The Whitemouth Reynolds Planning District Board gave first reading to the Whitemouth Reynolds District Development Plan (Whitemouth Plan) by-law on June 14, 2010. The District consists of the Rural Municipalities (RM) of Whitemouth and Reynolds.
Manitoba's Planning Act provides that Manitoba Municipalities "must prepare a development plan for the entire district" that is "generally consistent with provincial land use policies" and subject to periodic review within five years after adoption. Furthermore, the act stipulates that public consultations must be held during the initial drafting of the plan, and again between first and second readings of the Municipal Enactment. Following first reading, the development plan was forwarded to the Technical Review Committee and public hearings for the Whitemouth Plan were scheduled for August 16, 2010.
In the midst of province wide municipal elections campaign the Whitemouth-Reynolds Planning District (WRPD), which is comprised of the Rural Municipalities (R.M.) of Whitemouth and Reynolds, moved forward with second reading of by-law 27/10, the Whitemouth Reynolds District Development Plan (Whitemouth Plan).
Manitoba municipalities are required to have a development plan consistent with the Public Land Use Policies regulation under the Planning Act. Following the Whitemouth Plan's first reading June 14, 2010, it was forwarded to the Technical Review Committee (TRC) and a public hearing was held August 16, 2010.
Manitoba government departments and public presenters raised numerous concerns and recommended against second reading. Despite these concerns, the WRPD moved second reading at a Special Meeting held September 24th, 2010. It will now be up to Manitoba Minister of Local Government Ron Lemieux to determine if the Whitemouth Plan will move to third reading and become law.
Andy Pelletier, Councilor for Reynolds, is the only one of four elected officials on the WRPD seeking re-election October 27th. Whitemouth Reeve Glenn Malkoske, Whitemouth Councilor Bill Boonstra, and Reynolds Reeve Donna Shandroski, who all voted in favour of the Whitemouth Plan, are not seeking re-election beyond 2010.
Residents of Seven Sisters, a community located inside Whitemouth RM, formed the Seven Sisters Community Association (SSCA) September 2009 to address issues with the R.M. and Manitoba Hydro. The organization now has 170 members, and is still growing.
SSCA Spokesperson/Secretary Allison Mantrone-Cardinal reported that the SSCA is concerned that the outgoing Reeves and Councilmember, in their haste to get the plan approved, have ignored legitimate issues brought forth by the government and the public — issues that must be addressed before any plan becomes law.
"It is the hope of the SSCA that the matters raised in this letter will cause you to refuse to grant approval to the By-law [Whitemouth Plan] at this time, and until all the aforementioned concerns are addressed along with proper public consultation as per Manitoba's Planning Act guidelines," stated Mantrone-Cardinal in the SSCA's written objection to the Minister. The SSCA hand delivered their objection to the minister, and to the Beausejour planning office October 19, 2010.
Any person who made a representation at the August 16, 2010 hearing may file an objection: c/o Mr. Willian Sawka, Minister of Local Government, Province of Manitoba. Box 50, Beausejour, MB R0E 0C0 by October 20, 2010.
View Whitemouth Plan after second reading
Download October 18, 2010 objection letter of Allison Mantrone-Cardinal
Source: RM of Whitemouth
Manitoba's Planning Act (s. 114.1) requires that the technical review comments must be publicly available more than 30 days before the public hearing. The technical review comments were received: July 27, 2010, from Manitoba Water Stewardship, July 29, 2010, from Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives, August 11, 2010 from Manitoba Conservation August 11, 2010 and lastly from Manitoba Local Government on August 12, 2010. Contrary to the Planning Act, Technical Review Comments were not made available until the evening of the hearing on August 16, 2010.
Each of the departments recommended against proceeding with second reading. Several concerns were identified:
- Use of inconsistent terminology;
- Use of language from the previous Planning Act, which was replaced in 2006;
- A suggested twenty-year review period, when the act requires a review every five years at minimum;
- Exclusion of provincial parks, wildlife management areas, protected areas and railroads from the Whitemouth Plan maps;
- Inconsistencies with Manitoba's Onsite Wastewater Management Systems Regulation;
- Policies which failed to satisfy the Planning Act and/or Public Land Use Policies (PLUPs).
