Welcome Sign

Look what’s new!

Our footbridge, (AKA Pont de Roo), has a new look. Thank you to Peter Giannuzzi and Thomas Achenbach (both of Third Avenue) for their appropriate design and installation.

What a lovely entrance into our neighbourhood. Its heralding of love and care are hallmarks for us that community is important. These are the things of a welcoming people. 




Hicks Family in South Beach

(One of a series of articles about the history of South Beach and its families)

Submitted by Lorraine Walton, 2017
Hicks Family in 2011 (Marg, Corinne, Heather, Lorraine, Doug)

Hicks Family in 2011 (Marg, Corinne, Heather, Lorraine, Doug)

July, 1956

Doug and Marg Hicks moved into their new Winnipeg home June 15, 1956.  The very first people they met were their neighbours Cecil and Jean (Murphy) French. The two couples became lifelong friends.  In July 1956 Jean invited Marg to come to her sister’s cottage for a few days.  Marg packed up her two daughters, Corinne (Larsen) & Lorraine (Walton) and off they went to South Beach, Gimli.

Jean and Cec had three daughters – Shirley, Patti and Marilyn.  Corinne and Shirley were close in age and played.  Lorraine and Marilyn were a couple days apart in age and also were young playmates.

The cottage to which Jean invited my Mom belonged to Jean’s sister, Grace (Murphy) & George Stephen.  This cottage was located on Hansson Street and was later relocated (in the early 1980’s) to the corner of Benedict and Anna.  (More details about this move later.)

Lorraine & Val

Lorraine & Val


"Meadowood" Cottage

“Meadowood” Cottage now owned by Val & Brian Verity

Marg and Jean, and their daughters, spent their entire mini holiday on the First Beach and loved it.  ‘First Beach’ was at the end of Benedict Street.*  It was on 1st Beach that Lorraine met her lifelong friend – Valerie Verity (nee Sobkowich).

Vic and Betty Sobkowich’s cottage, “Meadowood” was (and still is) located on the South West corner of Benedict and Third Avenue, just up from First Beach.

The spring of 1958 Doug and Marg purchased their lot located at 16 Benedict Street. The lot was well treed.  Dad cleared the entire lot with an axe, as chain saws were not available at that time or the price to purchase one was not in the budget of the young couple.

16 Benedict

Hicks ‘Ravendale’, 16 Benedict Street

Their neighbour directly to the West, by the name of George, took all the wood for firewood.  George and his wife were full time residents of South Beach.  It as a win win all the way around – Dad got rid of the wood and George got free firewood for the winter.

Once the lot was cleared, Dad would build as time permitted.  Dad was a Winnipeg Police Officer thus did not get weekends off nor did he get summer holidays.  Dad’s vacation time would be in the early spring or late fall, not conducive to building.  But by 1959 our cottage ‘The Ravendale’ was somewhat livable.Ravendale

While Dad was building the cottage, we rented the ‘Veranda’ for $1.00 a day from Mr. & Mrs. Stephens.  This cottage was on the South corner of Anna and Benedict.

The main cottage was called ‘Dorrery Lodge’.  This cottage was demolished around 1990’s for the new cottage that is located there today.  Dorrery LodgeThe original sign – ‘Dorrery Lodge’ still hangs on the new cottage. Grace and George Stephen owned this cottage and at the time it was built it was intended to be used by family and friends coming to South Beach.  This cottage was later passed down to Grace & George’s son – Allan and Sheryl’s children – Jeff, Craig & Allison.

By 1959 Jean and Cec had purchased their cottage – ‘Gallaway Bay’ on Benedict Street as well.

The ‘Veranda’ we rented looked directly into Aunty Jean and Uncle Cec’s yard. Outside the ‘Veranda’ was a horseshoe pit.  The men played many a game of horseshoes.  I can remember being in bed and hearing the clanging of the horseshoes.  The men would pull a car into the yard and turn on it’s headlights so they could conclude the game.IMG_4573

In those days Benedict Street stopped at the intersection of Benedict and Anna.**  Dad would have to carry all the lumber, etc. in by foot to build the cottage.1953 South Beach Map

The first summer we lived in the cottage, we had buffalo board for windows and a door.  Things were very primitive in the early 60’s.  The women had no fear of intruders. We did not have electricity for the first couple weeks we stayed in the cottage.  Thank goodness for sandwiches and puff wheat cake.

