Early History of Last Mountain Lake

For the first inhabitants, the Last Mountain Valley was a land of abundance. Groups of Cree First Nations depended on the wildlife for their food, clothing and shelter. Waterfowl were hunted during spring and fall migration. In the fall, First Nations people visited the lake to fish for walleye, northern pike and whitefish, but bison were the Cree's mainstay. It is estimated that 60 million bison once roamed the Great Plains of North America. Yet their demise was swift.

In July 1869, Isaac Cowie, a clerk with the Hudson's Bay Company, passed through one of the last great herds at the north end of Last Mountain Lake. He wrote:…”"They blackened the whole country, the compact moving mass covering it so that not a glimpse of green grass could be seen. Our route took us into the midst of the herd, which opened in front and closed behind the train of carts like water round a ship. …So we traveled among the multitudes for several days."”

By 1879, the great herds were gone from Saskatchewan and by 1884, only a few scattered animals remained.

In 1887 the Canadian government was urged to protect the Last Mountain Lake area, then a part of the North West Territories. It was feared that further development of the Long Lake Railroad would extend settlement to the islands and shorelines of the lake where important populations of nesting and migratory birds occurred. To prevent the loss of valuable wildlife habitat, the Canadian government set aside the north end of the lake as a sanctuary. Settlement in the area took place with the turn of the century.

Early Settlement of Last Mountain Lake

In the late 1800's and early 1900's, the railway and the Dominion Government of Canada wanted more settlers out west to unite Upper and Lower Canada -the eastern provinces of Canada with British Columbia. The rail lines did not want to lay track over land with no settlement as it was not economically feasible. As the demand for furs declined and the buffalo population dwindled, Saskatchewan started noticing the agricultural land capabilities in the middle and southern portions of the province. Settlement, towns and rail lines developed the prairies south of the tree line. Immigrants were attracted to Saskatchewan by the Homestead Act, which granted a quarter section or 160 acres to homesteaders if they could ‘prove’ the land in three years. The immigration pattern resulted in ethnic bloc settlements.

Government's efforts to promote immigration and encourage agricultural development between the 1890's and the 1920's increased the Saskatchewan population to almost a million by 1920. Wheat production also began to rise. In 1901, territorial farmers harvested a 12,736,642-bushel crop. European settlers first arrived in this district in the late 1800's and eventually set up a town site called Watertown, near the northern end of Last Mountain Lake. Before railways arrived on the prairie, it was steamboats that brought people and supplies to the land. The Pearson Land Company ran a steamboat on Last Mountain Lake to help bring settlers into the area. These steamboats played an essential transportation role for several years.

The first train arrived at nine o’clock on the morning of August 23, 1882, which was also the occasion for the christening of the new capital of the North-West Territories. The Governor General of Canada, the Marquis of Lorne, in consultation with his wife, Her Royal Highness, Princess Louise, daughter of the Queen, chose the name Regina”in honor of her mother. The general manager of the CPR, William Cornelius Van Horne, celebrated the occasion in his private railway car with Lieutenant Governor Dewdney and officials of the CPR, the Hudson's Bay Company, the land commissioner and many local dignitaries.

The completion of the national Canadian Pacific Railway occurred on November 7, 1885. This enterprise was significant in the prairies where produce had to be transported long distances to markets and necessities of life had to be imported.

Earlier that same year, grading began on the first branch railway out of Regina. The Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railroad and Steamboat Company received a government grant for a railway running from Regina to Long Lake and a steamboat navigating the length of Long Lake. Trains ran between Regina and Sussex (now Craven) and the C.P.R. eventually purchased this line. This was the beginning of a new resort area for Regina near Sussex and the proximity of the railroad allowed for the opening of Lake View Park (Saskatchewan Beach) and Cain's Point (Regina Beach).

