NEWS and UPDATES

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February 4, 2024

DOCTORS OFFICE SURVEY

The VBCOA and its members have been instrumental in keeping the doctors office open for the VRA and the community. The Doctors Office Committee are doing a quick survey regarding its operation. If you could take a quick moment to follow the link below and do the survey for them it would be appreciated!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe5wNT1WHHWlPmxQBZuUhsLkLOr5x1dH5s2ARjP9l5LaxHbvQ/viewform

If for some reason you cant access the link, please send your answers to the following questions to vbcoaexec@gmail.com with DOCTOR OFFICE SURVEY in the Subject Heading.

  1. Do you know the current hours of the VB medical clinic (without looking them up)? Yes No Other:
  2. Would you be opposed to having the hours of the VB medical clinic changed slightly?* Yes No Other:
  3. Have you ever used the VB medical clinic for yourself, or your child(ren)? Yes No
  4. Tell us about yourself! Are you a: Full time Resident Summer Resident Renter Day Tripper Other:
  5. Where would you like to see the VB Medical Clinic Hours posted?
  6. Anything else you would like to add for the Medical Committe

January 9, 2024

CONNAUGHT REVETMENT NOW PLANNED!

Just as we feared, now that the King Edward and Alexandra revetment has been completed, a new revetment is now being planned/proposed to council by some members of the same group for Connaught.

We strongly encourage you to watch the recent council meetings (starting with Jan 9th) and write your council if you do not want to see a repeat of what has transpired on King Edward and Alexandra. The shoreline owners on Connaught are trying to get it done by this spring! https://victoriabeach.ca/p/council-minutes-and-agendas

Please let your council know your opinion on the matter and share this info with your beach friends and neighbours. It is the middle of winter and the proponents and council are likely depending on the lack of community engagement at this time of year to expedite the process while many are unaware of what is going on.

Contact council by writing to:

Mayor McMorris.   pmcmorris@victoriabeach.ca

Council                   info@victoriabeach.ca

Graham Randle.     grandle@victoriabeach.ca

Irwin Kumka          Ikumka@victoriabeach.ca

Steve Axworthy    saxworthy@victoriabeach.ca

Ian Chadsey ichadsey@victoriabeach.ca

THE KING EDWARD REVETMENT BEGINS

December 2, 2023

The King Edward revetment has begun. A large piece of the bank was altered this last week — which held valuable trees and shrubs to help stabilize the bank — to accommodate the necessary equipment. The original route we were told was to be an ice road, but in the eagerness to get this done as quickly as possible (and not wait until later in the winter when there was more of a guaranteed winter freeze) this is now the chosen route. Using an ice road would have avoided collateral environmental damage such as this.

VBCOA response to the false narratives on revetments that are being spread:

SEEING IS BELIEVING

There has been a concerted effort by some in the community trying to infer that the stone revetment on Arthur and the sandbag revetment on King Edward did no damage to the beaches in front of them as all the science and the Baird report predicted would happen.

This misconception has also entered into the mindset of some of our councilors. In the minutes of the last council meeting on Sept 5th, they had the audacity to refer to the Baird report and the mountain of scientific evidence as “Science”. (Their quotation marks, not ours, telegraphing some of their mocking reference to the known and dependable science presented to them by many sources thus far.)

Please download and read the following PDF document as we provide you with the overwhelming evidence — in pictures — of the real truth on revetments on our precious beaches. Seeing is believing.

TWELEVE EXCEPTIONAL PRESENTATION/DELEGATIONS AT THE SEPTEMBER 5TH & 12TH COUNCIL MEETINGS

There were twelve solid presentations to council by concerned citizens in regards to the proposed revetment on King Edward. We strongly encourage you to spend the time to listen to them and the council’s response. Here is the link to both meetings: September 5th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiWaFYA29kQ&t=139s September12th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT_4I1nwHdc&t=2s

VBCOA responses to the Q&A shared by the King Edward Revetment Proposal.

The following is the VBCOA response to Laura and her group:

September 15, 2023

Dear Laura and King Edward/Alexandra Toe Protection Proposal group:

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to the VBCOA. It is nice to finally have some dialogue and get a better grasp of what you and your groups stance is on numerous concerns many still have with the King Edward revetment as currently proposed.

We know you invested time and thought into your Q&A which was widely circulated to the community so we have done the same, sharing our responses to it on our website and private Facebook page.

We too are encouraged by your desire to follow the Baird report and science. Of course, when doing what the Baird report says, it means numerous actions must accompany each other. Not just one action, in isolation.

Sadly, a commitment to those actions – such as sand replenishment and nourishment and the costs involved — including who pays for what – is nowhere near being resolved from what we have heard to date.

Thus far, it is good to know we have at least one good option available that worked – the sandbags. (Not perfect, but a good compromise for both sides.)

We too look towards community building and want to steer away from the inevitable turmoil the loss of Kind Edward and Alexandra beaches would cause.

This is indeed a historic moment in the evolution of Victoria Beach and we all must do our ultimate best to make sure the right choices are made for the many generations of beach goers and residents to come.

Here are our responses to your Q&A. Please feel free to reach out to us again if your would like to discuss any of them further.

Yours truly,

VBCOA

VBCOA response to the Question & Answer submission by the King Edward Toe Revetment Proposal:

(VBCOA responses highlighted in red)

Q. Is protection actually needed?

A. Yes, protection is needed for a number of reasons detailed in the Baird Report.

Actually, the Baird report tells us that protecting the sand cliffs requires building groins and or a breakwater along with toe protection and periodic sand replenishment. Toe protection without sand replenishment means “the beach will eventually disappear”(p. 70 Apendix B)

This toe revetment protection (in isolation without anything else being done to accompany it) is only part of the solution. Without sand replenishment and nourishment efforts to go with it, this singular effort of protection will result in causing more problems than fixing them.

The question is what form of shoreline stabilization is best for our circumstances. There are many studies recommending soft (vegetation/sandbags …) vs hard stabilization (rock revetments sea walls…).

https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth107/node/1073

https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/67096.html

https://islandstrust.bc.ca/document/shorelines-matter-brochure-2/

http://rosshaven.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Shoreline-Stabilization-Techniques.pdf

There is also the added question of does the proposal before us meet the requirements of Baird as put forward?

Q. Who pays for this?

A. The RM will own the work but Sunset Blvd property owners along King Edward and Alexandra will pay to build it.

But since the project will — according to Baird and many, many other sources — require sand replenishment and nourishment and ideally properly engineered groins, the full project required is not being paid for by the Sunset Blvd property owners. The revetment part is, but not the additional efforts the impact of the revetment will create.

Q. Who pays for maintenance?

A. Sunset Blvd property owners along King Edward and Alexandra are trying to work with the RM on this and have offered to include some maintenance costs in their proposal.

No plan should go forward without hard costs attached. Firm numbers. Does it include sand replenishment and nourishment as a maintenance cost? Because it MUST be part of the solution to go hand in hand with the revetment otherwise we lose the beach. Are these numbers being proposed available to the public? We are using public land for this, after all.

Q. I think this only protects the Sunset Boulevard properties, how is this considered a compromise?

A. In order to leave more beach available for community enjoyment, this design occupies a much smaller footprint than what Sunset Boulevard residents proposed in 2011.

It will actually leave less beach available as the beach will mostly be scoured even further than with the sandbags. Much like Arthur was, with a rock revetment.  There would be a benefit to a narrower revetment over a wide one when the water is high, but the scouring remains the seminal issue.

In addition, the folks proposing the project are incurring a large financial burden which reduces the remaining cost of the Shoreline Management Plan for the rest of the municipality.

Reduces? Some would argue increases. Does anyone know the costs attached to sand replenishment and nourishment this revetment will force the community to do? Millions of dollars may not be an exaggeration.

Q. Is this the same project that was proposed after the weather bomb of 2010?

A. No. It’s 12 feet deep which is much, much smaller. This rock toe only occupies the sandbag footprint and some space that eroded behind the sandbags this past year.

On actual recent measurements the bank is between 4 ft and 12 ft from the lake side of the sandbags. So, the proposed revetment will not be narrower and in many cases, it will be wider than the sandbags. However, that is not the main issue.

Regardless of size, the stone component is a far harder armour than the sandbags and for that reason the scouring in front will likely be considerably greater, not less. (Remember the devastation that happened to Arthur and Patricia?) Soft armour has been shown to cause less scouring.

What is the difference between hard and soft shoreline?

In a nutshell, soft solutions are natural and may include fabrics, beach nourishment, beach dewatering systems, sandbags and specialty products. Hard solutions involve rock, concrete and steel, thereby increasing the potential of damage to sand beaches due to wave reflection off of such hard structures.

Q. People should be planting more trees and bushes to prevent bank erosion. Why is the municipality considering a rock toe when they should be enforcing more natural vegetation?

A. Toe stabilization and protection against storms is needed along King Edward and Alexandra. Plant cover does not protect the toe of the bank where wave action strikes.

This answer ignores the fact that the vegetation on the banks needs to be maintained and nourished always. The top, the middle and the bottom of the banks. Thus far, there has been more removal of trees and bushes on the banks, particularly for a view, than there has ever been planting them. Perhaps, had there been better stewardship on the banks by private owners the banks would have been much more resilient and capable to protect the toe of the bank when needed? Instead, the lack of bushes and trees have done the opposite. From the top to the middle to the bottom of the banks.

Trees and bushes may not be the ultimate solution but ignoring them as not an important part of the puzzle is folly. Sandbags protect the toe and as soft armour are less harmful to the beach than a revetment.

Q. Why toe protection?

A. Toe protection is a compromise recommended in the Baird Report, as a result of concerns people had with the revetment proposed in 2011 and potential impacts to the beach.

Actually, the sandbags were the compromise the community did eventually give in to. But yes, toe protection was given by Baird as another option, but only with properly engineered and located groins plus sand nourishment and replacement to go along with it. Which is not in this proposed plan. In the proposal sand replenishment is described as a “maybe” or an “add-on” and occurs at the expense and discretion of the community at large down the road.

The impact this stone revetment will have, as proposed in isolation, still remains devastating to the beach in front.

Toe protection provides less, but still some bank stability and protection against storms.

Then why not stick with the sandbags? They did too. And they buy time. Hopefully council will come up with a more complete plan based on Baird and will begin applying for federal and provincial grants and also begin budgeting in the RMVB 5 year plan. A more complete and comprehensive erosion mitigation plan is suggested.

Q. Will this fill up the beach with rocks?

A. No. It’s a small scale rock toe that won’t extend past the sandbags.

Smaller than the original one proposed in 2011, yes. But small? Not in many peoples opinion. It is substantial and it is hard vs soft armour.  

Q. What if the rocks tumble down on to the beach?

A. It’s not likely and if it does happen, they’ll be repositioned.

Actually, the science says, that without sand replenishment and nourishment they in fact will tumble down the beach eventually. The revetment will fail. And when constant repair and repositioning starts sooner than later, down the road, without sand replenishment, the costs will not be minor. Who will be paying for that?

Furthermore, there is a confusion by many that when they suddenly see more rocks on the beach in the immediate years following a revetment, that they are coming from the revetment. Falling off of it. They are not. They are coming from under the sand on the beach, from the scouring the revetment is causing. People forget or do not understand, under the sand beach we enjoy, are rocks.

Q. Weren’t the sandbags going to be replaced this past winter?

A. Yes but ice conditions prevented the work.

So, if conditions are good this year, why not go ahead with the sandbags as was planned to do this last winter? Why the sudden change of mind? Sandbags are part of soft armour and therefore do less to scour the sand beach.

Q. Why can’t the current sandbags simply be replaced?

A. Better protection is needed.

But they were effective. It is even said so in this Q&A. Had the weather been okay last winter they would have already gone back in. See above.

Q. This toe protection looks different than the example in the 2015 Update from Baird & Associates on the Victoria Beach Shoreline Stabilization Project. Why?

A. The 2015 design is cost prohibitive. Additionally, the community use aspect of this design would now be unsafe.

Q. Will toe protection make the beach disappear?

A. We haven’t seen a negative impact on the beach from the sandbag protection that was in place for 12 years.

This is perhaps one of the most alarming responses from this proposal in this Q&A. Saying there was no negative impact to the beach is categorically incorrect. The scouring was clear and evident when the sandbags were in their best shape. There is photo evidence to prove it. Photo’s decidedly absent from this presentation we have been given.

Furthermore, we need only look to Arthur for what a stone structure – over a sandbag one — will do. Arthur/Patricia is our rock revetment example. As is the northern end of Connaught by the Pump House.

The good sand beach on King Edward we enjoy now is because a) the water is 4 ft lower than it was last year at this time and b) the failed sandbags have resulted in cliff erosion that has deposited sand onto the beach  c) the sandbags were soft armour not hard as at Arthur.  

Note that sections of King Edward where the sandbags have not failed the banks have held while in the sections where the sandbags failed, the banks collapsed.

The Baird Report recommends sand replenishment and retainment measures be taken to increase volume of sand on the beach to make up for gradual loss of sand over time. If these measures are wanted now, or end up being needed in the future, the community and municipality can prioritize and implement these measures. We would fully support a municipal decision for sand nourishment.

Anyone wanting a stone revetment on the beach of course should fully support sand nourishment. It can’t be built without it. Supporting it and paying for sand replenishment and nourishing though, are two different things. Particularly when the rock revetment will be the cause for the increased need.

This proposal clearly recognizes “Since the vast sandy beaches are one of the most valuable community assets and enhancing them is a part of The RMVB Shoreline Management Plan, the community and municipality can consider budgeting for and investing in sand nourishment. Groynes can help to trap sand and can also be considered.”

We must remember, the science and Baird does not give the community the choice of “they can if they want to” but rather it becomes a “must-do” if a revetment solution like this goes in.

Q. Has risk of scouring been factored into the design?

A. Yes, the potential for scouring has been considered and factored into the design.

While it may be true you can do certain things in the construction to potentially lessen the scouring a revetment causes over time, that is about as good as it gets. “Lessens” it. But they will cause scouring. It is completely unavoidable. We have seen it on Arthur, we have seen it on King Edward, we have seen it on Connaught.

We steadfastly agree with the suggestion that you go and take a look at the water shoreline in front of the stone revetment in front of the Pump House and numerous properties beside it on Connaught. Where the Q&A claims there also has not been scour.

Compare that short revetment stretch with the rest of Connaught beach too, while you are there. All the way to the 4th Avenue stairs.

Then, let’s see if you think this is the example of a good or acceptable result for the beach, as this Q&A implies it is.

Q. How do we know the work will be done well?

A. It is a large investment from a few cottage owners. The contractors are experienced and will provide the service requested. Additionally, the RM ensures qualified oversight of the work.

While no one doubts the expertise and experience of Mr. Kraft who appears to have been hired for the project, there has been no licensed engineering report that the public is aware of. At least, not one submitted that anyone is aware of. No licensed engineer has been part of this project. Without one — before, during, and upon completion – asking the community to blindly trust in good faith that it will be done right and that the RM has the proper skill set to over see it, is far too big of an overreach and expectation. Particularly when all the Development Plans are very clear on them being required.

Q. The Baird Report says preserving the public beaches in perpetuity is a priority. It also says rock will block sand and cause us to lose the beach. So why would we do this?

A. The RMVB Shoreline Management Plan (Baird Report) prioritizes both protection of private property and public beaches. Further erosion into private property, it explains, threatens municipal ownership and control over the beach, along with public access to the beach. Preventing erosion into private property will ensure the public can use the beach in perpetuity.

The argument that the RM will lose control over the beach or that somehow it becomes the property owners or that riparian rights will apply is bogus. All has been proven to be false for these stretches of beaches. Although, we do concede, as our Mayor says: “ask more than one lawyer and you are bound to get another answer.”

Q. Are there risks to preventing this work from taking place this winter?

A. There are serious risks that could impact the beaches and the community. See Risk Sample Table.

From the risk table:

Sunset Blvd residents gain ownership of the beach in front of their cottages, to the water’s edge.   

Not true. Only an opinion. Plenty of other legal opinions say different.

Cottage owners start building their own, ad-hoc protection structures as erosion crosses private property.

Only when and if. And only on their own property. No public land has been granted use for this purpose. Any ad hoc action would have to be 100% on private property only.  And remember, since any such construction on private land would require a signed engineers report, and since any such structure would exacerbate erosion on adjoining banks both public and private, it does not seem likely that council could, in all conscience grant such a permit.

Sunset Blvd Cottage septic fields drain onto the beach. 

If so, the onus would be on the owner to rectify.

Community members walk along or sit at the foot of the bank.

There is always risk at the bottom of the banks on all beaches at all times. Hence the signage, NO CLIMBING ON THE BANKS.

Litigation.

Litigation is a two-way street and is always a purposeful, expensive, divisive threat. Merely mentioning it in this Q&A is in itself a cause for lighting a fuse to more in-fighting. But if it is to be bought up here… who is going to  be held accountable years down the road if the beach is lost? When owners and the RM knew what the consequences would be and went ahead anyway despite the concerns and protests of the other non shoreline taxpayers? Negligent, some would say.

Q. Where does it say in the Baird Report that toe protection should be installed along King Edward and Alexandra?

  1. pp II, 22, 27, 30, 32, 36, 45, & APPENDIX D SHORELINE MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATONS:

Appendix D p. 86 Recommendations for Reach 3 King Edward and Alexandra Beaches

“Erosion Mitigation and Beach Enhancement Recommendations:

It is recommended that a detailed design engineering study be conducted.

Commence final engineering to determine design parameters and optimize design.

Recommended design includes beach nourishment & toe protection for bank.

Rock structures will be required (see conceptual sketch) to anchor the beach nourishment, these could be offshore breakwaters or rock groynes (to be con-firmed with engineering design)”

p. 70 Apendix p. 70

Option 1: Beach nourishment with periodic maintenance

Option 2: Groynes and beach nourishment (groynes anchor the nourishment and reduce the amount of maintenance required)

Option 3: Armour bluff toe with rock revetment (beach will eventually disappear)

Q . Is protection actually needed?

A. Yes, protection is needed for a number of reasons detailed in the Baird Report.

Yes, it is needed. That is why the sandbags were used. The sandbags were doing a good job.

Q. Who pays for maintenance?

A. Sunset Blvd property owners along King Edward and Alexandra are trying to work with the RM on this and have offered to include maintenance costs in their proposal.