In the Manitoba town of Seven Sisters, which is inside the RM of Whitemouth, local people frustrated after what they say is years of neglect from Manitoba Hydro and the RM of Whitemouth have mobilized. In the summer of 2009 they formed the Seven Sisters Community Association (SSCA).
The town of Seven Sisters Falls was settled between 1905 and 1927 when Winnipeg Electric began building a branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway from the town of Whitemouth to Seven Sisters—all in preparation for the construction of the Seven Sisters hydroelectric dam. The Seven Sisters town site was built by Hydro in the late 1920's when the actual construction of the dam began. Since the dam was automated in the 1970s, houses in the town site were vacated and the school closed. When the SSCA was formed Hydro was threatening to sell the land occupied by the curling and skating rink. Both of these recreational facilities are owned by Hydro but for many years have been operated and maintained by the Seven Sisters Community Club. As more and more workers moved out of the Townsite, the Club played a bigger role in operating the facilities.
"As part of the subdivision plans, the land under the curling and skating rink was divided into lots that were to be sold. Then in Spring 2009, the RM and Manitoba Hydro informed us that the skating rink needed to be torn down. This created an issue because Hydro was never clear with the community club about what they wanted to do," SSCA secretary Allison Mantrone-Cardinal explained.
Section 220.127.116.11 of the Whitemouth Plan lays out a strategy for the RM of Whitemouth to partner with Manitoba Hydro to subdivide, develop and market housing in other surplus Hydro lands located in Seven Sisters.
"Hydro is not in the real estate business and its engineers are not community planners," stated Marc Ruta, SSCA President, during the August 16 public hearing.
According to Section 121 (2) (c) of the Planning Act, Manitoba Hydro is exempt from the regulations and standards imposed on subdivision development. Residents are concerned that Hydro, with the approval of the RM of Whitemouth, was allowed to circumvent the Planning Act in the Hydro Town site subdivision. When most of the residents purchased their homes in the subdivision, sidewalks existed throughout the subdivision. When new water lines were put in, the sidewalks were ripped out and drainage ditches were put in. Contrary to the intent of the Planning Act, development in the subdivision has moved in reverse and the purchasers were not informed the sidewalks would be removed.
In Ruta's statement to the Whitemouth-Reynolds Planning District Board, he stated that it was the SSCA's position that "Manitoba Hydro conform to the spirit and intent of the Manitoba Planning Act and should do so out of moral obligation to those impacted by a development. Failure to do so makes this a public policy issue."
The Municipal Enactment received second reading on September 24, 2010. It is unclear if any changes were made to the plan. Any person who made a representation at the August 16, 2010 hearing may file an objection with the minister by October 20, 2010. The development plan by-law is still subject to ministerial approval before third reading and enactment.
Download July 27, 2010 Letter from Manitoba Water Stewardship (PDF)
Download July 29, 2010 Letter from Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives (PDF)
Download August 11, 2010 Letter from Manitoba Conservation (PDF)
Download August 12, 2010 Letter from Manitoba Government (PDF)
Download October 1, 2010 Letter from Margaret Arndt of the Whitemouth Reynolds Planning District (PDF)
View August 20, 2010 Lac Du Bonnet Leader article
View Whitemouth Reynolds Planning District Development Plan
View Manitoba Planning Act
View Rural Municipality of Reynolds web site
View Rural Municipality of Whitemouth web site
Source: Lac Du Bonnet Leader
The Manitoba government is giving Victoria Beach municipality $100,000 to improve the beachfront through a process call aggradation to create an artificial reef about 100 metres long. It is the first time this process has been tried on the Lake Winnipeg shoreline.
