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Alberta Parks seeking feedback on Elkwater marina project options

Posted on March 5, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman
Southern Alberta Newspapers Photo by Anna Smith INFORMATION NIGHT: Alberta Parks south region manager Peter Swain addresses gathered boat owners at the Medicine Hat Public Library for an information night regarding the Elkwater Marina.

By Anna Smith
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Medicine Hat Public Library hosted an informational night Feb. 28 for the Ministry of Environment and Parks to seek the opinions of boat owners at the Elkwater Marina.

Alberta Parks south region manager Peter Swain spoke with members of the public regarding the various options the province is considering in regards to the project, but stressed that continuing to leave the marina as is would not be an option.

“As everybody knows, the marina is on its way out,” said Swain. “It’s on the last leg, one part of it is already closed off. So there’s not really any argument about whether we have to replace it. It’s a matter of what we do when we replace it.”

Swain explained a series of options for the marina, from the most basic, which refurbishes only the necessary infrastructure without any boat slips, to the possibility of potential floating or fixed boat slips.

The proposed slips, both floating and fixed, would feature 47 “modern boat” sized slips, said Swain, which would remove the need to rent two slips in order to properly store watercraft.

The manner in which slips would be rented is also something Alberta Parks is seeking feedback on, said Swain, as options are being explored in regards to the rental process and public benefit.

“What makes a government investment a public benefit, is something that’s available to all or a large portion of the population,” said Swain. “It’s non-exclusive and always available. The more the general public benefits from a service, the more it is supported by taxes, typically speaking.”

Swain explained they are considering making the rental term for the slips shorter, such as weekly or daily, in order to maximize how many people can use the slips and therefore maximize public benefit.

The presentation included some comparisons to price points in terms of a similar project as managed privately, and ultimately, sought feedback from boat owners in regards to preferred options for both the infrastructure and the rental lengths, though no decisions have been made yet.

“We haven’t gone out to RFP yet,” said Swain, “We need to determine which one we want in order to do that, and it’s ultimately up to the minister to decide which, but part of the this is going to be informed by the information we get from you in terms of what your preferences are.”

Currently, the project is slated for this year, resulting in the marina being closed for some or all of the 2024 season, and the new marina opening in 2025.

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