Black Press file photo

Town of Sylvan Lake defers dog access to lake decision to autumn

Council will wait to make a decision on the project until the vision for the lake area is completed

Sylvan Lake residents will have to wait a little longer for a potential dog access point to the lake.

At the April 8 regular meeting of Council, Sylvan Lake’s town council decided to table a decision on the project until later this year.

Town staff and council agreed it was best to wait to designate an area for this purpose until the Consolidated Vision of the Lakefront Strategy is completed.

Lee Furlotte, parks manager, said the main objective for the strategy is to create a vision for the land and water in Sylvan Lake Park.

The strategy will look at boat mooring, motorized vs non-motorized areas, commercial lease areas, mobile vending locations and dog access to the water.

“As the dog access to water is just one of many components that will be identified and planned during the ‘Strategy’ project, administration is recommending to defer the selection of a proposed dog access location until the Strategy is completed (fall 2019), to avoid any potential conflicts with future use,” the council package states.

The Town has engaged residents in consultation on the project, most recently at an open house where residents were asked to give their feedback on three possible location concepts.

The majority of those who responded from the open house survey said they would support a dog access to the water location. Roughly 81 per cent of the surveys responded yes.

Only 14 per cent said they would not support an access point for dogs and their handlers.

About 61 per cent of the surveyed results, 290 responses, said they envision an off-leash area for dogs.

In total the Town received 495 completed surveys and five written letters.

Most of those surveyed also said they prefer Concept No. 3, which is located at Lighthouse Park.

Furlotte gave Council pros and cons for each location. For the location at Lighthouse Park, the favoured location by residents, the cons include it being a busy location, it is the smallest site of the three at 600 square feet, and ReIMAGE Sylvan has identified that location as a possible location for future boat traffic.

With being the smallest site, Lighthouse Park would also come with the smallest price tag. Staff estimate it would cost roughly $19,750 to turn that location into an off-leash park.

Town staff also reached out to Alberta Health Services for their position on the project. They responded by saying there is no health concerns with having a dog-friendly beach area.

The dog access location is expected to come back to Town Council this fall.

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