Here is a sample letter for your consideration.  Feel free to use or alter any, all or none for your own purposes.  We are often told “I want to write but dont know how to start” so this is merely offered as a place to start.

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I am writing to you today as I am very concerned with what is going on at Victoria Beach on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. There are proposals on the table to the local council to use public land to allow for massive revetments (stone walls) to be built on our beautiful and well-used public beaches. Public land is to be incorporated into these structures designed to protect a handful of private properties situated on dunes above the beach.

Many scientific studies on erosion show that these structures will destroy the public beaches forever.

As summarised in the ‘Lake Winnipeg Shoreline Management Handbook’ (2001): “Any beach in front of an armoured shoreline will normally diminish in width as the near shore profile erodes and the beach will eventually disappear.” (p.33).

Although community involvement and input has been requested to the Victoria Beach Municipal council they have so far all been rebuked.

It seems, there is no outlet, process or means for action that the community can turn to for aid!

At this moment in time, the Province of Manitoba appears to not have a policy put in place to protect beaches and shorelines.

This needs to change before it is too late!

Environmental groups such as The Lake Winnipeg Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and environmentalists such as Vicki Burns and Dr. Gordon Goldsborough are concerned about developments around the shorelines of Lake Winnipeg. They have written an open letter to the people and government of Manitoba about ceasing development until proper policies are put into place to evaluate the effects of such developments.

“We call on the Government of Manitoba to order a temporary halt to all new developments affecting wetlands and shorelines until it can develop a rational, consistent policy—founded on sound, scientific principles—to ensure the development is done responsibly and sustainably, without compromising the benefits we receive from natural, healthy shorelines and wetlands. And we call on the people of Manitoba to become informed of and to participate actively in the protection of wetlands and natural shorelines, for the benefit of healthy lakes and healthy communities.”

This open letter is signed by Dr. Gordon Goldsborough, University of Manitoba Vicki Burns, Community Foundations of Canada, Dr. Pascal Badiou, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Bruce Smith, Lake Winnipeg Foundation.

In a Winnipeg Free Press newspaper article, dated January 14th, 2011 Dr. Goldsborough of the University of Manitoba stated when discussing the development along the shoreline that the“worst examples are when developers put rock “rip rap” on shorelines for protection or put in artificial channels for their developments such as ones near Gimli and Victoria Beach.”

Furthermore, a documentary is to be aired March 17th on The Nature of Things on CBC that is examining how the province has been neglecting the protection of its renowned lake.

http://www.lakewinnipegfoundation.org/2011/02/11/nature-of-things-march-17-pvr-it/

In other words, if the ongoing mismanagement of Lake Winnipeg is allowed to continue, the environment will be irreparably destroyed.

This cannot be allowed to happen.

Ultimately, it is those in your positions whom are either going to be blamed or applauded by posterity and the people of this province.

I am urging you to investigate what is taking place at Victoria Beach so that precedents are not set that will affect the Lake and its pristine beach communities forever.

This is your chance to make history and have a real effect to insure that proper standards, processes and criteria are determined for all future development on one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world!

And with an election fast approaching, many eyes will be searching for those who consider our environment (and Lake Winnipeg) a critical piece of our future and not just an after thought. Actions will always speak louder than words.

You can contact Victoria Beach council for more information on this crisis at the following:

Karin Boyd kpreval@mts.net

Bruce Morrison cityvber@mts.net

Tom Farrell tfarrell@granite.mb.ca

Kathy McKibbin kathyvb@mymts.net

Penny McMorris vb.mcmorris@gmail.com

R. M. of Victoria Beach vicbeach@mymts.net

I sincerely hope you investigate this situation and the gravity of its consequences and take action to save the beaches of Lake Winnipeg from irreparable harm for generations to come.

It is in your hands.

Yours truly,

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THESE CAN BE SENT TO THE FOLLOWING:

You can send it to the following:

Ombudsman : You have to write the ombudsman (no emails)

750 – 500 Portage Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3C 3X1

mla for vb (selkirk) greg.dewar@leg.gov.mb.ca

Premier Greg Selinger premier@leg.gov.mb.ca

Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen hugh.mcfadyen@leg.gov.mb.ca

Dr. Jon Gerrard Liberal Leader jgerrard@leg.gov.mb.ca

To find your local MLA: http://www.gov.mb.ca/hansard/members/alphabetical.html

To find your local Member of Parliament:

http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePerio d=Current&Language=E

Contact Water Stewardship:

Manitoba Water Stewardship
Box 11 – 200 Saulteaux Crescent, Winnipeg MB R3J 3W3 1-204-945-6398
wsd@gov.mb.ca

Minister of Water Stewardship: The Honorable Christine Melnick
314 Legislative Building 450 Broadway Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
Phone: 204-945-1133 Fax: 204-948-2684
minwsd@leg.gov.mb.ca

Deputy Minister’s Office
Mr. Don Norquay Phone: 204-945-0982 Fax: 204-948-2519
dminwsd@leg.gov.mb.ca

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