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Welcome to the Dunnottar Ratepayers Association Website


 

 

The Express Weekly Nevus Thursday, August 12, 2021

Dunnottar wells running low; concern about subdivision stressing aquifer 

By Patricia Barrett

Some drinking water wells in Dunnottar are running low as the severe drought across the Interlake continues.

Ed Strauman, a seasonal resident and president of the Dunnottar Ratepayers Association, said his own well and the public well close to Lake Winnipeg are struggling to deliver water.

"My well is below where it normally is,"said Strauman by phone last week. "When my pump comes on, it blows lots of air first before it kicks in and brings water up. That tells me the aquifer is down at least two feet."

He was thinking of putting another pipe down his main well to get water, he said, but it eventually came up. He had the same problem about 15 years ago during a drought.

A severe multiyear drought occurred across the prairies from about 1999 to the mid-2000s.

Strauman said other Dunnottar residents are having well problems, too.

"We had a drilling company out here a few days ago working on someone's well," said Strauman. "And the public well at the end of Whytewold Road is usually gushing water. It's not gushing now — it's little more than a tap. That tells me that well is running low too."

The Village of Dunnottar is made up of three communities: Ponemah, Whytewold and Matlock. It used to be part of the Municipality of St. Andrews until 1947. Dunnottar has about 763 residents, according to the village website. The population swells in the summer with cottagers and tourists.

A new 45-lot subdivision that's to be built in St. Andrews close to Dunnottar's southern border (near Matlock) will only further stress the aquifer, said Strauman. It will have 43 residential/cottage dwellings, all of which will require drinking water wells dug.

The new subdivision is to be built by Steinbach based Castlerock Realty. The Red River Planning District (RRPD) board recommended that it go ahead and it was approved last month by St. Andrews council during a public hearing. Dunnottar's mayor is a member of the RRPD board. Over 40 letters of objection were submitted by residents, citing degradation of the environment and stress on the aquifer.

"It worries me that St. Andrews approved these 43 new dwellings on Gimli Road," said Strauman. "If we're having problems right now with our aquifer and they're going to dig another 43 wells, that could devastate the aquifer."

In addition to the aquifer, Strauman said he's concerned about the generation of additional sewage and whose wastewater facility will be handling it. His holding tank waste is taken to Dunnottar's wastewater lagoon. The RM of St. Andrews has its own lagoon in Petersfield, a considerable haul down the highway from the new subdivision.

"There will be 43 residences and they'll all have holding tanks. That sewage has to be pumped out and taken somewhere," he said. "I don't know why [the Express] didn't get an answer from either St. Andrews council or Dunnottar council [see July 29 edition] as to where all that waste will 

be going. The closest place would be the Dunnottar landfill where our lagoon is. There was no comment from our [Dunnottar] mayor Rick Gamble and the CAO in the office. As far as I'm concerned, they should have some sort of statement on this. They should be accountable to us ratepayers."

The Express reached out again to Dunnottar's mayor and CAOs at the municipal office, as well as to all of council.  CAO Janice Thevenot said by email there was no agreement signed with the RM of St. Andrews to use Dunnottar's wastewater lagoon as the disposal site for the new subdivision. She also said the subdivision won't be using Dunnottar's wastewater lagoon.

However, Dunnottar's lagoon does have the capacity to handle waste from 43 additional dwellings, she said.  When asked if council has any concerns about the new subdivision tapping into the aquifer for drinking water, Thevenot said the provincial department of Conservation and Climate is responsible for addressing that.

"The health of the aquifers is under the purview of the Groundwater Section of Conservation and Climate, they should have been copied on the proposal and if there are any concerns, it would be the department's responsibility to comment," she said.

 


 

After reading the below article from the Express Weekly News on July 29, 2021 entitled

"St. Andrews council approves new residential subdivision despite objections"

I suggest you go to the Red River Planning District website to read more about the subdivision proposal. 

Click on this link: https://www.redriverplanning.com/

Ed Strauman,
President, Dunnottar Ratepayers Association

 

The municipality of St. Andrews council approved a proposal to build a new residential subdivision close to the border of Dunnottar despite a substantial outcry from area residents over the destruction of the environment along Lake Winnipeg.  A 20-acre lot at 2560 Gimli Rd. will be developed by Steinbach-based Castlerock Realty. The lot is 500 metres (just over a quarter mile) from the lake and borders a conservation area called the Netley-Libau Marsh Important Bird Area.