During this time, the women and children would spend the entire summer at the cottage.  We arrived July 1st and did not return back to Winnipeg until Monday of the September long weekend. I remember the husbands and fathers leaving Sunday night to go back to Winnipeg and we would wave to them on our walks.

By this time my younger sister, Heather was born (Sept. 1960).  I remember my Mom heating a bottle at Auntie Jean’s cottage, wrapping it in a towel to keep warm for Heather’s night time feeding.

Life was very simple then.  We lived on the beach all day, weather permitting.  On days when the weather was not that great, we would work on puzzles and do paint-by-number.

By this time Val and I were about 6 years old. We did not require that much supervision and were trusted to stay out of trouble.  We had our bikes and spent hours riding, swimming off the main pier over to the small dock, and fishing for minnows which we would then sell to the fishermen on the pier daily.  This money was used to go to the show in the evening.

Gimli Theatre - photo credit Linda Vermeulen

photo credit Linda Vermeulen

The Gimli Theatre played one show Monday & Tuesday, another one Wednesday and Thursday and a third show Friday and Saturday.  Our selling of minnows paid for our 25 cent admission to every Elvis Presley movie that came to Gimli, and there were lots of them.  Thus to this day Val and I continue to be Elvis fans.

The cost of an adult show was 50 cents.  We did manage to see our first Adult movie – long before being adults.  The movie was called  “Shot in the Dark”.

My parents had made many friends in the area.  A couple by the name of Rod and Eileen (Murphy) Pennycook purchased a lot and built their summer home on the corner of Anna and Ethel the same summer my parents did. They called it “8 Pennies”.  The only difference was they hired a contractor to build their cottage thus it was finished much faster.

When Rod & Eileen Pennycook first arrived in South Beach they had four children – Stirling, David, Kathleen and Margret.  The cottage was named the “Six Pennys”.  Later to be changed to the “7 Pennys” with the arrival of Moira and once again to be changed to “8 Pennys” when Christopher arrived.

Eileen Pennycook was the sister of Jean French.  Marilyn French and Kathleen Pennycook – played as friends and cousins for many a summer.  The ladies golf together now and remain good friends.

Jean and Cec, Eileen and Rod along with my parents, Marg and Doug, played penny poker each and every Friday and Saturday night from the May long weekend until the September long weekend.  Many a penny exchanged hands for years.

Doug Hicks was the President of the South Beach Campers (now South Beach Property Owners Assoc.) for a term in the late 60’s, early 70’s.  It was during the high waters.  Dad and many other men would spend many hours sandbagging and pumping out the water in the Moonlight Bay area.  Later the dike was erected and the flooding of this land was over.

My parent’s had purchased 6 lots in the area over the years.***  Dad built his 2nd cottage on the North corner of Anna and Benedict in the early 70’s.  A stranger by the name of Waivve Nisbet purchased it.  Waivve was single and had no family living in the area.  We took an instant liking to her and she gave us permission to call her ‘Auntie’ Waivve. We had no family living in the province so it was great having an ‘Aunt’ right across the street.

Waivve enjoyed her cottage and her extended ‘family’ for many years.  She sold her cottage in 2002 and took up residence in the Rotary Towers in Gimli.  Waivve then suffered a stroke and moved to Betel Home, latter passing away in June, 2009.  Bob and Barb Letchford purchased the cottage and enjoy South Beach to this day.

South Beach was full of Stephens and Murphys … cousins, Aunts and Uncles everywhere.  Luckily for us the clan treated us like we were family and do to this day.

In 1989 George’s home (west of ours) was torn down and a new one built.  This later became the home of Mr. & Mrs. Hanson.

On the East side of our cottage is the Harman’s cottage.  This was the cottage I mentioned earlier that was re-located around the mid 1980’s onto the property and an addition built on it in 1986 I believe.  The cottage was purchased by Grace’s sister, Isabell (Murphy) Harman.

Isabell and Bud Harman spent many a summer in South Beach.  They had two sons – Ron and Rick Harman.  Rick and Patti built their cottage, around 2000, on the North East corner of Anna and Benedict.  The two lots were originally owed by Jessie (Stephen) and Stan Murphy.

The summer of 1959 my mom, Marg Hicks (Sept.), Jean French (Nov.) and Eileen Pennycook (Jan.) were all expecting.  I can remember Mom covering up while walking down the street to get to the beach, as pregnant ladies did not show off their bodies like they do today.

Heather Hicks was born in September 1959, Randy French in November, 1959 and Moira Pennycook was born in January 1960.  The summer of 1960 brought another new bunch of babies to South Beach.  These three little people played for many years.

