Prov. to invest $4.8 million in area parks, rec facilities

By Joel van der Veen

ELBOW — Elbow’s mayor said the village is “absolutely thrilled” with a recent announcement that the province will invest $1.8 million into the Lake Diefenbaker district, including the addition of a second boat launch at Elbow Harbour.

Mayor Rob Hundeby said the expansion is much needed and will see frequent use at the harbour, which is located south of the village.

He said the harbour has sometimes suffered from long lineups of users waiting to use the current boat launch, as was the case on the July long weekend last year.

“There was a lineup of 17 boats to get into the main (launch),” he said. “There should no longer be major lineups to enter the beautiful lake that we reside beside.”

The Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport announced its plans for the Lake Diefenbaker parks on May 22.

These include a new visitor reception centre at Douglas Provincial Park, as well as repairs and upgrades to the beach retaining wall at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.

The ministry also announced three days later that it plans to invest more than $2.9 million into Blackstrap Provincial Park, located about 10 kilometres southeast of Dundurn.

There, the province intends to develop a new 63-site campground — almost doubling the number of sites available at the park — along with a service centre and additional infrastructure.

Between the two announcements, the total to be invested into local parks and recreation facilities comes to nearly $5 million.

Hundeby said the announcement comes at a busy time for the village, which has begun to welcome its usual steady stream of summer tourists and guests.

“Elbow is in full swing,” he said. “For us, the harvest has begun . . . It’s exciting times for this town and surrounding resort communities.”

Dundurn’s deputy mayor, Annette Hamilton, also welcomed the news about the new campground at Blackstrap, saying it came as a surprise to council members. Expansion plans had been discussed but no update had been received in more than a year.

“The whole area is going to benefit from this,” she said, noting that local businesses would gain from the increased traffic. “The summer months will be a lot busier.”

In a statement, parks, culture and sport minister Mark Docherty said the investment in the Lake Diefenbaker area would “enhance the experience of our visitors and will make this area an even more attractive place to vacation.”

For the full story, please see the June 1 edition of The Davidson Leader.