What is the actual estimated dollar value of that maintenance? And in the event the maintenance does not occur when needed, what are the means in place for the RM to act independently and pass on the costs to owners? Who will dictate and oversee who decides when (and when not) maintenance is necessary and what it is to be?

Until this is resolved it is hard to comprehend how this proposal can go forward.

Q. I think this only protects the Sunset Boulevard properties, how is this considered a compromise?

A. In order to leave more beach available for community enjoyment, this design occupies a much smaller footprint than what Sunset Boulevard residents proposed in 2011. The design provides less protection to the bank and is 12 feet deep, occupying only the sandbag strip and land recently lost behind it.

How can it leave more beach available when much of the beach will be scoured? Less will be available. Without beach replenishment and nourishment, that will be the result.

While this plan is smaller than the 2011 proposal, let’s not forget the footprint now proposed by the toe rock is bigger than the sandbag footprint, as it will add to it by occupying land behind it.

In addition, the folks proposing the project are incurring a large financial burden which reduces the remaining cost of the Shoreline Management Plan for the rest of the municipality.

Actually, by going this route, science says the RM will now need to add sand nourishment and replacement almost immediately. This is a very costly endeavour. It is very probable this revetment increases the financial burden of the RM.

Q. Is this the same project that was proposed after the weather bomb of 2010?

A. No. It’s 12 feet deep which is much, much smaller. This rock toe only occupies the sandbag footprint and some space that eroded behind the sandbags this past year.

While definitely a smaller footprint than the monster revetment proposed after the weather bomb in 2010 it is by no means a small or inconsequential addition to the shoreline.

Q. Why toe protection?

A. Toe protection is a compromise recommended in the Baird Report, as a result of concerns people had with the revetment proposed in 2011 and potential impacts to the beach. Toe protection provides less, but still some bank stability and protection against storms.

And can only be effective if it is accompanied by sand replenishment and nourishment and all that entails.

Q. What if the rocks tumble down on to the beach?

A. It’s not likely and if it does happen, they’ll be repositioned.

Without sand replenishment and nourishment to go with the toe revetment, science and the Baird report are clear. The revetment will fail over time. The rocks will eventually “tumble down the beach”.

Q. Weren’t the sandbags going to be replaced this past winter?

A. Yes but ice conditions prevented the work.

If this winter conditions are good, why not just put new sandbags back as planned?

Q. Why can’t the current sandbags simply be replaced?

A. Better protection is needed.

The sandbags by many accounts have been doing their job. With even better design capability since then and better maintenance this time during their lifecycle, the protection may very well increase this time around.

They can also be replaced, and they provide a soft armour with bank protection and hopefully less scouring of the beach in front.

A MASSIVE REVETMENT PLANNED FOR KING EDWARD THIS WINTER!

August 29, 2023

Over twelve years ago, in the dead of winter, in the middle of the night, word got out that an unauthorized revetment was being built on Arthur beach by five families. In a matter of hours word spread and while the revetment wasn’t stopped it drew a line in the sand for the community. Never again.


So, when a revetment on King Edward was proposed a year later to council by Mark Tooley and Gregg Hanson, over five hundred people soon mobilized at Fort Garry United Church in opposition. Not on their watch they said! They would not sit back and let this destruction of one of our precious beaches happen again without a fight.


The community is once again being faced with a decision regarding a revetment on a popular swimming beach.


This time it is not the five-family revetment that was put in at Arthur Beach without Council approval. This time seventeen families are seeking approval. Well over three times the footprint! If approved the entire King Edward beach from the King Edward stairs to the Alexandra stairs will have a 12’x6’ pile of boulders with the option of expanding.


The families are seeking permission to use public land to build it on.


Another option is to improve, replace and reinstall the sandbags that were effective for a decade. That plan has already been approved.

The new proposal is to begin building as soon as possible a rock revetment for winter completion.


Since the Arthur revetment was built, numerous groups fought hard for years, providing the facts and science to prove revetments would destroy a dynamic sand beach in front of it. That it was to be a non-tarter ever again:

A website was created called Preserving Victoria Beach that gathered together all the scientific information necessary and chronologically documented the battle that ensued with the council
of that day.

Over $600,000 was spent by the RM to hire Baird – a world-wide reputable company that builds revetments all over the world – to scientifically look at the area and offer its recommendations.

A Shoreline Management Plan report was drawn up.

An RMVB Development plan was created.

The conclusion?


Revetments in front of sand beaches will destroy the beach in front of them. And that if any were to be attempted, they needed to be accompanied by frequent sand replenishment in perpetuity.


The conclusion at the time was that revetments were never to be repeated in front of Connaught, King Edward, Alexandra, Patricia or Clubhouse. Revetments were to be banned. A moratorium was imposed. Most residents thought this decision was finally behind us once and for all.

We now have a new council – and we encourage you to watch the last council meeting (starting 55 minutes in) and see for yourself. Council appears to be leaning strongly towards a decision that rejects the accumulated science, ignores the money and time spent researching the impact of revetements, and letting one go ahead. Curiously, It seems that even something as basic as having it designed by an engineer is not a priority, even though this is one of the most important demands from all the guidelines created since.

Perhaps the best compromise is to simply replace the sandbags that served for almost a decade with improved ones. A plan that has already been approved!

For further information:

PLEASE, refamiliarize yourself with the Baird report and The Shoreline Management Plan and the RMVB Development Plan. If you don’t have them, request them from your council.

https://victoriabeach.ca/Home/DownloadDocument?docId=689bcb5b-5b86-4db0-9f75-19aa5b5d24a9

https://victoriabeach.ca/Home/DownloadDocument?docId=e3ef80f3-7098-4a78-803e-f36735f352c4

PLEASE, go to the Preserving Victoria Beach website for reams of factual information, diligently gathered by numerous citizens over the years.

https://preservingvictoriabeach.wordpress.com/

PLEASE check out the other S.O.S. (Save Our Sand) Facebook page if you want to be a part of discussions.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/122271607838431

PLEASE, remember the facts. Remember the battle so hard fought a decade ago.

Judge for yourself.

PLEASE WRITE YOUR COUNCIL IMMEDIATELY If you believe this revetment is absolutely the wrong choice for the community demand this revetment be stopped in it tracks. Alternately, If you have questions please ask council.

Email: vicbeach@mymts.net

If you can. Please attend the next council meeting at VB Senior Scene the Tuesday after the long weekend, September 5th , at 6 pm.

Based on the last council meeting, the revetment could be given the go-ahead in a matter of weeks.

Urgent action by residents of the VRA is required. The future of King Edward and Alexandra Beaches will be profoundly affected by the decision Council makes. The plan by the private property owners is for the stone revetment to be done this winter and you will arrive back to it this spring with a rock revetment the entire length of KE to the Alex stairs.

According to the RMVB Shoreline Management Plan written by Baird Engineering and commissioned by Council at a cost of over $600,000, Option 3 building a rock revetment at King Edward and Alexndra will mean “Beach will eventually disappear”. Apendix B p. 70.

The less extreme option is offered in Apendix A p. 58 of the same Plan proposing sandbags on Reach 3 E and Alex.

If Council approves this revetment, it’s not a stretch to see Connaught, Patricia and Clubhouse could be next.

And finally, please contact your VB neighbours and ask them if they too know what is taking place. It is shocking how few people know what is about to happen. Stumbling upon it at their first visit to the beach next spring or summer will be too late.

Thank you for your time. We hope you understand the urgency of this matter.


VBCOA Executive

SNOWMOBILE AND ORV POLL RESULTS

February 21, 2022

Please find the Poll results and conclusions drawn from the recent Snowmobile/ORV Poll we held over five days last week to our VBCOA Membership.

REGARDING SNOWMOBILES:

Approximately two-thirds of VRA residents only want VRA property owners to be able to drive snowmobiles in the VRA. No one outside the VRA. And if allowed, only for egress/regress.

Approximately one-third do not want snowmobiles travelling in the VRA, by anyone, under any circumstances.

3% think anyone should be able to drive a snowmobile in the VRA, anywhere.

IF PASSES WERE ALLOWED FOR SNOWMOBILES TO OPERATE IN THE VRA:

Only 3% stated anyone in the RM should be able to obtain a pass which would enable VRA access.

It is safe to state that the view of VRA residents is that only VRA property owners can obtain a snowmobile pass to travel in the VRA, with the restrictions of egress/regress. There remains the question of whether we want the passes/stickers limited to existing VRA resident snowmobile owners (grandfathering) or to potential future snowmobile owners as well. We will wait now to see what council proposes.

ORV’s

72% do not want ORV’S in the VRA at any time, including off-season when the parking lot is not in use.

23% would allow VRA property owners the right to drive an ORV in the off-season, but only for egress/regress and no other use.

4% feel ORV’s should be allowed to travel unrestricted in the VRA, in the off-season.

SAFFIES STORE ACCESS

The reason for asking this question was to put to rest the misinformation purposely being spread that the VRA residents were against allowing access to Saffies store in the off-season.

81% felt there should be some form of access to Saffies.

Please note: A number of people did not answer this question in the poll as they felt they had no right to decide what happens outside the VRA. Just as they do not want those outside the VRA telling the VRA what it should do.

Many of those that did respond, did so on the caveat that whatever ends up happening, it is up to the residents in that area that are directly affected by what would be increased motorized traffic, to make the final decision.

17% said the By-Law should stay as is.

POLL RESULTS*

*In some instances totals may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

QUESTION ONE

Specific to Snowmobiles

There are proposals to rewrite or abolish the ORV By-Law 1614 to allow snowmobiles more freedoms in the RM.  Including inside the VRA.

For clarity, VRA stands for Vehicle Restricted Area. The Victoria Beach area in the RM that is vehicle free from late June to early September, that the VBCOA mandate covers.

When referring to egress/regress in the questions below, this means the snowmobile must travel directly from the property owners cottage in the most direct way possible to access the trails.

Which of the following, most closely resembles your position?

TOTAL VOTES: 171

A.     All snowmobiles in the RM and outside should be allowed to travel anywhere, at any time, including inside the VRA and all its Avenues.  (4 VOTES OR 2%)

B.     Snowmobiles should only be allowed in the VRA by VRA property owners free to travel anywhere they wish inside the VRA. (2 VOTES OR 1%)

C.     Snowmobiles should only be allowed in the VRA by verified VRA property owners, limited to egress/regress.  (109 VOTES OR 64%)

D.    No snowmobiles by anyone should ever be allowed to travel in the VRA. They must trailered and launched outside the VRA. (56 VOTES OR 33%)

QUESTION TWO:

A possible solution to allow limited snowmobiles in the VRA has been proposed. The idea is to have a sticker or pass prominently displayed on a snowmobile so that both the police and residents know that the snowmobile should be in the VRA area when seen travelling within the VRA.

Under this idea, it is also understood that snowmobiles using the pass, must only be travelling to use egress/regress to access the trails in the VRA and for no other reason.

Allowing egress/regress means the snowmobile must travel directly from their cottage in the most direct way possible to access the trails.

They must be able to provide proof of property ownership to obtain a pass.

One suggestion under consideration are grandfathered passes for all those owning snowmobiles in the VRA who own property in the VRA. As was done for permanent residents for summer traffic many years ago.

Also under consideration are passes for all those owning snowmobiles in the VRA who own property in the VRA, current and future.

Which is closest to your opinion of the proposals?

TOTAL VOTES: 176

A          Anyone in the RM should be able to access a pass and be able to egress/regress inside the VRA with specific restrictions.  (8 VOTES OR 5%)

B          I am comfortable with grandfathered passes for VRA property owners with the specific restriction of direct egress/regress to the trails.   (22 VOTES OR 13%)

C          I am comfortable any VRA property owner – current or future — may obtain a pass with restriction of direct egress/regress to the trails.   (78 VOTES OR 44%)

D          I am comfortable with either grandfathered or annual passes for VRA property owners  with restriction of direct egress/regress to the trails.  (37 VOTES OR 21%)

E          No snowmobiles should be allowed at any time to operate in the VRA and the present By-Law should be kept as is.    (31 VOTES OR 18%)

QUESTION THREE

Changes being proposed to the current By-Law for Snowmobile travel in the VRA include unlimited use or restricted use (regress/egress).

If changes are to be made, and a pass/sticker is incorporated in some way to allow snowmobile use, which closest matches your opinion?

TOTAL VOTES: 166

A.      Anyone in the RM can obtain a pass and drive a snowmobile in the VRA without  restrictions.   

(5 VOTES OR 3%)

B.       Only VRA property owners can obtain a pass and ride in the VRA without restrictions.  (0 VOTES)

C.        Only VRA property owners can ride in the VRA with a pass — but with strict restrictions — such as egress/regress to the trails.   (110 VOTES OR 66%)

D.       I do not want snowmobiles allowed under any circumstances.  (51 VOTES OR 31%) 

QUESTION FOUR

Specific to ORV’s (and NOT pertaining to snowmobiles.) ORV’s being defined as any multi-track or multi-wheel drive vehicle; an ATV, a quad, mini-bike, dirt bike, or other related 2-wheel, 3-wheel, or 4-wheel vehicle deriving power from a source other than muscle or wind.

There are suggestions to allow ORV’s more freedoms in the RM. The timeframe in question for changes is outside of the summer prohibited period. Therefore, from early September to late June.

Which of the following, most closely resembles your position?

TOTAL VOTES: 182

A          All ORV’s should be allowed free to travel anywhere within the RM, at any time, including inside the VRA and its Avenues.  (1 VOTES OR 1%)

B          ORV’s should only be allowed in the VRA by legitimate VRA property owners and are free to travel anywhere they wish inside the VRA. (5 VOTES OR 3%)

C          ORV’s should only be allowed in the VRA by legitimate VRA property owners but usage limited to egress/regress to access the trails.   (43 VOTES OR 24%)

D          No ORV’s should ever be allowed to travel in the VRA. They must be taken outside the VRA and launched from points outside the VRA.   (133 VOTES OR 73%)

QUESTION FIVE:

Access to Saffie’s store.

Under the rules of the current By-Law, snowmobiles are unable to access Saffies store in the winter for gas or groceries. While this area is outside the VRA and we do not believe our Association has the right to tell other areas what they can or cannot do, out of interest we ask the following:

Which is closest to your opinion on altering the current By-law so that ORV’s and/or snowmobiles may be allowed on Saffie Rd from 59 to Pitt Rd and on Rue Girard from Saffie to the lake, enabling unlimited access to Saffies store for gas and groceries.

Which of the following, most closely resembles your position?

TOTAL VOTES:  168

A.         I feel the current By-law should stay as is.  (30 VOTES OR 18%)

B.         I feel the By-Law should be changed to allow added access by snowmobiles only, for the winter months only.   (90 VOTES OR 54%)

C.         I feel the By-Law should be changed to allow access by both ORV’s and snowmobiles year-round. (13 VOTES OR 8%)

D.         I feel these roads should be allowed access by both ORV’s and snowmobiles year-round, but that strict seasonal timeframes and rules be enforced.  (35 VOTES OR 21%)

PRESENTATION TO COUNCIL REGARDING BY-LAW 1614 February 21,2023

The following is the presentation that our President Blake Taylor made to Council last night regarding changes to the ORV By-Law 1614:

I would like to begin by thanking Council for deciding to take time to properly consult the community before making any substantive changes to by-law 1614 Off Road Vehicles. Your proposed By-law 1645 appears to change only access to Saffie Road and Rue Girard to snowmobiles-something our membership approves.  As you know both the Plage Albert Beach President Patric Hover and myself as President of the VBCOA representing the VRA agree that proper consultation is paramount on such an impactful issue as 1614; a by-law that was heavily debated during 2019 and 20 and finally passed unanimously in 2021.

The summer when the majority of residents are present is the time for such decisions.

I also thank you for proceeding on the Saffie Rd issue in order to help the Saffie Road Store that we all value. 81% of our poll respondents support opening Saffie Rd. However, we hope that you will find a way to properly consult the Plage Albert Beach residents before that lifting of the ban becomes permanent. They are entitled to a say since they are the ones most directly impacted by the decision and as I mentioned, the summer is the time to consult before deciding on that ORV issues. 

In 2021 of the many VBCOA members who wrote to Council

93 copied me, and of those 89 supported by-law 1614 as it is currently written vs 4 that supported an amendment allowing ORV’s on our municipal roads. At that same time there was a petition, actually 2 petitions one organized by a Plage Albert resident JP Burnette with 150 names supporting the by-law and opposing ORV’s on roadways and trails partly in order to protect the AB2VB trail and the other with about the same number of names advocating ORV’s on VB roads and the AB2VB trail. It turned out that most of the names supporting the ORV access were not residents of the RM of VB and so the pro by-law petition was overwhelmingly larger. 

Nevertheless, we accepted a compromise that would allow ORV’s on the AB2VB Trail during the off season on the understanding that Council would finish and maintain the trail for use by walkers and cyclists during the summer season and ban ORV’s during that period. We realized that there would be repairs at the start of each summer because the ORV’s would damage the trail. That was part of our understanding-council’s responsibility to ensure the trail would be operable for it’s intended purpose.

Council, please finish the AB2VB trail.

My questions to council are: 

1. Are you planning additional changes to the ORV By-Law  (beyond what is stated in the 1654 draft) and if so what are they and when will we know about them and will there be public consultation prior to any legislative action by council?

2. Will council hold a public meeting with the VRA community in the summer prior to any legislative action by Council?

As you know at the last Council meeting I proposed a compromise for snowmobiles that might have support among residents of the VRA. That is grandfathered passes for residents of the VRA that currently have snowmobiles.

Our organization polled our members and the results show a shift in the view of some of our residents since 2019-2021 regarding snowmobiles in the VRA, but not regarding 3 season ORV’s.

The current poll of our members which we held over 5 days ending late Saturday night indicates that:

REGARDING SNOWMOBILES only:

A mere 3% think anyone should be able to drive a snowmobile anywhere they want in the VRA.

Approximately one-third do not want snowmobiles travelling in the VRA, by anyone, under any circumstances.

However, approximately two-thirds of VRA residents indicate that they might accept snowmobiles driving in the VRA provided only VRA property owners to be able to drive snowmobiles in the VRA. No one outside the VRA and that it be strictly for egress/regress.

The exclusion of snowmobilers who do not reside in the VRA should be a non-issue since many pro-snowmobile presenters at the last meeting have made it clear that they have no desire to drive their machines in the VRA. So everyone should be agreed on that issue.

If resident PASSES WERE ALLOWED FOR SNOWMOBILES TO OPERATE IN THE VRA:

Only 3% stated anyone in the RM should be able to obtain a pass which would enable VRA access.

