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Proposed: Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites at Star Lake

Letters of Opposition sent to Manitoba Parks

To: Dale Sobkowich, Head of Commercial Policy, Planning and Programing, Parks,


The Honorable Brian Pallister,;

The Honourable Sarah Guillemard,;

 3 September 2020

 Re: Opposition to the Proposed Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites at Star Lake

Dear Mr. Sobkowich:

I recently learned of this proposal and wanted to convey my opposition to it and to suggest that an alternative location be found.

Each year, for over a decade now, my wife and family visit Star Lake and the surrounding habitats to relax, enjoy nature and to rejuvenate our spirits. We do so many times over the course of the year. Hence the proposed location of the Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites is very familiar to us. Picking berries, watching birds, identifying plants, listening to frogs and toads, and scouting for deer, fox and wolves are among the activities we pursue in this very area while hiking, biking, and skiing. I encourage you to search on iNaturalist’s “Go Wild Manitoba” application (a Made in Manitoba project by the way!) to see how much the area is being explored and how that that information is being shared. (

The benefits of such protected areas, and the biological diversity therein, to the well being of people who visit them are well documented as is the negative stress associated with the loss of such areas due to habitat degradation and fragmentation (please see references below). The fact that the proposed storage site location is a recovering naturalized area (previously a gravel pit and a dump) is evidence of how such habitats can heal if protected. This is truly inspirational to witness first hand. This aspect has enormous potential for an interpretive trail highlighting this aspect, which would show Manitobans that there is hope for the future; that nature and time can heal past environmental impacts caused by humans.

This current government has demonstrated that it can and does listen carefully to the concerns of its citizens, even modifying or reversing announced decisions. For that I applaud you and our government. I encourage you and our government to do so again in this situation. Relocating the proposed storage sites to an already heavily disturbed location (i.e., the Falcon Lake transfer station area or another already developed site) would enable the needs of local businesses to be met in a manner that respects the people who use and appreciate the Star Lake site.

Manitoba has shown leadership in recognizing and mitigating the impacts of invasive species. The proposed development will facilitate the invasion of non-native species into this area, further impacting native species and habitats. This is another reason to locate the development in an already developed area. It is also unclear that the province has sought consultation with indigenous people, a key step towards reconciliation. This obligation may therefore also be mitigated by placing the storage sites in a heavily developed area.

Thank you for considering my comments. This is an opportunity for our government to listen to its citizens and make a decision that brings hope to those who care deeply about our natural world that sustains us all.


James Duncan

Balmoral, Manitoba


Melissa R. Marselle, Dörte Martens, Martin Dallimer, Katherine N. Irvine. 2019. Review of the Mental Health and Well-being Benefits of Biodiversity, in Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change, 2019. ISBN : 978-3-030-02317-1

Hector Duarte Tagles and Alvaro J. Idrovo. 2012. Biodiversity and Mental Health, Biodiversity Enrichment in a Diverse World in Gbolagade Akeem Lameed (Ed.) Biodiversity Enrichment in a Diverse World. DOI: 10.5772/48345.

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