The controversial new marina for Candle Lake has been approved, although another appeal is outstanding.
In a narrow vote, council recently approved the servicing agreement with the developer for the launch and mooring spots for up to 150 boats on a parcel of land on the west side.
“The marina and servicing agreement was approved, so it’s up to the developer to proceed with it,” Mayor Borden Wasyluk told paNOW.
The agreement with local developer Marcus Henderson covers all aspects of the project, said Wasyluk.
“It lays out the conditions on how the marina is supposed to operate, landscaping - everything about that piece of property that comes into play,” he said, adding other factors include lighting, access to the marina, making sure only the seawall is breached once, and that it meets all of the provincial and federal regulations.
The developer will have a year to show significant progress on construction.
The facility is set to be built on former crown land between the existing Enchanted Harbour RV and marina, and land currently used to store parks maintenance equipment. It’s a few kilometres from the downtown on Highway 265 on the west side of the lake.
The signing of the servicing agreement would appear to bring to a close a saga that has lasted almost six years. However there is plenty of history and a potential wrench still in the works.
An initial plan to build the marina at Nobles Point Bay, a residential area on the east side of the lake, was thwarted after a successful appeal was made to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB). Various groups opposed the project because they didn’t want the excessive boat traffic, and lobbied for a so-called ‘passive park’ instead.
Wasyluk added the previous proposed site was not appropriate because of the shallow, rocky water.
“If you have to go into water and your boat is going to hit bottom in heavy waves you’re not exactly safe!”
Speaking to the benefits of the new location, Wasyluk said it was important for Candle Lake to have better water access for the many boaters who flock to the resort village. The population balloons from 800 permanent residents to over 10,000 part-timers in the summer months. Most of those additional numbers come from the Prince Albert and Saskatoon areas and Wasyluk said it was crucial to help people get onto the water.
“We don’t have the shoreline for boat lifts and everything else all over the place,” he said. “I think it’s very important. If the community is to grow we have to facilitate that growth.”
But there’s one more appeal in the works.
Not yet plain sailing
Carl Frohaug, who owns Enchanted Harbour next to the proposed marina site has taken his case to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board.
Frohaug cites clear-cutting of trees and inadequate buffer space on all sides of the planned marina, a lack of erosion control and the risk of turbid water run-off into the lake as some of the environmental and aesthetic reasons why the project should not happen. He adds Waskateena Bay on Candle Lake is already over-crowded with boat traffic.
“We need to very strongly safeguard the environment and the aesthetics of our lake. I often say we’re not just some cow pasture where you can dig a big hole in the ground and throw up dirt piles and leave a 10 to 15 acre clear cut right in the middle of Candle Lake. We are a resort,” he said.
It was not immediately clear when the SMB ruling would come down and if successful, how it could lead to any changes to the development agreement the village has with the developer. The SMB confirmed with paNOW it had recently received the appeal and any decision was at least two months away.
Ron Cherkowich, one of two councillors who opposes the way the marina approval process has rolled out said among the many issues he has is that ratepayers aren’t being respected.*
In an e-mail to paNOW he said “Any decision should be made in the best interest of ratepayers and the Lake generally. Council decisions are not to favour the entrepreneurial ambitions of a particular ratepayer over the general interests of the ratepayers.”
Resident Ernest Meili was part of the strong community opposition to the initial east side location and figured nothing has changed just because it has now switched to the west.
“The issues that bothered people so much [before], which is the increased traffic [boating and vehicles] in a very limited corner of Candle Lake is going to be as much or more than it would have been at the previous location," Meili said. "Honestly, you come to a point of fatigue with fighting this issue, it’s just one of those things that happens at Candle Lake. It gives us a bad reputation because these decisions are made without proper public consultation. It should have gone to referendum.”
Meanwhile, mayor Wasyluk said it was now in the hands of the developer to get things going.
“I wish [Marcus Henderson] all the success. You know, it’s totally his own project, it’s quite an undertaking and I think it’s a tremendous benefit for the community.”
*EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was changed at 9 p.m. on Dec. 7 to correct an error. Councillor Cherkowich and another councillor are not opposed to this marina project and any future ones. Cherkowich is not against development, marinas or otherwise, if they follow process and are supported by the sciences.
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