Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Province OK's Beaconia boat channel
Cottager feels snubbed by process
The province has given the green light for a private boat channel at Beaconia on Lake Winnipeg, almost two years after area residents complained it would destroy a lakeside marsh.
In a Dec. 28 letter to Dave Crabb and Candace Neufeld, Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh said the channel, originally dug in the winter of 2010, will not degrade the rest of the marsh or other habitat.
"Indeed, there may be positive outcomes for habitat diversity," Mackintosh said in dismissing Crabb and Neufeld's appeal under the Environment Act to block the project.
Crabb said Monday he's offended by Mackintosh's action in that it appears to contradict what the province has promoted in protecting Lake Winnipeg and fragile wetlands.
"The way it's been handled is that we're just an annoyance," said Crabb. "Somehow we have scientists in this province who say there will be no damage. That's what I find most offensive."
Crabb said the excavation for the 600-metre-long channel wiped out trees, including osprey and eagle nests, and has forever altered the shoreline.
"What's really disturbing is how hypocritical this decision is," said Crabb.
Cottager Robert Rettie built the channel to better protect his two watercraft. He has a summer residence nearby.
Prior to beginning excavation work, Rettie received approval from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which oversees projects on major lakes and waterways, and the Selkirk and District Planning Area Board.
But the Manitoba government halted the project after several area cottagers and the Eastern Beaches Conservation Coalition complained. It ordered a provincial environmental review take place before any work could continue. Cottagers like Crabb want the channel returned to its natural state.
In his letter, Mackintosh said the environmental review found no negative impacts to Lake Winnipeg are expected from the channel project.
"The Environment Act licence satisfactorily addressed erosion, sedimentation, revegetation, construction timing during sensitive periods for birds and wildlife, and the use and maintenance of the project," Mackintosh said.
Crabb said he, along with representatives from the Lake Winnipeg Foundation and Manitoba Wildlands, want to meet with Mackintosh to see the scientific background that supports his decision, in particular the information that says the channel could see "positive outcomes for habitat diversity."
A spokesman for Mackintosh said Monday the minister was not immediately available.
"I really feel the public has been snubbed by this process," Crabb said. "How do you explain to the public that you are trying to protect and increase the awareness of important wetlands and the health of Lake Winnipeg when they say it is OK to dig them up and destroy them?"
Mackintosh also said in his letter that because of the Beaconia project, the province has strengthened its protection of wetlands.
"While the beginning of this project pre-dated current policy, the Environment Act licence provides similar protection to the Beaconia Marsh from this directly adjacent project," Mackintosh said.
"Department staff will continue to monitor the project area to ensure that future activities comply with regulatory requirements."
Mackintosh's decision on the Beaconia boat channel comes as his department examines a bid by Sun Gro Horticulture to develop a peat mine farther north in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park.
Environmental groups, park cottagers and Manitoba's Liberal and Green party leaders have condemned the idea of a peat mine in the park.
Besides worries peat mining near Lake Winnipeg will exacerbate the water's nutrient problems, the Conservation department staff have expressed concerns the proposed project could create a fire risk and disturb important moose habitat.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 3, 2013 A6
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
(1 of 50 articles for this week)3:10 PM 0
Photo Store Gallery
- Man, 45, missing since Monday
- Break-in on top of her grieving
- RCMP charge more than dozen impaired drivers
- Other alleged victims for therapist charged with assault
- Guests welcomed with open arms at Christmas Feast in the West End
- Santa, sleigh on course: NORAD
- No charges laid in fatal collision
- For some First Nations people, like Tina Fontaine’s family, grieving is part of the yuletide season
- Warm temperatures in Manitoba for Christmas
- Openings, closings over the Christmas week
- MTS says services have been restored
- Winnipeg trucker dies in semi-truck collision
- New Transcona Boulevard offically opens today
- Remains may be decade old
- Oswald officially enters NDP leadership race; promises an "alternative vision"
- Break-in on top of her grieving
- Infant remains in locker may be decade old: Brodsky
- Police seek driver after pickup truck hits pedestrian
- No charges laid against man who killed teen mugger
- Police continue to seek info on driver; hit-and-run proves fatal
- Slain man leaves behind nine children
- Trucking firm in mourning after driver killed in crash
- Teacher pulled from classroom
- 'Fun party for two' ends in tragedy
- Photos released of suspects in coat heist
- RCMP investigate allegations of doctored invoices, improper payment
- Semi driver dies in collision at Lagimodiere, Dugald
- Twelve arrested, including former city council candidate; weapons and drugs
- Keep car windows clear or face fine: police
- Selby among victims of debit card-skimming scam
Ads by Google