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August 2016 President’s Report

Posted on: August 8, 2016  |  

Upon looking out of my cabin window this July Monday morning, I am taken by the serenity of the day!!! As has been the case for the past 3 weeks, although the forecast is for more precipitation and a continuation of same until Thursday, the sun is now shining, the birds are singing and the scene belies what has happened in the Whiteshell Provincial Park these past two months. Who would believe that mother nature would send her fury to this part of Manitoba not once but twice in a two month period!

In the June edition of the Whiteshell Echo, the front page caption read “Proceed With Caution” with a photo of the  raging forest fire. “By May 21st the Caddy Lake fire was 85% contained and evacuation orders for Florence and Nora Lakes were lifted May 23rd.” Now, in our August Echo edition there are photos of high water levels at almost every Whiteshell lake caused by the “once in 50 years” torrential storm on Friday/Saturday, June 24th and 25th leaving 6+ inches of rain over a four hour period. I was advised by Warren Barnard, Falcon Lake cottage resident at the regular Monday morning coffee gathering at the Nest Restaurant in Falcon Lake that another 1 inch of rain also was recorded Sunday totally 7+ inches in three days! Now, not fire but flooded roads prevents our Nora Lake Board Member, Angela Hogan from accessing her cottage. Although serious residual damage to roads and properties caused by run-off along with the resulting unprecedented increases in lake levels eg. Falcon Lake -24 inch increase; West Hawk – 30 inch increase; and, Caddy Lake – 72 inch increase; provincial officials and related organizations along with other provincial park stakeholders worked quickly and cooperatively together to help those cottagers stranded and severely affected by the storm. Talking with a Parks Officer the following Monday when I drove to view the status of the Falcon Lake South Shore road and cottages off the South Shore Road, I was advised that Parks staff had walked from the ski hill back to Falcon Lake Marina checking each cottage to ensure no one needed assistance.

Since the devastating storm your Whiteshell Cottagers Association Board of Directors has been in daily contact with the media and provincial officials whether by phone, email or text to relay updates to the best of their knowledge. A very informative and open meeting was convened at the Whiteshell Community Center by Parks staff on Sunday mid-afternoon, July 3rd where the details of the storm’s impact were communicated and cottagers allowed to voice comments and questions to the Provincial Parks officials in attendance. Although close to 200 individuals attended, an earlier starting time, a more effective notification method and a location closer to Caddy Lake where the flood impact was greatest were suggestions I heard from attendees. There was general agreement that the province had reacted very quickly to repair roads, provided sand bags and reduced to some degree further damage to lakefront structures by posting a restriction to operating boats within 100 meters of the shoreline. Recommendations were voiced by members of the Whiteshell Cottagers Association Lake Levels Committee (many of which had been raised in the past) that, if acted upon, would have minimized the impact of that unseasonal rainfall on lake levels and would have improved the capability to flow water out of the lakes and reduce lake levels more effectively. After our discussions, I sensed that there was a very positive interest and commitment on the part of Provincial Officials to listen to these recommendations and work together with the WCA Lake Level Committee to review the adequacy of lake level control structures in order to prevent or at least minimize such a flooding disaster in the future. I applaud the WCA Lake Level Committee but in particular, Alan Roberts, for his tireless work done to advocate on behalf of all cottagers to improve lake level controls.

The Whiteshell Cottagers Association website (whiteshellcottagers.com)  continues to update its “news” page each day with the “South Whiteshell Flooding Update” provided to Whiteshell Provincial Park stakeholders by Sue Atkin, Regional Park Specialist with our new Department of Sustainable Development, Parks and Regional Services. Our website has proven to be an excellent communication tool during this crisis. It is our hope that Whiteshell cottage owners will get into the habit of accessing their WCA website on a regular basis. Certainly any feedback about your experience in utilizing the website or any recommendations for changes and improvements would be welcome.

I am pleased to report that the initiative to develop a strong strategic alliance and partnership with other Cottage Owner Associations (COA’s) in other Provincial Parks has reached an important milestone. A new organization called the Manitoba Provincial Parks Cabin Owners Association (MPPCOA) has become a reality although still with some paperwork etc. needs to be done. A new and historic MPPCOA Constitution has been signed by five Cottage Owner Associations namely Duck Mountain, Grindstone, Hecla Historic Village, Moose Lake and the Whiteshell, that will present a strong, united and focused voice in presenting common issues to Provincial Officials. To maximize effective negotiations on your behalf, it is absolutely imperative that each cottage owner become a member and encourage any neighbour to join! We are here to represent you to the best of our abilities! We sincerely hope that other Provincial Park Cottage Owner Associations will decide to join this new Association as it moves forward. There is an obvious strength in size and numbers but there is also the saying “birds of a feather should stick together!”. It is shared view with our MPPCOA partners that having one single organization to negotiate and to work with as pertains to matters impacting/affecting all cottage owners within the Association will benefit both cottage owners and the Provincial Government. Definitely a “win/win” situation! We are excited about the positive results this partnership can achieve!