Heather, and her husband John Titley, now own a cottage at Falcon Beach.  Randy French owns a cottage on Ethel Street and Moira and Ian Farrer own a cottage in West Hawk Lake. My older sister, Corinne Larsen, owns a cottage/home on Willow Island.

Lorraine Hicks married Craig Walton and had their first son, Reid, in May, 1986.  Reid spent his entire first summer on 2nd Beach sleeping in his pram in the shade. Neil Walton was born in May, 1990 and he too spent his first summer sleeping in the shade of the trees on 2nd beach.

Ethel beach

Ethel Beach, AKA 2nd Beach

Kathleen (Pennycook) Coe and her two sons – Scott and Shawn grew up on 2nd Beach as well.

Harvard Trainer

Harvard Trainer

While spending my summers in South Beach I can remember the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Base being located in Gimli.  Daily you would hear and see the jets flying over.  Gimli was where the jet aircraft pilot training took place. (Gimli’s association with the R.C.A.F. began in September, 1943, when Number 18 Service Flying Training School opened to train pilots from the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The school built up to a strength of 1,337 officers, airmen, and civilians, including 240 trainees, and was the largest school in Manitoba. A total of 622 pilots graduated from 18 S.F.T.S. for the war effort. Ref. Gimli Saga page 137).

Many of the air force families rented housing in South Beach for many years.  Once the base was closed many air force personel relocated to the base leaving rental property available for others to use. The base closed in 1971 (Ref. Gimli Saga, page 2) and became known as the Gimli Industrial Park.  Part of the park became Aspen Park and the living quarters became condominiums that were sold to the public.

Another sight that was very common in downtown Gimli was to see ladies dressed in white and red uniforms.

BC Fish Packers

British Columbia Fish Plant workers

These women worked at the British Columbia Packers Fish Packing Plant, which was located at the dock.  Val and I knew at a young age we were not going to work for them when we grew up.  The plant closed down in 1969 (see Gimli Saga, page 242.)

Our family lost a dear friend – Cec French in Sept. 1996, followed by his wife Jean in June 12, 2009. Our other cherished ‘Aunt’ Waivve Nisbettt passed away on June 8th, 2009. Eileen Pennycook and Rod Pennycook still make a couple trips each summer to see friends and family in South Beach. Kathleen (Pennycook) and Ken Coe have made the family cottage the “8 Pennys” into their permanent home.

My Mom will be 90 in November 2017 and Dad turned 92 in March 2016.

Marg and Doug Hicks continue to use their cottage every weekend and enjoy the ‘Piece of Heaven’ they purchased so many years ago.

16 Benedict guest cabin

16 Benedict Street guest cabin

I look forward to sharing these stories with our grandchildren.

*The ‘numbering’ of beaches was a thing the cottagers did in the 50’s and 60’s. The first place the public could easily access the water was at the end of Benedict, so it became 1st Beach. Thus 2nd Beach was at the end of Ethel. 3rd was at the end of Howard and 4th eventually became Moonlight Bay. To this day many old-timers still refer to the beaches by numbers and not names.

**Benedict Street was named after Benedict Jonasson, father of Ethel Helgason (nee Jonasson), wife of Herbert. Ethel inherited a large part of South Beach from her parents. Ethel Street is named after her. Ref. Gimli Saga p. 116

***Two of these undeveloped lots were sold in 2016 and 2107, one on Ethel St. and one on Benedict St. (purchased by Marcel Gervais).

Editor’s Note: It is due to the good-hearted benevolence of Doug Hicks that our neighbourhood enjoys it’s little ‘public’ beach on Ethel. The Ethel beach property, owned by Mr. Hicks, lays mostly in the lake now.

Edited by Ev Ward de Roo

Seasonal Sewer Rates Issue

Gimli seasonal and urban district residents criticize water, sewer rates

The Interlake Enterprise, June 15, 2016, Page 10

By Jim Mosher

Outnumbered by provincial and local municipal officials, the four people who spoke during a Public Utilities Board (PUB) hearing last Tuesday [June 7, 2016] evening hammered home long-standing concerns about Gimli’s water and sewer rates.

Four people spoke to the matter after introductory remarks from Anita Neville, vice chair of the board and chairman of the PUB hearing panel of four.

Representing the municipal delegation were Mayor Randy Woroniuk, chief administrative officer Joann King, utility and planning services clerk Amanda Colbourne and public works chairman Coun. Danny Luprypa.