It is safe to state that the view of VRA residents is that only VRA property owners can obtain a snowmobile pass to travel in the VRA, with the restrictions of egress/regress. There remains the question that should Council proposes to allow snowmobiles in the VRA, do we want the appropriate passes/stickers limited to existing VRA resident snowmobile owners (ie grandfathering) or to future potential snowmobile owners as well. We will wait now to see what council proposes.

ORV’s”

The residents have not changed significantly on the issue of ORV’s in the VRA.

72% do not want ORV’S in the VRA at any time, including off-season when the parking lot is not in use.

23% would allow VRA property owners the right to drive an ORV in the off-season, but only for egress/regress and no other use.

Only 4% feel ORV’s should be allowed to travel unrestricted in the VRA, in the off-season.

SAFFIES STORE ACCESS

The reason for asking this question was to put to rest the misinformation being spread that the VRA residents were against allowing access to Saffies store in the off-season. At the last meeting I recommended on behalf of the VBCOA that Saffie Rd and Girard Ave be opened to snowmobiles. In our poll, 81% felt there should be some form of access to Saffies.

Please note: A number of people did not answer this question in the poll as they felt they had no right to decide what happens outside the VRA. Just as they do not want those outside the VRA telling the VRA what it should do.

Many of those that did respond, did so on the caveat that whatever ends up happening, it is up to the residents in that area that are directly affected by what would be increased motorized traffic, to make the final decision.

Only 17% said the By-Law should stay as is regarding Saffie Rd. .

The results of the Poll are soon to be posted on the VBCOA Website and I have provided Council with copies.

One of the many letters the VBCOA exec has received on the ORV issue is from a resident with special background and knowledge Clint Toews. I will share a few of his comments as some of these points have not been mentioned yet in this public forum, yet they deserve to be heard and considered.

Here is his letter:

I wrote earlier on this subject when it arose last year. Since the issue arisen once again I want to reiterate the position of many of us from VB who aren’t OSV users.

1. Like the Personal Watercraft ( Seadoos etc), they destroy the tranquility of many peoples’ nature experience at their cottages and homes. Our cottage is 2 blocks from the lake and all summer long we were subjected to the drone of personal watercraft tearing up and down the yacht club beach.

We I don’t want to subjected to this noise all winter as well!

2. I am retired enforcement officer from Riding Mountain National Park. A number of years ago, the park received pressure from the OSV community to open up snow machine access to and from Clear Lake. So we accommodated. However, it wasn’t long before OSV users started migrating off trail. The number of cottage break-ins increased as OSV operators could pull up beside a cottage and haul away as many valuables as they could on their machines and toboggans.

3. Scientific evidence indicates that over-snow vehicles (OSVs) produce significant impact on wildlife and végétation.

Pollution from snowmobile exhaust accumulates in the snowpack and is released during spring snowmelt, elevating the acidity of the surface waters of Lake Winnipeg.

Female ungulates like deer and moose, are carrying their young through the winter, ready to deliver in early spring. Noise from over snow machines is disruptive, stresses ungulates and can cause calf mortality.

At some point we have to stop and ask: Do we as VBers want to bow to the wishes of a small group of ORV users who do more damage to our environment than good OR do we want to set a good example by demonstrating good environmental stewardship? Do we pay mere lip service to the VB owners who diligently work on the Lake Winnipeg Foundation or do we put our money where our mouths are and take a solid stand to encourage only activities that support our natural environment and ensure environmental impact is minimized for our future generations?

Every interest group believes all members are above reproach, but that is never the case. Once rules/ bylaws are relaxed, they are subject to abuse. By opening this door a crack will lead to more noise complaints, conflict between OSV operators and those looking for solitude ( the main reason most of us escape the racket of the city).

Please don’t let the pressure of the few ruin it for the majority.

Clint Toews

Letters like this give me pause and certainly make grandfathered passes more appealing when compared to the uncertainty that exists if we are open to the expanded use of motorized recreational vehicles in the VRA.

Please consider any changes to By-Law 1614 within the VRA very carefully. The views of the residents in the VRA is very clear and need to be respected in decisions going forward.

PRESENTATION TO COUNCIL REGARDING BY-LAW 1614 February 7, 2023

February 7, 2023

My name is Blake Taylor and I am President of the VBCOA. There has been a fair bit of misinformation spread on social media over the last month as to who we are and what we stand for. For the record, the mandate of the VBCOA – the Victoria Beach Cottage Owners Association — is to, and I quote: Preserve the historic unique character of the Vehicle Restricted Area in the RM of Victoria Beach known to many as the “VRA”. We speak for many, many hundreds of property owners in this specific boundary area.

Full stop.

When it comes to the areas outside of the VRA in the RM, we want those non-VRA areas to decide themselves what happens within their boundaries. We are concerned with the VRA. So, at the risk of sounding redundant at this point, I feel it is necessary to repeat one more time that we have no desire to tell the other areas what they should or should not do. It is up to those communities and associations to speak for themselves.

To that end, I have a presentation ready for today to voice our concerns specific to the VRA and to offer possible solutions to the predicament we all seem to be faced with in regard to any possible revisions to By-Law 1614. I can send it to Council.

But yesterday our executive received an email from Raymond Moreau, a man who served this municipality as Chief operating and Administrative officer from 1989-2011 and 2018 to 2022. Yes, for 28 years. He is also a cottage owner.

It made us all stop and think.

There is no one with more experience and knowledge and wisdom about this municipality, it’s history and traditions, its workings, and how to govern it, than his.

So, rather than solely offering the VBCOA’s opinions and solutions today on the ramifications of any major over-haul of By-Law 1614 as it pertains to the VRA, we feel it is far more important to put into public record the wisdom of someone who knows more about this issue than any of us. Someone who truly knows the full ramifications.

I share with you, some of Mr. Moreau’s own words. I quote:

I would respectfully suggest that council think long and hard about the justification for making changes and the far-reaching consequences of permitting ORVs on municipal roads, as follows:

1) Need I remind you that council has a responsibility to represent the majority of the municipal taxpayers and residents? Its decisions to legislate should always be in the best interests of the majority not the typically vocal minority. This responsibility is clearly outlined in 83(1)(a) of The Municipal Act. The Oath of Office each one of you took is also a confirmation that you will act in the best interests of the electors as a whole. Will passing a by-law to allow ORVs on the Municipality’s roads be representative of the majority’s wishes or is it pandering to a small vocal interest group? Are all these individuals demanding change taxpayers or residents of VB?

2) Caveat Emptor – everyone who bought property at Victoria Beach should have known the ground rules…ignorance is not an excuse. Council should not be making changes that significantly alter the “landscape” of Victoria Beach because certain individuals don’t like aspects of VB that set it apart from other neighbouring municipalities. There are other municipalities that are far better suited for the widespread use of recreational vehicles. There are approximately 1,800 dwellings in the RM located within a very small land mass; is this the type of locale that is ideal for unrestricted ORV travel? This issue is no different than people who establish a permanent residence in the VRA and then want to drive their vehicles to their homes during the summer. The purchaser knew or should have known the restriction applies to everyone. They had the option of establishing their residence where driving is allowed instead of expecting the rules to be altered to suit them.

3) The RM of Victoria Beach is the only municipal jurisdiction that has the legal authority to restrict vehicular traffic within its boundaries by by-law in accordance with the provincial statute passed in 1933. This restriction is likely the main reason many people chose to purchase property in the VRA. And it is probably the main reason property values are much higher in that portion of the municipality. And that those property owners pay a greater portion of the total municipal tax levy. How does allowing ORVs on roads complement this long-standing authority to regulate and prohibit traffic in the VRA? Are the majority of property owners in the rest of the RM in favour of allowing ORVs? Is this what the majority of all the Municipality’s property owners want?

4) Noise – property owners complain about barking dogs, chain saws, lawn mowers and construction noise. Have you thought about the increased noise that will surely result from allowing ORVs on roads? Do you think that will reduce noise complaints and encourage people to buy property at VB? What do you think will happen to property values if ORV use is out of control? And should it significantly reduce property values in the VRA the rest of the RM’s other property owners will be paying a greater share of the municipal taxes than they pay now.

5) Never mind what neighbouring RMs are doing. They likely allow ORVs because (a) the geographical area is vast with small residential pockets, (b) the roads are much wider with clear intersections and (c) there is no effective way of controlling ORVs because they do not have municipal police. That is not the case at VB. And the RM purchased a police ORV to at least have the ability to enforce the Off Road Vehicle Act and the by-law.

6) Has council considered the liability that the RM will be exposed to by allowing ORVs on roads? And the requirement to properly sign all these roads so that motorists will be forewarned that ORVs are allowed? And the obvious increased risk to public safety (children, walkers, cyclists, etc)? And the inevitable rule-breakers who will speed, drive anywhere and everywhere including environmentally sensitive areas? And the increased exposure to thefts, break and enter, wildfires, etc?

In my humble opinion, allowing ORVs on the RM’s roads is the thin edge of the wedge. It will eventually completely alter the aspects of VB that have attracted so many people to the municipality. What’s the point of having a VRA if you’re going to allow ORVs? If the majority of council members are seriously contemplating opening municipal roads to ORVs I would contend that those council members are out of touch with the expectations of the majority of the citizens who elected them.

Regards,
Raymond Moreau

We hope Council will carefully examine Mr. Moreau’s wise words. It was definitely food for thought for us and was very enlightening for the VBCOA executive on many levels.

I have discussed the current ORV issue with Patric Hover President of the Plage Albert Beach Association and he and I agreed that Council should put on the brakes regarding any changes to the ORV By-Law 1614 until it comes up with and then executes a proper community consultation plan. Mr. Moreau’s points make it even more prudent to do so.

Certainly, to be clear, I stand here with evidence that the overwhelming majority in the VRA are opposed to allowing ORV’s of any kind at any time within the VRA. I can provide Council with more information if required. But, as I stated at the beginning of this presentation, the VBCOA did not come here with our arms stubbornly crossed, nor with a line drawn in the sand. We came with compromise.

I want to mention now one such idea of compromise we would like to offer for within the VRA. Grandfathered permits. Which is a compromise based on what was done with permanent residents in the VRA.

I suggest that if Council comes up with a plan to provide permits and stickers to residents who currently have snowmobiles within the VRA on a grandfathered basis, then it may be a plan that is acceptable to many.

It can be modeled on the Permanent Residents Permits Plan that started with perhaps 8 permits and is now down to 7.

The permits would allow egress and ingress only, exclusively to the lake, the highway, and to the trails. It would allow current snowmobile owners who reside in the VRA to go quietly in and out of the VRA to the lake and to the trails in Alexander and beyond.

At the same time it would prohibit snowmobiles from outside the VRA and RM from driving around the VRA, and would answer concerns about the potential proliferation of machines in the VRA.

I discussed the idea with Police Chief Kevin Pawl and he indicated that the police could enforce the policy with stickers on the machines and permits carried by the resident snowmobiler.

If Council is interested I am sure they can iron out the details – and the VBCOA would be happy to discuss and be involved since we have more ideas about how this might work for the community.

Finally, we also want it to be known that we offer our support to opening Saffie Road and Rue Girard to resident’s machines and possibly to machines from outside the RM so that there is access to Saffie’s Store. However, to be clear, we offer this support only if that is what the majority of the residents within that area want. We do not want to tell the RM area’s outside the VRA what they can or cannot do. Just as we do not want them telling us what we should or should not allow within the VRA.

In closing, we understand the issue before you is not simple. It is very complicated and the repercussions — as Mr. Moreau so eloquently described – cannot be swept under the rug or dismissed as inconsequential.

Despite all that, we do think a compromised solution is possible. But let’s slow it down, think it all through thoroughly, and communicate with the local groups and associations so this does not have to be revisited every time a new council is elected.

Let’s get this right once and for all.

I thank you for your time. I have a copy of this presentation with me for your records.

2022 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Annual AGM is to be held on Sunday, July 24th at the Clubhouse at 11am.

We ask that your arrive at 15 minutes early so we can get everyone registered and the meeting can start on time.

Mask will not be mandated but they are suggested.

We have also asked Council Members to come to the meeting to say hello and have a formal question and answer session as there was no election held and all five were acclaimed. A chance for them to touch base with their electorate.

Minutes From 2020 Meeting

Reminder, 2021 AGM was cancelled due to covid.

MINUTES July 19, 2020

The meeting was well attended by approximately 50 people. This was an outstanding number. Many
things may have contributed to the turnout. The new website, FaceBook page and running` the ad for
the meeting in 3 consecutive Heralds, as well as the meeting changed from August to July.
Motion to accept the Agenda as distributed:
Moved by: Brian Hodgson, seconded by Glen Torgerson
Motions Presented:

  1. Name change from VICTORIA BEACH COTTAGERS ASSOCIATION TO VICTORIA BEACH
    COTTAGE OWNERS ASSOCIATION.
    Moved by: Stuart Juzda, seconded by Joanne Gibson
    CARRIED
  2. DEFINITION OF VOTING MEMBERSHIP:
    To be eligible for a VOTING MEMBERSHIP, a person must be registered as owner of an
    interest in real property situated in the Vehicle Restricted Area.
    Moved by: Brian Hodgson seconded Stuart Juzda
    Carried
  3. DEFINITION OF ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP
    To be eligible for an ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP a person must be 18 years of age or older
    and a member of the voting member’s immediate family including spouse, son, daughter,
    partner-in-law, and grandchild.
    Moved by: Joanne Gibson, seconded Nancy Hodgson
    Carried
  4. Election of Board
    Changed to:
    The members shall elect a President, Vice-president, and Secretary- Treasurer.:
    `
    Moved by: Stuart Juzda seconded by Linda Kliewer
    Carried
  5. Mission statement:
    Changed to (in part) “To ensure that the Yacht Club Beach, Clubhouse Beach, Arthur Beach,
    Patricia Beach, Alexandra Beach, King Edward Beach and Connaught Beach are protected
    and maintained as sand beaches, so that they can and will be accessible by everyone at all
    times, in the same way they have been throughout our existence and long into the future.”
    Moved by: Brian Hodgson, seconded by Peter Goodwin
    Carried

Other issues raised by the membership:

 The need for a lead car for ambulances coming into the VRA.
 Many expressed concern about the widening of our lanes.
 AB/VB trail
 Building code for concrete base not appropriate in sandy conditions. Council needs
to approach the Provincial Government.
 Council asked add to include beach maintenance to five year plan/budget

Membership was informed about council issues such as the elimination of question period, proposed
office move to VB, in camera meetings, municipal voting identification.

November 17, 2021

Tree Clearing on King Edward

We are pleased to report that the meeting On Saturday October 16th with Council, Alpha Forestry, the Fire Chief, the VBCOA Executive and any interested resident cottage owners regarding off-season tree clearing on the avenues for Fire Safety purposes was a great success.  It began with a group discussion at 8th and King Edward and was followed by a King Edward Avenue walkabout.

In attendance were Jean-Paul Andre and Mark Komyshyn of Alpa Forestry who have been hired to do the tree clearing, four council members (Penny, Steve, Irwin and Mike), the Fire Chief Brad Patzer, as well as Andrew, Blake, and Linda of the VBCOA Executive, and was complimented by fellow concerned cottage owners.  Over thirty people were present which was a great turnout for such short notice and with it being off season and seeing most cottages are now closed up for the season. It shows you how important preserving the aesthetics of Victoria Beach in the vehicle restricted area is to us all.

To begin Mark and Jean Paul introduced themselves, told us about themselves and their local company and clearly and effectively explained what they were hired to do and why.

There was a healthy discussion following it.

The planned removal of all dead and dying trees along King Edward was welcomed and encouraged by all in attendance – particularly the fast-burning spruce and fir trees. 

We were also assured that the underbrush was not being cleared out — as it had once been done at the top of 8th and King Edward approximately ten years ago. Only dead and dying trees were being targeted for removal and they are clearly marked out ahead of time.

We were also emphatically reassured by Reeve McMorris that no widening or straightening of the avenues was in present or future planning for anywhere in the VRA.

However, part of the plan also included the removal of some healthy trees – including treasured Birch, Maple and Oak trees, because of their overhang.  The owners/residents in attendance were very clear in relaying the message to Council/Fire Chief/Alpha Forestry that this was not what we wanted to see done.  Alpha Forestry, the Fire Chief and Council learned that we do not see any valid reason for trees like this to be destroyed simply because they hang high over the road and seeing that their intrusion to large trucks was minimal at best.  It was very clearly conveyed by those present that the canopy of the road is important and is to be preserved and protected. Recognizing this desire by the community, during the walkabout, Alpha Forestry agreed that at least five large beautiful healthy trees that were planned for removal because of their overhang, will NOT be removed and have now been saved. They may have a bit of pruning done to them where necessary, but that is all.

During the gathering, other Fire Safety Issues were also discussed.

  •  There was a majority agreement that leaves in the bush on property should remain there to help maintain moisture and humidity on the forest ground. But leaves under a cottage are a huge fire hazard and cottage owners must be diligent in removing them annually.  Providing some sore of skirt around a cottage is an easy and effective solution.
  • It was resoundingly agreed that it would go a long way to making our community safer if cottage owners became more pro-active in removing dead and dying trees from their own property.  There is far too much of this on VB properties and on RM property as well.  Hopefully, as cottagers start seeing the RM clean up the dead and dying trees on public property it will compel them to clean up their own property as well.
  • Tree mulch was also discussed.  Alpha Forestry was asked what they were going to do with the mulch from the trees being removed.  We do not want them added to the already unwarranted and hazardous pile of mulch at the Public Works building. A lot of people like that the pile is there because it is free, and makes their yard look nice BUT what few do not realize is that the pile of mulch at Public Works is NOT strictly regulated and includes dead and dying trees, which means by using it, you are bringing disease and invasive tree pests directly into your own yards by using it.  As well, mulch should never be put anywhere close to the cottage itself.  There are strict Fire Safety rules for how and where to effectively use mulch on your property and you can find some information on our FB page in an article by Alex Martin posted on June 24th and on the RMVB website. 
  • It is also critical to only use mulch from a source such as a company using certified arborists to make sure only healthy tree much is being used.  Alpha Forestry said there may be a chance to provide healthy mulch and trees for firewood from the healthy trees that may be included in the clearing process, and they have taken that under consideration.