North End of Last Mountain Lake

The north end of Last Mountain Lake lies about 10 kilometres from an early townsite then known as Watertown. Homesteaders began taking up land in the district in 1903; and for a number of years, before the railway was built through the area; much of the transportation of people and freight into the region was by water. The Wm. Pearson Company established on the lake, a port of call”for its barges and steamer, the SS Qu'Appelle. It's southern port, located near the south end of Last Mountain Lake, was called Port Hyman, with Watertown being it's northern port. In 1910, as the railway approached, businesses from Watertown and other areas moved towards the rail line, and the first structures began to appear on the Imperial townsite. The rail line was constructed several kilometres west of the lake in order to maximize the amount of agricultural land on either side.

South End of Last Mountain Lake

It is reported that the first white man to see Last Mountain Lake was Daniel Harman in 1804. He worked for the North West Trading Company. In 1869, the Hudson Bay Company built Last Mountain House, nearby what is now the Town of Silton. From here settlers traded with the local Cree and Assiniboine Indians. This Hudson Bay Company post was later destroyed by fire in 1873.

In the 1880's, a rail line was built by the Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railroad and Steamship Company, from Regina to Sussex (Craven). During this time period, many settlers started moving into the area, including Mr John Dale, who was the first owner of the land along the north side of Last Mountain Lake (Long Lake), where Sunset Cove and Sundale Resort currently exist. When one walks the fields in this area, numerous stone rings and cairns, from native campsites, can still be observed throughout the surrounding fields; reminding us of the tremendous changes that have taken place here during the past century.

The first known property owner of what is now known as Regina Beach was Mr William Cain. The beautiful point was then known as Cain's Point, sometimes spelled as Kane's Point. Mr Cain established a trading post at Regina Beach and traded with the local Indians.

In 1902, an Englishman from Winnipeg, Manitoba arrived by the name of William Pearson. He becomes a very important person in that era, forming the Pearson Land Company and the Pearson Steamship Company.

In 1910, a doctor from Regina by the name of Davis Low, purchased Cain's point and subdivided it into lots. He renamed this area Regina Beach. In 1912, the first train arrived in Regina Beach, which in 1913, ended the era of the steamships on Last Mountain Lake. In 1915, the original Regina Beach School was built.

Last Mountain Lake was the primary transportation link to the railhead at Regina, as the lake stretched some seventy-five miles to the south. A paddle wheeler boat, then a steamer, brought mail and people to and from the area until the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) ran a line north from Regina, to a few miles west of the lake. This rail line serviced the communities of Valeport and Port Hyman, neither which exist today.

The first building ever recorded at Buena Vista was an old stone building, rumoured to have been built by convicts in the mid 1800's. It was later inhabited by Mr Foster, a Government Game Inspector, (in 1890) and was named the GreyStone Lodge. In 1902, Mr Walter Comstock and his wife moved there from Winnebego, Minnesota, and became the first known settlers in the area.

Lumsden Beach was established in 1903. In 1905, the Lumsden Beach Summer School was established by John Doyle, a Methodist Minister, and in 1908, he established the first church camp in Western Canada. It still exists today, more than 100 years later and is recognized as the oldest church camp in Western Canada.

In the early days, most people travelled to the camp by either riding the Qu'Appelle Steamer or taking the train from Lumsden. Wilkies Livery supplied transportation to the camp for 50 cents each, for a party of two or more.

Last Mountain Lake, also known as Long Lake, is a prairie lake formed from glaciation 11,000 years ago. It is located in south central Saskatchewan, Canada, about 40 km northwest of the city of Regina adjacent to the Qu'Appelle Valley, which it flows south into through Last Mountain Creek which flows past Craven. It is approximately 93 km long, and only 3 km wide at its widest point. It is the largest naturally occurring body of water in southern Saskatchewan, although Lake Diefenbaker (created by damming) is larger. The Lake was named for a Plains Cree legend about the Great Spirit shoveling dirt from the valley the lake now occupies and forming Last Mountain Hills east of Duval.

