Chimo Beach and Wheatland: wake up!


Al Harvie

Wheatland, Man.

Sitting in a meeting with members of the RM of Daly council, I realized I could have been sitting in on a council meeting of 100 years ago. Local businessmen and farmers, probably in about the same mix now as in 1914, doing their best for their community.

The RM was founded by railroaders, farmers and the businessmen that followed, but this is 2014. The majority of residents are not farmers, railroaders or local businessmen anymore and most work in Brandon. At least 50 per cent of residents are women, who contribute as much or more to the community as the men, yet not one woman is on council. Shame on you for not getting involved!

The handful of dedicated individuals who willingly give up their time are to be commended, but they are not true representation of the majority of the RM residents in 2014. Major changes are coming in the next year or two: zoning changes, bylaw changes, name changes. These changes can and will affect lot sizes, height restrictions, sewage treatment and removal, garbage pickup, changes in lot status such as commercial or residential, animal control, taxes, and the list goes on. These changes are going to be made with or without the input of the residents of the RM, including those of Chimo Beach and Wheatland who, though they contribute a major part of the voting population, have in the past shown a blatant disregard when asked or invited to contribute input as to what they see for the future of their community. They seem to be willing to allow farmers and businessmen to make decisions that affect their residential community. Residents must come together and get involved; if we don’t, we might not like the changes.

A good example is what happened in Wheatland recently. A resident businessman applied to council for a ridiculous variation order; council sent notices to all residents; no one showed up at the meeting; council granted the variance. We soon could have a three-storey apartment block on the corner of Hwy. 259 and Arthur Street whether we like it or not, because no one showed up at the meeting.

What would it be like in Chimo Beach, if the owner of the waterfront lot by the dock was the one who wanted to build a two or three-storey apartment block and no one showed up? Would you be pleased if tomorrow morning you look out your window and there’s a three-storey building blocking your view of the lake and you realize you could have stopped the construction, if you would have only got involved and showed up at the meeting?

I have taken this scenario to the ridiculous maybe, but the reality is that without your input, this could happen.

The town of Rivers and the farming community have their grassroots organization that do an amazing job, but they really only represent the families that have lived in the area for generations. I suggest we need a new grassroots organization with representations from Chimo Beach, Wheatland, Bradwardine and other small property owners, who would stay on top of these proposals and changes, and keep the rest of us informed so we can all make informed decisions, when asked.

Most importantly, in my mind, is that we need both male and female individuals from these communities running for council seats in the next election, so we have true overall representation in the municipality. I would be opened to speaking with anyone interested in exploring these suggestions further. If we do not get representation on council, we will get the shaft. Municipal elections are to be held on Oct. 22 and registering of candidates closes on Sept. 16, so come on people! Call me (204-720-1340). Let’s get at least one or two candidates registered to run. We don’t have much time.