PLAMONDON - The removal of the old boat launch at Plamondon's White Sands Resort used specialized equipment to hold back the waters of Lac La Biche lake to speed up the construction project, but another hold back may slow down plans to build a new launch in the same area.
After using an inflatable dam to drain water from the lake bed and shoreline to properly remove the collapsed boat launch structure from the White Sands location, hopes for a speedy new location have been deflated due to an ongoing historic assessment of old building structures found at the proposed new site.
Lac La Biche County's Public Works senior manager Brian Shapka says that while the proper approvals to build the new boat launch a few kilometres south of the White Sands location have been approved by Alberta Environment and Parks, further assessment needs to be done on some items unearthed during the site preparation. Identified as parts of an old building's foundation, Shapka says the rockwork likely doesn't have "big big interest" historically, "but we want to dig a little more to see what is there."
There are costs associated with continuing the study, says the municipality's senior manager of recreation and community development.
"If it starts getting costly — we need to make sure what those costs are going to be before we get too far in," he said.
The project to create a new boat launch north of Plamondon on Lac La Biche lake has been in the works for several years. This year's plans hit a snag early on when the water dam specially purchased by the municipality for the job couldn't work because lake water levels rose by more than three feet. Crews had to wait until last month when water levels dropped to begin the removal project. Despite the delays, municipal officials said the water dam worked very well and the old structure was removed with few issues.
With last year's closure of the White Sands launch due to its poor condition, the nearest access points for boaters in the Plamondon area are 10 kilometres east along the Old Mission Road or 25 kilometres around the north side of the lake to Poplar Point.
Lessmeister says the project is a priority, but with some uncertainties still surrounding the work, he doesn't have definite plans on what the next step will be. After presenting Lac La Biche County councillors with an update last week, Lessmeister could only give a general idea on what happens next.
"Unfortunately, we'll have to see where this goes and have something back to you shortly," he said, explaining that the possibility of selecting a new location isn't out of the question, as a boat launch needs to be added to that part of the lake.