At the end we applauded each other for an hour well spent. The cottagers present thanked Council, The Fire Chief and Alpha Forestry for taking the time to share information and their plan BEFORE undertaking such an important project, which enabled us to be a part of it. They in turn shared that they were impressed by the turnout of cottagers and were glad to have our input.

It is a good and healthy reminder that by acting and working TOGETHER that not only can we be sure things get accomplished in a way that satisfies the majority wishes but that it also takes away all the ambiguity, rumours and hearsay that happens when important things are done on the down-low or without sufficient community consultation and involvement beforehand.

Just before concluding the meeting, the VBCOA relayed to council that we understood 4th Avenue was the next avenue to be on the list.  This was confirmed.  We let them know that we hope they saw the importance and value of today’s gathering and hoped that next year we can do this on 4th Avenue, after trees are marked and before any trees are removed.  Most importantly, that it be done DURING the summer season so that many more cottagers could attend.  It is clear that if it was done in the summer there would be a huge turnout.  The cottagers of the VRA of Victoria Beach take the preservation of our little piece of heaven very seriously and it is also an excellent way to help inform how we call all can work together to keep Victoria Beach as Fire Safe as we can.

As always, knowledge is power.  This event was a testament to that.

And one final note:  Jean Paul and Mark of Alpha Forestry said that they are happy to answer any questions you may have and asked me to give out their contact information so you may do so.  They can be reached at alpha.forestry@gmail.com or via phone at 204-801-7007.

September 21, 2021

URGENT: NEW BY-LAW 1622

As you may or may not be aware, there is a new By-Law under consideration by the RM and it has a fast-approaching Public Hearing on Sept 25th, 2021.

It is By-Law 1622 and one of its goals is for the RM to have more control over what can and cannot occur on our shorelines in the future. It is a very important By-Law that is long overdue, it is very reasonable in its scope, and the VBCOA supports it. (Although we do think it can be even stronger in its mandate and you can see what we would like to be added by reading further below.)

We are asking the VBCOA membership to write council immediately to make sure our voices are heard by September 25th . We encourage you to be in favour of the By-Law in its present form, with or without our suggested additional changes. (We are aware that the Lakeshore Cottage Association opposes the By-Law and it is aggressively asking its owners to write to council to try and stop it.)


You can write an email or simply send a brief one stating you are for the By-Law (with or without VBCOA revisions) and that you want that on the record. We have also added a template email that you can send if you so wish to use it. Please see it following this post.

As we all know, there was a major rift in our community over the unauthorized revetment built on Arthur in 2011. Over the years there has also been more clear cutting of property frontage that not only affects the aesthetics of our shorelines but poses a serious increase to further bank erosion. Even this year, more shoreline work was done on the beach at Arthur point by a private owner – not given approval by council – that went ahead anyway as the Province did not have any will to stop it.

We agree with council that is time that we had By-Laws in place to protect and maintain our sand shorelines going forward and make the rules clear and concise for owners so that these divisive surprises on our shoreline each spring comes to a stop. This By-Law goes a long way to take this into account and we applaud its intention. While most owners in the VRA community fully understand, appreciate, and abide by our values and intentions; some do not – often those new to our community — and we must have By-Laws to maintain what we have fought so hard to preserve over the last century.

The By-Law also goes a long way to ensure that monster cottages be appropriately hidden, limiting the green space that can be removed to maintain the aesthetics of our streets. While there is nothing wrong with places like Grand Beach, Winnipeg Beach, or Gimli, we do not want to become like them.

The VBCOA and its membership wants to maintain what we have, and as new development comes to the area and new owners knock down older cottages creating much bigger structural footprints, we have to act now to make sure that new owners are acting in accordance with our century old community intentions and ideals, and our overriding value of green space, rather than try to change the VRA into something else.

PUBLIC HEARING – ZONING BY-LAW 1622
The RMVB Council has applied to take over management of our shoreline (all of which is shoreline hazard land) from the province. The VBCOA supports this change, but it means that new By-Laws are needed. In addition, dead and dying Balsams and other evergreens need to be removed and replaced with new trees and new cottage construction needs to retain or replace trees.


The VBCOA are suggesting the following additions to the new By-Law 1622:

  1. That any applications by an owner to build structures or make alterations to the shoreline be made public since the community at large is the major stakeholder in the shoreline. This can be accomplished by requiring that all such applications be done in the form of delegations (of one or more) at Council meetings. The Shoreline Hazard Lands By-Lawstates that proposed (erosion) mitigation measures may not unduly compromise the character, enjoyment, or sustainability of private or public property and it is the community, that decides character and enjoyment.
  2. That it be made clear that development of shoreline is prohibited where it is harmful to the public sand beach and or the natural character of the shoreline.
  3. That applications to build structures or make alterations to the shoreline must be sent to the Shoreline Erosion Technical Committee for review and that the findings be made public.
  4. That in 2.16’s Retention of Natural Vegetation section the path allowance be 5 feet not 25% of the property width since the clause is intended to protect the bank with natural vegetation and
    community aesthetics.
  5. That it be made clear that 2.21 Protection and Retention of Trees applies to both public and private land within the RM of VB.
  6. That Section 2.21 add clarification that the unique character of each area of the municipality is to be preserved including the close to nature forested look of the Vehicle Restricted Area. Our reasoning is that we do not want to lose this character and become like just any other beach area or worse a suburb.
  7. That a new By-Law clarifies penalties.
    That penalties be spelled out in whatever By-Law the Council deems appropriate and that penalties include removal of unauthorized structures and restoration of trees and shrub removed in violation of the zoning By-Law 1622 sections 2.16 and 2.21.

The following notice of Public Hearing is important. The new Development Plan By-Law #1622 will impact the future of VB. VBCOA members may make individual and/or group presentations. If you have views you would like to share with the VBCOA please send them to us. vbcoaexec@gmail.com

The RM will accept presentations in writing by Sept. 25th the date of the hearing and/or in person at the hearing.
The By-law is available at https://victoriabeach.ca
By-Laws 1622. Note in particular: 2.16 Shoreline and 2.21 Protection and Retention of trees.

The VBCOA’s mandate is to preserve the original historic character of the Vehicle Restricted Area. 2.16 and 2.21 attempt to do that but may not be sufficiently clear and strong. The new By-Law 1622 is an opportunity to strengthen the goals of our mandate.


Please write to the VBCOA Board if you have thoughts on this important By-Law. You may also write to Council vicbeach@mymts.net and/or present at the hearing on the 25th .


If you wish, you can also use the VBCOA template we have attached. You can also add/delete from it, if you wish to personalize it further.


Thanks for your prompt attention to this matter.
Yours truly,
The VBCOA Executive


THE RURAL MUNICIPALITY OF VICTORIA BEACH UNDER THE PLANNING ACT NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
REGARDING BY-LAW NO. 1622
The Council of the Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach under the authority of The Planning Act will hold a Public Hearing at the East Beaches Social Scene, 3 Ateah Road, Victoria Beach, MB on Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at which time and place the Council will receive representations and objections from any persons who wish to make them in respect of By-Law No. 1622 regulating the use and development of land consistent with the Municipality’s Development Plan.
A copy of By-Law No. 1622 and supporting material may be inspected by any person between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at 705-1661 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba. A copy of By-Law 1622 is also available on the Municipality’s website at rmofvictoriabeach.ca.
The general intent of By-Law No. 1622 is to regulate:
1) The construction, erection, alteration, enlargement or placing of buildings and structures;
2) The establishment, alteration or enlargement of uses of land, buildings and structures; and
3) All forms of development, including the removal of existing trees and other development not included
above

By-Law 1622 applies to the entire municipality and repeals and replaces The Victoria Beach PlanningScheme 1969 and amendments.
Raymond Moreau
Chief Administrative Officer

TEMPLATE FOR BY-LAW RESPONSE TO COUNCIL

Please clip and paste this into an email and send it to vicbeach@mymts.net

Attention:   Mr. Raymond Moreau,  Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of Victoria Beach,RM of Victoria Beach Municipal Office,705 -1661 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3J 3T7

Dear Mr. Moreau:

I support Bylaw 1622.

Having read Bylaw 1622, I support the overall intention and scope of the By-Law and see it as a necessary and enforceable tool going forward to preserve not only the character of the Vehicle Restricted area (VRA), but to protect the dynamic sand beaches inside the VRA to ensure another century of enjoyment for the entire community as a whole.  I hope it will finally put an end to the never-ending repeated division/rifts caused within the community when public shorelines are altered or destroyed in the off-season, without the community being notified in advance or without consent and with no immediate recourse to repair it afterwards. I also hope it will ensure that our community continues to see that the green canopy that we covet is at the very least maintained, if not increased.

I would like to offer that I do think it can go even further in its scope and ask that these additions be submitted for thoughtful consideration.

  1. That any applications by an owner to build structures or make alterations to the shoreline be made public since the community at large is the major stakeholder in the shoreline. This can be accomplished by requiring that all such applications be done in the form of delegations (of one or more) at Council meetings. The Shoreline Hazard Lands By-Lawstates that proposed (erosion) mitigation measures may not unduly compromise the character, enjoyment, or sustainability of private or public property and it is the community, that decides character and enjoyment.
  2. That it be made clear that development of shoreline is prohibited where it is harmful to the public sand beach and or the natural character of the shoreline.
  3. That applications to build structures or make alterations to the shoreline be sent to the Shoreline Erosion Technical Committee for review and that the findings be made public.
  4. That in 2.16’s Retention of Natural Vegetation section the path allowance be 5 feet not 25% of the property width since the clause is intended to protect the bank with natural vegetation and community aesthetics.
  5. That it be made clear that 2.21 Protection and Retention of Trees applies to both public and private land within the RM of VB.
  6. That Section 2.21 add clarification that the unique character of each area of the municipality is to be preserved including the close to nature forested look of the Vehicle Restricted Area. The reason is that we do not want to lose this character and become like any other beach area or worse a suburb.
  7. That a new By-Law clarifies penalties.

That penalties be spelled out in whatever By-Law the Council deems appropriate and that penalties include removal of unauthorized structures and restoration of trees and shrub removed in violation of the zoning By-Law 1622 sections 2.16 and 2.21.

By sending you this email, I request that my support to the proposed Bylaw 1622 – as well as suggested changes — be noted on the record at the upcoming public hearing to be held on September 25, 2021 at the Senior Scene, 1 Ateah Road, Victoria Beach at 1:00pm.

Yours truly,

Insert name(s) and property address here.

July 28, 2021

2021 AGM CANCELLED

As you know, the Victoria Beach Cottage Owners Association (VBCOA) has been keeping tentative dates alive for the Annual General Meeting.  We have been patiently waiting and hoping that the covid protocols would change and that we would be allowed to have an indoor meeting with more than twenty-five people.  We even went an extra step and contacted the government to see if there could be any exceptions if all rules are followed. There were no exceptions.  It is particularly disappointing since there was such a tremendous turnout last year during round one with covid.  We even had to turn quite a few people away last year.  Many members have indicated they would arrive even earlier this year to make sure they got in and could attend.  It is so good to see that residents are very happy to see the VBCOA as a strong and active voice again for the Vehicle Restricted Area (VRA) and want to show their support by attending. 

Sadly, after a long discussion and talking to fellow members we have decided we have to roll with the covid pandemic punches and cancel the VBCOA AGM this year.  Limiting the meeting to only twenty-five members did not seem right. (We had tossed around doing it later in the year, possibly in the city, but the reality is we don’t know what lies ahead in 2021 to make any concrete plans.)

Of course this means there can’t be the yearly election either, should there be anyone new who wants to run for the executive.  So, the four of us – Blake Taylor, Kathy McKibbin, Linda Kliewer, and Andrew Stelmack – have agree to stay on for another year. (If anyone wants to help out on the board as well in the interim, don’t hesitate to let us know!)

Over the winter and spring your VBCOA executive were strongly active in letting council know the VRA’s positions, on behalf of the membership, on the following: Allowing snowmobiles and ATV’s on our restricted roads in the off-season, the proposed selling of RM lots on Gibson that are now used as paths for residents, the alteration of the shoreline on Arthur by a private property owner despite councils disapproval, the newest By-Law proposal that wants to allow for more clearing of the land on our shorelines causing further deterioration of the banks, the passive approach to land being cleared on public shoreline cliffs, the RM’s desire to widen our roads, as well as our continued presence regarding deadfall and decaying trees on RM property and the Fire Safety consequences.  We made great headway on most issues, and it is because of all the emails you sent to council to back us up!  Never underestimate how important it is to stay informed year-round and let your voice be heard to maintain and protect the vehicle restricted area of VB when needed!

To keep yourself up to date, remember we have a private Facebook page for VBCOA members.  On top of regular updates on the above issues, it is here that we get to have civil engaging discussion on the issues brought forth by our membership.  The private FaceBook page has also been offering tips and information on Fire Safety, our tree canopy, the spring water issues, the doctors office, the census, and the Fire Bans, among others.  Our private Facebook page continues to be a focused page on matters solely pertaining to the VRA.  We now have over three hundred FaceBook members and recommend you join it if you or your family own a cottage or permanent home in the VRA.  To join go to the VBCOA private group page, click on “request to join” and be sure to answer all three questions.

If you are not a FaceBook user you can still keep up to date on any issues that arise throughout the year, by regularly checking out our website www.vbcoa.ca.  As well, if you want to be alerted on anything that we deem as a critically important, pressing and/or time sensitive situation for the VRA, please be sure you are on the mailing list.  You can join by contacting us at vbcoaexec@gmail.com with your name and VB address.

Going forward into the fall and winter of 2021-22 these are the important issues that we see on the horizon: 

  • A new By-Law 1622 (clearing vegetation on the banks) is being introduced by Council. We  see this as a very real threat to the stabilization of the banks/shoreline and to the aesthetics of our beaches.
  • The need for the VBCOA to send a delegation to the government asking that the responsibilities of the public beaches and how they are maintained and protected be turned over to the RM. This could be with the proviso that the Shoreline Erosion Technical Committee  always be consulted as well as our own Shoreline Committee. (We requested making a joint presentation with RMVB, but our request was denied by Council).
  • With the growing turnover of cottages to newcomers which we welcome, and increased renting of cottages – fewer and fewer are being handed down to the next generation.  We are proposing  a new “Welcome to VB” pamphlet  distributed to all new owners, all renters, and all real estate agents selling property in the area so that all are  clear what the vehicle restricted area is all about. It is important to convey our history and what we need to do to maintain and respect it.
  • A continued push for clearance of deadfall on public property and making sure the roadways stay as they are.
  • Forcing expensive “bear resistant” garbage cans on taxpayers, telling them that without them they will not get the garbage pickup service that their tax dollars entitles them to.
  • How to improve and make more convenient the garbage and recycling drop off area.
  • Council has placed 1.2 Million Dollars in the 5 year plan for the construction of a municipal office to be built in 2023, when the majority of property owners do not reside in the RM.
  • Please remind everyone that an RMVB municipal election is in 2022.  It is imperative that all of our traditions are maintained, respected, and appreciated by those who run.  We must have an immediate voice(s) on council to remind those who may not fully understand our specific needs.   

As well, since we cannot have an AGM this year, the executive is also planning to do a wrap-up video talking about the year and the year looking ahead, sometime before the end of the summer.  We will let you know when it is ready.

In closing we wish everyone a wonderful rest of the summer and fall, and we look forward to the day when we beat covid, the pandemic is in the rear view mirror, and we can all get together once again as a group to celebrate the special place that is Victoria Beach!

Yours truly,

The VBCOA Executive

July 13, 2021

NEW PROPOSED BANK CLEARING BY-LAW

Is the new By-Law proposed by Council a threat or a help to our dynamic shorelines on Clubhouse, Arthur, Patricia, Alexandra, King Edward and Connaught?

As many of us agree, strong RMVB protocols and remedies in law are needed to protect our beaches.

Recently, a Clubhouse Beach property was allowed to completely demolish a bank in the off season.  Council said they “did not know about it beforehand”.  (It is Council’s job to not only know about it, but to firmly respond to it, when it happens.)

This year we had to ask why a beachfront owner was allowed to build groins and disturb the beach bed between Arthur and Clubhouse, despite Council’s disapproval?   Why was the Shoreline Erosion Technical Committee (SETC) and the VB Shoreline Committee not brought into consideration for its approval?  And why the work on the beach was allowed by a Provincial Crown Lands official when Council knew it went against what the Baird report suggests for our shorelines?

In response to what appears to be an ongoing issue with our shorelines, we have proposed to Council that we make a joint petition to the province to turn over management of the beaches and banks to the RM and that we develop stronger protocols to protect the beaches now and into the future. We hope to discuss this idea further with you at the AGM.

BANK CLEARING ON PUBLIC LAND

Under VB By-law 1598 regarding Municipal Property no one is allowed to clear forest/vegetation from any of the public land on top of the banks.

We can all see that some have done so anyway. But it is not legal.

We believe it is time that Council should more strongly address this issue by restoring bushes and trees on the public reserve.

BANK CLEARING ON PRIVATE LAND

The new proposed Zoning By-Law 1622 on the other hand, refers only to what we are and are not allowed to do on private property.

The new By-law 1622 refers to native vegetation within 100 ft of the normal high water mark (native vegetation on private land on top of the bank near the water).

At its last meeting Council passed first reading of Zoning By-Law 1622 allowing lakefront property owners to eliminate 25% of this vegetation while requiring that 75% remain intact.

The 75% requirement acknowledges the charming green character of our beaches and the value that vegetation has for erosion mitigation. However, the 25% provision will alter the greenspace look of the beaches and make the public banks more susceptible to erosion.

The By-Law states “Developments that create minor disturbances to the natural vegetative cover, such as pathways, may be permitted, provided that not more than 25% of the length of the lot’s shoreline is affected.”

This new zoning bylaw would allow almost 20 ft wide clearances on typical 75 ft lakefront lots. It is egregious to suggest that clearing the vegetation from 25% of the shoreline forest on private land is a minor disturbance. Clearing the forest vegetation from 25% of the shoreline will hasten erosion from run off, destabilize the bank, and may do vast damage during a storm, particularly if the lake is at normal or higher levels.

Our shoreline owners – like all cottage owners – are stake holders to the preservation of the banks and beaches. The banks and the beaches are public property with very few exceptions, and we all need to co-operate to preserve them and to mitigate erosion. This new regulation is only 75% in keeping with that co-operation and if extended to 100% it would be an excellent precedent for the future when erosion will eventually reach private property.  