King said the rates, which had been approved by the PUB on an interim basis in December, pending the recent public hearing, said reduced rates for sewer reflect the municipality’s decision to take sewage from the Diageo plant on Distillery Rd.

“We have been working on these rates for some time,” King told the PUB panel. “[We are] moving them forward so we could offer our consumers this reasonable rate structure. We had an opportunity come forward with a major industrial customer. We’ve worked with them [Diageo] to put together a rate that would be feasible for them.”

The chief administrator noted that the municipality and Diageo have a three-year agreement. The interim rates cover the years 2016-2018, inclusive.

“Are there any positive environmental impacts [of the Diageo deal]?” a panel member asked.

“The environmental benefits are really in the area of odour from their aging system,” King said. “At our sewage treatment plant, we struggle because we don’t have a large number of users.”

In addition, she said the effluent from Diageo is “not sewage in the traditional sense” because it has high concentrations of “bugs” that are active year-round.

The four property owners who spoke during the hour-long hearing were more concerned about the minimum charge for sewer.

Most argued that they should not be charged a minimum consumption rate of 13.5 cubic metres quarterly when they are only at their summer homes four to six months a year. According to the interim rates for sewer in Loni Beach and South Beach, property owners there pay a quarterly service charge of $21.33 this year (down from $27.07) and a $1.29/ cu.m. (down from $2.31) charge based on a minimum of 13.5 cu. m., or $17.41.

Glen Rossong has been a persistent critic of the municipality’s sewer and water rates structure for years. His family has had a summer home in South Beach since 1937, he told the panel.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for two-and-a-half years,” Rossong, 62, and a permanent resident of West St. Paul, told the PUB panel.

He said he wanted a seasonal rate to be considered because he does not use the sewer system during the winter. Administrator King later explained that there had been a seasonal rate but many seasonal residents used their sewer during the off-season.

Rossong estimated that of 120 homes in South Beach, only 17 property owners live there permanently. King did not quibble with Rossong’s numbers but, once again, stressed that there are many more permanent residences that could be occupied during the winter if the owners chose.

That creates an enforcement and fairness issue should residents ‘over stay’ during the winter, she suggested.

Rossong said the matter could be resolved by installing meters in sewage tanks. “I should have the right to install a meter — at my cost,” he said. “In my case, I don’t have a well.”

He characterized the existing sewer rates for summer property owners as a cash grab from city people. “We are paying more than in the town of Gimli,” he said. “The question is: Why shouldn’t everybody be paying the same.”

South Beach resident Ken Kristjanson told the PUB panel the area’s cottage association made a presentation to council four years ago. “There would have been more people here tonight had we known about this meeting,” he said. “We said four years ago that we’d like consideration for the seasonal. They [council of the day] said it was not possible.”

Kristjanson said if the rates stay as they are in the now-enforced interim rates, it won’t be the end. But: “Ever since we got the service, my municipal tax bill has always been lower that the sewer bill,” he said.

Ken Andrewshenko lives in the Vesturland subdivision, west of Hwy. 9. He has lived in Gimli since 1983. A contractor, Andrewshenko says he has a lot of contact with permanent residents and others who choose to travel during the winter months.

They are required to pay the quarterly sewer and water rates, even though don’t use the ‘commodities’, he said. He noted that Manitoba Hydro would be skewered by customers if it charged a minimum consumption rate when customers are not using electricity.

He did not quarrel with the quarterly service charge which is meant to defray the ongoing cost of maintaining the sewer and water systems.

He said charging a base quarterly rate of 13.5 cu.m. when no ‘commodity’ is consumed is “unfair, probably illegal, probably fraudulent.”

“I have not been satisfied by any of their explanations,” he said of Gimli administration’s arguments for maintaining a minimum quarterly ‘consumption’ rate over and above the service charge.

“It’s not fair to the people who have summer cottages,” he said. “They’re not using the commodity but they’re paying for a commodity. This system should be changed. We vote for leadership. A leader would say, ‘Let’s do some critical thinking here.’”

Further, Andrewshenko believes the entire municipality should be on a seasonally-adjusted flat rate for all consumers.

King said the minimum consumption rate has been around for some time. “It’s to ensure our system is sustainable operationally,” she said. “The quarterly minimum is reflective of managing and administering the utility. It’s not a pipe charge.”

Panel chair Neville interrupted Andrewshenko who’d taken exception to King’s explanations. “We’re not here to get into an argument,” Neville said.

“We just want to pay for what we get,” Andrewshenko concluded.