The subdivision will have lots for 43 dwellings and two small lots for public reserves. The lots will be serviced by wells for drinking water and holding tanks for waste.

St. Andrews council held an online public hearing July 13 to discuss the development. It received over 40 letters of objection from area residents and several more letters expressing concern.

Gwen Armbruster, a seasonal but soon to be full¬time Dunnottar resident, said the 20-acre lot was a former bee farm and is mostly forested land. The land and surrounding area are vital habitat for wildlife, insects and plants.

"This shouldn't be allowed to proceed until they've done an environmental impact assessment," said Armbruster by phone a few weeks ago. "All over the world governments are protecting existing ecosystems and rehabilitating those that have been degraded because of the environmental crisis we're facing. This is a treed lot with a nature-based solution to climate change. Trees capture and store huge amounts of carbon."

Armbruster is a member of the Dunnottar Bird Watch group, which conducts annual bird counts that are used by scientists and organizations trying to save dwindling habitat. She said the whole area around Warner Road (near the development) is a "birding hotspot."

"It's also part of an Important Bird Area where we document migration and count species," she said. "The IBA runs along the shoreline, and this development is about a block from there."

The group has documented around 20 species that stop and nest in the area, she said. Several are listed in the Canadian federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, which protects and conserves migratory birds (either as populations or individual birds) and their nests.

"We've also discovered one species at risk here — the eastern wood pewee” said Armbruster.

She and other residents have requested that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the area be undertaken before the development goes ahead.

"We think a full inventory has to be done of the birds on that lot. That would be done under an EIA," she said. "We've also got bees and butterflies declining. We walked around the rail tracks that border the back end of this property and we could see milkweed and other native plants growing there. Pollinators are vital to our food system. We could have fewer crops without them."

The province has 36 IB As. Each one is significant in terms of birds and biodiversity. Manitoba IBA coordinator Amanda Shave said Netley-Libau contains a variety of habitats for migratory and breeding birds.

"During fall migration, upwards of 100,000 water- birds use the IBA as a stopover site to rest and recuperate on their way south. The IBA status has also been triggered by high concentrations of rusty blackbirds (federal species of concern) also using the site as a stopover on spring migration," said Shave by email."  Both the west and east sides of the IBA are home to nesting redheaded woodpeckers, which are classified as endangered at a federal level and threatened provincially."

Other important species in the area are the eastern wood pewee (federal species of concern), least flycatcher, American redstart, eastern kingbird and cedar waxwing.

"Most of these bird species are facing increasing threats due to habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change and associated impacts, pesticides and invasive species," said Shave.

Birds are important pollinators, distributors of plant seeds, consumers of insects and can be a tourist draw, she said.

In addition to concerns about habitat destruction to make way for development, Armbruster said there are other issues relating to the environment.

"They haven't studied the aquifer which provides the same water we use in Dunnottar," she said. "You're putting in an additional 43 wells and we're in a drought. This is the third year of drought. They haven't done any studies to see if this property can actually accommodate 43 wells."

Residents from different communities in the area are also opposed to destroying habitat and questioned the effect the subdivision will have on Dunnottar's services and ratepayers.

Del Sexsmith from Matlock wrote: "Will this entire area be clear-cut to accommodate dwellings and driveways alone? I notice that several of the proposed lots are not in compliance with the mini-mum lot requirement of 100 feet. This is a formula for crowding and the elimination of habitat," she wrote.  "I also do not see a letter of support from the adjoining municipality of Dunnottar (in which we reside). Is there support for mutual resources such as the aquifer for potable water?"

Doug Hillier wrote that "the decision to approve this piece of land for development without accounting for the many environmental impacts is shortsighted. Currently, the potential damage to flora & fauna (including damage to critical migration areas) and the effect on the infrastructure of the current community is unknown."

Louise Buelow-Smith and Eric Smith from Ponemah also noted their concern about the aquifer.

"There is no confirmation that there is sufficient water within the aquifer system to sustain this level of development, nor an assessment of impacts to existing settlement," they wrote. "There may be statements from government departments, but no evidence of the level of scrutiny or assessment."

They said the development will push people to Dunnottar to access beaches and other services.

"Almost all activities related to the use of this land as proposed require getting in a car and going to the Village of Dunnottar, which itself is struggling with the impacts of increased road and off-road vehicular traffic," the Smiths wrote.

