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AROUND WINNIPEG: High waters hurt river-dependent businesses ... New mosquito policy would expedite sprays ... more

High waters hurt river-dependent businesses WINNIPEG -- High water along the Red and Assiniboine rivers is making for no shortage of low points for not only tourists and boaters but also those dependent on the city's two rivers for business. The ...

High waters hurt river-dependent businesses

WINNIPEG -- High water along the Red and Assiniboine rivers is making for no shortage of low points for not only tourists and boaters but also those dependent on the city's two rivers for business.

The mounting toll from this summer of discontent has the city's public boat launches still closed, riverboats stuck north of Winnipeg and the popular riverwalk staring at one of its worst seasons ever from beneath two feet of water.

"The rivers are dead, there's no life on them," said Paul Jordan, chief operating officer for The Forks.

And that's forcing river-dependent businesses to swallow deep losses.


The issue again stirs the waters of debate on whether or not the province should be operating the floodway outside of emergencies to help keep river tourism alive.

"We are in discussions with the province," Jordan said. "They understand our situation, but they're in a tough spot. To keep walkways dry in Winnipeg means someone else is getting the water."

New mosquito policy would expedite sprays

WINNIPEG -- Buffer zones during mosquito season should be cut in half, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said after his inner circle voted to hand the Selinger government the politically contentious task of determining the size of the pesticide-free areas.

On Wednesday, city council voted to endorse city entomologist Taz Stuart's plan to ask the province to approve a new mosquito-control policy that would allow the city to fog for nuisance species more quickly.

Pending council approval July 21, the city will ask the province to reduce the lead-up time before a nuisance-mosquito fogging program can begin to two days from three days, reduce the notification time for residents to 24 hours from 48 and reduce the size of buffer zones from the current 100 meters.

The city will let the Selinger government decide how large those zones will be because such a move lies within the province's jurisdiction, Katz said.

Nudists fear loss of rights on Beaconia Beach


LAKE WINNIPEG -- Local nudists are concerned one of the last places in the province they can swim and sunbathe naked may soon be off-limits to them.

Beaconia Beach on the southeastern end of Lake

Winnipeg is ground zero of a fight over a possible cottage development and the construction of a controversial boat canal this spring. The developments are seeding confusion over whether the beach will stay swimming-trunk optional.

The Manitoba nudist group lost its summer campground in the spring when the owners of the park decided to make it clothing-mandatory to open it up to more paying customers.

Now nudists fear a double-whammy with the future of Beaconia Beach up in the air. The beach has been clothing-optional since 1998 when "naturists" negotiated a deal with the Rural Municipality of St. Clements. The area has been used by nudists for decades.

"There's a threat to the beach," said Judy Williams, spokeswoman for the Federation of Canadian Naturists. "Beaconia is in trouble. ... It belongs to the people."

Police facilitate cell phone, smoking ban

WINNIPEG -- City police are under orders today to give "special attention" to drivers gabbing on hand-held cell phones and smokers puffing away with kids in the back seat.


"I'm tired of people on their phone cutting me off and not driving with due care and courtesy -- courtesy is a big word," said Winnipeg Police Service Sgt. Doug Safioles after the province and law enforcement held a final media conference to prepare Manitobans for the new laws that kick in today and the $200 fine both carry. "Certain officers I'm sure will take it upon themselves to give out lots of tickets in that area."

The new bans, a year in the making, target anyone driving and using a hand-held cell phone or smoking if they have young children with them.

Safioles said the new law as its written makes it easy for police to issue tickets and see those tickets upheld in court.

He added there is no grace period -- tickets are to be issued as of today.

But discretion to hand out a ticket remains with the officer.

Manitoba's new law also allows cell phone use in an emergency, to call the police, fire or ambulance service. Satellite phones, more commonly seen in remote areas, do not fall under the provincial ban because they are federally regulated.

Families of fallen soldiers question Lake Toews

LAKE TOEWS -- Manitoba's chief protocol officer said Jonathan Toews was not fast-tracked past fallen soldiers when the province decided to honor him with his own lake.


"The process for naming a lake after Jonathan is completely separate from the process used when a soldier is killed in Afghanistan," Dwight MacAulay said.

The honor the province bestowed on Toews that was designed mark his hockey heroics winning both the Stanley Cup and the gold medal with Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympics has sparked controversy.

Among those complaining that the honor was undeserved was a mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

"While it is commendable that Jonathan Toews has accomplished so much in his short life thus far, I feel it is a travesty he has had a lake named after him," said Shirley Seggie. "Our son Cpl. Michael James Alexander Seggie was killed in action in 2008. ... Thus far, there has been no lake named after him despite a program that is in place to name lakes after military personnel killed in action."

The program Seggie mentions is Manitoba's own Commemorative Names Project, a program solely dedicated to naming geographic features after fallen soldiers.

"Every Manitoban soldier who is killed in battle is automatically nominated for a geographic fixture," MacAulay said. "But under a national policy, there is a mandated three-year wait period before we can go about naming."

MacAulay said that despite the mandated three-year wait, the province doesn't necessarily go by the book.

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