"It is a fabric device that you fill with sand and it amounts to an artificial reef," says Tom Farrell who is the Reeve of the RM of Victoria Beach, who said he learned about this technique searching the internet.
Stuart Juzda, a local resident who is in favour of erosion control, but is worried about the impact on the public beach, remains sceptical of the new technique. "You don't simply do research on the internet to see whether or not it's worth attempting," says. "Rather you actually take a serious look at the project itself before you spend the money."
The municipality is hiring consultants to design and construct the aggradation project, and plan to create a community shoreline advisory committee to hold public meeting on shoreline erosion control structures, beach preservation and related issues. Manitoba Water Stewardship’s Shoreline Erosion Technical Committee will monitor to evaluate the project’s success.
Erosion of the shoreline has become a contentious subject at the resort area, about 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. A controversial proposal to a build a massive rock erosion barrier along the King Edward and Alexander beaches was shelved following public outcry, and replaced with a temporary erosion barrier. The province had to issue a stop-work order against a controversial rock wall being built by a group of cottagers along Arthur Beach, and the matter is now before the Courts.
View April 28, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View April 28, 2011 Government of Manitoba News Release
View April 27, 2011 CBC News article
View April 27, 2011 CTV News article
View Preserving Victoria Beach blog
Source: Government of Manitoba, CTV
An unauthorized rock erosion barrier, or revetment, built to protect four lakefront cottages at Victoria Beach -- and ordered removed by the province -- is now the focus of what could be a long court battle after Manitoba Queen's Bench Judge Morris Kaufman granted an injunction that blocks removal of an erosion control barrier at Victoria Bench.
His decision means a Manitoba Conservation order to remove the revetment is on hold until the matter can be heard in court. Also at issue is what level of government, the Municipality of Victoria Beach, or the province, has jurisdiction over the project.
The rock wall was built in early 2011 to prevent further erosion on the beach in front of four lakefront properties. The properties have seen the land in front of them washed away by Lake Winnipeg waves.
Other cottagers say revetments are the worst way to protect the summer community's beaches, as they do not allow the lake to replenish the beaches with sand. They say the entire community should be involved in decisions because they fear the beaches will be lost by construction of revetments and other erosion-control barriers.
View March 30, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View March 29, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View March 28, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
Download Motions Brief Robert James Colony v. Government of Manitoba (PDF)
Download March 26, 2011 Affidavit of Robert James Colony (PDF)
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Lake Winnipeg cottage owners along Arthur Beach, who had rocks hauled in to build a retaining wall to protect their properties from shoreline erosion and storm damage, have been ordered by the Manitoba government to take parts of the wall down because it was built on public land without proper authorization.
The Victoria Beach municipality originally issued a cease and desist order February 22, 2011 after trucks started dumping large rocks on Arthur Beach in front of four cottages, stating municipal approval, which had not been obtained, was required. The municipality then reversed this decision, claiming the project was being constructed on private land. "As long as it addresses private property, it's a go," explained Victoria Beach Reeve Tom Farrell.
The province, through Manitoba Conservation, issued a stop-work order March 4, 2011 because the structure had been partly built on a public road that runs along the shoreline between Lake Winnipeg and private land owned by cottagers. In the absence of any response from Victoria Beach municipality, the province ordered removal of the structures March 17, 2011. The order only applies to work on Crown land, not to work on private land.
The province also said it is investigating reports of other unauthorized shoreline construction taking place at Victoria Beach, and may issue more stop-work orders.
Erosion control barriers have been hotly contested in the Victoria Beach Municipality (located on the Eastern shores of Lake Winnipeg about 100km North of Winnipeg) after an October 2010 weather bomb washed away beaches and seven to 10 meters of shoreline in some places.
A hotly contested plan to build and erosion barrier along King Edward beach was put on hold for a year February 2011 following considerable public outcry.
