Eco lodge coming to Meadow Lake Provincial Park

by Phil Ambroziak

“I just want to provide a place where people can come and enjoy the beauty of nature, and be able to stay in a luxury accommodation.”

That is how Shelly Pikowicz describes a long-time dream she is finally seeing come to fruition with the development of Waters Edge Eco Lodge, a $1.7 million undertaking in the Meadow Lake Provincial Park. Last week, the provincial Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport announced it has signed development and commercial lease agreements with Waters Edge – a company owned and operated by Pikowicz, her son Kelly Brander and daughter-in-law Carolyn Brander – for a new year-round facility.

“We don’t know the exact measurements yet – we haven’t determined the exact acreage,” Pikowicz, who serves as Rivers Edge president, said. “But, we do plan to be open by spring 2014.”

Located on the west side of Greig Lake, Waters Edge Eco Lodge will incorporate sustainable ecological practices in its design, construction and operation. The company’s environmentally conscious plan is expected to minimize the impact on the environment through energy efficiency, recycling, composting and more. There are also plans to develop an organic garden to provide food services for lodge guests.

“We will not have a restaurant open to the public, but the lodge will be run as sort of a bed and breakfast,” Pikowicz continued. “It will feature eight rooms and guests will be provided with breakfast. Food will also be available to them throughout the day, as well as at dinner time.”

Pikowicz, who grew up in the Pierceland area and owns a cottage at Jeannette Lake, went on to say the lodge will host musical concerts and similar events from time-to-time. These events will also be open to members of the public, during which “snacky foods” would be provided.

Phase one of the construction process should be completed by early 2013.

“It’s just awesome to finally be doing this – I am so excited about it,” Pikowicz said.

According to the ministry, private sector development plays an important role in providing services and facilities to park visitors.

“This will certainly be a nice enhancement to the park,” remarked Meadow Lake Provincial Park area manager Colette Schmalz.

Schmalz also explained the decision to sign an agreement with Waters Edge was the result of a request for proposals process initiated this past spring.

“The government was looking for someone who could develop some sort of additional accommodations at the park, whether it be a lodge or cabins,” she said. “In the end, this is the decision that was made.”

Located at the east end of the Boreal Trail head, the lodge site is currently accessed via a trail. Schmalz said it is the developer’s responsibility to create an access road to the facility if deemed necessary.

While Schmalz admits there was a little apprehension from some Greig Lake residents who were uncertain about a new development coming into the park, she said most of these concerns have since been smoothed over.

“We’ve successfully tendered this as a smaller development, so the impact it has should be minimal,” she said.

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