Lakefront owners who choose to clear 25% of their forest at the bank will be jeopardising not just the bank in front of their property, but the banks in front of adjacent properties as well. This will exacerbate erosion and expand the effects of shoreline damage into neighbouring areas – which Lakefront owners will inevitably require protections against.

Even from a simple aesthetic perspective, one of the joys of being on a VB beach is that when you turn around you see trees, banks and nature. This By-Law would allow for many cottages to now be “exposed” and would most definitely affect the visual looks of our beaches. Just because other vacation lakes allow for cottages to be widely exposed to the lake for a view, does not mean Victoria Beach must follow in step. We are not looking to be like other vacation destinations. Victoria Beach places great value in our green space and our proximity to nature: we must preserve what we have.

As our Constitution states; “The purpose of the Association is to preserve the historic, unique character of the vehicle restricted area of Victoria Beach.”. This new By-Law goes against what we stand for.

The importance of vegetation in the mitigation of erosion is recognized internationally:

 “Vegetation projects for erosion control are appropriate on virtually any dune or bank along the coast where sand and other sediments are exposed to wind and waves.”- https://climateactiontool.org/content/restore-natural-coastal-buffers-native-vegetation-buffers-and-plantings.

 “Increased interest in soft structures for coastal protection (including increased forest cover) and a combination of hard and soft structures is predominating and is consonant with advanced knowledge on coastal processes and natural protective functions. There is evidence that coastal forests and trees provide some coastal protection and that the clearing of coastal forests and trees has increased the vulnerability of coasts to erosion.” 1 Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, Indonesia.   http://www.fao/3/ag127e/ag127e09.htm\

The second and third readings of this By-Law are coming up soon and we will have a Public Hearing.  Your emails impact Council decisions!

You can view By-law 1622 on the RMVB site under By-laws

Only Councillor Axworthy has expressed that he is against the 25% provision in the By-law and we encourage you to thank him for his ongoing support in the preservation of our shorelines. 

We also thank all our many lakefront members who continue to maintain the bank’s top forest cover.  

Please send your comments regarding the preservation of our beaches and its banks to the RMVB and please “cc” a copy the VBCOA so me may help track our members responses.

Here are two examples you may use of emails against and in favour of the 25% clearing provision.

Dear RMVB Council:

   ‘As a resident (includes both summer and permanent) and stake holder in the preservation of our public lakefront banks and beaches I ask Council to protect our beaches and banks. Public bank tops should have vegetation maintained or restored and the 25% clause in Zoning By-Law 1622 regarding private lakefront land should be altered to a maximum of four feet per property.

    ‘Maintaining the greenspace for our bank faces and tops is in keeping with the scenic character of the Vehicle Restricted Area, and the entirety of our municipality. Native vegetation on the bank tops is responsible for stabilizing the banks and absorbing potential run off. The canopy of the forest also serves to slow down heavy rains reaching the ground – thereby further preventing run-off erosion.’

                                                              OR

     ‘As a resident and stakeholder in the preservation of our public lakefront banks and beaches I support the provision in By-Law 1622 allowing lakefront property owners to clear vegetation from private property within 100 feet of the normal high water mark up to 25% of the width of the lake frontage.

  • If you also believe that any green space removed on public land should be better policed and that any removal should be reversed at the expense of the owner responsible we suggest you add: “Regarding public land I support the maintaining and restoring of trees and shrubs on all public reserve on the lakefront.”

Here are the email addresses:

Mayor McMorris.   pmcmorris@victoriabeach.ca

Council                     vicbeach@mymts.net

Graham Randle.     grandle@victoriabeach.ca

Irwin Kumka.          Ikumka@victoriabeach.ca

Steve Axworthy.   saxworthy@victoriabeach.ca

Mike Bartmanovich.  mbartmanovich@victoriabeach.ca

VBCOA.  vbcoaexec@gmail.com

Additional Notes:

Victoria Beach spent aproximately $650,000 on the Baird Engineering’s Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for the RMVB. It acknowledges that “native vegetation[…]naturally enhance[s] bank stabilization” and plays a role in mitigating bank erosion. (See Baird update of SMP). The Baird report mentions ‘drainage infrastructure’ for our banks, but forest vegetation can provide the same function without the cost or the unsightly drainage ditches running down our banks. The BAIRD Plan offers many very expensive erosion mitigation strategies nearly all of which have significant down sides such elimination of the sand beaches, while the natural vegetation strategy has no downside and serves only to help preserve the banks.  

Why would we want to throw out the report’s most cost effective anti-erosion measure?  Baird is on the money when it says: “It is important that a coordinated cooperative approach to shoreline management is adopted.”

SMP://victoriabeach.municipalwebsites.ca/ckfinder/connector?command=Proxy&lang=en&type=Files&currentFolder=%2F&hash=c245c263ce0eced480effe66bbede6b4d46c15ae&fileName=Shoreline%20Management%20Plan.pdf


Ironically this clause within the new Zoning By-law section is entitled “Retention of Natural Vegetation Cover”. It further states that “For lands along the shoreline, native vegetation shall be retained within 100 ft (30m) measured horizontally from the ordinary high-water mark”. Why then is the council allowing a 25% exception to this By-law?

The Board of the VBCOA proposes revising the above clause to limit clearing of the bank to not more than one 3 ft width per lot rather than a percentage. That would set a precedent for the hopefully distant future when erosion moves the banks on to private land at which time we will all rely on our lakefront members to preserve the shoreline and the beaches.

The second and third readings of this By-Law are coming up soon and we will have a Public Hearing: Your emails impact Council decisions.

ANNUAL AGM: Tentatively scheduled for August 1st.

Normally we hold our AGM in July but we have pushed it back to August 1st, since we are hoping that covid protocols will change and we will be able to accommodate more than the twenty-five people presently allowed.

If we are unable to have more than twenty five members, we will not have any voting taking place on any matters that may arise as there will not be enough in attendance. We presently do not see any issues that may need a vote and we four on the Executive are willing to stand another year. (If anyone wants to be a part of the board, please let us know and we can work out how we may go about that.)

Details on the Agenda of the AGM will be posted shortly.

FIRE SAFETY PLANNING

March 13, 2021

As you are well aware — if you were at the VBCOA AGM in July – there was a vigorous, animated, and at times heated discussion about the RM’s future plans to significantly widen our peaceful, narrow, winding roads.


From that discussion it is fair to say that the community almost unanimously does not want any significant clearing of our lanes – particularly as was experienced at King Edward and Eight Avenue a few years back.


At the meeting we were assured by the council members in attendance that any plans going forward would be shared with the community first.


Recently, we heard rumours that some clearing may begin as early as this March and that machinery like that which Hydro used to clear out the back lanes may be on the agenda.


Not wanting to rely on rumour, the VBCOA drafted and sent a couple of letters to council for clarification, updates and their precise plan going forward.


At this point in time we feel we can report to you the following:


Dear VBCOA Members:


The VB Council is making its fire safety plan and we have been told that it will entail removing dead and dying trees and deadfall on municipal land. The council will likely propose the purchase of a large piece or equipment such as a 6 ft wide Bobcat with a tree cutting and mulching attachment.
While such a machine may have uses in large wooded areas such as the path to the sand cliffs, it would be completely inappropriate for use in the vehicle restricted area.


The Board of the VBCOA has sent multiple communications to Council asserting:


1. that we support the removal of dead and dying trees and deadfall from municipal property as probably the most effective fire prevention measure.


2. that it is vitally important to our members that the character of the VRA be preserved and that removal of dead trees must be done manually with chain saws, that it must be carefully supervised by trained personnel, and done in such a way as to preserve the historic forested appearance of our avenues and roads.


3. that the type of clear cutting that was done at King Edward and 8th several years ago, and that hydro has done this fall along power lines on King Edward and on the section of Sunset from 7th to 5th and on some of the lanes (between 6th and 5th) from Sunset to Alexandra would be completely unacceptable along our avenues and roads.


4. that the VRA community needs to be fully consulted and engaged in any decisions regarding significant cutting of trees or bushes in the VRA.


The VBCOA Board will keep our members informed regarding this important issue. Once the Council reveals its budget we may know more.


In response to our communications Council has indicated that they will not take any significant steps without first engaging in full consultation with the VB communities including the VRA and that they have given careful consideration to the communications from the VBCOA Board.


We look forward to coordinating with the Council on this issue.

RESULTS OF THE SNOWMOBILE ISSUE


February 17, 2021

As of the February 16th council meeting, the Board of the VBCOA received copies of 89 emails supporting keeping By-Law 1614 intact, with a clarification of the Schedule A map.


There were 4 emails supporting Councillor Bartmanovich’s proposed amendment to allow ORV’s to drive on roads within the Municipality.


In addition, many more of our members wrote the RMVB Council (without copying the VBCOA Board), so the numbers were even greater against allowing snowmobiles on our roads.


The results were overwhelming, and Council had no choice but to listen.


The Board of the VBCOA: Linda Kliewer, Kathy McKibbin, Andrew Stelmack, and President Blake Taylor, would like to thank all who wrote in to voice your views on this important issue. We also thank Councilor Steve Axworthy for his tireless, fact based and well researched efforts over the past two years to limit the use of ORV’s in VB, and Mayor McMorris for her stand on this issue.


It is clear from the emails that our members are committed to preserving the peaceful, quiet, close to nature historic character of VB with as little motorized vehicle traffic as possible. If at times that means we will be inconvenienced, so be it. That is our choice and why we choose to be in the VRA section of the RM.

At today’s Council Meeting the RM passed By-Law 1614 intact with a clarification of the schedule A map. The By-Law follows the provincial Off-Road Vehicles Act and prohibits ORV’s from driving on roads, avenues and lanes in the RM..

A brief explanation of how the By-Law and legislation affect our residents
follows:

By-Law 1582 exempted snowmobiles from the restrictions imposed by that
By-Law.
By-Law 1614 now includes snowmobiles and clarifies where ORVs may be driven at specific times of the year.
By-Law 1614 does not apply to the PR504 and PTH59 road allowances as those ditches are within the Province’s jurisdiction.
The provisions of The Off-Road Vehicles Act and all other applicable
statutes are not affected by passage of By-Law 1614 and continue to be
enforceable by the Police as provincial offences.

VRA OWNERS RESPONSE TO SNOWMOBILES

February 16, 2021

Thank you to everyone who passed on your concerns to us regarding the snowmobile issue.

We received almost a hundred emails and the response was overwhelmingly against allowing them — or any form of ORV — on our roads. (94%)

We understand that the council has also received hundreds of emails from those in the VRA and from those elsewhere within the RMVB.

Council too had a similar response.

The appetite for snowmobiles or ORV’s on our roads seems clear: These vehicles are to be enjoyed off road and on the designated trails and areas, without exception.

The overwhelming majority is for the use and enjoyment of all these recreational vehicles but under the proper guidelines, rules and laws.

It is clear the community feels there should be no amendments made to By-Law 1614 and we hope our council reacts accordingly at their council meeting this evening.

PRIVATE FACEBOOK PAGE REMINDER

If you are on FaceBook and wish to get important news and be part of the pertinent online conversations in real time, you can! The page is dedicated to only important issues regarding the vehicle restricted area and is not a social page. You will not be bombarded with community related social posts. VRA issues only.

If you are a property owner in the Vehicle Restricted Area of Victoria Beach or are a spouse or child of an owner, please request to join our Private VBCOA FB page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/438053010251314

UPDATE: SNOWMOBILES IN THE VEHICLE RESTRICTED AREA (VRA)

February 10, 2021

At the February 2nd Council meeting a proposal was put forward by Councillor Bartmanovich to allow off-road vehicles on our roads, avenues and lanes in order that owners may drive rather than either trailer their vehicles between their residences and legal ORV trails or park them at the Sports Club launch point beside the police station.  Council temporarily rejected the proposal and passed By-Law 1614 which the VBCOA Board supports.

However, it appeared from the meeting that Councillors Bartmanovich, Kumka and Randle will propose amending the By-Law in favour of allowing ORV’s on our roadways at the February 16th meeting.

These three constitute a majority.

The VBCOA Board is encouraging members to write to the Municipal Council at vicbeach@mymts.net  expressing your view regarding the driving of off-road vehicles within the vehicle restricted area. Please also copy us at:  vbcoaexec@gmail.com       

The Board of the VBCOA believes most people want to maintain the unique historical character of the area and see driving ORV’s within the vehicle restricted area (VRA) as a threat to that character.  The raison d’être of the VBCOA is to preserve that character. Our membership has entrusted the Board with the responsibility of protecting the uniqueness of the VRA and that means maintaining its peaceful non-motorized nature as much as possible. Our Association was founded for and is dedicated to preserving our cultural landscape and our distinctive ambience.

We are the community who chooses to be inconvenienced in order to maintain the lifestyle of VB. Trailering ORV’s to appropriate launching points or parking ORVs at the Sports Club does not seem to be a very high price to pay for protecting our vision.

This winter there has been a large increase in people coming to VB, including the VRA. While Covid and mild temperatures are a factor, there is a proliferation of cottage winterizations and there is every reason to expect that over time the winter use of the VRA will continue to increase. Consequently, snowmobile traffic has become an issue.

According to Mayor Penny McMorris there have been numerous complaints from residents about the increase in snowmobile traffic.

The By-Law we support is in line with the “Off-Road Vehicles Act 31.3 a)” and governs the use of snowmobiles ATV’s, dirt bikes and all other off-road vehicles and prohibits them from driving on roadways or shoulders. We note that this is the universal norm in Manitoba and even places where snowmobiles and other ORVs are integral to the lifestyle like Churchill prohibit driving these vehicles on their roadways. Pinawa, cited in council as “The Pinawa Example” and a model for us does not allow snowmobiles on roadways: “users are permitted to travel on boulevards (road allowances) to access the nearest public route.  They are not permitted to travel on roadways.”- Resident Administrator LGD of Pinawa. We do not have boulevards in the VRA except on 8th and we do not want them.

A few of the reasons for supporting by-Law 1614 as written include: safety, preserving the character of the VRA, noise, liability issues, enforcement and financial advantages, protection of the natural environment, and the message it sends to ORV users from outside of VB.

Three options are:

 1.  Encourage Council to pass the new by-law 1614 in its current form except with some clarification of the schedule A map so keeping us in line with the Off-Road Vehicle Act’s ban of ORV’s on roads. (The VBCOA Board recommends this option.)

 2. Encourage Council to hold a referendum on the use of off-road vehicles in the VRA and possibly the entire municipality. (The VBCOA Board also recommends this option.)

                                                               OR

3.Support the proposal to allow off-road vehicles to operate on our roads, avenues and lanes for purposes of getting between residences and legal trails.  This is instead of trailering between residences and legal launch points such as the Sports Club, the parking lot on Pitt Road on the Alexander side of Albert Beach, the Birchwood and Traverse Bay Corner, or parking their snowmobile at the Sports Club beside the police station.   

The Snow Drifters, a terrific and welcoming organization made up of our neighbours and friends, have indicated that the Sports Club is fine with parking snowmobiles and trailers in their parking lot and Police Chief Clark does not see a problem with the idea. It is an appropriate launch point to connect to legal trails.

The Council meeting can be accessed at:

Note 17:06, 35:16, 35:39 of the meeting.

If you wish to see further information about this issue and the Board’s reasoning for our position, please continue reading:

Below is the Board’s analysis of the recent Council meeting which can be accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jk2kfH2NjE

The Proposal:


1.Councillor Bartmanovich proposes giving Off-Road Vehicles legal access to drive on our roads and avenues. This would be an amendment to the current wording of the new by-law 1614. The provincial Off-Road Vehicle Act defines ORV’s to include snowmobiles, ATV’s ,4×4’s, side-by-
sides, dirt bikes etc.

  1. Councillor Bartmanovich appears to have support for such an amendment from Councillors Kumka and Randall. Reeve McMorris and Councillor Axworthy are opposed.
  2. Based on the discussion, the ‘amendment” proposal includes a stipulation that the ORV’s travel only between residences and the nearest access to an approved trail. No access by outside ORV’s to be allowed. Further – that speed limits (probably 20KM/Hr) be enforced. As Councillor Kumka argues – working with the ORV clubs, education of ORV users and the general public and improving police resources would all have to be part of the roll out.
  3. No joy-riding around VB.”

Problems with the proposed amendment plan to allow ORV use on our roads:

  1. At 17:06 of the Feb 2nd Council Meeting Reeve McMorris points out that we are a community who prides itself on restricting motorized vehicle traffic. We are in fact unique in Canada in our commitment to limiting motorized vehicles. Proposing a By-Law that would override the Provincial Off-Road Vehicle Act and allow ORV’s on our roads and avenues flies in the face of our vision of VB and Reeve McMorris suggests that such a by-law will likely result in “a riot” from residents.
  2. There are ORV’s in every area of VB so if the “amendment” is passed, ORV’s will be using roads throughout the RM. See Mayor McMorris 17:06 and 35:39 of Council Meeting.
  3. Reeve McMorris clearly outlines at 35: 16 that there have been complaints about the proliferation of snowmobiles. While this may be partly due to Covid, it is clear that many people are winterizing their residences and that over time the number of people taking advantage of
    beautiful VB in the winter will grow. We have to ask ourselves; do we want an ever-increasing number of snowmobiles and/or other Off-Road Vehicles to be on our lovely avenues and roads?
  4. There are safety reasons for the provincial rules governing Off-Road Vehicles and reasons why they are called “off-road”. They are not compatible with on-road vehicles and present an even bigger concern when it comes to pedestrians. If the RM By-Law allows ORV’s on our roads and there is an accident – the RM will very likely be in a liability situation for permitting ORV’s where the province prohibits them. See 33.25 of Council meeting comments from CAO Raymond Moreau. According to MPI https://www.mpi.mb.ca/Documents/Snowmobiles.pdf 14 and 15 year-olds may drive snowmobiles unsupervised. Under 14 requires supervision.
  1. Such an amendment would make us unique in Manitoba in our legalization of ORV’s on roads. Even in Churchill Manitoba where snowmobiles and other ORV’s are a way of life the RCMP pamphlet Off Road Vehicle Act and the Town of Churchill states: “ Sec.33(1) (a) No
    person shall operate an ORV upon a roadway (fine) $113.00… YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DRIVE ON THE ROAD”(their capitals). Pinewa, cited in council as “The Pinawa Example” and a model for us does not allow snowmobiles on roadways: “Per the by-law:  “Access Route; the most direct route from the place of residence to the nearest public route for the express purpose of leaving and returning to the Townsite; 45(1)(a.1) ORV Act.”
    Therefore, users are permitted to travel on boulevards (road allowances) to access the nearest public route.  They are not permitted to travel on roadways.
  2. The Provincial Off-Road Vehicles Act provides the RM with many protections, including the police’s power to charge violators under the statute thus giving teeth to enforcement through the courts and avoiding costs to the RM.
  3. The province and MPI provide excellent training resources for ORV users and all of these resources make it clear that driving on roadways and shoulders illegal.
  4. Enforcing the proposed opening of our roads and avenues to ORV’s makes enforcement of rules more difficult and more expensive compared to the ORV Act.
  5. Police always have discretion in the enforcement of Provincial statutes and RM By-Laws. Currently this discretion appears to be widely exercised, providing latitude for relatively slow and “safer” use of ORV’s on our roads when no-one objects.

