Having read the call to embrace changes, I decided to take a walk to see the changes we should embrace.
I started on the east side of Lakeshore Drive and looked down what used to be historical Lakeshore Drive, a straight road that for decades effectively supported all our citizens and users of the lake. It provided parking access right at the lake. Traffic flowed efficiently unobstructed along the whole lakeshore, viewing the pristine lake and scenery. It was the identity that put us on the map.
Changes were needed, but why did town council and the province not embrace the original historic drive and enhance around it, rather than changing it? Are the new design changes more efficient?
As I stepped up onto a raised crosswalk I thought of how emergency services says seconds can make the difference between life and death. With the road layout and overall design at the new Centennial Park area, response time for them is going to be longer. Embrace the change?
I continue west and the first thing I notice is the restrooms. I have never been to a resort where one of the main attractions is the restrooms. I wondered how much money could have been saved by the province. How did this happen to begin with? Embrace the change?
In this province we refer to the oilfield as the patch. In Sylvan Lake the locals are calling the small amount of remaining beach by the land pier, the patch. I look back down the lakeshore and I remember the beach we used to have before the outlet creeks were blocked off. How people would bring their kids and watch them play in the sand as you sat on the grassed area — not now. Now the shoreline is becoming unsafe. If a child steps off or falls off the retaining wall they are instantly in a foot of water. Makes you wonder what the province, or whoever is responsible, is thinking. Embrace the change?
Well onward past the grass lot on the corner of main street, past the large blue apartment/condo building. Passing by the waterslide — actually going to miss it when it is gone. Citizens and visitors of all ages had a lot of fun there. Reached what used to be the marina, big changes coming. I look at what was the boat launch that was used by many and I wonder how long, if at all, a supposed new public launch will last. Embrace the change?
So back to main street. I look up main street and see numerous empty buildings, businesses closing down. Why? Embrace the change?
I head up to the arena. This is a busy area, another area that needed proper changes. It looks nice. I see a large grass area, picnic tables, a fancy retaining wall thing, across from the arena’s most used door. Strange, I have not seen any winter picnics there, however I have seen kids pulling their hockey bags, citizens having to walk from the far lots. I wonder how many more parking stalls could have been created across from the arena if a more user-friendly design has been utilized. Embrace the change?
I headed back to Lions Park. Thank goodness the Lions Club fought to keep it, or it may have been gone. Looked at the new under construction town hall. Embrace the change?
I was going to head to Memorial Trail and 781/Highway 11, but that is a walk on its own.
So my walk ended here. Do take one yourself. Embrace the changes you feel are proper, but more so embrace your right to voice your concerns to town council and the province on the ones that are not. The pattern of not listening to the citizens of Sylvan Lake, by both the province and our town council, needs to stop.
The recent visit by the deputy premier shows that the voices of the citizens and friends of Sylvan Lake are starting to be heard.