New Round of Logging Plans

New logging plans involving cutting in the Minaki area are now appearing, as part of the commercial logging cycle.  Here’s some background and an update.
Logging on public land is a recurring land use in our part of Ontario.  MNR oversees the cutting, in joint management with MIISUN, a logging contractor owned by a number of First Nations.  Logging occurs pursuant to a series of 10-year plans, with two 5-year subplans in each.  The second 5-year bloc in the current cycle is approaching, providing for cutting starting in 2017.
Two areas of future logging directly affect Minaki — one along the north side of Pistol Narrows and Billings Bay and one around the entrance to Roughrock.  A map is available under the Forestry button, with cutting areas in orange and preliminary setbacks in red.  This logging is not clear-cutting, as 20% of a variety of species and ages must be retained, but with roads and noise the cutting is still a significant event.
The MCA in past cycles has worked within the logging plan review and approval process to set standards for where and how the logging is carried out, including setbacks from the river and the timing of the work.  It’s important to note that in the Minaki area, MNR’s land use plan specifically puts outdoor recreation and tourism ahead of logging.
MCA member Wayne Bruce of Pistol Lake, a board member of the Lake of the Woods District Property Owners Association and a member of MNR’s citizens’ advisory committee on logging and of the Kenora forest planning team, is in a position to provide direct input on the plan and is helping the MCA in this cycle.
Wayne’s perspective is that MNR and MIISUN can be responsive to local concerns, as long as the public input is timely.  Now through the end of the year is the time.  We will post another report on this logging plan, with more details on the MCA’s response and participation in the process, in mid-November.  In the meantime, please contact the MCA with questions and concerns.
Posted in MCA

Comments Flow in to Environmental Registry

The revised applications for 138 residential condominium units on the Minaki Lodge site by Bob Banman and Bob Schinkel have come in to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, still without follow-up from the Ministry of additional information regarding what besides unit count has changed.
In the meantime, though, MMAH is required to post the applications on the Province’s Environmental Registry, and solicit public comment on environmental impacts.  That posting occurred in mid-September.  The 30-day comment period just ended, with MMAH hearing directly from many MCA members and year-round residents of Minaki about the unacceptable and avoidable environmental impacts of the over-sized redevelopment proposal.
The MCA filed its own comment, as an organization, providing the technical and engineering backdrop for the environmental concerns, based in large part on the work of its two independent sewage treatment engineering firms.  Comments on the Environmental Registry are not available for viewing, but the MCA’s comment is available under the “Minaki Lodge” button.
This Environmental Registry process is entirely separate from the ongoing review by MMAH of the redevelopment proposal under the Ontario Planning Act.  That review, which started in 2012, continues with currently no fixed deadline.  But the Environmental Registry did provide an opportunity for the strong scientific backdrop of the MCA’s comment to combine with the deep and personal perspectives of the year-round and seasonal residents, telling MMAH again that the redevelopment is too big and too risky for Minaki and the Winnipeg River.
Posted in MCA