In the planning package from the Red River Planning District — which recommended the subdivision application be approved by council — concerns were noted by entities such as Canadian Pacific Railway, the Evergreen School Division and Manitoba Conservation and Climate (regarding wastewater).

The lot is sandwiched between a CPR line and Gimli Road. According to a map of the layout, seven lots along the western border touch the rail line.

"The safety and welfare of residents can be adversely affected by rail operations and CP is not in favour of residential uses that are not compatible with rail operations," CP wrote in an email. "CP freight trains operate 24-7 and schedules/volumes are subject to change."

It's unclear whether council required the establishment of a buffer zone.

The Evergreen School Division asked that council consider land for a school or require the landowner to provide money to the municipality or school board/district in lieu of land for school purposes.

ESD secretary-treasurer Amanda Senkowski wrote the division made the request in the interest of "long term planning of any growth or development in the area as sufficient growth over time will result in a future need for a school."

The provincial department Conservation and Climate asked Castlerock to "obtain confirmation from the RM of St. Andrews that there is sufficient capacity for the additional volumes of sewage at the wastewater treatment lagoon."

It's unclear whether the wastewater lagoon being referred to is next door in the Village of Dunnottar or in St. Andrews (at Petersfield).

St. Andrews Assistant CAO Colleen Sailor said council approved the subdivision with conditions.

"Council passed a resolution conditionally approving the subdivision. What this means is that there are many conditions that must be met prior to the subdivision actually being registered at Winnipeg Land Titles," said Sailor by email."   This could take up to two years to complete and in some cases for larger subdivisions such as this one, a one-year extension is required."

She declined to answer other questions including what conditions were imposed and whether the RM has an agreement with the Village of Dunnottar to use Dunnottar's wastewater lagoon.

The Express left a message for Dunnottar Mayor Rick Gamble requesting comment about the subdivision but he didn't respond. The Express also contacted the CAOs at the Dunnottar municipal office but did not receive a response.



 

 

Article from Winnipeg Free Press April 28, 2021

St_Andrews_Sewer_2.jpg 

 

DUNNOTTAR RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

PRESIDENT'S UPDATE JANUARY 2021

 

The Dunnottar Ratepayers Association 2021 website hosting yearly fee has been donated in memory of former Board Member Mr. George Derenchuk .

The DRA wishes to thank the Derenchuk family for the kind donation.

Mr. Derenchuk is sadly missed and his wisdom and knowledge were a great asset.

Ed Strauman

 

As President of the D.R.A I'm wishing all residents of the Village of Dunnottar a Happy New Year for 2021.

It has been a different type of year during 2020 with Covid-19 Virus within the province of Manitoba and the Country. Hopefully 2021 will be better so family's can see their loved ones again. Let's hope with the Vaccines that are available to the public we can get our lives back again.

Ed Strauman
President
Dunnottar Ratepayers Association

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The Dunnottar Ratepayers Association has received a sizeable donation from the Derenchuk family in the memory of late George Derenchuk who passed away late last year. George was involved in the D.R.A. and held the position of Director . George was one of the founder's of the D.R.A. . His wisdom and knowledge will be sadly missed. George was a great asset to the D.R.A.

With the recent COVID -19  Pandemic  please respect the distance between each other and be safe.

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Recent local events, could they affect Matlock area residents?

Arthur Conan Doyle "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

Information contained herein is sourced from the Red River Planing District (RRPD)

Location of document: https://rrpd.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/341l6

Path to document: Home Open Adgenda Item Attachments Regular Board Meeting 2019 November Open Public Hearing - Development Plan By-law No 272_19

Document from page 1 of 2nd PH_Report to Board_DP272-20 November 2019.pdf

"3.3 Map Re-Desianation in St.Andrews (Matlock area)

The RRPD Board proposes to re-designate the Matlock area (located south and west of the Village of Dunnottar) from “Resort ” to “Settlement Centre”. The majority of this area is already developed and is an extension of the developed neighborhoods of Dunnottar, which are proposed to be designated as “Settlement Centre”. Redesignating the Matlock area to match Dunnottar appears to be a logical continuation of the “Settlement Centre” designation for an already developed area."

