The Town of Sylvan Lake is working with seven other municipalities to create a plan which will promote cooperation and partnership in the area.
The Alberta Government has made it a requirement for municipalities to create a intermunicipal development plan (IDP) with each municipality they share a common border with.
With the lake in the centre of it all, Sylvan Lake shares a border with seven municipalities.
With the plan now mandatory, Sylvan Lake and surrounding municipalities thought it would be a better option to have one plan for all areas affected rather than eight separate ones.
Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre said it made more sense for the municipalities around the lake to work together to create one intermunicipal development plan.
“When we all sat down we found we shared many of the same concerns and plans for the future,” explained McIntyre.
“So we decided it made more sense to share one plan for all of us.”
This is a unique outcome, most others are creating separate plans for each municipality. However, some are working together to create similar plans, though they will ultimately be separated out into individual plans with each affected municipality.
The Town of Sylvan Lake will partner with Lacombe County, Red Deer County, the Summer Villages of Birchcliff, Half Moon Bay, Jarvis Bay, Norglenwold and Sunbreaker Cove to create its IDP.
McIntyre says this plan is important for the municipalities involved because it will have an impact on some decision making in each town and county over the next 20 years.
“This plan will ultimately affect things like our Land Use Bylaws and subdivision plans,” said McIntyre. “It will sit even above our own municipal development plan.”
McIntyre does clarify that the plan will not directly affect each municipality. He says it is a plan more for the space in between, or areas that are used by each municipality.
The IDP will help municipalities plan for future land development, inter municipal programs and services, economic development and event environmental impact.
“It isn’t just the municipalities this will affect, but also the watershed. So if a farmer has his runoff end in the lake he will ultimately be effected by this plan as well,” said McIntyre.
The eight municipalities are still in the beginning stages of creating this 20 year plan. McIntyre says there is still a lot of work still to be done, and it will be a couple years before the IDP is finished and put into practise.
At the moment the plan is still in the “understanding” phase, and municipalities are looking at issues each share while also asking residents about their concerns.
McIntyre says one concern he has heard repeatedly in regards to the plan is access to the lake.
Residents are being asked to participate in a survey to help the municipalities better understand what issues are important to its residents.
A survey can be taken online at www.sylvanlakeidp.ca and is available until Dec. 9 at 5 p.m.