The Ontario government has approved a redevelopment plan at the Minaki Lodge site, on the Winnipeg River,  55 km northwest of Kenora.

"It's definitely a beautiful spot," says David Banman, who speaks for Minaki on the River Inc., the Manitoba-based group spearheading the project, which would convert 120 existing hotel units into 56 condominiums, and see 82 additional cottage lots developed.

The condos would be 600 square feet, with an estimated cost of just under $200,000.

"We're going to get a whole demographic of people that maybe didn't have access to the lake and cottaging before, and to be able to put something together that's well-developed and orderly, has an unbelievable heritage component to it, as well as being affordable is really something unique," said Banman.

Minaki on the River site plan

The proposed site plan by Minaki on the River. The condos and cottage would be accessible from mid-April to mid-Oct. (www.minakiontheriver.ca)

Minaki Lodge, a heritage building on the site, was destroyed by fire in 2003.

"We've cleaned up the site a lot over the last five years. The old lodge was basically in ruins, and we've pulled out almost 1700 tons worth of steel and transported it to Selkirk, Man., to be recycled " said Banman.

Clean up at Minaki Lodge site

Minaki on the RIver has been cleaning up the old Minaki Lodge site, which was destroyed by fire in 2003, and has removed 1700 tons of steel for recycling. (www.minakiontheriver.ca/)

The target market for the condos and cottages is the Winnipeg area, which is just 250 km west of the community, said Banman, noting the road is paved already.

"The infrastructure is there already, from the roads to the wastewater plant to just about everything you could possibly think of. There's very little development which needs to be done here, other than physically putting these cottages on the property, so that's what makes this area so suitable for this type of development," he said.

However, the company is concerned that the project has been reduced in size, affecting the population density on the site, said Banman.

Two other development options possible

Minaki on the River has two other development options available, neither of which require government approval.

There are already 119 existing cottage lots on the site, which could be sold individually he said.

Another option would be a seasonal camping or mobile home park with a maximum of 250 units, Banman said.

The company hopes to begin development on the site next spring.

Minaki Lodge redevelopment

An aerial view of the site where Minaki on the River is proposing to build cottages and convert hotel units into condominiums. (www.minakiontheriver.ca)