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Minister Squires’ WCA AGM Message

Posted on: April 23, 2018  |  

The following message was delivered at the AGM last week by Hon. Rochelle Squires, Minister of Sustainable Development.

As the Minister of Sustainable Development I thank you for the opportunity to speak to you here at the 2018 Whiteshell Cottagers Association Annual General Meeting. For me, Whiteshell Provincial Park is a special place that my family and I have come to enjoy and share in many wonderful experiences together over the years. I believe that the park is also a special place for you and your families. Given this, we share a common vision and a collective goal to conserve and protect the park’s lakes, wildlife and spectacular landscapes for many generations to come.

As I mentioned to you in my letter that accompanied your lease and service fee invoices this past January, myself and our government realizes the importance of cottages and the cottage lifestyle that you cherish in the park. To maintain our shared positive park experiences into the future, it is important that we maintain an open dialogue and continue to work together to ensure that the Whiteshell remains a special place for us all. In working to achieve this, both staff and I are to continue providing regular department messages in the Association’s Whiteshell Echo Newsletter. These updates are intended to provide cottagers with current information on the department’s management and development activities in the park and maintain positive communications between the department and cottagers. Building off of this communication, my department is to also maintain open, transparent engagement with the Whiteshell Cottagers Association in relation to the ongoing address of future matters involving parks administration and operation, capital investment and lease and service fees.

Our department’s priority parks mandate includes our ongoing collaborative engagement with the Manitoba Provincial Park Cabin Owners Association (MPPCOA) towards achieving our shared goal of a fair and sustainable model for the future collection of cottage lease and service fees. Our government first instituted a 2 year moratorium on lease and service fee increases for provincial park cottages in July 2016. As you now know, this moratorium has been extended for an additional 2 years, from July 2018 to July 2020. During this extended timeframe, staff will continue to meaningfully engage all provincial park cottagers to ensure that we work towards achieving our shared future goal for this important mandate item.

As this year’s cottage season gets underway, I am pleased to be able to provide you with updates on a number of department initiatives in the park that will be of interest to Whiteshell cottagers. Department investment in repairs and redevelopments are still ongoing following 2016 flood events in much of the Whiteshell. Road gravelling is to occur this spring/summer on many of the damaged cottage roads in the south Whiteshell. Repairs will be completed to the McGillivray Falls trail and bridge allowing for public use into this coming summer season.

I am aware of cottagers’ ongoing concerns with seasonal water levels on the Winnipeg River. We continue to work with the Lake of The Woods Control Board and Manitoba Hydro to ensure all users’ interests are considered. Manitoba Hydro recently advised my department that flows on the Winnipeg River are currently below average for this time of year, with only average flows expected for this spring season based on current snowpack in the river’s watershed area.

Similarly, I am also aware of cottagers’ concerns with water levels on Falcon Lake. My department and Manitoba Infrastructure will conduct a public information session in Falcon Lake this summer seeking cottager and public input regarding water levels and the future development of the lake. It is intended that this process will help determine an optimum operating range of lake levels on Falcon Lake. With this lake levels information in hand my department will then begin dredging work on the Falcon Lake boathouse channels later this summer.

We continue to support and work with Trails Manitoba and the South Whiteshell Trails Association in relation to the Trans-Canada Trail corridor within the Whiteshell. The partnership we share with this group has assisted in much of the trail development, maintenance and improvements to all of the Trans Canada Trail portions within the south Whiteshell. Currently bike trails have been developed in the McGillivray Falls area and future development is being entertained.

Now, I have some updates on new initiatives and planned events in the park for this coming summer. Government’s Budget 2018 recently announced further significant investment in Whiteshell Provincial Park including $1.6 million to design and construct a new waste-water lagoon servicing the South Whiteshell area. Investment will also be made in a new washroom and shower building and upgrades to the water treatment system at Big Whiteshell Lake campground. It is intended that work on these projects will begin this fiscal year.

June 9 & 10 will once again be Family Fishing Weekend across the province and in the park, where no fishing licence is required during that weekend.

As usual, department staff are busy preparing special events and interpretive programming for the upcoming summer season, on the July long weekend and Parks Day Weekend.
The Parks Day Weekend takes place annually on the third weekend in July. Highlights on summer events and schedules for the Whiteshell will be posted online, and I encourage you to visit our website at www.manitobaparks.com.

Again, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to you here tonight and I am excited about working with the Whiteshell Cottagers Association on future initiatives in Whiteshell Provincial Park.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer!
 

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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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