Town council approves variances for Big Fish Bay

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The owners of the Big Fish Bay resort by Slave Lake have proposed a multi-phase expansion, which town council has approved in principal.

At its Nov. 6 meeting, council heard that numerous variances to the town’s development standards and procedures will be required for the expansion to proceed. These include roadways and walks, water distribution, sewage collection system, storm water drainage, utilities, landscaping and fencing and pumping facilities.

On the other hand, council heard, the town’s development standards are not designed to deal with seasonal or recreational developments.

Having run the requested variances by the town’s engineering firm, the recommendation was to approve them. And if that appears risky, consider the following:

“Please rest assured that the developer will be required to submit additional detailed drawings for each development phase,” said the written report for council, “which in turn will be reviewed and approved by our engineering team, prior to granting approval.”

The Big Fish Bay expansion plan calls for an eventual total of 487 fully-serviced campsites, 15 year-round cabins, a 200-stall marina with parking lot, two more playgrounds and a restaurant, not to mention the roads and pathways to go along with all that expansion.

Council had no problem with the approval as recommended.

“I look forward to seeing it come to fruition,” said councillor Darin Busk.

Ditto, said mayor Tyler Warman, and then asked if the drainage proposed fits into the town’s storm water drainage master plan. It follows that plan, he was advised, even though the plan has never been formally adopted by council.

Warman then made a motion to have that plan brought back before council for review.

Before passing the motion on the development standards variance, councillor Busk asked Big Fish Bay owner Willie Driedger how many ice fishing shacks he expected to rent this winter.

“It’s going to be tough,” Driedger said, going on to explain that some “close calls” last winter are expected to result in higher insurance costs this year.

“We’re going to try some different things,” he said.

The Big Fish Bay expansion plan, as approved conceptually by Slave Lake town council last June. The expansion areas are indicated in blue.

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