Before the hearing concluded, a long- time resident, who did not provide his name, encouraged the panel to consider the aging demographic of Gimli and the struggle among seniors to keep pace with everincreasing costs.

“I’ve heard from many seniors who say they can’t afford to stay in Gimli,” he said.

The PUB normally takes about two months to make its decisions regarding utility rate changes. It may approve, deny or amend Gimli’s application.Ltr to the Editor 16-6-15

Camp Sparling, South Beach, Gimli (ca.1911)


Camp Sparling can be seen in the bottom left hand corner.

Written by Ken Kristjanson

On a recent weekend I was indulging in my favourite hobby of post card collecting. I visited Irene and Judy at the Gimli Farmers’ Market at the harbour. Coincidentally their booth is almost on the spot where the CPR had its Terminus to pick up fish from Armstrong Gimli Fisheries plant in the 1940’s.

Going thru their well stocked wares I spotted a photo of Camp Sparling. The camp was so named for a prominent Winnipeg cleric who became President of Wesley College and later United College, now the University of Winnipeg. This camp was part 33 Fresh Air Camps operating in Manitoba.

Camp Sparling was located in the South Beach area of Gimli. Camp Robertson was located in Loni Beach on Gimli’s northern border. Camp Morton and Lakeside Camp were located further north. The B’na Brith and Salvation Army Camps were located in Sandy Hook.

The Fresh Air Camps were all part of a movement to give disadvantaged kids a chance for some much needed fresh air and nourishment. The movement started in England and quickly spread to the U.S . For whatever reason, it did not come to Canada until 1900. That year Major Mrs. Jennie Southall of the Salvation Army set up a tent city for inner city kids and their mothers in Norwood Grove in St Boniface across the river from Winnipeg. The cost of assembling tents, cots, food, water, clothing and medicines was to prove a challenge. Undaunted from this humble beginning other congregations took up the challenge and Camps spread throughout Manitoba. (I am very grateful to Dr. Jim Burns, Southall’s grandson and Dr. Gordon Goldsborough for their extensive research into the movement.)

The CPR pushed its successful rail system to the Lake Winnipeg beaches eventually reaching Gimli in 1906. This opened up the pristine beaches and affordable land for the Fresh Air Camps.

Bathing at South Beach, Gimli, in front of Sparling Camp (Methodist), Gimli, circa 1918. Photo by Kristin Johnson. Archives of Manitoba, Still Images Section. New Iceland Collection. Item Number 365. Negative 11357.

Bathing at South Beach, Gimli, in front of Sparling Camp (Methodist), Gimli, circa 1918. Photo by Kristin Johnson.
Archives of Manitoba, Still Images Section.
New Iceland Collection. Item Number 365. Negative 11357.


As near as I can determine, Camp Sparling was built and began operating around 1911. The property, going from memory, would have been the size of a city block.

Camp Sparling Building

As the photo indicates, the main building was quite large. The building was set back from the Lake with a large lawn in front. The property sloped to a magnificent sand beach to the east.

It would have held over 80 mothers and children in a dorm-like setting. The original formula was to bring the children to the camps with their mothers. This not only helped with the care of the children but also gave the mothers a break. The stay was two weeks. Every summer over 1000 children and mothers would make the trek from the CPR station located on Centre Street and Highway 9 (in front of where Sobey’s is now located) to the Camp at the foot of Hansson Ave in South Beach. A distance of about three quarters of a mile.

I well remember seeing these weary travellers passing by our home at 127 Fifth Avenue many times. On one hot and rainy day a group came along the muddy road. They had been all morning in the CPR Station in Winnipeg waiting for the train. They asked directions. I instinctively pointed to a nearby artesian well with its community drinking cup. Many were to drink the pure, cold Gimli water that day. The leader was carrying a heavy suitcase, wearing long clothing and a large ladies hat. I offered her my new wagon which she accepted. I was to be reprimanded for this act, but the wagon came back.

As my brother Robert and I delivered the Tribune newspaper to cottages in South Beach, we often stopped in at the Camp to deliver a free paper. There was always noise, laughter with children running, swimming or just having a good time. Many local farmers and businesses donated milk, eggs, and other groceries.

