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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 Programming, Parks

Cc: Sarah Guillemard, Minister of Conservation and Climate

RE: Proposed Star Lake Commercial Lot Developments

I am a cottage owner at Block 6, Lot 26, Star Lake.  The Cottage originated with our family in 1971 and so it has been a near 50 year experience for me and my brother and sisters and my late parents and our families.  Through that time I have seen Hydro blaze a wide swath through the forest to the back of our cottages, install a major electrical installation on the corner road exit with its bright lights and imposing structure.  We have seen a large Commercial forest harvesting operation develop around us and we have hosted the University of Manitoba Geological Campus and the Keswick Camp development on our lake for decades. Our Public Beach and dock and lake has reached a tipping point of non-cottage owner weekend visits with the over-packed parking lot running up the road past our cottage and the parking lot and boat launch rendered virtually unusable.  The crowded boat launch and lake traffic now has me parking my boat in the yard for the weekend as the traffic levels are exceeding the lake’s capacity.  My point is that Star Lake has had its share of development and burden’s over the years.
Recently, very recently, I received the letter outlining the proposed Commercial Development directly behind the Block 6 Star Lake Cottage Community in the forested area that is our escape from the chaos of the weekend madness throughout the summer.  To be clear I do not support this proposed location and I strongly believe that in the vastness of the Whiteshell Provincial Park there are numerous far better locations further from cottage owners who are here to escape from the bright lights and sounds and structures that we work in during our times in the cities that we live in.
The zoomed-in pictures in your handout betray the fact that the location is a 2 minute drive from our cabins, an 8 minute bike ride, and a 15 minute walk.  There are no other level forested areas near our cottages for us to experience as there are hills to the West of our cabins (and the private, no trespass UofM location) and cottages and hills to the East and North.  So the answer can’t be to add a blight (and a large 13 lot development blight) to our Star Lake Forest where hiking, blueberry picking and nature enjoyment are a big part of what we regularly do each and every year.

It is a fact that now (and for decades) no one has been able to successfully apply for a new cottage lot anywhere near Star Lake, whether lakefront or backlot as we all know that Star Lake has long ago been deemed at maximum capacity for further development, yet surprise, surprise, we learn today that within a short walking distance of the lake, 13 Commercial Enterprises are considered as a potentially suitable addition to Star Lake. 
I know that I am not alone in rejecting this plan as I attended the recent Star Lake Cottage owners meeting and saw a large crowd of very concerned families united in agreement that this development cannot happen.

Is there a need for small businesses to have a commercial location to store and operate their businesses in the park?  In my opinion there is and I support the idea and I value the work that they do. But that very request comes from the need to move their businesses away from cottage owners and out of their own cottage lot. These businesses can be unsightly, sometimes smelly and noisy and take away from the enjoyment that comes with the considerable investment that the local cottage owners have made in buying and developing their cottage.  But moving that business to within a few minutes of a large cottage population at Star Lake and adding another 12 businesses to the same location solves nothing, it just repeats the same problem– it simply isn’t far enough away.  

 I understand that there were two proposed locations previously rejected at Barren Lake and Falcon Lake and I cannot possibly see how the large population of Star Lake Cottage owner’s unanimous rejection would result in any different final outcome –a complete rejection of the proposed development.

Maybe a better approach would be to open this up to all of us and ask us where we would like this needed storage and light industry development to be placed. You might be surprised at the willingness that we have for this need to be met, to support the important small business operators in the park.  I have a location in mind already if you wish to ask and I am sure there are others like me hoping to have their voice heard.

Please feel free to call me anytime or respond to this email as you wish.  More importantly, please reply to acknowledge that you have received this email before September 18th and that you had an opportunity to read it through. 


Vince Cmela and the Cmela Family
Block 6 Lot 26 Star Lake MB


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