News & Events
It is everyone’s responsibility to stop the spread of
Aquatic Invasive Species in Manitoba’s water bodies
Zebra mussels were discovered in some of our province’s water bodies in 2013, however, prior to that Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) existed in our province. Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association (MLOA) had quickly taken an active interest in preventing the spread of AIS throughout Manitoba and beyond. Our members, whether fishing and hunting outfitters, accommodation resorts or eco tourism operators, are business owners who depend on a healthy ecosystem to conduct their businesses for the enjoyment of their customers as well as all others wishing to use our wilderness resources.
AIS can either live in freshwater or marine environments. The majority of the species of concern to Manitoba, such as Zebra mussels, Spiny Water Flea and Rusty Crayfish are freshwater species.
Coordinated Conservation Management
Unless you are an outfitter specializing in specific wildlife hunts, or the person who hunts for the harvest of meat, you will never understand the persecution that wildlife is facing at the hands of illegal poachers. But above all, you will never see how much habitat is being destroyed every day to sustain the booming human population.
Habitat loss threatens to destroy all forms of biodiversity, while unselective and indiscriminate, illegal poaching adds to it.
Only a coordinated effort that incorporates a diversity of scientifically sound management practices will reap long- term solutions. There is no one “fix-all” strategy to conserving wildlife. The only way to achieve success is to implement multiple conservation and management practices that work together for one common goal – the continued survival of wildlife and habitat protection.
On June 2nd Manitoba Lodges and Outfitter’s Association (MLOA) had been invited to make a presentation at the Pointe du Bois Cottager’s Association spring meeting about online accommodation sites and their affect on businesses and cottage owners in provincial parks. MLOA wanted to pass on information regarding cottage rentals popping up throughout Manitoba’s Provincial Parks acting as bed and breakfast accommodations. Up to 83% of these types of rentals are actually unoccupied by the owners during the guest’s stay. Operating a bed and breakfast requires a business license from the regional Sustainable Development office and must meet the same criteria as all other legal accommodations resorts and lodges. Home-share rentals unoccupied by the owner are considered “Ghost Hotels” and are illegally operated in the parks.
And although the online accommodations platform fashions itself as a model of the sharing economy, in reality, big-time commercial operators are responsible for hundreds, up to over one thousand listings by one world-wide property management company. Most of these types of listings, Airbnb, VRBO, etc., do not own any properties nor are they responsible for the maintenance of these properties. They collect fees for booking through their online sites without the regulation requirements and guidelines that lodges and accommodation resorts are enforced to maintain.
It didn’t take long to gain support from the cottagers in attendance, even though there was a cottager in attendance who posts a listing for his cottage on Airbnb (he claimed to have rented it out about 7 times in 2018). Concerns raised were vehicles parked along access roads or in other cottager’s driveways, huge, poorly watched campfires, late night outdoor noise, rowdiness and reckless water behaviour, among others. A local real estate agent mentioned that Airbnb’s are referred to as “party houses” and if they are next door or nearby to a real estate listing they are now the new obstacle considered a “deal breaker” to close a property sale in cottage country.
The common consensus among those in attendance was that, regardless of the online platform, cottagers did not want a neighbour renting to strangers that even the owner didn’t know. Most agreed enforcement of existing regulations in the parks bylaws is a resolution that will need to be better imposed to discourage illegal accommodations in provincial parks. Noting that the Cottager’s Handbook, which covers all provincial parks in Manitoba, hasn’t had adequate revisions to reflect the evolution of cottage owners since our grandparents, or our parents, started using the parks for family leisure enjoyment. Therefore immediate legislation to implement the fast-changing cultivation of tranquil environment versus opportunistic capital gain is urgently required.
Provincial Parks Cottager’s Handbook (last edition dated 1981 plus current online revisions) states that:
The Manitoba Cottager’s Handbook has always stated that Businesses are present within most provincial park cottage subdivisions. Generally, however, they have been welcomed by their neighbours, and have provided valuable services to fellow cottagers in the form of accommodations, camping, guiding, grocery stores, liquor outlets, bait and tackle, boat rentals, etc.
Manitoba Conservation requires existing cottage-based businesses to register, and has an established process that future such businesses must follow before becoming established. All businesses that have not already done so must submit a registration form to a Manitoba Conservation office. Forms are available from Parks and Natural Areas Branch.
Anyone who receives remuneration for providing goods or services to others, and conducts some of the activities associated with providing those goods and services at a vacation home lot, is considered to be running a business at that vacation home lot, and must register.
