The Minaki Conservancy is an Ontario non-profit corporation organized in 2005. It changed its name from “The Minaki Cottagers Association” in 2019, to clarify that membership has always been open to year-round as well as seasonal property owners in Minaki, and to reflect a renewed focus on issues relating to Minaki’s natural environment and community heritage.
The purpose of The Minaki Conservancy is set out in its organizing documents:
The corporation’s purpose is to sustain and enhance Minaki’s natural environment and community heritage. It will inform, educate, and where necessary, advocate.
As used in this purpose, “natural environment” has these components:
water in the Winnipeg River system
plants and animals, with a focus on the Winnipeg River fishery
and “community heritage” has these components:
importance of tourism
shared appreciation of these special values across stakeholders
This purpose includes, by way of illustration, these topics:
- water quality
- logging planning and monitoring
- invasive species
- fire prevention
- environmentally responsible cottage ownership
- safe and responsible recreation
- sensible pace of growth
- personal safety and response
- community history, including the history of indigenous peoples
The Conservancy’s mission statement elaborates on those purposes, and the special circumstances and challenges in carrying them out:
The mission of The Minaki Conservancy is to sustain and enhance the extraordinary natural environment and special community heritage of Minaki for the benefit of all owners and visitors, now and in the future.
To meet its mission, the Conservancy promotes these operating principles:
- Minaki is a fragile place in Northwestern Ontario, in unorganized territory, and consistent consultation and cooperation among year-round residents of the town, the Wabaseemoong and Niisaachewan Anishinaabe First Nations, and seasonal residents will be necessary to meet challenges and to accomplish positive goals
- the Conservancy will build relationships with other entities in town and in the region, support them and be supported by them, and avoid duplication
entities in town include the Local Services Board, the Minaki Community Association, the Minaki Foundation, the Minaki Roads Board, the Minaki Waste Management Board, and the Minaki United Fire Fighters
entities in the region include the Lake of the Woods District Stewardship Association, the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
- change and development will occur, but that change and development can and should happen in a sustainable manner that respects and protects Minaki’s natural environment and community heritage
- the Conservancy welcomes new owners and visitors to this special place
The Conservancy is a membership organization, with membership open to year-round and seasonal property owners and their families, as described under the “Membership” button on the home page.
A board of directors and several officers, all elected by the members, govern the Conservancy’s affairs. The current directors and officers are listed under the “Directors and Officers” button on the home page.
Here are the corporation’s Bylaws.
Since the fall of 2010, the Conservancy has devoted a significant amount of time and resources to concerns about the severe negative impacts on the Minaki area and its environment from the proposal by Manitoba developers Bob Banman and Bob Schinkel to redevelop the Minaki Lodge site for seasonal residential use with condominiums or trailers at extreme densities. Information on those concerns is available under the “Minaki Lodge” button on the home page.
In addition, The Conservancy has since its inception participated in the formulation and implementation of Provincial timbering plans, working cooperatively with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and private timber companies to steer the location and practices of logging proposals away from sensitive places and times on the Minaki area. Information on the activity is available under the “Forestry” button on the home page.
Looking forward, the Conservancy expects to devote significant effort to raising awareness of the increasing damage to the Winnipeg River caused by the invasive aquatic plant known as flowering rush, and promoting and organizing private and public efforts to combat it.