The MPPCOA is anxious to begin meetings with our colleagues in the newly announced Sustainable Development Department. Under the leadership of Daniel Klass, Past President, WCA and in partnership and consultation with representatives from each MPPCOA member, our next step will be to establish an Advisory Committee and  Negotiating Committee. The goal remains to begin a new era of trust, transparency and fairness in a partnership with the Government in order to sustain and even enhance our lakelife experiences. Stay tuned.

A final thought — if you are incurring costs to repair the damage done to your cottage property by the torrential rainfall, it is recommended you retain your receipts. We are not aware of any source of reimbursement other than one’s cottage insurance policy but will keep cottage owners posted as to any developments in that area.

Enjoy your summers and check our WCA website for news updates.

 

 

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Hello WCA, Here are the new items for today. - Manitoba Hydro released information this afternoon regarding the expected continued high water flows on the Winnipeg River (we have provided the link below and some of the key lake points). The Winnipeg River is expected to crest between June 5-10. Please see www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/water_levels/ to view the forecast.- The shoreline adjacent to the Pointe du Bois subdivision has been included in the 100 metre from shore prohibition on recreational motor boat use. Whiteshell Provincial Park: May 27, 2022 A local state of emergency has been declared for Whiteshell Provincial Park on May 20, 2022 due to rising water levels within the park. Developed areas at Betula Lake were closed on May 21, 2022. This closure area was expanded (May 24) to include Sylvia Lake, Otter Falls, Dorothy Lake, Barrier Bay and Nutimik Lake areas. No person should reside or enter into the closed area. Please visit the Manitoba Parks Website www.gov.mb.ca/sd/parks/ to see a map of the closure. This applies to all cottage subdivisions, commercial areas, campgrounds, group use, day use, recreational and picnic areas, playgrounds, trails, and beaches with within the order area. During the closure no person should reside or enter into the closure area of the park. Manitoba Hydro released information this afternoon regarding the expected continued high water flows on the Winnipeg River. Water continues to rise significantly along the lakes that make up the Winnipeg River system (Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret, Eleanor, and Sylvia Lakes as well as Pointe du Bois) as water moves downstream from Lake of the Woods. Water levels rise quickly in these areas due to natural restrictions along the river. Please see www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/water_levels/ to view the forecast. Manitoba Hydro is predicating an increase of water levels from the current high water over the next 10 to 14 days, as follows: • 6 inches upstream of Eight Foot Falls. • 10 inches in Nutimik Lake. • 9 inches in Dorothy Lake. • 11 inches in Margaret/Eleanor Lake. • 1 foot in Sylvia Lake. • 8 inches upstream of Silver Falls. The Winnipeg River is expected to crest between June 5-10. Rising water levels and rapidly evolving conditions pose a significant risk to public safety. Manitoba Parks continue to monitor safety and water levels inside the closure area, additional safety measures may be applied if required. Manitoba Parks has been contacting all permanent residents in the closure area. If you have not been contacted by Manitoba Parks staff to register, please call the parks line at 204-340-6769 and leave a message with your name, lot, block, subdivision, and ask to be added to the permanent residents list. You will then be called back to register. Water levels improvement are being seen in all areas south of the Winnipeg River. Falcon, West Hawk, Star, Caddy, Brereton, White, and Jessica Lakes are reporting a decrease today. One log was also inserted into the West Hawk Dam on May 26 to slow the downstream flow, this change will take a few days to positively impact Jessica and White Lake. Manitoba Parks staff are working in conjunction with staff from the department of Manitoba, Transportation and Infrastructure to monitor lake levels and adjust control structures where possible. This includes monitoring structures for blockages. Crescent Beach seawall at West Hawk is barricaded and closed. Pay attention to signage, and barricades. The travel lane has been moved away from the wall and is narrow in spots, please travel slowly. Cottages in the Crescent Beach, High Rock, McKenzie Beach, and Hunt Lake subdivisions should be aware of the potential for a re-route in the event of further damage to the seawall. Sandbags for filling and sand are available for cottage owners at: the 8 Foot Falls Road in Pointe du