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Proposed: Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites at Star Lake

Letters of Opposition sent to Manitoba Parks

To: Manitoba’s Premier, Brian Pallister
Cc: Sarah Guillemard, Minister of Conservation and Climate
Cc: Dale Sobkowich, Head of Commercial Policy, Planning and Programing, Parks

Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites at Star Lake – NO WAY!

For the sake of brevity, let me start off saying that I am vehemently opposed to this proposal. However, I am confident Parks’ ill-conceived and inconsiderate plan will never come to fruition, especially since similar proposals have already been rejected by locals at Falcon Lake and Barren Lake! But, please read on.

I am a cottager in Block 6. I am writing to express my opposition to Manitoba Parks proposed development of Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites (CLISS) close to cottages at the south end of Star Lake. The proposed site for this CLISS is NOT A REMOTE AREA, it is a mere 300 m from our cottages. The old, abandoned mining and logging roads and trails in this area are well used by cottagers for walking, biking, berry and mushroom picking, and generally enjoying the outdoors. The proposed site is only a 5 minute walk or a 1 minute bike ride from cottages.

The south end of Star Lake has had more than its share of disruptive activities. We have a Hydro substation, a Hydro transmission line (which has been herbicided and is subject to regular tree clearing activities); we have had until recently a sand extraction mine (now decommissioned and remediated at taxpayers expense), a landfill (also thankfully decommissioned and remediated, too, with a planting of Jack Pines), a commercial logging operation (no longer in operation thanks to enlightened changes to Parks policy). And now Parks seeks to set up this CLISS, after apparently extensive discussions with the Commercial Light Industry Storage Group (CLISG) and NO PRIOR CONSULTATION with those who would be most impacted by this development, Star Lake cottagers.

The following is a quote from the letter : “The intent of these CLISS sites is to provide Cottage Based Businesses (CBBs) with light industry and storage opportunity for registered CBBs away from cottage subdivisions, thus reducing conflicts between cottagers and CBB owners.” Hello, 300 m from our cottages is not “AWAY” from our subdivision! There will be conflicts. And, by the way, what is “light industry”? There is no mention in the notice of what activities this might entail.  And I’m fairly certain you can substitute the word “storage” for “dumping unused/unwanted materials and equipment”.

The CLISS will result in increased traffic on the Block 4,5,6 road and direct vehicular conflict with cottagers trying to enjoy a walk or bike ride in OUR park. There will be increased damage to our already shabby cottage road, increased dust and debris from increased traffic, and the intersection of the Block 4,5,6 road with Hwy 301, already a dangerous and near-blind intersection with the hill to the north, will become even more dangerous.  The noise of activities in the CLISS will carry all the way to cottages and the “minimal tree removal” proposed by Parks will destroy a large area of recovering forest.  After the efforts/expense to help the land recover, you want to bulldoze it again?

Star Lake cottages are only now receiving notice of this proposed development despite the fact that the wording of this letter suggests it is a DONE DEAL. No one at Star Lake is against CBBs, but we are irked by the lack of consultation in this matter and we will fight to protect OUR park and OUR backyard.

If the CBB’s want their CLISS they should fund its development in a truly remote part of the park, not in our backyard!

I would urge the Minister to suggest to her staff that policy and development planning might start to consider a particularly important “special interest group”, the cottagers that are most affected by the specific policy or plan. An example would be the recent opening of the south Whiteshell Park to hunting.  Cottagers on the north shore of Falcon Lake were not affected by this change as there no areas outside the 300 m buffer zone (ridiculously and dangerously narrow) available to hunt that are close to any cottages. Cottagers at the south end of Star Lake have been greatly impacted by this policy, owing to the extensive array of old roads and trails, and the nearby Hydro transmission line, that affords easy access to lands just barely outside the buffer zone.  As a result we are treated the crash and boom of shotguns and rifles from October to nearly Christmas, and the occasional whizzing of bullets overhead. We do not visit our cottage on weekends during this period.

A final personal plea: I have walked the trails and back roads of Star Lake for nearly 30 years as a cottage owner. (My parents introduced me to Star Lake as a child when they rented cottages in Blocks 6 and 5 from the time I was about 5 until my University days.) I walked these trails with my sons and dogs, enjoying being off the dusty, gravely roads, picking berries and teaching my sons about the nature surrounding them.  I hope one day to walk these trails with grandchildren and show them that lands once disturbed by human activities can recover and return to their natural state. I don’t want to be walking past a commercial storage site of chain link fences and junk. Please cancel this inconsiderate project. Thank-you.

Sincerely, Doug Colllicutt, Lot 7, Block 6, Star Lake

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