Going into the new year the community of Oak Lake is wanting to find some answers for their disappearing beach. The beach has all but eroded away and is almost completely gone," shares Scott Phillips, Councillor for the RM of Sifton
"They brought in a bunch of sand in the spring, and it was all ready to go, it was in perfect shape in May, and then we got a big wind, and it washed it all away and it eroded a big part of the beach," explains Phillips. So, ever since 2011 & 2014 Oak Lake Beach has never been the same and it's been an battle on how to get it back."
"It's such a huge tourism boost for the region, and we have to work together to get it back."
The lake is also encroaching on Hwy 254, and Phillips stresses the need to address this issue or more damage will be done.
"We've lost about 60 feet of shoreline," he explains. "So now the beach is actually getting closer to that provincial highway. Some trees have already gone down and the barricade is down, the rocks were put in last year in kind of a quick fix. It was a quick fix but it's not cosmetically appealing and there's no beach left. It's grass-rocks-water and it should be grass-sand-rocks-water."
The RM of Sifton and the Oak Lake Cottage Association have both expressed interest in contributing to the effort of restoring the beach area. "It would be a win-win for everybody of we all just worked together to get it back to the way it was."
Philips says they will have ongoing talks in the new year on both the condition of the beach, as well as the Oak Lake Provincial Park.
He says the Province doesn't have the funding, the time or an invested interest with their staff to properly take care of the provincial park. "At Oak Lake Provincial Park, our municipality has taken it over for 2 years and its night and day difference. The guys are spending the extra time getting the weeds off the beach and taking the dead leaves away and that comes back to the budgeting. Their staff couldn't do it where our guys live there, they see the park, the kids use the park."
"We just got to work together if we're going to keep it going to make it worthwhile," he adds.