I have been a resident of Sylvan Lake year-round for four years. I am a taxpayer, and all the other yada yada qualifiers that go with it.
I am a senior as of this week, and have fond memories of my childhood in an empty, heavily forested Central Alberta. Sylvan Lake was beautiful then. But I grew up, and over the last 30 years, Alberta has as well.
There are over two million more people in Alberta now than there was when I was a lad, and the bulk of them live in Calgary, Edmonton, and parts in between. And most of those people love Sylvan Lake as much as I do.
While I do not endorse everything the town council has done, I recognize that they have had no easy ride for the last decade. They should be held accountable for some things, such as the waving of bylaws so a developer could tear up the water front, make the marina unaffordable for most the public and charge inflated prices for boat launching. If you think that decision didn’t hurt our town, take a look at the vacancies in the mall across the street, or the lack of families out boating.
By the same token, look at our lake front. Beautiful walkways, picnic sites and grassy areas full of people from all over the province. We don’t have a lot of sandy beach. We do have a clean beautiful lake and a park area people love to use as a family meeting place. Now it does seem like we finished a five year plan in two years, and the bill is going to be a bitter pill, but I remember all the complaining when construction of the bathrooms left the beach under construction for two years. It only makes sense to do the Alberta thing and “Git er done!”
In my mind, there are only two points that should concern us about lake levels. What is natural, and what provides us with a healthier lake? As for the whining about people coming here to enjoy our lake and park: well, it is ours to share, and a responsibility we have.
I remember reading in an Edmonton paper a few years back about Edmonton taxpayers complaining that people coming to their city to use centralized services weren’t paying for use of their roads, rails, and services. It didn’t matter to them that they had all those services at their fingertips. I wonder if we sound that dumb.
I am so tired of walking past a whole lot of the same businesses on the water front, with mounds of cigarette butts, spills, and much, much worse on the walks in front of their businesses, complaining about people coming here and not spending money. Those bars seem full enough. You wait in line for the only place that sells ice cream.
The taxpayer picks up the tab for cleaning the streets in front of them. And it never seems to come up that a good deal of our downtown emptied out right around the same time as the introduction of the box store.
We aren’t going to be like we were in the ‘50s again. And thank God for that! If you want to enjoy the lake these days, take a walk down the beach, smell the aromas or so many different styles of food. Listen to all the different languages, and note some of the cultural clothing on display. See large happy families who know what Canada has to offer, and choose to be together at a place we are lucky enough to live. Watch the sail boats, and water skiers, sit on a deck and take in what we have right here, every day.
Although there is room for improvement, I love the new Sylvan Lake. I feel sorry for people who don’t, but there are lots of places where no one wants to live, and property would be cheap there.