View March 18, 2010 CBC News article
View March 18, 2010 Winnipeg Free Press article
View March 17, 2011 Manitoba Government release
View March 5, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View March 4, 2011 Manitoba Government release
View March 3, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View February 23, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View February 1, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press
Government of Manitoba, Winnipeg Free Press
Lake-front cabin owners promoting a rock wall along King Edward and Alexander beach to combat shoreline erosion informed the Rural Municipality (RM) of Victoria Beach February 1, 2011 they're not proceeding with their plan to construct a rock barrier, following bitter opposition to their first proposal. Instead they'll propose a temporary solution to protect the shoreline this year and work with the rest of the community to come up with a suitable permanent solution. Many residents still oppose the temporary sandbag solution, as they still feel this would lead to erosion of the sand and diminish beachfront access.
View April 3, 2011 Preserving Victoria Beach Wordpress article
View March 1, 2011 RM of Victoria Beach minutes
View February 15, 2011 RM of Victoria Beach minutes
View February 1, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
The Victoria Beach Municipal Meeting at Winnipeg Fort Gary United Church was packed with approximately 350 people January 12, 2011. The meeting was held regarding the proposed construction of a shoreline revetment along King Edward and Alexander Beaches on the East Side of Lake Winnipeg.
Shoreline revetment barriers generally tend to narrow beach in front. Residents and cottage owners are worried the stone revetment, intended to protect the property of some cottage owners, will negatively impact access to the public beach.
"The massive turn out tonight is indicative of everybody's concern. I think we all want to do the right thing. It is premature," said Aynslie MacPherson.
The 11-meter (36 ft) wide revetment will be built on land owned by the local municipality and paid for by the cottage owners along the beachfront. Presently 11 out of 17 property owners are in support of the proposal. The Municipal Council approved the proposal in principle December 20, 2010. It still requires approval from the Provincial Shoreline Erosion Technical Advisory Committee.
A presentation by two beachfront cottage owners, Mark Tooley and Gregg Hanson, who have been the main proponents, consumed the most of the meeting.
"It seemed to me that they had their mind made up as to what the solution was, and they wanted to get it in place by springtime; and that's a railroad job. Where is the Environmental Impact Study? There isn't one," said Blair Bingeman.
"We are concerned about the cottage owners, but were also concerned about the natural habitat. There is concern about the Piping Plover. We have questions about what will happen to any of the natural environment and the riparian zone. I think we should do more public consultations. We need to look at all the different options, not just two people looking at the option most pleasing to them," said Trish Richardson Mason.
Many citizens voiced complaints about inadequate consultations, and the Reeve Tom Farrell was forced to promise further consultation given public interest, lack of access to information, and limited meeting time for questions.
"Good on them for saying they were going to do another meeting. They need to do as many meetings as they need, so that people can feel comfortable and enthusiastic about whatever the solution ends up being," said Val Bingeman.
As of January 17, 2011 no announcements have been made regarding next meeting, and the materials presented have not been posted on Victoria Beach municipal website.
View January 13, 2011 Winnipeg Free Press article
View January 13, 2011 CBC News article
View January 13, 2011 CTV News article
View January 4, 2011 Manitoba Wildlands news item
Download January 12, 2010 Public Meeting Handout (PDF)
Download December 20, 2010 Victoria Beach Municipal Council Minutes (PDF)
Download Lake Winnipeg Shoreline - Technical Report #4
Download Shoreline Management Handbook (2001)
Download Shoreline Management Handbook (1977)
Sources: Manitoba Wildlands, Winnipeg Free Press, Victoria Beach Municipality
The first step of a controversial plan to build a 11 meter (36 ft) wide angled wall of boulders along the length of King Edward and Alexander beaches on the east side of Lake Winnipeg was approved 3-2 by the Rural Municipality (RM) of Victoria Beach December 20, 2010.
A public meetings will be held in Winnipeg on January 12 from 7 - 9 p.m at Fort Garry United Church, located at 800 Point Road. Another public meeting will be booked for the Victoria Beach area.
