A group of concerned citizens in Manitou Beach is gathering for a meeting on Wednesday, January 25 to address a series of recent developments impacting ratepayers. The meeting will go at 7:00 pm at Danceland.
There are a number of items at issue, explains Vicki Clark who represents an ad hoc group hosting the meeting. Of primary concern is the recent announcement by Health Haven Holdings that its proposed Manitou Oasis Village Project will be migrating from Manitou Beach to the nearby town of Watrous.
In an interview with the Watrous Manitou newspaper, principal driver for the Oasis Village Project, Michael Byrne, said that the developer was not able to reach an agreement to begin construction of the 80 plus unit seniors residence and holistic wellness centre. In the interview, Byrne indicated that the Resort Village of Manitou Beach Council presented a service agreement to the developer, and that the capital cost to fund that agreement was “extensive.” Given that no solution was readily available, the group entered into a conversation with the Watrous Town Council. Residents are looking for an elaboration on what transpired with negotiations and are looking to express concern about the potential impact of the loss of the project.
Also on the docket for the meeting is the fate of the Manitou Beach Drive-in. Purchased several years ago by the Resort Village and operated under a private contract, the drive-in faced several costly technical challenges over the summer. The contracted operator indicated on social media that he wouldn’t be returning in the coming season.
“We had some equipment issues over the summer and it had to close early,” says Clark. “We would like to know what Council is planning, and will it actually open this summer.”
The drive-in has proven to be a tourist draw during the summer months given that it’s one of only three remaining in the province.
A pair of bylaws are also causing furrowed brows in the village. One pertains to a stipulation requiring volunteers for civic events to secure Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Checks. Already indications are that volunteerism for critical summer events is on the decline due to the requirement. Clark says while employers and organizations often make such checks a requirement of participation, she has not encountered a municipality that makes the process necessary for its volunteers.
The other sets out a fee for private use of public space. The concern is that the fee, which some residents consider excessive, will make use of those spaces cost prohibitive and result in a decrease in events.
The meeting is open to the public.