The lake is a popular resort area for residents of southeastern Saskatchewan. Several resort communities such as Arlington Beach, Grandview Beach, Eldora Beach, Regina Beach, Saskatchewan Beach, Buena Vista, Glen Harbour, Alice and Wee Too Beach, Colesdale Park, Pelican Pointe, Sunset Cove, Island View, Etter's Beach, and Mohr's Beach are on the shores of the lake. Access to the area was opened up by the Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railroad and Steamboat Company who also operated steamships on the lake.[1]

Near the town of Strasbourg along the lake's eastern shore lies Rowan's Ravine Provincial Park. This park includes a full service marina for boaters, a full-service campground, restaurant, mini-golf, and other facilities including a large sandy point that serves as a beach. The marina is often used by recreational boaters and sailors traveling from Regina Beach as a stop over or refueling point, and holds a large fishing tournament every September. Last Mountain House Provincial Park is located on the south-east shore and provides tours of historical Last Mountain House, which was built by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1869.

The Last Mountain Lake Bird Sanctuary, the first federal bird sanctuary in North America, was established here. Over 280 bird species have been recorded. The lake contains appropriate habitat for 9 of Canada's 36 species of vulnerable, threatened and endagered bird, such as the peregrine falcon, piping plover, burrowing owl and whooping crane. The northern end of the lake is very shallow and contains wetlands. Part of this area of the lake and surrounding area has been set aside as the Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area, which is a site of regional importance in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.[2][broken citation]

The lake contains a host of fish species including walleye, yellow perch, northern pike, burbot, lake whitefish, cisco, bigmouth buffalo, white sucker and common carp.

Coordinates 51°10?N 105°15?W51.167°N 105.25°W Lake type: prairie lake Primary inflows: Lanigan Creek, Lewis Creek, Arm River & Saline Creek Primary outflows: Last Mountain Creek

Max. length 93 km Max. width 3 km Surface area 2,312 km Average depth 35 metres Max. depth 130 ft (40 m) Islands: several in the north

History of Kannata Valley

The Resort Village of Kannata Valley is located on the north shoreline of the most southerly portion of Last Mountain Lake on the southerly portion of section 18, township 21, Range 21, West of the 2nd Meridian. The parcel of land was the homestead property of Charles Cowen, who came to Canada in the early 1880's for a visit and returned in 1884 to acquire a homestead. The land that Charles chose for his homestead included a small piece of farm land that included the valley bank and lake shoreline of approximately 1.6 miles. The part of this land from midway down the valley wall to the shoreline is now incorporated as Resort Village of Kannata Valley.

In 1900, Charles married Lenora (Lennie) Swanston and they made their home and raised three children (Joseph, Fred and Violet) in a small house on the homestead land. Charles died in 1914 leaving Lennie and her children to manage on their own. To survive, they sold eggs, garden produce and wild fruit picked by the children. They lived on garden produce, eggs, milk, home-made cottage cheese and whatever game the boys could shoot or snare and fish they caught in the lake. Joseph married Ruth (Fancy), the Silton Post Master's daughter, and they acquired the homestead house after his mother Lennie moved to Silton where she lived until the age of ninety two in 1971. Charles and Ruth Cowen had two children, Doreen (Cheetham), and Charles. Charles and his wife continued to farm the land for a number of years until their death.

The beach area on the Cowen farm was always a popular place to spend a Sunday afternoon at the lake. The popular places were called Cowen's Beach and Cook's Beach. The first plan on record identified a parcel on this beach property as “Beach Subdivision” register as Plan AO5143 dated June 2, 1963. It consisted of 7 lots adjacent to the east boundary of Section 18-21-21-W2. Six additional plans registered between 1955 & 1978 (Plan FW5959, GC349, FV4972, FW1465, 60R29894 and 78R09490) included what were commonly identified as Cook's Beach and Cowen's Beach. A total of 182 private lots and 6 parcels designated as public reserves were developed. No parcels set aside for commercial or industrial purposes. The subdivision designations of “Beach Subdivision, Cook's Beach and Cowen's Beach were all administered by the R.M. of Longlaketon No.219 until Sept 1, 1966 when the Village of Kannata Valley was incorporated under Saskatchewan Regulation 205/66. The designation from “Village”to Resort Village” occurred in 1988 with registration completed in 2007.

