Sikome Lake: Where are your fees going?

Sikome Lake has been charging entrance fees since 2016

Juan Venanted was standing in the parking lot blowing up floatation devices before entering the gated beach CHELSEY MUTTER / LIVEWIRE

Sikome Lake is Calgary’s only public access beach but in 2016 the water got a little less accessible.

In June of  2016, the former NDP government issued a press release stating Sikome Lake would open on June 25 of that year with the addition of daily and/or seasonal fees. 

“The fees will allow Sikome to expand its capacity, upgrade facilities and extend the swimming season into early September,” stated the release.

One lake goer we talked to said he doesn’t visit the lake anymore because of the admission cost. Most attendees didn’t mind the cost. 

Juan Venanted, a beach goer, said he’s been coming to the lake for two or three years. He didn’t visit the lake before they charged admission but said he doesn’t mind the cost for what he gets.

“All is good. It’s clean, the water, the land, the beach, it’s perfect,” said Venanted.

“For my wife and me it’s very relaxing.”

Tim Chamberlin, Alberta Environment and Parks spokesman, explained by email to LiveWire how much money the lake is making and where those funds are going.

In the 2018 season, Sikome Lake generated $227,334. This revenue comes from passes as well as swimming lessons and concession sales.

The Lake is fenced in with possible three entrances. CHELSEY MUTTER / LIVEWIRE

“Although annual revenue largely subsidizes Sikome’s operations, government continues to support it as an affordable and valuable recreation option for Calgarians and visitors to the city,” stated Chamberlin’s email. 

Sikome Lake, according to its website, accepts both the Calgary Fee Assistance Card and the Cultural Access Pass.

Where is this money going?

Chamberlin said the revenue generated by the lake is being put back into its operations and maintenance. These day-to-day costs include power, hydro, and staffing. 

This also includes capital investments. 

Large yellow canopy’s provide shade to beach goers at Lake Sikome. CHELSEY MUTTER / LIVEWIRE

“Most recent capital upgrades at Sikome were focused on the water treatment plant in Fish Creek Provincial Park at a cost of $2,841,000 over the last two years,” said Chamberlin. 

This treats the water used in Sikome Lake, said Chamberlin, and that’s why it was important to upgrade the plant.

Over the past five years, Sikome has received washroom/shower renovations, sand replacement, rest paving stones, upgraded canvas canopies, and upgraded patio areas. All of which were considered capital work.  

According to Chamberlin, there are currently no major capital projects planned for the next few years.

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