall.
“If the water levels drop, we’re still winning,” he said.
Coun. Matt Prete suggested a study to determine the integrity of the sea wall would be timely.
“It is the only angle I see that we haven’t checked out,” he said.
In his report to council, Ron Lebsack, director of community services said administration does not recommend moving ahead with the project.
“The anticipated cost and work required to produce the studies to get approvals, and construct and maintain the beach is not in the three-year budget and we are not aware of any alternate funding sources,” he said in his report.
Projected costs included $720,000 for a dredging contractor, $30,000 for mobilization/demobilization, $60,000 for dredging contingency at eight per cent, $120,000 for an environmental review and feasibility study, $20,000 for an engineering report on the sea wall and $14,000 for a public survey.
Projected costs estimates for upkeep and maintenance of the beach enhancement are around $122,000 annually.