Access to Kannata Valley is via a 1.5Km paved road (Highway 322-1) from highway 322 to the easterly portion of the Resort Village. The Resort Village of Saskatchewan Beach borders Kannata Valley to the west, Rock Ridge Development to the east and Valley Ridge Acres to the north. The Village of Silton, +/2 Km north and west of Kannata Valley is the closest neighbouring village with commercial services. The City of Regina is 50 kilometres to the South.

Kananta valley is residential resort community with cottages for seasonal use residents and homes, or four season cottages, for residents that live in the valley all year. With the construction of permanent residences and the upgrade of existing cottages, property values have increased significantly each year making Kannata Valley property a very desirable holding. The amenities of the community include a paved road to your property, treated water to your house, a refuse transfer station and a lagoon for your waste materials. Those amenities along with the proximity to the City of Regina all contribute to making Kannata Valley the first class resort community that it is.

The official population according to Statistics Canada is 133. This official number is an equivalent population of 90 permanent residents and 250 seasonal residents. There are 152 ratepayers that own all 177 lots.

Private Property in Kannata Valley

Kannata Valley began as a summer resort location with cabins and cottages but is transforming into a bedroom community with goals and objectives different from those of previous years. With the construction of permanent residences and the upgrade of existing cottages, property values have increased significantly each year. Citizens are concerned that future development does not devalue properties by inappropriate development, construction or maintenance of properties within the community.

Some property development within the municipality occurred before the community incorporated as a legal entity (Village). In general, most of this development emerged without the benefit of community planning to ensure minimum construction and/or development standards. Consequently, a number of buildings constructed used sub-standard materials, were not compliant with National Building Codes and often encroached on other properties. Mobile homes, trailers and other pre-built units on some private properties served as temporary or permanent cabins or cottages. In some cases, inappropriate excavations and/or fill was conducted without regard for the impact such earthwork might have on the stability of the terrain and existing natural drainage has affected properties in a negative way.

In 1987, the municipality adopted a Zoning and Building Bylaw establishing guidelines for all post 1987 construction or renovation. In subsequent years, this bylaw was amended on several occasions in an effort to improve its scope and conformity to community goals.

The trend of residential development in recent years has been to construct new housing or to renovate existing cottages to a standard that is compatible with permanent residences.

The soil condition within the municipality is generally of a type that is prone to be unstable depending on sub-surface moisture. Thus, it is imperative that the municipality manage and control development that affects the natural soil moisture conditions resulting from inappropriate excavation and/or fill on private property, the diversion of natural water runoff courses, excessive landscape watering and inappropriate destruction of trees and vegetation.

Public Property in Kannata Valley

Six (6) parcels of land, designated as Municipal Reserves (MR) are set aside for public use. MR4 is the parcel primarily dedicated for picnic, beach, swimming and boat launching activities with a limited space for watercraft parking. MR1, MR2 and MR3 are parcels used primarily for lake access and watercraft parking with limited space for beach and swimming activities. MR5 is a parcel dedicated for use as a public park. MR6 is a parcel primarily dedicated as a public park with restricted limited vehicular access to private properties bordering this parcel.

The Kannata Highlands - an Environment Reserve

One large parcel of public property zoned Environmental Reserve (ER) is dedicated as the “Kannata Highlands”. This parcel of land was at one time privately owned by Mr Cowen. In 1980 the parcel was sold to a real estate company that subsequently received approval from the Provincial Authorities to subdivide the parcel for private residential developments. The development would have added a considerable subsurface moisture load to the existing unstable valley wall causing serious concern to the residents of Kannata Valley. Thus, following years of litigation, the ruling was in favour of Kannata Valley stopping any development on these lands. In 1991 Kannata Valley purchased the parcel from the real estate company subsequently designated as an environmental reserve that preserves and protects the area from damaging developments and misuse in perpetuity. Access and use of the Kannata Highlands are restricted to walking, hiking and skiing activities. Development of any kind or using any type of vehicle including cars, trucks, tractors, bikes, all terrain vehicles, motorcycles, dirt bikes, snowmobiles etc in the Kannata Highlands are prohibited.