Conclusions:

  1. There are great advantages to sticking with the provincial Off-Road Vehicles Act and supporting the new by-law 1614 as written.
  2. A referendum may be the best route since this question will not go away with future councils and a referendum is perhaps the best way to put the question to sleep for a long time.
  3. Either trailering ORV’s to appropriate launch areas or parking them at the Sports Club is an inconvenience that is not very onerous, and it preserves the safety, ambiance and unique historical character of VB.
  4. Council needs to make the rules clear to residents, ORV owners, and the police.
  5. We all know that some ORV’s outside of VB come into our area. Sticking with the ORV Act and encouraging enforcement and education sends a message to ORV owners outside of VB that they must leave their ORV’s out of our Municipality.

.

VBCOA Letter To Council regarding SNOWMOBILES

January 17, 2021

This letter was sent to council on January 15, 2021

 Dear RMVB Council:

As we have recently been receiving increasing concern from our membership, the VBCOA would like to work with Council to properly regulate, educate and control the snowmobile situation now and in the future.

We are all supportive of people who wish to do outdoor recreation including snowmobiling, provided it is done safely, legally and in the appropriate locations.

We are asking:

1. What educational program Council is contemplating to make snowmobilers aware of the rules and laws?

2. Will you be informing people that it is not legal to drive snowmobiles on roadways including our avenues and roads?

3. What form of communication do you propose?

4. Are you planning signage? 

According to the provincial Off-Road Vehicles Act  https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/o031e.php )

1. Snowmobiles are defined as off-road vehicles. “Definitions: Off Road Vehicles, a) snowmobiles”

2 Part III, 33.1 prohibits snowmobiles from operating on roadways. This includes all of our avenues and roads.

3.Part III 32.1 prohibits snowmobiles from operating on playgrounds or near playgrounds (unless fenced), on private land and on leased crown land. This would include the village green, the baseball diamond and probably the golf course.

4 Part III 32.2 Specifically permits off-road vehicles on parking lots only to go  “to or from an off-road vehicle use area”.

It is clear from the provincial statutes and the snowman trails map, that an excellent answer is to keep snowmobile operation out of the RM — and especially the VRA — except on the Snowman trails and to allow snowmobile owners in the VRA or other areas of VB to trailer their vehicles to the beginning of the Snowman trail at the sports club parking lot where they can legally drive on the extensive snowman trails. The trail that begins on Highway 59 at the sports club and connects to trails throughout the neighboring RM of Alexander as well as to the trail on the lake surrounding the peninsula. Snow Drifters also recommend Travers Bay Corner as another excellent location to launch snowmobile outings.

CAO of Pinawa Gisele Smith pointed out to Blake Taylor that their LGD does not allow snowmobiles on roads and shoulders. Pinawa has boulevards where the snowmobiles can drive and where the LGD has the authority to permit it.  

Snowmobiles on roads would violate the above Provincial statute and the LGD does not have the authority to override the provincial law.

Any plan to allow snowmobiles to drive via the most direct route from a residence to the beginning of the trail at the seniors’ centre would:

  1. contradict the fundamental nature and intent of VB to minimize the use of motorized vehicles.
  2. would be in violation of the Provincial statute 33.1.
  3. be governed by the provincial Off-Road Vehicle’s requirements to provide signage everywhere a snowmobile is by special permission of Council permitted to drive. Part IV 45.45(4)“Where a traffic authority has by by-law permitted the operation of off-road vehicles across designated roadways or shoulders or portions thereof, it shall erect signs in accordance with the regulations.” Note this refers to crossing roadways, not driving on them.
  4. create unnecessary and excessive noise within what is intended to be peaceful VB including the VRA;
  5. create a dangerous hazard to pedestrians, skiers and on road vehicles;
  6. make the RM exposed to liability should accidents occur;
  7. cause damage should a vehicle cross over underlying vegetation. “The impact of snowmobile activities on the physical environment varies with winter severity, the depth of snow accumulation, the intensity of snowmobile traffic, and the susceptibility of the organism to injury (Wanek 1973); https://www.snowmobileinfo.org/snowmobile-access-docs/Vegetation-and-Soil-Snow-Compaction_part-8.pdf
  8. cause damage to the water system running down the lanes;
  9. cause damage to the banks as snowmobiles travel to and from the snowman trail that circumnavigates the peninsula.
  10. set a very disturbing precedent for other off-road vehicle use in the RM including the VRA.

Manitoba Public Insurance has an excellent brochure https://www.mpi.mb.ca/Documents/Snowmobiles.pdf where on page 10 it makes it very clear:  “Roadways: You must not ride on a roadway” page 11 “Roadway shoulders• You must not ride on the shoulder of a roadway.”

The number of winterized dwellings in VB is growing rapidly and while the Covid year is somewhat exceptional, the number of potential snowmobilers in the RM and surrounding area is likely to continue to grow year after year. It is important that Council abide by the Off- Road Vehicle Act and at the same time protect the safety and the peaceful non-motorized desired nature of the VRA.

People are aware that snowmobilers are attracted to our lovely avenues and roads, our lanes (freshly groomed by hydro) and our public spaces. VB is beautiful but it is not intended for snowmobiles. Yet snowmobiles are using all of these assets that we have fought for so long to protect for non-motorized use. And as word gets out, we can expect ever increasing snowmobile traffic from beyond our boundaries.

Please don’t let us down.

Permitting snowmobiles to run around VB as they have been doing this year may very well make VB a magnet for snowmobilers. We ask Council to address this issue and to give serious consideration to removing item “c” the snowmobile exclusion from 1582.

No one wants to put a stop to the enjoyment of snowmobiling and being able to enjoy that activity while at their cottage. It is not too much to ask that snowmobilers legally transport their off-road vehicles to the parking lot at the beginning of the legal snowman trail, enjoy the trails, and then transport their machines back to their residences and leave them on the trailer for the next trip. 

In addition, in conversation with the Police Chief, he raised the problem of catching snowmobilers when the police do not have a pursuit snowmobile.

We request that you appraise us of any efforts you plan to do to educated residents and any proposed by-laws governing snowmobiles.

Sincerely,

The Board of the VBCOA

Snowman Trails Map:

ttps://snoman.mb.ca/trails.php?trailsID=19

LGD of PINAWA Gisele Smith CAOhttp://pinawa.com/download/by-laws/By-law%20712-09%20Off-Road%20Vehicles%20with%20updated%20map.pdf

UPDATE:

SNOWMOBILES IN THE VRA

January 15th, 2021

At the January 5th, 2021 Council meeting a discussion took place regarding snowmobiles on Municipal Property including the Vehicle Restricted Area (VRA).   You can find the entire council discussion beginning at the 51:30 minute mark and the meat of the discussion — as it applies to the VRA — at the one hour and eight-minute mark of this link:

The council discussion was the result of reports of an increase of snowmobiles in the area, including on our newly Manitoba Hydro cleared lanes, local roads and specific municipal property and a bylaw that was creating confusion.

The VBCOA recommend you watch the link so you can discern for yourself the issues at hand and the specific areas of concern involved.

The VBCOA has also been hearing from its membership as of late and they have voiced numerous concerns to us including:

–  that snowmobile use on the newly Manitoba Hydro cleared back lanes on the avenues could damage our water system (The back lanes are full of the above-ground pipe systems for our water system.)

– the increase of snowmobile traffic is a cause for real danger between walkers and cross-country skiers on the roads.

– occurrences of private properties being used as a way to get off and onto the frozen lake without the owners permission.

– the current lack of understanding and signage of rules/laws is opening Victoria Beach to becoming a magnet for snowmobilers who will come from beyond our borders to travel on our beautiful, peaceful winding roads, thinking it is okay to do so.

To add to the confusion, by-law 1582 was adopted March 17, 2020, where snowmobiles were excluded in this ORV (off road vehicle) by law in section 1 ((c). 

They describe and show in the council meeting — including on a map — which specific municipal lands this by-law concern applies to.

We are asking Council to make the provincial statute available through public education and to revise by-law 1582 to make it absolutely clear regarding the rules for snowmobiles.

Also, we encourage those operating snowmobiles need to be made more aware of the liabilities they can incur travelling on the roadways. This can include tickets and possible denial of coverage under Manitoba Public Insurance when operating illegally. https://www.mpi.mb.ca/Documents/Snowmobiles.pdf

At least three councillors appeared to be in favour of increasing accessibility within the VRA and other municipal lands.

There are many trails which are maintained by the Snow Drifter association that do not break laws nor bring danger to municipal infrastructure, pedestrians and skiers, and can offer many hours of snowmobiling enjoyment for those enthusiasts without using Victoria Beach roads, specific municipal lands and back lanes.

The VBCOA is in the process of drafting a letter of concerns to council, as well as our strong desire that education be at the forefront going forward. We will post it on our website in the coming days.

If you have concerns on top of those listed above that should be brought to the VBCOA’s attention, please feel free to contact us.  vbcoaexec@gmail.com

In the interim, Members with immediate questions or concerns regarding snowmobiles, or to report any violations, may contact Council and Police via the following:

Police: 204 756-2322

 vbpolice@mymts.net

RMVB Addresses

vicbeach@mymts.net

Reeve Penny McMorrispmcmorris@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Graham Randlegrandle@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Irwin Kumkaikumka@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Mike Bartmanovichmbartmanovich@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Steve Axworthysaxworthy@victoriabeach.ca

SNOWMOBILES (Provincial Laws and Launching Sites)

January 14, 2021

As more and more people have been using their cottages year-round, there has been an increase in winter outdoor activities at Victoria Beach. Yay! One of these activities is snowmobiling and there has been a lot of talk of what is or isn’t legal or acceptable.

The VBCOA reached out to council, the local Police and local riders and thought we would provide some information for our VBCOA members regarding snowmobiles.

Snowmobiles are considered off-road vehicles according to The Manitoba Off-Road Vehicles Act https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/o031e.php)

Definitions: Off Road Vehicles a) snowmobiles.

As such snowmobiles are not allowed on the avenues and roads in the VRA.

Part III, 31.1 prohibits snowmobiles from operating on roadways. (Which thus includes all of our avenues and roads. )

Therefore, all snowmobilers should be aware that while crossing roads is permitted, driving a snowmobile on our beautiful winding roads and avenues is considered illegal under the Provincial traffic laws.

As well, you are not allowed to drive through the back lanes, on others private property, the beach/banks, nor municipal land like the village green or the golf course.

If you wish to access the many wonderful snowmobile trails all over the area, you must take your snowmobile via trailer to a launch/staging area and when finished return it to your cottage via a trailer as well.

After speaking with the local Snow Drifters Snowmobile Club they say great places to launch onto the trails are at Traverse Bay corner at highway 59 and 11. (They actually promote and welcome sledders. They have gas including premium and are right on the trail system.)

Other options include the Birchwood Hotel. Normally it is a great staging area too, and they provide a huge lot in front, but the hotel is closed due to covid except to take out food orders, so they haven’t cleaned off that area so far this year.

There also is the Sports Club on highway 59. If you do go there, you are okay to park and unload there. And while the trail isn’t open directly via the parking area, it is just down the ditch and there are no issues except at the first driveway you will come across. There is a barrier and at the driveway you will need to proceed around it by the highway shoulder.

If you have further questions on snowmobiling do’s and don’ts, please contact council or the Police:

Police: 204 756-2322 vbpolice@mymts.net

RMVB vicbeach@mymts.net

BARBECUES ON THE BEACHES?

A discussion about barbecues in our parks and on the beaches took place at the July 21 st Council Meeting.

IMPORTANT: By-law 1609 will receive second reading, and perhaps third reading NEXT WEEK at the August 4th meeting of Council.

The new by-law simply puts teeth into an existing by-law to outlaw cooking on public property. Some Councillors are in favour of amending this by-law to allow cooking (barbecuing) on public land such as parks and /or beaches anywhere in the RMVB.

Please see for yourself the stances by various councilors on this situation by watching this link to the last council meeting. You can fast forward to the discussion as it starts at the 43 minute mark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBIurL9YIgI&fbclid=IwAR03OjkAoJttGyAsb8KfVvWrMonkFkvdJqHcc-jv7ic24NC5CE_tmbvWjPA


Please take a quick moment to inform Council of your feelings on this issue BEFORE next weeks council meeting at: vicbeach@mymts.net

and/or

Reeve Penny McMorris: pmcmorris@victoriabeach.ca

Councillors:

Graham Randle: grandle@victoriabeach.ca

Irwin Kumka: ikumka@victoriabeach.ca

Mike Bartmanovich: mbartmanovich@victoriabeach.ca

Steve Axworthy: saxworthy@victoriabeach.ca


Remember, if you don’t let your councilors know your views on issues like this, how else can they know how to properly act for us now and in the future?

VBCOA Annual General Meeting

Worth the wait!

What a wonderful turnout Sunday for the Victoria Beach Cottage Owners Association (VBCOA) annual meeting at the Clubhouse!  The line-up to get in went down the street as all the cottagers patiently waited as all the proper protocols were followed to gain entrance.  Inside, social distancing was enforced, and masks were required.  Our sincere apologies to those turned away due to covid capacity restrictions.  Hopefully, next year things will be back to normal and everyone who arrives, can attend.

A wide number of issues were discussed such as fire smart, green clearing on avenues and roads, building codes, trail changes, beach erosion, garbage/recycling, moving RMVB office from Winnipeg to VB, and changes to council accessibility and council meeting format.   It was good discussion and it was nice to be in an environment again where everyone treated each other with respect and courtesy.  And most importantly, everyone who wanted to speak was given their chance.

A few other great issues also arose for the Association to consider going forward into 2021.  And that’s why we hold this meeting every summer!  To not only keep people up to date on what has been or is going on in the RMVB which can affect the vehicle restricted area, but to also hear new ideas and opinions that the Association should be aware of going forward.  We are the face for the owners in the vehicle restricted area, but you are the voice that leads us first.

A huge thanks to outgoing executive Kerry Williams who has served for a few years, and to Andrew Stelmack for finally giving us an online presence with a website and a private Facebook group page.

Our newly elected executive consists of returnees Blake Taylor (President) and Kathy (Vice President), with new additions Linda Kliewer (Secretary/Treasurer) and member at large Andrew Stelmack.

Remember, throughout the year you can always  keep up to date on what is going on by visiting our website: www.vbcoa.ca, or through joining our private VBCOA group page on Facebook and by subscribing to the few emails we send through the year to our membership.

At any time of the year, if you have an issue or concern that you think the VBCOA needs to be aware of or that should be brought to council’s attention by the Association, you can always email us at vbcoaexec@gmail.com to discuss.  And if you wish to join the association as a voting member or associate member, please send us an email and let’s get you added to the list!

Here is wishing everyone a wonderful rest of the summer.  See you next year! 

Sincerely,

VBCOA Executive

Everyone in masks.
Social Distancing in full effect.

AGM: JULY 19TH, (Sunday), Clubhouse on Pier Road 11AM

NOTE: Please show up ten or fifteen minutes early to check-in.

Dear VBCOA members,

It has been an interesting year representing the interests of the Vehicle Restricted Area to the VB Council.   The year began with a risk that our Association would be put to rest for at least a year. I would like to thank Kathy McKibbin and Kerry Williams for stepping up and running for office, and Andrew Stelmack for doing a terrific job as our media person setting up the VBCOA website and our Facebook page.

Our immediate issue was to delay the RMVB Council from clearing the trees and brush and canopy on our avenues and roads to 20 ft. We knew that many members passionately disagreed with the proposal and extensive consultation and consideration of alternative measures need to take place.

Many other issues arose:

The Albert Beach/Victoria Beach trail threatened to end in a lawsuit that could have cost us a lot in taxes. That has been resolved for the moment, but it remains to be seen if the solution will be workable without considerable ongoing repair expense.

Covid 19 lead to many emails between our Board and the Council regarding safe operation of the taxis, bakery and store.

 The RM of VB Council has a number of proposals and non-proposals in the works that are deeply concerning to our Board.

– question period for the public has been eliminated

– there is discussion of moving the RM offices from Winnipeg to VB

– Council is holding decision making meetings “in camera” in violation of the Municipal Act

– no action has taken place or been planned for implementation of the erosion mitigation plan that was commissioned and paid for by earlier Councils.

In addition, there have been concerns about the convenience of the new garbage and recycling system.

Also, a suggestion has been made that ID be shown at our municipal elections.

It has been our mission to represent the interests of the cottagers in the Vehicle Restricted Area as per our constitutional mandate. It is my hope that people step forward to serve on the Board. All positions may be open. I also encourage others in the VRA to run for the RMVB Council. 87% of the tax base is from seasonal residents and we need representation on Council.

Please attend the AGM Sunday July 19, 11 AM at the Clubhouse on the pier road (Clubhouse Beach) and consider running for office. All cottage owners and their immediate family in the restricted are welcome to attend. Please come and give an hour or so of your time to attend the meeting to keep up to date on all that is going on, or could be coming up that may affect the restricted area — and have your voice heard. One hour of your time to help keep our special piece of paradise safe and supported shouldn’t be too much to ask, right?! We need you. And, remind your neighbours to come too!

Remember, the VBCOA almost shut down forever last year because all was well in the VB restricted area and when that happens, people forget about us, for there is little to do or talk about. But we must exist, so that we can mobilize quickly and efficiently should the need arise as it has in the past. Seeing you at the AGM reinforces our necessity and value. Please, come by and show your support Sunday and say hi to your fellow cottagers at the same time!

 Sincerely,

Blake Taylor

President VBCA

               AGM VBCA June 19, 2020 11 A.M    VB Clubhouse

                                                 AGENDA

1.Board Report

      -Trail

      – Erosion mitigation plan

      – Green clearing of avenues and roads and Fire Safe program

      – Building code

       – Garbage and recycling

      – RMVB Council issues: representation on RMVB Council; elimination of question period; proposed office move from Winnipeg to the RM; in camera meetings of the RMVB Council; Municipal voting ID.