Any cottager wishing to begin or register a business needs to obtain:
- the written support of the local cottage association;
- the written support of all immediate neighbours who may be impacted; and;
- written authorization from Manitoba Conservation, through the local Natural Resource Officer;
- The Director of Parks and Natural Areas Branch may then authorize the business to operate.
Your MLOA will continue to express our concerns and advocate for further consultation while we continue to seek out resolutions suitable to our membership from government and online accommodation sites in Manito
CBC wrote an extensive article on fishing in Manitoba that featured several quotes from MLOA President Paul Conchatre. Highlights include:
In Manitoba, recreational fishing licence sales rose by 13 per cent in between 2008 and 2017 – jumping from about 169,000 licences to 195,000.
Travel Manitoba picked up on that trend in recent years and has managed to exploit it to the benefit of local recreational fishing economies, says the president of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association. “With Manitoba being almost like an unsung hero for a lot of years, I think the word is out now,” said Paul Conchatre, who is also a former board member of Travel Manitoba. He credits the rise in fishing licence sales to an aggressive shift in how Travel Manitoba approaches the marketing of fishing and tourism online. A different funding model has made that renewed focus on marketing possible, he said.
Out-of-towners typically spend far more on single outings, hiring guides, booking accommodations and transportation costs, said Conchatre. All told, Conchatre estimates local and non-resident anglers have spent $221 million in the past two years on walleye fishing-related activities just in the south basin of Lake Winnipeg and the Red River tributaries. With that comes the suggestion fish stocks are under more pressure.
Please read the full article by Bryce Hoye for CBC News:
According to a 2013 report from Snoman, the snowmobiling industry contributes more than $300 million to the provincial economy each year. Not only does northern Manitoba have a natural advantage because of its longer winter, but an extensive trail system is already in place with dedicated local groups like the Thompson Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club that are willing to maintain them. A marketing strategy framework was laid out during a snowmobiling summit in Snow Lake last Nov. 15, which featured representatives from Flin Flon, The Pas, Cranberry Portage and Swan River. Based on recommendations brought up during this summit, Travel Manitoba is moving into “phase two” of this project, which involves asking the Churchill Regional Economic Development Fund to help them hire a northern co-ordinator and set up committees that can carry out certain tasks. Read More…
A study, produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, says the Red River, which forms the border between that U.S. state and North Dakota, has places where there is so much sediment in the water, it makes it hard for fish “to find food, detect predators and reproduce in cloudy water.” As well, the study found fish can’t go into some areas because of high bacteria counts, and levels of both phosphorus and nitrogen are increasing. Read More…
Proposed Regulatory Changes Could Accelerate Manitoba Wetland Loss
At the end of November, the Manitoba government launched public consultations on a draft regulation that would streamline approvals for lower-risk, lower-impact drainage and water control projects. With those consultations now complete, groups that have voiced their concerns include the International Institute for Sustainable Development, The Lake Winnipeg Foundation, and the Keystone Agricultural Producers.
For further information, please read Bryce Hoye’s article for CBC News.
For background, please read Lorraine Stevenson’s article for the Manitoba Co-Operator:
And info from the Manitoba government “A Proposed Regulation under The Water Rights Act”:
The MLOA was successful in securing $30,000 from the Fisheries and Wildlife Enhancement Fund to hire a researcher/consultant to conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of hunting regulations and practices from jurisdictions across North America. Read More…
The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, a massive piece of legislation more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, provides immense benefits for ducks and duck hunters. President Trump signed the bill into law on Dec. 20.
The Farm Bill, which will be in effect through 2023, contains favorable provisions and programs that conserve key prairie habitat for breeding ducks and establish additional wintering habitat. The bill also increases funding for hunting access programs.
“We are delighted that Delta Waterfowl’s top conservation priorities were included in the new Farm Bill,” said John Devney, senior vice president of Delta Waterfowl. “This Farm Bill is a good one for ducks and duck hunters, as well as for farmers and ranchers. It provides for five years of strong conservation on America’s working farmland.”
Read the full article by Paul Wait of Delta Waterfowl at:
Members of the Manitoba Legislature voted in favour of Bill 29, which was aimed at curtailing unsafe hunting practices in the agricultural sector. Municipal officials and landowners had been lobbying for this action for over three years.
Under this new legislation, night hunting is banned on all private land. Under previous legislation, indigenous people and Metis could hunt at night on private land if they were given permission.
Scott Phillips is a councillor in the RM of Sifton and he was pleased to see Bill 29 finally get approval and just in time for deer hunting and rifle season. Read More…