Town’s cost for lakefront operations pegged at $83,300

The approximate cost for town operations along the lakefront was estimated at about $83,000 in a report provided

The approximate cost for town operations along the lakefront was estimated at about $83,000 in a report provided to councillors at their meeting Oct. 22.

Ron Lebsack, director of leisure and protective services, collated the figures at council’s request because 2012 was the first full season of operating the lakefront since major upgrade work has been completed on Lakeshore Drive and Centennial Park.

The costs were related to ongoing operations of the park and not related to final stages of construction, said his report.

Park maintenance for Centennial Park and Sylvan Lake Provincial Park was pegged at $120,000. That was offset by revenue from the provincial government under a maintenance contract for the provincial park of $81,850. Centennial Park is under the town’s jurisdiction.

Other costs included the Beach Ambassador program at $44,750 and promotions at $400. Within the Beach Ambassador figure, said Lebsack, was the cost of their hut at roughly $12,000.

With those costs the approximate total operating costs for 2012 were pegged at $83,300.

Lebsack’s report noted “Centennial Park and lakefront maintenance includes staffing and material supply costs associated with garbage collection, washroom cleaning and maintenance, weeding and shrub maintenance, playground maintenance and mowing of the provincial park turf areas. Breakdown between provincial park and the town’s Centennial Park is approximately 70 per cent or $84,000 to provincial park and 30 per cent or $36,000 to the town’s Centennial Park.

Betty Osmond, the town’s chief administrative officer, said in her Sept. 10 report to council that with warm weather and large crowds on the lakefront garbage collection and general maintenance is a 14 hour a day task. “We are currently removing in excess of a dumpster of garbage each day. This first year of operation is a learning period and we are adjusting and improving our process as the summer progresses.”

“We should take a look at the Beach Ambassador program and see if it’s still viable,” suggested Councillor Laverne Asselstine. “It was brought in for a specific reason. Now that construction is pretty well built out is it necessary.”

Councillor Dale Plante said he felt the Beach Ambassador program is “going to be more important in the next three to five years”.

“When we roll out a tourism strategy we’re going to need more public relations people that just have them to steer people into parking lots.” he said.

Councillor Sean McIntyre also felt the Beach Ambassadors could help educate people about bylaws, otherwise it’s left to parks patrols.

The report was accepted for information and will be discussed during budget deliberations.