Trouble was unfortunately looming for Camp Sparling. The buildings were built when the water levels were low. In the 1940’s the lake would begin to rise. Long time South Beach residents Bob Strachan and Paul Couture remember well trying to fight the lake. Their cottages were located three lots in front of our property on Benedict, now under water. Many, like the Carters, Strachans, Coutures and others had no choice but to hook up a tractor and move their structures. Camp Sparling was too big to move. The United Church spent a great deal of money erecting a break water, but to no avail. The Lake was beating against the main building. The Church gave up in 1949 and sold the little remaining property to the McKelvies, Strachans, Coutures* and others. These residents along with us and others were able, with little Government assistance, to erect a formidable sea wall and stabilize the shoreline. As economic conditions in the 50’s and 60’s improved, the Camps were deemed redundant. Rising costs contributed, as well as the general condition of the Camps, to their demise. The last Camp closed in 1975. Their existance a footnote in the minds of those who for two glorious weeks enjoyed some carefree recreation and healthy food.

Unfortunately the need today is as great as it was at the beginning of the Camp movement. 

Camp Sparling, ca 1941 Sylva Carter, Stuart Carter, Maxine Carter Ward (photo credit – Evelyn Ward de Roo)

*Until fairly recently, one of the last remaining smaller Camp Sparling buildings was on the Couture’s property on Third Ave.

South Beach Tribute – Joseph Gauthier

It is with much sadness that we announce that the husband of our dear Megan Gauthier from Howard St passed very suddenly on June 19th. Joe was 62.


SBPOA sends our sympathy to Megan and her family.


Meghan working hard at the annual picnic

JOSEPH GAUTHIER Unexpectedly, but peacefully on June 19, 2014 Joseph “Big Daddy” Eugene Gauthier passed away at the age of 62. He leaves to mourn his wife Megan, sons Martial, Mike (Ashley), and Joel. He was predeceased by his parents Joe and Yvonne, brothers Roger and Eldege and sister Delia. Also survived by brothers and sisters, Zephyr, Jeannette, Solange (Emile), Roland (Isabel), Philip (Simone), Annette, Robert (Suzanne), Regis (Jackie), Lorraine (Denis), Aurele, Lea (Jeff), Claude (Bonita), Ron (Adele), Claudette (Randy), Gisele (Eduardo), and sister-in-law Anita. Also his wife’s brothers Ed (Gaye) and David, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his co-workers at Metal- Pac Mfg. Joe was born in Fisher Branch and raised on the farm, He enjoyed going to the cottage in Gimli, where we will cherish many memories throughout the years. He loved his vegetable garden and hunting with his brothers. A special thank you to all staff at MICU 2nd floor at St. Boniface Hospital for their exceptional care. Per Joe’s wishes, no funeral. Celebration of Life to be held at a later date. Any donations can be sent to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Family and friends may sign a Book of Condolence at www.glenlawn.ca. Glen Lawn Funeral Home 982-7550

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on June 28, 2014


South Beach is Changing

by Evelyn Ward de Roo

Demolition 1 Hansson St

In a matter of hours this old cabin on Hansson Street met its demise. Short work of over 70 years of cottage history.

Demolition 1 Hansson St

Old cottages are getting torn down. It’s a difficult thing to see. Yet with the advent of sewers this trend will no doubt continue. The flavour of the beach is changing from seasonal to permanent residences. It may become more difficult to hold on to our sense of neighbourhood. Let’s hope not.

Stately Elms


by Evelyn Ward de Roo

Gimli is loosing its old elm trees. According to the Interlake Spectator (June 18, 2010) South Beach is a total loss. Dutch Elm disease gained a foothold then decimated the entire population. Forester Richard Mamalygo, former Interlake region forestry manager, says that elm trees in South Beach have been totally wiped out. “It’s done. There’s nothing left. They were all stately, 70-year old elms. Now, zero. The Aspen Park, Gimli Industrial Park and South Beach elm problem was exacerbated because the province did not fund Dutch Elm intervention or removal in these areas. In those areas homeowners had to deal with it themselves or ignore it. The dying trees spread their infection. It took just three years to wipe out 300 trees in South Beach. Thankfully some pockets of elms remain in Gimli town proper and are being cared for with very expensive fungicide by local residents. There is an attempt being made to re-tree Gimli’s urban forest by the volunteers of the Gimli Garden Club. They recently planted new trees at Gimli Park after securing a grant from Manitoba Hydro. Unfortunately another scourge is on its way, that of the Emerald Ash Borer.” Contact Mamalygo, 641-4596, or any professional forester, if you have concerns about the trees on your property.  Mamalygo says, “It’s not about the money. It’s about what trees provide both in aesthetics, in cleaning the air, in creating oxygen.” Let’s all do what we can to keep South Beach a green playground for many more decades.