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Letter from Member to Minister of Conservation

Posted on: April 27, 2015  |  

Dear Minister of Conservation:

After reading the Winnipeg Free Press April 22 article “Pallister wants fee-hike freeze” I honestly can’t decide if you have a learning disability or if you are preparing to retire to your beloved Ontario cottage on your generous taxpayer funded pension immediately following the April 2016 election. If it is the former, then I extend my humble apologies for sending you the email string below containing rather complex examples, facts and figures which appear beyond your level of comprehension. If it is the latter then I congratulate you for being well on your way to achieving your objective.

I suspect it is the latter but your NDP MLA colleagues may not share your desire for an early retirement, therefore, I am copying them in the hope that some level of rational thinking on this critically important issue of hugely increasing provincial park cottage land rental and service fees may prevail.

In the above Winnipeg Free Press article you state “…if there is a two-year freeze, that costs taxpayers $3.3 million”. Really? Recall that the annual CLPA invoice to park cottagers includes components for both lease fees and service fees. I note that you conveniently do not mention to the author the millions of dollars annually the provincial government reaps from provincial park cottagers through the cottage lease fee component which more than offsets this alleged “loss” to the taxpayer presumably based on the service fee component only. Your statement is therefore either made out of ignorance to the facts or is nothing more than a deceptive half-truth designed to mislead the public.

The article also states, “the average service fee increase for cottagers in provincial parks last year was $247”. Again, a clear attempt by you to publicly minimize the issue by not mentioning the huge increases in the cottage lease fee component to date and scheduled for years to come.

The article continues, “the increases were introduced to bring in line what cottagers pay in provincial parks to those who pay municipal property taxes outside the parks”. Again, really? Why? How are municipal property taxes on private land, about 50% of which are school taxes, and provincial park cottage lease and service fees on leased land related? If some Manitobans are being grossly overcharged by the municipality and the local school board on their recreational property taxes is it then ethically and morally acceptable for this Manitoba NDP government to overcharge provincial park cottagers in the interests of “parity”?

Furthermore, your department’s willingness to engage provincial park cottagers in consultation on this issue continues to be nothing short of appalling.

If you had sent representatives from your department to attend the Whiteshell Cottagers Association (WCA) annual general meeting April 23 they would have seen the level of anger and frustration that thousands of voting cottagers and their families have with this government over the issue of hugely increasing provincial park cottager CLPA lease and service fees.

If you had sent representatives you would have had the opportunity to present your case to the cottagers justifying these huge fee increases and then had the opportunity to respond to their feedback.

If you had sent representatives from your department they would have seen how two PC MLAs indeed took the time to present the PC’s position on this matter and then spoke individually with some cottagers after the meeting, listening carefully to their concerns as elected officials should.

If you had sent representatives from your department to attend the Whiteshell Cottagers Association annual general meeting you would have heard the plea from an elderly single woman who retired 10 years ago and has now returned to work so that she can afford the cottage lease payments demanded from her by this NDP government. She stated that she will likely be forced to sell her modest little cottage thanks to your plan for “fairness” in provincial parks. I am guessing that she is neither a multi-millionaire fat-cat cottager nor part of the Nygard family thereby not fitting your stated definition of a typical provincial park cottager.

If you had sent representatives from your department they would have had the opportunity to listen to various ideas from cottagers for revising the CLPA lease and service fee structure. One cottager at the meeting wisely proposed reducing the annual lease fee component from 4% to 1% of raw land value and then adding to that the allocation for full service cost recovery. This is an example of  “thinking outside the box” to arrive at a total combined provincial park cottager lease and service fee that would represent full service cost recovery for the government while ensuring affordable cottage ownership for the people. Sadly, it appears your government is increasingly incapable of such a constructively innovative thought process.

Of course, not surprisingly your department has as yet chosen not to reconvene discussions with the WCA on this issue either, further demonstrating its revulsion towards even basic consultation on this important matter.   The non-existent level of creativity, consultation, openness, transparency and fairness this NDP government continues to demonstrate would make a North Korean dictator surely fall on his knees and weep with envy.

However, much to the chagrin of this tired, untrustworthy and morally bankrupt government we operate within a democracy in Manitoba and I therefore predict a landslide victory for the PCs in the 2016 provincial election.


Randall Kinley


One response to “Letter from Member to Minister of Conservation”

  1. Reg Bergmann says:

    Hear! Hear! Well said!

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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 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 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 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 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. 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