Maiden Lake hosts the cardboard boat race each year. The privately-owned lake could be managed by the City of Fernie by 2020. File photo

Maiden Lake handover hangs on dike project

Privately-owned lake could be managed by City of Fernie by 2020

The handover of Maiden Lake from a private company to the City of Fernie hangs on a dike project and application to subdivide the surrounding land.

The City has been approved for a $1.5 million grant through the National Disaster Mitigation Program that it hopes will cover the dike improvements needed in the Maiden Lake area.

The project will raise and extend the dike, which has been identified as the highest priority in the City’s Flood Mitigation Plan.

Chief Administrative Officer Norm McInnis said the work would soon go out to Request for Proposal (RP), with the final cost and schedule to be determined once a contractor is appointed.

“In a nutshell, because of the new flood assessment that was done, there are areas in our dike system that have to be raised, some areas up to approximately 0.5 metres,” he explained.

The City has to report back to the funding source, Emergency Management BC, by the March 31, 2020, which means the work will have to be completed in the next construction season.

It comes as the planning department considers an application from Maiden Lake owners, Schickedanz West, to subdivide the property into three new lots.

McInnis said once the application is finalized and approved, the owners will make a parkland dedication, handing control of Maiden Lake over to the City.

At a recent Committee of the Whole meeting, Fred Schickedanz of Schickedanz West asked for a guarantee from the City that the company will have a developable piece of land once the dike project is completed.

“It is our hope that at the end of that work he will have a developable piece of land but that won’t be known until to we put the site to RP and we get the scope of what we can accomplish with this $1.5 million,” said McInnis.

Any development of the area would allow the City to conduct a property assessment to determine the new municipal tax rate.

McInnis said funding for the upkeep of Maiden Lake would come from the general operating budget rather than increased taxes “but the hope is that there is additional tax revenue from development on these three parcels”.

The developer has also made a donation to the City, which will help fund immediate capital improvements.

Residents will notice little difference in the management of Maiden Lake once it changes hands, according to McInnis.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a whole lot different than it has been since it was a private lake,” he said.

“Probably you’ll see some additional signage, you may see some additional amenities, new benches and street furniture but… the look and feel of it will be similar to what it has been historically.”

Schickedanz West did not respond to The Free Press’ request for comment.

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