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Proposed: Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites at Star Lake

Letters of Opposition sent to Manitoba Parks

Proposed: Commercial Light Industry and Storage Sites at Star Lake

Re:  Letter of Opposition to above mentioned proposal

September 5, 2020

To:  Dale Sobkowich, Head of Commercial Policy, Planning, and Programing, Parks
Cc:   The Honorable Brian Pallister
The Honorable Sarah Guillemard

Dear Mr. Sobkowich,

Last week my family received an unexpected and very surprising letter in the mail from your department stating that a “commercial light industry and storage sites” (CLISS) will be developed just minutes away from our cottage located at Star Lake.  We must admit that we are extremely disappointed that there was no consultation with the 150 cottage owners on Star Lake as the letter certainly alludes that this is a “done deal.”   Your department has also only given us a few weeks to “give input”, “make comments”, or “make suggestions” about this proposal and you, Dale, have conveniently decided to take your holidays for the next two weeks so we ask “how can you peruse our comments and suggestions when you aren’t even around?”

This letter is to inform you that our family absolutely opposes the location proposed for CLISS at Star Lake.  We aren’t opposed to you giving land to the people involved, but PLEASE, choose a location that is remote (this site is only three hundred metres from cottages) and “away from cottage subdivisions so that there are no conflicts between cottage owners and CBB owners,” as stated in your letter.  The area you have chosen if you aren’t aware, has been inundated over and over again with past disruptive things like landfills, a sand extraction mine, and a commercial logging operation, not to mention the Hydro substation…things that were finally removed due to SAFETY concerns.  Knowing this then, it makes no sense to jeopardize our safety again by redeveloping this site.  Your letter also mentioned that this was a “previously developed/impacted site requiring minimal vegetative clearing…”are you aware that yes, this site was previously developed but that was over fifteen years ago?!  This area has been decommissioned and remediated (at taxpayers expense), and it’s delightful to see that this area has returned nicely to it’s natural state with recovering forest, plants, and wildlife.

Cottage life is a big part of “R & R” (rest and relaxation) for Manitobans as you know.  Star Lake cottage owners delight in our “little piece of paradise,” along with many “day trippers” that come up on weekends to enjoy the area.  While we do relax in large part at our cottages and enjoy the water activities the lake provides for us, we (like all cottagers in Manitoba) also like to “take in nature” to get away from the rat race.  We do this by hiking, biking, jogging, berry picking, etc. on nearby nature paths.  This site you are proposing is “the”natural nature path for many people at Star Lake and surrounding areas.  Many of us jog, hike, crosscountry ski, pick berries, and do “nature walks” in that area, a place that would devastate us if it was stripped from us again!  We choose to do these activities specifically in this area because the main and only road taking us out of this area to the 301 is already extremely busy with traffic from the cottagers in Blocks 4-6 (approximately 80 families), the remaining cottage owners in Blocks 1-3 (70 families) on Star Lake that use the boat launch, all the “day trippers”, the fishermen that come throughout the week, the many cottage owners on West Hawk and Falcon that come to Star because the lake is calm most of the time and they like our cozy beach, the Hydro guys, and all the people associated with the U of M’s geology department that use the road also.  This one, main road is not maintained very well and so gets really hammered out and is very dusty.  More traffic would not only make the road a lot worse, but safety again, becomes a big concern.  The road gets extremely dusty so vision becomes a problem for those of us that walk, jog, and bike on it (our family doesn’t feel safe on the road as it is).  Don’t forget also that it’s the only road we all have to use if an emergency occurs and we all have to vacate the area, plus it’s the only road to use to get us all up to the Trans Canada trail.  And finally, when the main road meets the 301 service road, that is another hazard in itself because there’s a blind spot at the curve within meters of the stop sign.

To conclude, everyone in our family thinks the Cottage Based Businesses deserve sites, but it must be an area that is away from cottage subdivisions where safety, traffic, vandalism, theft, and noise are not a concern.  We have talked to family members who have worked and know the Park well, and they say without a doubt that the Barren Lake Road (going past the riding stables) is the best option that doesn’t impact cottagers.  There are already a few businesses located there so it makes sense to put the rest in there too as there’s lots of land to use and land/road is already clear.  What’s really unfortunate is that area has become “a dump yard” (as we saw firsthand when we went there to purchase firewood), which we definitely wouldn’t want to see continued in our backyard!  Thank you for your time.


Lori and Paul Howarth (and our children – Leanne, Trisha & Jonathan, Travis & Elayna, April & Brian).
Block 6, Lot 33  Star Lake

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