File Photo.

Town of Sylvan Lake to start opening public amenities May 14

“We need to relaunch with much more caution, so not to attract those summertime crowds.”

The Town of Sylvan Lake released its local relaunch plan on Friday morning.

Stage One of the plan to relaunch public amenities commences May 14 shadowing the province’s plan.

“When rolling out our local relaunch plan, we acknowledge that residents may compare it to other communities; however, our circumstances are very different,” Rob Lebsack, director of emergency services, says in a release from the Town.

“We have a unique challenge in that we attract tens of thousands of visitors to our community throughout the months of May through September,” he explained. “Because of this, we need to relaunch with much more caution, so not to attract those summertime crowds – potentially putting the health of our residents at risk.”

In the first stage the off-leash dog park, disc golf park and skate park will be re-opening with guidelines, states a release from the Town.

On May 14 the off-leash dog park will open with signage to reinforce physical distancing, disinfectant stations at each entrance, and increased attendance by Municipal Enforcement and staff to monitor usage and distancing requirements.

Weekly cleaning of items such as benches, garbage containers and fire hydrants will also take place.

A maximum of 14 people will be allowed at one time in the skate park as of the May 14 commencement with formal staff supervision to ensure compliance with public health orders.

The fencing will remain up and weekly cleanings of items will also be carried out.

The disc golf park will also be monitored by Municipal Enforcement and Town staff.

Additionally, the fencing from every second picnic table and caution tape from benches and chairs in the lakefront parks will be removed.

No mass group gatherings are permitted and the picnic shelters will remain closed alongside the waterfront parking lots and public washrooms.

“Snow fencing along waterfront remains as a visual deterrent for mass gatherings and crowds,” says the Municipal COVID-19 Relaunch Plan.

Cleaning will take place weekly and extra signage to encourage distancing will be added.

Lakefront leaseholders are allowed to open in Stage One, but vendors are responsible in managing physical distancing and disinfecting.

Food trucks and mobile vending can submit permit applications to the Planning and Development Department.

Municipal facilities and playgrounds will remain closed until Stage Two.

The Town is continuing to echo the advice of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw that non-essential travel is not recommended at this time, states the release.

With the relaunch in action the key message to Sylvan Lakers is “that public health orders are still necessary and still required.”

The relaunch plan is subject to change should local health and safety conditions change, adds the release.

The Town’s Stage Two plans will be triggered when the provincial government announces a date for their second stage.

“The Province has indicated open playgrounds require sanitization every three hours, as well as supervision to ensure Public Health Orders are in place; with 23 playgrounds in the community, we are simply not prepared for that at this time,” said Lebsack in the release.

“As for washrooms and parking lots, keeping these amenities closed is key to keeping visitor numbers low.”

Stage Two, which has a to be determined timeline, will include the opening of public washrooms and parking lots in lakefront parks with regulations.

Playgrounds and municipal facilities will also re-open with adjustments at this time, but sports fields will remain closed.

The final stage, Stage Three, will be a full re-open in coordination with the Province. Any restrictions identified by the government will be in place.

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