And the entire Village of Dunnotar was incorporated as “Settlement Centre” by Development Plan By-law 272/19

Location of document: https://www.redriverplannina.com

Path to document: Planning Community Plans ByLaws Studies Development Plan Update Project Public Consultation Events

Document: from page 38 of Development Plan Update May 2019 Open House Draftpdf

“SETTLEMENT CENTRE (SC):

Is a designation for areas where a range of urban, semi-urban, and suburban land uses or developments either presently exist or may be considered. Typically, settlement Centres have piped municipal wastewater and / or drinking water systems available, or are planned to provide these services in the future when they are economically viable. Settlement Centres function as administrative and service centres for their respective municipality. Settlement Centres found throughout the RRPD include the Village of Dunnottar; unincorporated town of Birds Hill (East St. Paul); Clandeboye, Petersfield and Lockport (St. Andrews); East Selkirk,

Grand Marais, Libau and Lockport (St. Clements); and Middlechurch (West St. Paul). ”

Location of document: https://www.redriverplannina.com

Path to document: Planning Community Plans ByLaws Studies Development Plan Update Project Background Documents

1) Document from page 10 of RRPD Wastewater Management Plan.pdf

"Densification of residential development in Settlement Centres and General Development Areas where appropriate services can be provided will be encouraged to make the provision of sewer and water services increasingly fiscally feasible."

2) Document from page 12 of RRPD Wastewater Management Plan.pdf

“2.3 Wastewater Infrastructure Funding

Municipal wastewater system components can include a combination of wastewater treatment plant, lagoon, lift station and force main. The most common funding formula for municipal wastewater systems is a combination of a Local Improvement District (LID), grant funding through Provincial and/or Federal governments, tax debentures and user fees from each service connection. Recently municipalities have accessed capital funds from the Federal Gas Tax Fund to support public infrastructure projects that achieve positive environmental results.

The specific design configuration and functionality of a system may vary among projects and the project developer would be responsible for capital construction costs. The municipality would administer the ongoing operating costs funded by service fees paid by users on the system within a LID. User fees currently fund all municipal wastewater annual operating costs within the Planning District at a total cost of approximately $2.7 million. This figure includes the $500,000 annual budget in the Village of Dunnottar for the truck hauling program from on-site systems that is operated as a municipal service. ”

3) Document from page 13 of RRPD Wastewater Management Plan.pdf

"The establishment of piped wastewater service is a key planning consideration given the projected population increase and future intensification of residential development in settlement

areas adjacent to the Red River north of Winnipeg. Subdivision development projects should he                

required to incorporate centralized piped wastewater depending upon the size, location and land use designation."

Question: Though the text in #3 represents a different area, could it apply to the Matlock area in the future?

The Village of Dunnottar already had a Development Plan prior to joining the Red River Planning District.

The RM of St. Andrews incorporated new lands as “Settlement Centre” adjacent to the Village of Dunnottar. It did this very late in the process November 20th 2019, well after all open houses (May 31 and June 21,2018) and provided the public no reasonable opportunity to be involved in the change.




President's Report:

Attention Dunnottar Residents - Special Bulletin Notice

As you may be aware the Village of Dunnottar Council are again pursing funding for a Lower Pressure Sewer System .  It seems the Mayor and Council have a short memory.

The Municipal Board received many phone calls and 897 letters of objection because of the cost to install the system and the maintenance of it.  The main Pipe lines would run down the Front Street or Back lane if the Village Council gets the Funding from all Governments.
The On-Lot Piping, Electrical, etc. would be the responsibility of the Residents and these costs would be in the Thousands of Dollars .  

After the 2012 Referendum was held and residents came out by the Hundreds and the vote was (NO 901 to YES 377).   Now my question is why council is pursuing this Low Pressure Sewer System again when the Majority of Residents said NO?
Keep in mind the current Truck Pump-Out System requires no Long Term Borrowing or Maintenance Costs.

Remember a Low Pressure Sewer System requires a Holding Tank .  Don’t think that the Funding Process will take 20 to 30 years. The Village pursued Sewers in 2006 and were ready to dig in 2012.   The Dunnottar Rate payers Association is asking for another Referendum before Council spends Tax Dollars on Studies again.  A Sewage Advisory Committee was formed and on July 15, 2006 and the committee spoke to the attending residents on these topics:

5.1 Current Private Truck pump-out system 

5.2 Village Owned Truck pump-out system

5.3 Gravity piped system

5.4 Low Pressure System (Not Pursued due to high Capitol and Operating costs)

5.5 Vacuum System  ( Not Pursued due to high Operating Costs , Heavy dependence on automatic Mechanical Valves , concern for cold weather operation.

Ed Strauman
President


JULY 11, 2016

Please have a look at this article from The St. Andrews Record News.

