Posted on: April 27, 2017 | MPPCOA News
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.