       – Encouragement to run for Council.   

 2. Discussion

 3. Vote on Proposed Amendments to the Constitution

 4. Election of new Board executive

          Proposed Constitutional Amendments  

Name of the Association  

Current Constitution:

1.    We, Maxine Florence Clark, Desmond Francis Cox, Elizabeth Joan MacRae, Lawrence Oliver Pollard and Gordon Wiswell, all of the City of Winnipeg, in the Province of Manitoba, together with such persons as shall for the time being be members of this voluntary unincorporated association known as the Victoria Beach Cottagers Association (herein after referred to as the “Association”) constitute the Association.

        Changes to:

1.     We, Maxine Florence Clark, Desmond Francis Cox, Elizabeth Joan MacRae, Lawrence Oliver Pollard and Gordon Wiswell, all of the City of Winnipeg, in the Province of Manitoba, together with such persons as shall for the time being be members of this voluntary unincorporated association known as the Victoria Beach Cottage Owners Association (herein after referred to as the “Association”) constitute the Association.

                                             Definition of Associate Membership

Current Constitution:

1.    The Association shall have two classes of membership, namely:

1. Voting membership.

  2.  Associate membership.

To be eligible for a voting membership, a person must be registered as owner of an interest in real property situated in the Restricted Area. Any person other than a voting member of the Association may become an associate member.

         Changes to:

The Association shall have two classes of membership, namely:

1. Voting membership.

  2.  Associate membership.

To be eligible for a Voting Membership, a person must be registered as owner of an interest in real property situated in the Vehicle Restricted Area.

 To be eligible for an Associate Membership a person must be eighteen years of age or older and a member of the voting member’s immediate family including spouse, son, daughter, partner – in – law and grandchild.

DOCTORS OFFICE ANNOUNCEMENT

NO DOCTOR IN 2020

May 15, 2020

Dear RM of Victoria beach Council;

After consultation with physicians it is with sincere regret that The Victoria Beach Doctors Office will not open this year due to health concerns around the current pandemic of COVID-19.

There are many issues of concern that unfortunately cannot be mitigated to satisfaction at this time.  Our main concerns centre around the safety of patients and physicians due to the risk of COVID-19. As you are well aware there is currently no treatment for COVID-19, there is no vaccination for COVID-19 and point of care testing for COVID-19 is not currently available.

A significant challenge is the timely purchasing of all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including medical gloves, masks (procedure masks & N95 masks) , gowns and hand sanitizer. The availability of PPE has been an issue across Canada that has prevailed for many months now and currently local supplies are either out of stock or have short supply.

The ability in the VB clinic setting to complete continuous sanitation of all surfaces is also a concern. In our clinic, in particular, this is not an option that we believe can be done to meet the current practices of cleanliness in a healthcare setting during COVID-19.

For the above note reasons after consultations with physicians who understand both the VB Doctors Office and current medical practices regarding COVID-19 we feel the VB Doctors Office cannot operate for the 2020 season due to safety concerns arising from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We are certainly hoping this pandemic will be resolved by 2021 so that we can again serve the VB community.

Sincerely;

Dr. Carry Martens-Barnes

V.B. Medical committee

LATEST RMVB COVID UPDATE

April, 16 2020

Dear VBCOA Members:

Recently, the Council has posted a message about Covid 19 on their Facebook page. Since some of our members are having difficulty finding it or are not on Facebook, we have copied it here below for you:

April 12, 2020 RM of Victoria Beach

“The precautions that we are all taking this weekend to protect ourselves, our families and our loved ones are extraordinary. But today we live in an extraordinary time, and those precautions you are taking are the right things to do.

The RM of Victoria Beach is taking precautions at this time as well, and just like you, we are taking them to protect everyone.

Many are saying that “this won’t be a normal summer”, and all indications are that they are correct.

With a drastic decrease in travel and a continuing climb in the number of reported cases of COVID-19, we must assume that the main cause of spread is no longer from traveler contact but rather from community contact. COVID-19 is now right here in the Victoria Beach area, and we all have to work together to contain its spread.

Unfortunately for many of you, that work is going to include staying away from the cottage this summer. So far, the provincial government has strongly advised that we all localize – stay close to home and to travel only for groceries, medical appointments, etc.

The RM of VB has been following our government’s protocols to date and will continue to do so. We believe that those protocols are going to become even more stringent before things get better, and everyone needs to be prepared for that.

At this time of year, Victoria Beach and the surrounding area has a minimal population. Even so, we’ve already seen the closure of a local hotel and store/restaurant due directly to the COVID-19 virus. Now, multiply that population by 10 or 20 times, and the potential impact on the area’s limited services and resources could be devastating this summer.

Already, playgrounds throughout the RM have been closed for the duration of COVID-19, the Social Scene and VB Community Centres have suspended operations, Summer Winds has officially been canceled, and we expect that provincial protocols in place will prevent most (if not all) social activities this summer (Tennis, VB Club and Yacht Club programs, etc.).

At this time, no one can tell a property owner that they can’t come to their cottage. But, if you must come to your cottage, please abide by the following

– Only members of the cottage owner’s household
– Stay in your yard except for walking/hiking
– Abide by social distancing – STAY 6ft/2m APART from others
– BRING all provisions from HOME
– If you must shop locally, OBEY the STORE RULES
– Sanitize your hands immediately after any public contact

Victoria Beach is not a “safe” place to ride out the COVID-19 storm. To anyone who is coming here with that idea in mind, we ask you to consider that you yourself may be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus, and by seeking safety at Victoria Beach, you may, in fact, infect those whose autoimmune systems could be compromised!

Protect yourself, protect your family, and protect your community!”

Council has also posted a video on the RMVB home page titled Message from your Reeve and Council:  http://www.rmofvictoriabeach.ca/

TRAIL AND COVID-19 UPDATE

On March 30, 2020 the following letter was sent to Council. Their responses are included below. Covid 19 is the major issue before us at this time. The VBCOA Board wrote to Council on the Covid matter March 30 and again today and will continue to keep on the issue.

Thank you to those who wrote in on the Trails issue. Input from VBCOA members and Board have at least stopped the notion of allowing ATV’s and other summer-use off road vehicles such as dirt bikes on our Avenues and Roads and that applies 12 months of the of the year – so well done.

Dear RMVB Council:

While the overwhelming majority of responses the VBCOA Board has received favoured tabling the decision on the Trails and are not in favour of allowing ORV’s on the trail East of 59,  the encouraging thing about your communication on the matter is that you acknowledge that ORV’s are not allowed on the municipal roads including all roads in the vehicle restricted area any time of year.

Questions:

1.When will the section of the AB/VB Trail East of 59 be completed and ready for bicycles?

Answer: Council response is that after May long weekend Council will assess the situation.

2. What is Council doing in response to the Covid-19 threat? We believe that Council needs to look forward in time and ASAP come up with plans to deal with the pandemic should social distancing etc. still be in effect on May long weekend and on June 26 when the Parking lot is scheduled to open.. Will cabs be used? If so will shields separate drivers from passengers? Will sanitizing wipes be provided in the cabs? Can the cabs we have be properly sanitized? What rules will be in place? Has Council been in communication with the Community Club about what if anything can be done if the pandemic is still active. 

Council needs to be ready with a plan that can be shared with taxpayers.

Answer was that Council intends to follow provincial protocols and to keep the VBCOA informed as soon as it has any plans. Also, Council will contact the parking lot operator and support any plans that arise. The Parking lot is obligated to follow provincial Protocols. Council has not yet contacted the Club but the Club is considering options as the situation unfolds.

3. Instead of cancelling delegations during the Pandemic why does Council not provide live conference call video chat/Skype/Zoom/ type communication so that delegations could “appear”. Apparently, this has been done in the past by at least one earlier Council.

 Answer was Council is exploring options and can be contacted by mail phone and email.

Stay healthy. 

Thank you.

Sincerely,

VBCOA Board: Blake Taylor, Kathy McKibbin, Kerry Williams

  • ORV users must abide by all provincial statutes including The ORV Act and our By-Law.
    • The ORV Act states that ORV’s are not allowed on any municipal roads or highways.
    • Our by-law further prohibits ORV’s on all our municipal reserve lands, beaches, pathways, at any time with the exception of the AB2VB Trail as noted below.
    • ORV’s are not permitted in the vehicle restricted area at any time.
    • The compromise reached with TCT was that ORV’s will only be allowed on the AB2VB Trail, the abandoned CNR right of way east of PTH 59, between the Tuesday after Thanksgiving weekend until the Friday prior to the May long weekend.
    • ORV’s are not permitted on the AB2VB trail between May long weekend and Thanksgiving weekend unless for emergency purposes approved by Council.
    • When ORV’s are permitted on the trail they must stop and give right of way to pedestrians, cyclists.
    • Speed limit for ORV’s on the AB2VB trail is 20 km/hr.
  • The VB Police have the authority to enforce provincial laws and municipal by-laws.
  • Work to maintain the AB2VB Trail is being budgeted for.”

Covid -19

We are all affected by the epidemic and VBCOA members need to know Council’s plans and have opportunity to have input.

We will continue to ask Council about their plans and inform members of developments.

TRAILS UPDATE


Dear RMVB Council:
While the overwhelming majority of responses the VBCOA Board has received favoured tabling
the decision on the Trails and are not in favour of allowing ORV’s on the trail East of 59,  the
encouraging thing about your communication on the matter is that you acknowledge that ORV’s
are not allowed on the municipal roads including all roads in the vehicle restricted area any time
of year.
 
Questions:
 
1.When will the section of the AB/VB Trail East of 59 be completed and ready for bicycles?
Answer: Council response is that after May long weekend Council will assess the situation.

  1. What is Council doing in response to the Covid-19 threat? We believe that Council needs
    to look forward in time and ASAP come up with plans to deal with the pandemic should social
    distancing etc. still be in effect on May long weekend and on June 26 when the Parking lot is
    scheduled to open.. Will cabs be used? If so will shields separate drivers from passengers? Will
    sanitizing wipes be provided in the cabs? Can the cabs we have be properly sanitized? What
    rules will be in place? Has Council been in communication with the Community Club about
    what if anything can be done if the pandemic is still active. 
    Council needs to be ready with a plan that can be shared with taxpayers.
    Answer was that Council intends to follow provincial protocols and to keep the VBCOA
    informed as soon as it has any plans. Also, Council will contact the parking lot operator and
    support any plans that arise. The Parking lot is obligated to follow provincial Protocols. Council
    has not yet contacted the Club but the Club is considering options as the situation unfolds.
  2. Instead of cancelling delegations during the Pandemic why does Council not provide live
    conference call video chat/Skype/Zoom/ type communication so that delegations could “appear”.
    Apparently, this has been done in the past by at least one earlier Council.
    Answer was Council is exploring options and can be contacted by mail phone and email.
    Stay healthy. 
    Thank you.

Sincerely,
VBCOA Board: Blake Taylor, Kathy McKibbin, Kerry Williams
 
 ORV users must abide by all provincial statutes including The ORV Act and our By-
Law.
o The ORV Act states that ORV’s are not allowed on any municipal roads or
highways.
o Our by-law further prohibits ORV’s on all our municipal reserve lands, beaches,
pathways, at any time with the exception of the AB2VB Trail as noted below.
o ORV’s are not permitted in the vehicle restricted area at any time.
o The compromise reached with TCT was that ORV’s will only be allowed on the
AB2VB Trail, the abandoned CNR right of way east of PTH 59, between the
Tuesday after Thanksgiving weekend until the Friday prior to the May long
weekend.
o ORV’s are not permitted on the AB2VB trail between May long weekend and
Thanksgiving weekend unless for emergency purposes approved by Council.
o When ORV’s are permitted on the trail they must stop and give right of way to
pedestrians, cyclists.
o Speed limit for ORV’s on the AB2VB trail is 20 km/hr.
 The VB Police have the authority to enforce provincial laws and municipal by-laws.
 Work to maintain the AB2VB Trail is being budgeted for.”
Covid -19
We are all affected by the epidemic and VBCOA members need to know Council’s plans
and have opportunity to have input.
We will continue to ask Council about their plans and inform members of developments.

March 17, 2020

Below is a letter sent by the VBCOA Board to the RMVB Council.
We are hoping to hear your response. We believe that your voices must be heard.

Thank you.

Dear Reeve McMorris and Council,

I see from the agenda and the email I received from Councillor Bartmanovich that Council is proposing to pass a revised bylaw that will allow ATV’s to use the section of trail east of 59 from the end of Thanksgiving weekend to the beginning of May long weekend. This is mid-October till mid-May; 7 months of the year. Is this correct?

I am requesting that you table the proposed bylaw vote for at least a month or until Covid-19 allows for public meetings in order to give taxpayers a reasonable opportunity to provide feedback before you pass such an important piece of legislation.

There are a number of reasons why you should delay the vote.

To hold the vote on such a contentious issue with practically no public notice:

1. precludes delegations to address the new legislative proposal

2. is at a time when you have just cancelled question period so questions are not possible

3. is during a Covid-19 pandemic when public gatherings in confined spaces where people are in close proximity such as the RMVB meeting room are dangerous to the health of participants and anyone they come in contact with later.

There is concern particularly among those who do not own or intend to own Off Road Summer Use Motorized Land Vehicles that Council formally allowing ATV’s or possibly other off road vehicles such as dirt bikes on the trail may have serious consequences.

-fire safety. ATV’s have a history of causing fires

-noise

-use of municipal roads by ATV’s within the RM. Right now the police reportedly turn a blind eye if no-one complains. However – the number of ATV’s and the behaviour of riders may change once Council formally allows access to the trail within the RM

– safety of pedestrians when confronted by ATV’s and other off-road vehicles

-damage to the trail that tax payers will have to pay for. This is particularly concerning in April and May when the surface may be thawed and wet.

– If ATV’s are allowed, then why not dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles?They are covered by the same rules and regulations.

The tax-payers have a right to be fully informed on these issues before Council votes. Council needs to address these concerns and provide reassurances that negative impacts will not harm the pockets and the quality of experience of the majority of rate payers. The members of the VBCOA need to know that off road motor vehicles will never be allowed any time of year in the Vehicle restricted area.

Shouldn’t any decision about the ORV’s be linked to a decision about completing the trail east of 59 so it is usable by bicyclists. Where is council on that issue?

Sincerely

Blake Taylor for VBCOA Board

November 8, 2019

URGENT: Report on November 5 Council Meeting on Trans Canada Trails

At the November 5th meeting of Council a presentation was made by Trans Canada Trails Government Relations representative Kim Wright who came here from Toronto to make sure that Council understands the Trans Canada Trails (TCT) position on the Albert Beach to Victoria Beach Trail.

1. Trans Canada Trails turned down an application for funding of the Trail in 2016 because the proposal did not specifically exclude summer-use off road vehicles from the section of trail east of Hwy 59. TCT is deeply committed to “greenway” trails in its mandate and will not fund construction of trails that allow use of off road vehicles. (“yellow” trails).

2. Trans Canada Trails agreed to fund the re-application in 2017 because the new proposal specifically excluded summer-use vehicles from the trail. TCT provided $34,000 in funding for the proposed “greenway” trail which has been received and spent.

3. Council contractually committed the RMVB to keeping the trail “greenway” which means excluding summer-use off road vehicles (dirt bikes, ATV’s etc.) from the entire trail.

4. If council decides to allow summer-use off road vehicles on the section east of Hwy 59 it is breaking its contractual agreement with the TCT. She gave notice that should that be Council’s decision she has been instructed by her Board to inform Council that the TCT ‘s options include both rescinding the trail’s TCT designation and requesting a refund of the $34,000 from the RMVB.

5. She pointed out that contracts must take precedence over political changes or else they are not worth the paper they are printed on. She reminded Council that if the RM chooses to renege on its contract the RMVB it risks its reputation as well as the loss of the grant money (and I might add potentially large legal bills). The TCT is a national organization with its own legal team. It has over 24,000 km of trail under its protection known officially as The Great Trail.

As President of the VBCOA I have a grave concern that the financial implications of Council not honouring this agreement could be at least $34,000 and possibly much more in legal expenses, not to mention damage to the RM’s reputation as being a reliable and trustworthy party with whom to do business.

Since we are the majority of the tax base we will be paying.

In conversation with Kim Wright after the meeting she reinforced that the TCT  must uphold the contract and will not allow our municipality to back out of its contractual agreement. It would set a precedent that would negatively impact the entire trail system. That is why she had to come from Toronto – to impress on Council that the TCT is serious about enforcing the agreement and intends to hold Council to account. She also confirmed that ATV’s “chew up the trail” at any speed and that greatly increases maintenance costs. The TCT is committed to “greenway” trails and is in the process of gradually turning historically existing “yellow” trails into “greenway” trails. It will not entertain allowing a trail funded as “greenway” to become “yellow” as that would open a precedent that the TCT cannot allow. Greenway trails are intended to encourage communion with nature and the TCT does not consider ATV’s to be consistent with that policy.

I have received several letters from VBCOA members arguing in favour of the “greenway” trail as originally intended because it would provide a safe scenic biking and hiking route between VB and AB. I have received no letters supporting the inclusion of ATV’s dirt bikes and other summer-use off road vehicles on the trail east of Hwy 59.

My earlier “Report on Sept 17 Council Meeting” covers many of the thoughts discussed on this trails issue. Note also that there were petitions for and against keeping the trail “greenway” and the pro “greenway” numbers outweighed the pro ATV numbers 150 to 39.

You can access the entire Council meeting discussion held on November 5th here. Discussion begins at the 3 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=243&v=bSMTsDqw2l0&fbclid=IwAR255arVJDyBV5jor42jXjcirQT6foi59q4_DcfujaNGGYoXpsrlH7D9TQs

If you can’t spare the important hour, we at least encourage you to look at the following three segments:

#1: 31:30-43:15 mark

#2 47:20-52:15 mark

And the MOST IMPORTANT POINTS made by Penny McMorris and Steve Axworthy, followed up by the Rep from Toronto who clearly state that much damage to the RMVB reputation has already been done at the 56:35-58:30 mark.

I invite VBCOA members to write to Council and to the VBCOA Executive with your opinion on this matter. I expect the vote will be at the next Council meeting Nov 19.

