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Save Star Lake from:

Parks' Proposed: Commercial Light Industry
and Storage Sites at Star Lake

Notes from Public Meeting held Sat., Sept. 5, 2020

Deadline for Feedback is Sept. 18!

Please keep sending in your letters/emails and petitions! We cannot stand down until we have received a signed letter from Parks rescinding this proposal!

Deadline extended? Follow this link.


Star Lake Meeting

Our public meeting was held on Sept. 5, from 11:00 am - 12:30 pm. Approximately ninety (90) people showed to voice opposition to Parks' Proposal. One (1) individual did express support for the proposal.

The meeting was organized and lead by Doug Collicutt (me) and several other neighbours. A good number of other folks spoke or asked questions. Jon Sigurdson, our Whiteshell Cottagers Association (WCA) representative was in attendance. He assured us that he would raise this issue at the next WCA meeting. He expressed concern over the fact that the WCA had not been appraised of this project prior to this meeting. He also expressed concerns over the brevity of information contained in the letter sent to Star Lake cottagers.

The meeting was an opportunity for all our neighbours to voice their opinions, be made aware of the information sources available to them (Star Lake FaceBook page and Star Lake web site) and to learn of how little we know about this proposal. An invitation was extended to Parks Planning department last week, by D. Collicutt, but as far as we know no one from Parks was in attendance. A lively discussion resulted in a general consensus that this proposal should be rejected.

We are not anti-business, we are pro-Star Lake, and we hope that Parks will work with Cottage Based Business owners to find an appropriate site for this commercial development, well away from any cottage subdivision in the park. (A number of our neighbours reported that this is the 3rd time such a proposal has been put forth by Parks. It was rejected at Falcon Lake and Barren Lake. Now we are rejecting it for Star Lake.)

Media Coverage

Global News Winnipeg contacted Doug Collicutt and Shelly Cumbers for interviews. The interviews were aired on the supper time and late evening news casts on Sept. 7. A follow-up web post is on the Global News website:

Star Lake cottagers oppose commercial development

CBC News Winnipeg interviewed Doug Collicutt and posted an article on their web site on Sept. 7:

Star Lake cottagers sign petition to stop proposed storage site

CTV Winnipeg interviewed Doug Collicutt and Larry Santa, with video from Star Lake, and presented a segment on the evening news on September 8, 2020:

Cottagers protest storage development at Star Lake


Petition Started

A petition opposing this development was prepared and put out for signatures (we all tried to social distance as best we could). Thanks to Nadine Gustavson for putting that together and manning the petition table. Those still wishing to sign the petition can download it from this link, print it out, sign it and return it (We will provide a postal address, but a scanned copy submitted by email is great, too. On such short notice we were unable to arrange for an online petition.) Also, those still at the cottage can contact Larry Santa, Lot 13, in the middle row to sign the petition directly.

You can send printed petitions to:

Doug Collicutt
960 Garfield Street N, Winnipeg, R3E 2N6

Download the petition: MS Word version | PDF version

Petition Update: As of Sept. 17, we have 198 signatures on our petition, submitted to Parks Sept. 17!

But please remember to send in your letters/emails, too!


*** Hey, now we have an online petition, too, Thanks to Jens Giesbrecht! ***

Star Lake Petition to Stop Proposed Storage Site

As of Sept. 17 = 288 signatures


We are going to establish a contact group for Star Lake cottagers, collecting email addresses. Anyone wishing to be contacted regarding Parks' Proposal please send a message to Doug Collicutt.


Findings and Discussion Points

Here are, to the best of my recollection (we forgot to have someone actually take meeting minutes) are some of the questions and concerns raised by Star Lake cottagers:

Frequent Questions

What are Cottage Based Businesses and how are they regulated in the Park?

What is "Commercial Light Industry and what would be allowed on the proposed "storage sites"?

Why didn't Parks come to us first, before preparing what seems like a "done deal" proposal?

Why were we only given 3 weeks at the end of summer to respond to this issue?

Why is there no information on Parks web site about this proposal?

What benefit does this provide to Star Lake cottagers? This question came up a number of times. No one could think of an answer. However, one good thing to come out of this proposal is that it has brought our community closer together in opposing it!

So far we have no answers to these questions from Parks or anyone else.


Cottagers Concerns

Here are some of the issues that were discussed:

Traffic and road safety

Increased traffic at the junction of the Block 4,5,6 access road and Hwy 301 will create a more dangerous intersection.

Increased traffic on our access road will put other vehicles, cyclists and walkers at risk.

Increased traffic on the currently abandoned roads and trails leading to the proposed site will put cyclists and walkers at risk. This road is well used by families with small children and children regularly cycle on this road.

Commercial truck and trailer traffic will further degrade our access road. We understand that spring road restrictions are already in place to protect the integrity of this road.

Habitat Destruction

Some of the lands being considered for development are formerly disturbed sites that have been remediated, by Parks, to promote a return of the natural vegetation. The sand pit site was regraded and stabilized several years ago and is in the process of natural succession. The former land fill site, decommissioned about 20 years ago (?) was reforested with native Jack Pine trees. But these formerly disturbed sites represent only about one half of the proposed site, with the remainder being long-established forest.

We would assume that the entire area would have to be bulldozed to provide for the establishment of the storage sites. The south end of Star Lake has had more than its share of development including commercial logging and the establishment of a Hydro substation and transmission line. The consensus at our meeting was that "enough was enough". We will not accept further commercial development.

This proposal would also possibly eliminate public use of the existing back roads, owing to safety concerns or road blockage.

Pollution

Unspecified commercial activities on the proposed site may, including vehicular use, may result in pollution entering the ground water. A number of cottagers have installed wells for water access. This site is uphill from these aquifers. Pollution in surface water may also make its way downhill to the lake itself.

Will storage of noxious/poisonous or explosive chemicals be allowed? Accidents and seepage may result.

What sanitation facilities, if any, would be established at the proposed site, or would individuals simply relieve themselves on site?

Air pollution is also possible from on-site activities including vehicle exhaust, generator operation or chemical spillage.

What materials may be stored on such sites? Building materials such as pressure treated wood may produce leachate that reaches ground water.

Security

A commercial light industry storage site will become know to criminals. Thefts from such a site may put local cottages more at risk of break-ins and vandalism.

As locals we recognize the vehicles and activities of our neighbours and we report suspicious activity. Unknown commercial vehicles and increased traffic in general will make our subdivision less safe.

Fire Hazard

Commercial activities in forested areas increase the chances of forest fires. Catalytic converters and other commercial equipment on back roads regularly start fires.

Cottagers in Block 4,5,6 have only one way in or out of our subdivision. Any fire could make escaping to safety difficult.

Noise Pollution

With a south wind cottagers can hear the traffic on Hwy #1, about 2 km away, so activities only 300 m away will produce noise pollution, especially if trees on the south side of the Hydro transmission line are removed.

Impact on Property Values

A combination of all of the above factors may make Star Lake cottages less desirable and reduce our property values.


Other Sites Parks Could Use

There were a number of alternate locations suggested by folks where Parks might be able to establish the Commercial Light Industry Storage Sites. We hope these will be given consideration by Parks. (Still working on this, more to come.)

Falcon Lake Transfer Station

Manitoba Parks Service Yards

Manitoba Highways Compound


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