Note the highlighted extra costs asociated with their sewer which does not even mention on lot costs to the homeowner such as a holding  tank, electrical hook up, excavation, etc.

Sewer_Costs_for_St._Andrews.jpg


APRIL 12, 2016

I was recently contacted by a couple looking for a cottage lot at Sunset Beach, just north of the Grand Beach area. They were in shock at the sewer and related fees forwarded to them. The fees are as follows:

1. A required fee of $12,500.00 to pay for a low-pressure sewer system.

2.
An option to amortize the $12,500.00 sewer fee over 20 years at $871.07 per year, making the actual cost of sewer fees $17,421.00 per lot.

THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING FEES:

3.
A $1,500.00 Municipal Permit Fee required by the RM for trenching and hydro connection to on-lot septic pump.


4. The Permit Fee DOES NOT COVER trenching costs, electrical costs, on-lot septic pump costs or on-lot septic tank costs or any other electrical, hydro connection or like fees.

Do not let the pro-sewer lobby in Dunnottar continually downplay the true cost of sewers. The couple I spoke to at Sunset Beach said they were told that $25,000.00 to $30,000.00 were the expected sewer costs if they bought the lot and built a cottage. This couple have now suspended their cottage search in the Sunset Beach area partly due to these high sewer costs.

Ed Strauman,
President, Dunnottar Ratepayers Association


DUNNOTTAR RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION
PRESIDENT'S UPDATE APRIL 2016


The Dunnottar Ratepayers Association has been made aware of a Winnipeg based development group showing interest in pursuing multi-family housing options from Gimli to Matlock.
The DRA has also learned the Dunnottar pro-sewer lobbyists are pursuing a MANDATORY sewer designation for Dunnottar. What this means, is there will be no options to fight the installation of a sewer system as the Province will simply rubber stamp the sewer installation with no public input. We assume the designation of Dunnottar's current pump-out system as a public utility by the Public Utility Board last March is a precursor to having the Province declare sewers mandatory for Dunnottar.
Remember, it was only last Spring that Dunnottar residents were blind-sided by the Public Utility Board ruling that Dunnottar was instituting a flat rate for sewage pick-up. The PUB hearing held last June in Dunnottar was held after the PUB made the decision. Ironically, the PUB told Dunnottar officials to do a better job of informing the public.
On November 27, 2015 I was invited by Mayor Gamble to a COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS MEETING. Supposedly, this committee was formed to save municipal operating funds and reduce environmental impacts in the area. With the meeting being only a few minutes old, a permanent resident also asked by Mayor Gamble to attend the meeting, stood up and said Dunnottar needs sewers.
It is obvious that the result of the July 2012 sewer referendum means nothing to those who want to pursue sewers at any cost in Dunnottar. Remember, sewers are needed to allow development in Dunnottar.  Is this what people want for the pristine park-like setting of Dunnottar?
I have recently been contacted by other Ratepayer Associations saying they have concerns about sewer costs and development in their areas. In talking to Ratepayers in West St. Paul and St. Malo, Manitoba, I was given figures between $20,000.00 to $30,000.00 for sewer installation costs.

Ed Strauman,
President, Dunnottar Ratepayers Association

We, at the DRA, are committed to keep Dunnottar residents informed on local issues.


 

This information on Frack Sand from the Selkirk Record newspaper will be of special interest to residents.



PUB_letter.pdf  [67.48K]




Referendum Results - July 2012

Referendum Question Yes No
"Do you support the installation of a low pressure
sewer system as proposed by the Village of
Dunnottar Borrowing By-Law No. 891/12"
377 901
29.5% 70.5%

With the conclusion of the by-election and referendum, the Dunnottar Ratepayers Association kindly requests residents remove the red and white signs from their property. Removal of signs will help restore community harmony and enable everyone to enjoy a well deserved summer.



May 9, 2012 Are You Uncertain About the Low Pressure Sewer?

DRA-Video-Sewer-Thumbnail.jpg

Village Council is again pursuing a costly, unnecessary and environmentally unfriendly low pressure sewer system.

If you are uncertain or confused by documents and information Council has provided, we strongly encourage you to spend 25 minutes and watch our informative and objective video.

To watch the video
click here or click anywhere on the image to the left.


Click the PDF file below to download a revealing article about the problems

encountered at Ma-Me-O beach, Alberta when they decided to install a sewer system

Ma.pdf  [253.1K]

© Dunnottar Ratepayers Association 2012