If you do not wish to write a letter you may simply state one of the following comments below and forward it to us by November 19th. (And please indicate if we have your permission to pass your comment onward to council.) Email to us at: vbcoaexec@gmail.com

or send it to council:

Reeve Penny McMorrispmcmorris@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Graham Randlegrandle@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Irwin Kumkaikumka@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Mike Bartmanovichmbartmanovich@victoriabeach.ca
Councillor Steve Axworthysaxworthy@victoriabeach.ca

Yes Council should honour its agreement and pass the proposed bylaw making the entire trail “greenway”.

                                                 OR

No, I think Council should permit summer-use off road vehicles (dirt bikes, ATV’s etc”) on the section of trail east of Hwy 59.  

Thanks so much for taking the time to get informed on this issue and to let your council know how you expect them to react and deal with this situation. We all may be hunkering down for the long winter ahead and do not have the cottage on our minds, but our precious VB needs our attention year round!

We will do our best to keep you in the loop on the important matters like this.

Cheers!

October 1, 2019

September 17th Council Meeting

There are two pressing issues going on with the RMVB council right now and your executive has been keeping eyes on it by attending the council meetings.

Specifically, on September 17th, we made some presentations on behalf of the VBCOA.

You can view the entire council meeting here with our presentations here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBKdAC4MCM

Here is a detailed update for those interested.

Fire Smart:

Council indicated that they are still working on a Fire Smart plan for the RMVB and that removing deadfall and dead standing trees will be an important part of the plan. Members of the VBCOA will be pleased to hear this as it is an effective fire deterrent that does not harm the charm of VB.

They also committed to consultation with the VBCOA and others, and to make the plan public and to seek feedback before executing the plan. Again the VBCOA is pleased that our members will have an opportunity to respond before work commences.

You can see Blake’s presentation at the 37:50 mark of the council meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBKdAC4MCM

Trails

(please see an IMPORTANT question at the end of this report). 

You can see Ron Pratt’s presentation, and Blake Taylor present on behalf of the VBCOA, at the 4 minute mark of the council meeting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBKdAC4MCM

Background information: The Albert Beach to Victoria Beach trail was funded by both the RMVB and the Trans Canada Trails (Great Trail) as a Greenway trail. Specifically for cyclists, walkers and hikers (allowing snow mobiles in the winter months)

The trail was again discussed.

The contentious issue is the section on the East-(Travers Bay) side of 59 from Saffie Road north 700 meters to the new crossing of 59 which connects it to the Greenway trails west of Highway 59. The trail then runs through the marsh and connects to municipal road at David and Ateah.

The original plan was to allow cottagers — including children from our RM at Albert Beach — to cycle safely and scenically to our many community club events without having to ride beside motor vehicles. This is called the Albert Beach Victoria Beach (ABVB) Trail-originally proposed as “The Environmental Pathway Proposal”.

Trans Canada Trails provided $34,000 for the ABVB Greenway Trail and the RMVB will continue to be eligible to apply for grants to complete the trail on the East side of 59 and to maintain the whole trail system provided that it remain a “Greenway” Trail (excluding motorized vehicles).

This would require Council passing the new By Law 1582 prohibiting motorized off-road vehicles(ORV’s) from the disputed section and the entire Greenway Trail in VB.

The disputed section is necessary to be able to cycle between Albert and Victoria Beach without riding on the highway.

Off Road Vehicles (ORV’s) from the RMVB have been using the section in question since the days when it was an old untreated rail bed (between Wanasing and Saffie Rd.) in order to connect to the ORV trails south of Victoria Beach in Alexander and the Belair forest. The old 2009 (still current) bylaw 1511 specifically allows ORV’s on the section in dispute, which in 09 was untreated rail bed.

However, the section has since been designated as a Greenway Trail (Part of the Trans Canada Trail now named the Great Trail) and has been treated with 3/4 rocks.

In addition, $34,000 has been provided in grants by the Trans Canada/Great Trail to the ABVB Trail.

Our understanding is that the RMVB has spent an additional $35,000 on it.

The question before Council is whether to keep to the original intention of this section of the Trans Canada/Great Trail and pass By-Law 1582 making the entire trail in the RM Greenway — thus excluding ORV’s such as ATV’s dirt bikes etc. — or instead to allow ORV’s such as ATV’s on this 700 meter section. Thereby changing from the original plan upon which the trail was funded but accommodating residents with ORV’s that have used the section for years.

This latter would lose the “Greenway” status as part of The Trans Canada/Great Trail and would make the RM ineligible for future trail completion and maintenance grants from the Trans Canada/Great Trail.

Trans Canada Trails has written informing the RM that it will take “appropriate action” if Council fails to pass a By-Law honoring the section’s Greenway (non-ORV/ATV) designation as was promised in our funding applications. (Whether that means returning the $34,000 to them for non compliance is still in question.) ORV’s were specifically excluded from access to the Trail on all funding and permit applications.

There are also financial, safety, quality of life, ethical and legal considerations in the decision along with the feelings of both the ORV(ATV) users who have been and continue to use this section of trail. Not to mention the cyclists, for whom the trail was planned and who hope to use it. Even those who swim or relax at Old Mill Beach in the middle of the section could be a consideration – current algae problems notwithstanding.

It is a very complex issue.

Currently the trail section is useable by ORV’s (ATV’s etc.) and walkers/hikers, but not by most cyclists (athletic Mountain bike enthusiasts excepted).

Work on the section in question was begun but not completed.

A lot of coarse (3/4) stones have been put on top of the original rail bed. However, for use by the vast majority of cyclists, more work on this trail section (such as compacted fine crushed stone granite aggregate for eg.) will be required at an additional investment by Council estimated at from $10,000 -$30,000.      https://www.americantrails.org/resources/the-art-of-building-crushed-stone-trails


Several suggestions were put forward to accommodate ORV’s such as ATV’s and still allow cyclists safe passage:       

  • widen and divide the trail section in question into two; one side ORV’s the other side cyclists;       
  • exclude motorized vehicles from the Trail and petition the Province to allow ATV’s on the highway shoulder or find another alternate route for ATVs;        –
  • exclude motorized vehicles from the Trail and have ATV users trailer their vehicles to parking lots connected to ATV trails south of the RMVB.
  • ATV’s are not legal on RMVB municipal or provincial roads so they likely were hauled in the first place.

There was a lengthy discussion after second reading of the new proposed By-Law 1582 which would make the section a Greenway (non-ORV) trail in keeping with the trail’s original intent, permits and funding.  

Arguments were made by councilors on both sides of the issue. Council tabled the motion for further discussion.

Presentations that were given:

Blake Taylor/Ron Pratt

At the outset of the meeting at the 4 minute mark ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBKdAC4MCM ) the VBCOA (Ron Pratt/Blake Taylor) made a time limited presentation encouraging Council to weigh all sides of the Trails issue asking that they give scrupulous consideration to the “side by side multi-use proposal” and other options (see above).

We expressed a desire for unity within the VB community.  

We repeatedly made it clear that the VBCOA members do not want to be burdened with ongoing repair costs should ORVs damage the yet to be completed Trail.

Nor do we want to pay extra in order to widen the section in question.

At the time of the presentation we were under the impression that the “side by side option” had potential to be a relatively simple and low-cost way to accommodate ORV’s and cyclists/walkers.

Subsequent information suggests that is not the case.

We asked council to deliberate with attention to safety, ongoing maintenance costs, legal considerations, the unique nature of VB, etc.  

While getting along with our neighbours who use ORVs is very important, we now might add that making the Trail “Greenway” is in keeping with the concept and intent of VB and almost certainly benefits far more rate payers.

ORV proponents have stated that there are between 12 and 20 ORVs in the RM.

Should  Council nevertheless opt to allow ORV’s on the section of trail in question, our presentation made it clear that we would want it to be only on a trial basis, carefully monitored by Council and that if problems of safety or cost or other negative impacts arise, that ORV’s be excluded.

Unfortunately- at that point it may be too late to have the designation and potential for further funding from the Trans Canada/Grand Trails.

We also asked a number of questions about the agreement between RMVB and the TC/Grand Trails several of which were answered. (See youtube council video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBKdAC4MCM )

JP Burnet

JP Burnet made a compelling presentation including a 188-signature petition of permanent residents and cottagers from Albert Beach and VB for making the trail section “Greenway” for cyclists and walker/hikers exclusively as was agreed from the outset of the trail initiative.

This means supporting By-Law 1582 as it is without amendments.

He cited a letter from the Trans Canada Trails Association stating that the trail was registered, accepted and funded as a non-ORV “Greenway” trail and that they funded it on that condition.

ORV’s were specifically excluded from access to the trail on all funding and permit applications.

He also cited the RMVB Development Plan which strongly promotes non-motorized use of trails in the RM and which does not include accommodation for ORVs.

Mr. Burnet was the originator of the “Environmental Pathway Proposal” which became the ABVB Trans- Canada/Grand Greenway Trail. He argued that the trail was designed to create a safe, low impact route between AB and VB providing an opportunity to commune with nature, and that ORV’s are not compatible with these purposes.

You can watch this at the 19:40 to 37:00 minute mark of the council meeting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IBKdAC4MCM  

Note – At a prior meeting an opposite petition favouring ORV access to the section of the trail was presented to Council. It was announced that after vetting, only 39 of these signatures were valid and that signatures from outside the RM were not valid.

So there you have it. We hope this helps make you feel more informed about the two issues at hand.

And now, that you have this infomation we would like your thoughts.

Our specific question to our membership re trails is:

The Trail should be “Greenway” with no off-road motorized vehicles.                                                                   

OR       

The section on the East side of 59 should allow motorized off-road vehicles.

Members of the VBCOA are invited to write to the VBCOA Board with your thoughts vboaexec@gmail.com or of course to council, as this issue may be brought to a final decision at any time in the very near future.

We look forward to your thoughts and to acting on behalf of the majority of VBCOA membership going forward.

*** Please note, as an added supplement for your consideration and information, here is the presentation given to council by Councilor Axworthy:

THE HISTORY of CHANGES FROM 1511 TO 1582

A. AB2VB trail would come under the effect of the ORV bylaw as per the initial permit application put forth on behalf of the RMVB by the RRNTA-TCT & VBTA.

B. The Bylaw would reference The Provincial Offences Act instead of The Manitoba Summary Convictions Act.

C. The effected months of the By-law would change from “June 1st – Labour Day” to “May 1st – October 31st” in order to lessen the fire risk posed to the community.

DEFINITION OF GREENWAY

“Greenway – a section of the Trail that has been developed for and supports one or more of TCT’s preferred activities in the summer – greenways do not allow motorized use in the summer months”

OFF ROAD VEHICLE RESEARCH – RM OF VICTORIA BEACH

BACKGROUND HISTORY

On September 9, 2017, The Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach, having been approached by the Victoria Beach Trails Association, and the Red River North Trails Association, made an application to the Trails Capitol Improvement Plan to have a safe trail constructed along the RMVB Causeway in order to connect Albert Beach to Victoria Beach. This trail was to be part of the Trans Canada Trail and was advertised repeatedly as a “Greenway” or non-summer motorized trail.

This Project underwent (what was considered at the time) extensive consultations with all stake holders, and was a major topic of discussion in multiple council meetings prior to, and after, the original applications for funding were made.

In all communication with the RM, Provincial Government, Trans Canada Trail, and residents, the messaging of the project was always to remain a “Greenway Trail” (non-summer motorized).

SUPPORT & DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES OF TCT

“Confirm TCT’s desire to protect and increase the number of greenway trails, in accordance with TCT’s Greenways: Vision and Core Principles”

“TCT strives to protect and increase the number of greenway sections on The Great Trail with the Greenways: Vision and Core Principles policy. TCT will prioritize funding and support for projects that respect the principles of their policy and maximize greenways.”

BACKGROUND HISTORY: IMPORTANT DATES & INFORMATION

• September 30, 2017 – For the Trail Crossing – RRNTA applied for TCIP Funds

• PROJECT NAME: RRNTA – TCT – Greenway Trail for crossing PTH 59 in Victoria Beach

• TYPE OF TRAIL: Greenway

• EXCLUDED USES: Summer motorized vehicles

• September 30, 2017 – For the Trail Itself – RRNTA applied for TCIP Funds

• PROJECT NAME: RRNTA – TCT – Greenway Trails in RM of Victoria Beach – 5.78 km

• TYPE OF TRAIL: Greenway

• EXCLUDED USES: Horseback riding, Paddling, Summer motorized vehicles

• The Submitted map for the project INCLUDED the AB2VB Trail and highlighted the AB2VB Trail as to be a “Greenway”.

• September 12, 2017 – RMVB submitted 2 letters of support for the project. Both letters included the project map in which the proposed AB2VB trail was highlighted and indicated as being a “Greenway Trail”

• The first letter was for the crossing and stated the approved use as a “safe designated cycling trail connection to cross PTH59”

• The second letter was stated the same use.

• October 10, 2017 – a public letter was sent to everyone on the VBTA’s email list in the RM, which detailed the application to the AVIVA Community Fund by the RRNTA.

• The stated goal was: “To allow 15 kilometres of safe and enjoyable recreational TCT trails throughout the RM of VB for hiking and biking (non-

motorized active living) that would permanently connect and link our community”

• A map, which INCLUDED the AB2VB trail, was included in this message.

• November 3, 2017 – a public letter was sent to everyone on the VBTA’s email list in the RM, in which the AVIVA Community Fund was no successfully obtained.

• The email also stated: “The person(s) on their bike(s) are interested in getting from A to B (or in our case, maybe AB2VB).“

• Every morning, you could get on the trail, bike for miles without cars or traffic,

• Repeated the same goal as on October 10th.

BACKGROUND HISTORY: IMPORTANT DATES & INFORMATION

• November 9, 2017 – a letter from the VBTA to the RRNTA with the RM CC’d.

• The letter detailed the same goal as the AVIVA application.

• It also stated that “Abandoned rail beds and highways in the area are only begging to be transformed into bike corridors and offer a safer commute, without

cars or traffic.”

• Reward one of the most unique and active communities in Canada that throughout its history “has walked the talk” by choosing a lifestyle that promotes

active living over the automobile.

• November 13, 2017 – a message from the VBTA was sent to MLA Wayne Ewasko that stated the same messaging as the November 9th letter to the RRNTA & RMVB.

• November 23, 2017 – another funding request was made for the project by the RRNTA, stating “we have signed an operational TCT hiking routes for 15 km in the RM of VB.”

• December 1, 2017 – “RRNTA – Signed Letter from RRNTA to RM of Victoria Beach – for leverage funding request to support Projects applied to Trans Canada Trail for RRNTA in the RM of VB Catchment area”

• The letter states “At the moment we have a “hiking” trail only fully connected with some cycling on municipal roads (restricted area and non-restricted area).”

• “These projects would complete the trail routing to become a fully “hiking and CYCLING” trail in the RM of VB”

• MAY 16, 2019 – The RRNTA Signed a new Contribution Agreement with the TCT on VB’s behalf

• PROJECT NAME: RRNTA – TCT – Greenway Trails in RM of Victoria Beach – 5.78 km

• JULY 15, 2019 – The RRNTA sent a letter to the RMVB stating that:

• “RRNTA pursues Active Transportation Trails but works in congruence with other Trail Users being primarily Snowmobiling (SNOMAN) and Off Road Vehicles –

ORVs (ATVMB)”

• “A pilot project recommendation would be to widen the boulders opening the 72” to accommodate traditional allowable ORV users”

• “RRNTA recognizes that this By-Law has been in place since February 17, 2009 and allow for ORV to use the former railed privately owned by the RMVB.”

• JULY 20, 2019 – a letter was sent to Councillor Steve Axworthy in which the RRNTA submitted:

• A NEW map which EXCLUDED the AB2VB Trail.

2019 Election Results

Dear Members:

First off, a huge thank you to Tamie and Chris Archer, Neil Carroll and Kerry Williams for their past service to the VBCOA. The volunteering of your free time for your passions and love for the restricted area is never underestimated. We know all the membership appreciated the level of communication they have received from you during your term. We intend to do the same.

The election of Aug 31 was a surprise to us all, as there had been no nominations on line and the threat of losing the VBCOA was imminent.

Fortunately, a motion was made from the floor to have an election. The motion was carried.

Your new executive felt they just could not stand by and LOSE your voice! None of us went into that meeting knowing we would come out representing YOU! But we are proud and honoured to now have that privilege going forward.

Thank you to the 51 folks who came out to have their voices heard!

Your new executive has a new email vbcoaexec@gmail.com Please feel free to contact us at anytime.

As well, we are already working on a wider digital presence in order to continue to keep you well informed. It starts with this brand new website we have put together for a one stop place to find pertinent information related to the VB restricted area and to keep us better connected all year long!

As well, a private group discussion page on Facebook has now been created specifically for our membership to discuss issues important to us: VBCOA FaceBook Group. We encourage all members to join.

We sincerely want to hear your concerns and ideas going forward. Please keep in touch! If you have neighbours that are not on the VBCOA list please encourage them to write us and join. Membership is free and is open to all cottage owners, in the Vehicle Restricted Area of Victoria Beach. We also accept Associate members (non voting) from owners spouses and children of legal age.

We will be in touch with more soon!

Yours truly,

Blake, Kathy, and Kerry

NEW VBCOA private group now available on FaceBook!

September 10, 2019

One of the concerns many members have is that once we are away from Victoria Beach, it becomes out of sight and out of mind. That it can be hard to know when something of importance may be happening. So we are on it!

We have just created a private FaceBook page specifically for our VBCOA members, associate members and spouses and children of owners in the restricted area of Victoria Beach.

It will be a place for all of us in the restricted area to keep in touch and discuss what is going on in the RMVB which may affect us, year round. Some of us reside in the restricted area year round, but many members are in Winnipeg and many are all over North America in the off-season. Through this FaceBook page we can all keep in touch and discuss any concerns that may take place when we are there or when we are away. It will also be an excellent place to bring up any issues that you feel may be pertinent to the membership or that you want to draw to the attention of the VBCOA executive.

The FB page link is VBCOA

We strongly encourage you to join and to tell other members of the VBCOA that it now exists!

Doctors office 2019

September 10, 2019

Have you ever wondered how many patients visit the VB doctors office during the summer?

Well, 433 is the number this year!

Proof positive of how important the doctor’s office is to the community each summer.

Thanks to Dr. Carry Martens-Barnes, Dr. Dan Barnes, Dr. Bev Rutherford, Dr. Garth Campbell