November, 2019

Presidents Report at MACO’s 27th Annual General Meeting 2019 by Gus Wruck

MACO began from informal beginnings in 1991. From the original group it was quickly incorporated as the Manitoba Association of Cottage Owners into formal existence in 1992.

The Founder and Past President was Doug Neal and his wife.  They were exuberant people with drive and they helped foster this organization into what it is today.

Following Doug Neal, Dave Crabbe became President in 2004 and served until 2018.

Originally MACO had the primary goal about getting the 10% education tax off property.   Over the years the provincial government has gradually reduced its share of education funding to School Boards this move actually increased costs for property owners as increased taxes for education taxes on property.  Today the Education Taxes are in the range 50 to 75% of the total municipal property tax bill.  All this in spite of various education tax rebate programs to provide tax relief.  In addition, it is well known that cottage owners in provincial parks are not subject Education Taxes on their cottages creating additional inequity.

Numerous people over the years have been involved with MACO to lead, organize, educate, promote, and grow organization into the resource it is today.  About 12 years ago before the widespread proliferation of internet communications, MACO established it website and posted information of interest for cottage owners.  Every board member at the time was expected to produce some content for the website.

I am pleased to have served as your President over the past year of the Manitoba Association of Cottage Owners after Dave retired as President in 2018.  I was not expecting a lot when I was elected but it turns out there is more work and opportunities than I first thought.

Since assuming the Presidency, MACO has reduced the number of meetings that are held every year.  It also is based on the idea that meetings should not be as a social gathering but for making a decisions that involve action on the part of the members.  We are targeting for four regular meetings and the AGM each year. So far this approach appears to be working well and we are getting things accomplished.  As the President, I will tend to delegate as much of the work as possible to get everyone involved.  So far MACO Board members have been quite willing to step forward and not leave the work to the President as CAO.  I am thankful, and appreciative.

In 2019 it was announced that the province would be doing a review of the education and the associated tax system.  This review involved the submission of papers on several specific subjects.  MACO decided to submit a paper to the “Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education”.   After many years as an issue for MACO the group finally had an opportunity to act by making a submission getting our concerns heard.

The submission was made on May 30, 2019 and is available at http://macoman.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MACO_Submission_Education_May-30-2019.pdf

Since this submission was made it has been announced that the provincial government will phase-out the Education taxes but it wants to have a balanced budget first.  Should this proposal be achieved it would eliminate the substantial tax advantage for cottage owners in provincial parks.

In May of 2018, MACO received an inquiry from the Lac du Bonnet Community Development Corporation requesting MACO to advertise member cottages as being available for rent during the times when the owners were not occupying the cottage.  This would be somewhat like the Air-BnB group.   The cottage rental was put forth at the AGM as a proposal, MACO but received a very firm NO from members.

In September, MACO received an invitation from the Lake Winnipeg Foundation to become involved in a coalition that would act to address the algae-bloom and zebra mussel problem on Lake Winnipeg.  The algae-bloom being of most concern.

Following that initial meeting MACO invited a speaker from the Lake Winnipeg Foundation to come to our general meeting to tell us about the Foundation and what they are doing.  Our Secretary, volunteered to be our representative in the coalition and provide her meeting organization skills to the Coalition.  On November 30th a public meeting was held to provide additional information and provide input from other speakers.

This was an outstanding success.  Over 150 people were present for two hours to learn more about these issues.  The core issue is the release of phosphorus by Winnipeg’s North-End Sewage Treatment on Main Street that is 3.5 times the minimum allowed by limit.  The solution for this issues has been identified and know for about 15 years but little has been done to address the issue, other than to blame the other group.

Recently it was announced by the provincial government that there can be no more delays by the city of Winnipeg and action is required now.

As we look forward we need to go to our basics and ask our membership what they want to see and then try our best to achieve those goals.  In previous years MACO members attend the AGM’s of local Associations.  These requests have fallen off and we would like to see this practice renewed in the future.

Gus Wruck

Please visit the Directors page at any time for names and contacts.