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Strategic Alliance Report

Posted on: April 27, 2017  |  

By Ron Smith – Committee Chair

The initiative of the Whiteshell Cottagers Association to form a level of communication and cooperation between Cottage Owner Associations in all Manitoba Provincial Parks intensified in 2016. In the spring of 2016 five Cottage Owner Associations made a commitment to join a formal Strategic Coalition with the common guiding principles of:

  • Striving for and achieving Fair Fees for all cottage owners
  • Forging a trusting and respectful relationship with the Provincial Government that championed openness and transparency
  • Develop a partnership with the Provincial Government in optimizing cottage life experiences in our Manitoba Provincial Parks

By the end of spring 2016, representatives of the five founding Cottage Owner Associations met at the Canad Inn in Polo Park to etch out a formal arrangement to move forward. The new organization was named The Manitoba Provincial Parks Cabin Owners Association (MPPCOA) with the following founding members:

    • The Whiteshell Cottagers Association (3237 cottages)
    • The Duck Mountain Cottager Owners Association  (254 cottages)
    • The Grindstone Cottage Owners  Association (439 cottages)
    • The Hecla Historic Village Cottage Owners Association (64 cottages)
    • The Moose Lake Cottage Owners  Association (90 cottages)

A formal constitution was drafted by Richard Bidzinski, Board member of the Duck Mountain Cottage Owners and ratified and signed by the five MPPCOA members. Each member was represented on the Board of Directors.

An inaugural Board meeting held September 2016 . At that meeting Jack Elliott, Duck Mountain Cottage Owners Association Board member was elected as its first President; Dean Amundson, President of Hecla Historic Village Association elected Vice President; Nichola Wigle, President of Moose Lake COA elected Secretary; Ronald Smith, President of the WCA elected Treasurer; and, Bob Johnston, Treasurer of Grindstone COA elected as Director at Large. Daniel Klass was appointed as Chairman of the representative Negotiating Committee tasked with consulting with the Provincial Government to achieve a fair fee structure for cottage owners in Provincial Parks. Ken Sommer, WCA General Manager has volunteered to provide administrative support services for the MPPCOA.

A subsequent Board/Executive meeting was hosted by the Hecla Historic Village COA in late October 2016.

On November 29, 2016 a meeting at the Manitoba Legislature was arranged by MPPCOA with the Honorable Catherine Cox, Minister of Sustainable Development (SD), Rick Wowchuk, Legislative Assistant and MLA from Duck Mountain, Dennis Smook, MLA for La Verendrye and senior Departmental Officials. The purpose of the meeting was to validate MPPCOA which represents 70% of cottage owners in Provincial Parks as the spokesman and single voice for their membership. At that time Sustainable Development gave its formal preference to negotiating only with one Association representing Park cottage owners for common issues such as fees.

A commitment on the part of the Government was to contact MPPCOA early in 2017 to commence its negotiations on the fair fee structure.

The determined efforts of the Strategic Alliance has resulted in a one year freeze (2016) of service fees authorized by the governing NDP party and a two year freeze (2017 and 2018) of both service and lease fees authorized by the present PC party.

Ronald Smith, President of the WCA and Ken Kennedy, President of the Duck Mountain COA continue to be the MPPCOA recruitment team and have contacted all other COA in Manitoba Provincial Parks…..15 in total.

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Hello WCA, Here are the new items for today. It’s a short update for today.- TransCanada Trail at Penniac Bay has reopened with wet spots existing on trail.Whiteshell Provincial Park: May 28, 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.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) and Hunt Lake. TransCanada Trail at Penniac Bay has reopened with wet spots existing on trail. 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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Kelly Jones – “Hi. This dock has floated its way over to Moonlight Bay at WestHawk lake. Our neighbor has secured it and we are hoping to find its owner as I’m sure they would like it back! Can you please post?” ... See MoreSee Less
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Confirmed again this morning that the Winnipeg River Forecast from Hydro yesterday HAVE factored in the anticipated rainfall over the next few days. ... See MoreSee Less
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Betula Lake Page ( Ashley Desjardins) –“Another one from Stefanson. (Premiers visit earlier)I think I’ve labeled it correctly. Not sure how that highway is going to survive this. ” ... See MoreSee Less
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Sheila Dancho –“Pictures of Nutimik Island on May 21.” ... See MoreSee Less
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