Bois, Jessica Lake at the garbage collection site, the parking lot across from Brereton Lake Resort, the West Hawk maintenance yard, and the causeway at Falcon Lake. There are a limited number of pre-filled bags at the Jessica Lake and Pointe du Bois depots. PR 307 from the west park entrance to the PR307/309 junction, and PR 312 near Caddy Lake is closed to all traffic. PR 309 near Meditation Lake is restricted to local traffic only. We encourage everyone to check manitoba511.ca before travelling. You can call 511 anywhere in Manitoba to get updates by phone. Water is present on several block roads throughout the park. White Lake Block 4 is closed to vehicle use. The following block roads should not be crossed in a smaller vehicle until the water recedes: High Rock Road at West Hawk, and Jessica Lake Block 5-6-7-8. Caution should be used when travelling through flooded areas. The following boat launches are closed in addition to those in the park closure area: 8 Foot Falls, Big Creek, White Lake, Jessica Lake, South Shore Big Whiteshell, and Toniata. West Hawk and Falcon Beach Campground Boat launches have been re-opened. Public can expect open launches to be without docks, high water is preventing repair and placement of docks throughout the park. Please use caution and courtesy when boating. All boat traffic should be cautious of debris and items submerged below the surface. Please be advised that you cannot visit the closed area of the park by boat. Access is not allowed to your cottage or recreational areas via the Winnipeg River. No landing in the closed area is allowed. Extreme caution should be used with travelling the upstream portion of the Winnipeg River (Pointe du Bois to Lamprey Falls). To minimize potential erosion caused by boat wakes, recreational motor boat restrictions are in place. Recreational motor boat traffic is prohibited from operating within 100 metres of the shoreline on: West Hawk, Falcon, Caddy, Star, Brereton, Jessica, White, Big Whiteshell, Betula, Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret, Eleanor Lakes, and the shoreline adjacent to the Pointe du Bois subdivision in Whiteshell Provincial Park. When exiting or approaching the shoreline, boats should move directly out from land and avoid creating a wake. The following hiking trails are closed in addition to those in the park closure area: the Marsh Trail (between Falcon Lake Marina and Beach Campground), TransCanada Trail at Penniac Bay, and Hunt Lake. All backcountry campsites in Whiteshell Provincial park are closed due to flooding, high water conditions and frequently changing portage conditions. Campers should check the Manitoba Parks homepage for the status of campgrounds prior to coming to the park. Several campgrounds have full or partial closures. All campground in the closure area will remain closed until this portion of the park reopens (Dorothy Lake, Opapiskaw, Nutimik Lake, and Otter Falls). In addition, White Lake Campground is closed (seasonal and nightly) and nightly camping is closed in Big Whiteshell Campground. Phone Numbers/ Websites:• Parks info line for water, flood and closures: 204-340-6769 between 8am and 6pm daily. • To report an emergency please contact the RCMP via 911 if located in the South Whiteshell, 204-348-7177 in the North Whiteshell, and 204-345-8685 in Pointe du Bois. • Camping Information 1-888-482-2267 for the Parks Reservation Service. • Environment, Climate and Parks General inquiry line 1-800-214-6497. • Highway conditions: Manitoba511.ca • Manitoba Parks: manitobapark.com for a list of other closures.• Manitoba Hydro Water Flow New Release: www.hydro.mb.ca/articles/2022/05/manitoba_hydro_advises_extreme_caution_on_waterways/• DFA Information: www.gov.mb.ca/emo/dfa/residence.html, dfa@gov.mb.ca or by phone at 204-945-3050. ... See MoreSee Less
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Regular weekly Hydro report for Winnipeg River LakesNOTE: this is a 7 day forecast, the earlier one was 10-14 day - so the numbers are different ... See MoreSee Less
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Winnipeg River hydro report(Our regular Friday report expected in about an hour) ... See MoreSee Less
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Posted on Caddy lake page (Dennis Dyck) – “ Found floating on Caddy Lake; blue plastic barrel. Still has both bung caps installed, so likely used as a float support rather than a weight. A marathon canoe with a # 32 painted on it. A 5 gallon jerrycan If these items belong to you please pick them up at block 9, lot 25. Thanks ... See MoreSee Less
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Sheila Dancho – “I have lost two sections of stairs that look like these. Please post to your page. Thanks for your help. Contact info 2042663066 Sheila Dancho from The Nutimik Island” ... See MoreSee Less
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