The RM approval allows an engineer to begin preliminary planning for the wall. Then the proposal will be submitted to Manitoba's Shoreline Erosion Technical Committee for review and recommendations. The proponents want to start work in January and be finished by April.
Lake Winnipeg's shorelines suffered severe erosion following an October 27, 2010 weather bomb that caused winds of more than 90 kilometres per hour over Lake Winnipeg. With already high moisture levels and flooding expected in Spring 2011 some lakefront cottage owners are concerned about potential erosion of their properties and are pushing for the wall. Other residents are concerned about impacts the wall will have on the heavily used public beaches, and that the proposal is being hastily approved without adequately consulting the public.
"I believe we need a plan [for shoreline erosion], but I don't believe this [the wall proposal] is it. If we allow this to go on, we may lose the beach," said RM of Victoria Beach councillor Kathy McKibbin who voted against the proposal.
"People don't want to come to the beach in the summer and be gobsmacked with the construction," said RM Councillor Karen Boyd, who also then voted for the proposal on December 20th.
Reeve Tom Farrell, who voted in favour of the proposal on December 20th, indicated that the RM cannot always be asking for public input, which in this case could delay construction for a year. "Some of these decisions are not always pleasant," Farrell said.
View December 20, 2010 Winnipeg Free Press article
View December 21, 2010 Winnipeg Free Press article
View December 22, 2010 RM of Victoria Beach, Notice of Shoreline Protection Informational Meeting (PDF)
View December 26, 2010 Winnipeg Free Press Letter to the Editor
View Shoreline Erosion Technical Committee page
Source: Winnipeg Free Press, RM of Victoria Beach
Manitoba Wildlands submitted comments to Manitoba Conservation Environmental Assessment and Licensing Branch (EALB) on the Rettie Boat Access / Beaconia Channel application. The channel was constructed illegally before the proponent applied for a license under the Manitoba Environment Act. Manitoba Wildlands noted that the Rettie Boat Access scenario shows, when intra and inter-government communication and policy integration is inadequate the jobs of government employees become more difficult, and the health of Manitoba’s ecosystem which primarily suffers.
Download November 19, 2010 Manitoba Wildlands comments on Rettie Boat Access/Beaconia Channel (PDF)
View Public Registry - Robert and Margaret Rettie - Rettie Boat Access
View October 27, 2010 Manitoba Wildlands news item
View Eastern Beaches Conservation Coalition website
The Environmental Assessment and Licensing Branch (EALB) in Manitoba Conservation is dealing with an illegally constructed boat access channel located in the Beaconia Lagoon on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
The channel was constructed between December 2009 and February 2010 without a license as required through Manitoba's Environment Act. It affects crown lands and waters, and was constructed by a private land owner.
Concern about the environmental impacts of the project as well as the retroactive nature of the permitting, with no apparent consequences, caused serious concerns among local residents and others. The local residents lodged complaints and banded together to form the Eastern Beaches Conservation Coalition (EBCC).
Following these complaints Manitoba Water Stewardship issued a stop work order on the project in March of 2010 until an Environmental Assessment could be completed. An Environment Act Proposal was filed in late October and comments were accepted until November 22, 2010.
Manitoba Wildlands, and numerous others, submitted comments asking EALB: "...not to license this project, and to issue an order for remediation and restoration of the lagoon."
View online public registry file #5486.00
View October 27, 2010 Manitoba Wildlands news item
View Eastern Beaches Conservation Coalition website
Download November 19, 2010 Manitoba Wildlands Comments Letter (PDF)
Download Wayne Larstone Comments Letter (DOC)
Download Vikki Burns (Coordinator, Foundations in the Lake Winnipeg Watershed Initiative, Community Foundations of Canada) Comments Letter (DOC)
Download November 19, 2010 Judy E. Williams, Co-Chair, Fraser River Coalition Comments Letter (DOC)
Download November 21, 2010 Chris Davis Comments Letter (ZIP)
Download November 21, 2010 Dave Crabb Comments Letter (DOC)
Source: EALB, Manitoba Wildlands