by Colin Smith
The Town of Morinville is hoping to develop the Heritage Lake area into a regional recreation and tourism destination.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, Council directed the Administration to develop the framework for a Heritage Lake Concept Plan by the middle of next year.
Directly west of the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 642, the area now includes a campground to the north of Heritage Lake that operates under a recent 10-year lease agreement with the Town. At the southern end of the lake, there is a small boat launch and green space accessed by a dirt road.
“The lands fall within Sturgeon County’s municipal jurisdiction and are relatively underutilized, presenting an excellent opportunity for a robust amenity area with year-round recreational opportunities,” according to a report to Council.
Heritage Lake has a surface area of about 13 hectares and 1.5 kilometres of shoreline. The water quality of the lake allows for public swimming and it is stocked with fish.
Along with fishing, the area provides opportunities to develop day-use activities including swimming, skating, non-motorized boating, picnics and the use of walking trails, according to the report.
“The timing is fantastic for this,” said Councillor Nicole Boutestein. “When all is said and done I think it’s going to something our residents are going to cherish.”
As the initial stage of coming up with a concept plan for the Heritage Lake area, the Administration will be seeking public input on potential development. This would take place at local events at the Morinville Leisure Centre and Morinville Community Cultural Centre and through on-line options for residents to provide input as well as social media notification.
They will be looking for ideas and opinions about desirable activities at Heritage Lake, potential design features, and challenges or concerns regarding developing the lake as an enhanced recreation area.
The Administration expects to present results of the initial public engagement to Council by the end of this year. No additional funds will be required for the development of the framework, which will be incorporated in the 2020-2021 work plan.
“It’s taken a long time to look at that and slowly develop the property into what it is today,” Mayor Barry Turner said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunities we can come up with. I’m looking forward to the next phase.”