Streets and Roads

The original trail (road) through the community called Beach Avenue was approximately 200 feet north of and parallel to the shoreline of Last Mountain Lake and approximately 6,600 feet long. The trail was later shaped into a road with a 66 foot wide right-of-way following the natural terrain with very little cut or fill so as not to divert natural water runoff conditions. In 1970 renamed “Lakeshore Drive”. The traveled portion of Lakeshore drive is not always along the centerline of the road allowance weaving slightly from the north boundary to the south boundary. In the early 1970's a cover of oil/gravel mix was placed on top.

History of Consumptive Waterworks

1973 -2010

The municipality installed a water distribution system in 1973. A well located on private property approximately 4000 feet east of the easterly corporate limits provides a suitable supply of water for the utility. The artesian nature of the well supplies water via a 4″ diameter pipeline to a pump house and 25,000 gallon reservoir. The water is disinfected to meet the provincial water quality standards of the day and is then pumped into two 4 inch and one 3 inch diameter PVC distribution pipelines. One 4″ line supplies consumptive water to municipal residences and fire hydrants, the other 4″ line supplies hygienic water to truck-fill station located in the Resort Village of Saskatchewan Beach and the 3″ line supplies hygienic water to residents in the neighbouring Rock Ridge Development. Agreements between the Resort Village of Kannata Valley and each of the two other corporate bodies address issues relative to the supply of water.

2010 -present

In 1973, the Resort Village of Kannata Valley commissioned a water distribution system that included a well, a reservoir, a small equipment building and the associated intake pipelines, pumping, control systems, and distribution network serving those properties that elected to connect to the system. This original system was installed and commissioned from revenue generated from stakeholders and government grants. Annual operating costs were offset by revenue generated from stakeholder user fees.

Historically, the water utility was designed to be operated on a “Fee for Service” basis where municipal funds from property taxation should not be required to subsidize the utility operations. Our records show that from inception in 1973 to the end of 2006 the revenue from stakeholders (persons using water from the infrastructure) for capital infrastructure expenditures is at a shortfall of just under $40,000. During the same period, the revenue generated from annual stakeholder user fees exceeded the operating expenses by approximately $10,000. Thus, from inception to the end of 2006 (33 years), the water utility has been subsidized from the municipal general revenue funds by approximately $30,000 or by an average of less than $1000 per year.

In 2006, the Resort Village of Kannata Valley supplied “consumptive” water to residents of Kannata Valley and, by agreement, “hygienic” water to two neighbouring developments. The consumptive water was distributed under a “Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory” issued Sept/2003 due to the high levels of arsenic. Other constituents that exceed Provincial Guidelines are: Iron, Manganese, Sodium, Sulphate and Turbidity. Residents were advised not to drink the water or use it for cooking without filtration.

In 2002, proposed legislation was introduced that required municipalities to deliver consumptive water that would meet the requirements of this legislation by the end of year 2010. Clearly, the existing water quality at the time did not meet the water quality guidelines proposed.

In 2005, the municipality retained the services of EPEC Consulting Engineers to conduct a Water System Assessment. The resulting conclusion of this assessment was that a water treatment system be installed and commissioned before the end of 2010.

The council of the day solicited proposals and applied for financial assistance under the MRIF Program however, this application was denied. In 2008, second proposal was presented to the administrative authorities to qualify for funding under the Building Canada Fund Community Component program. This application was approved in February of 2009. Pilot studies were conducted using three different type of water treatment systems by Mainstream Water Systems, by AdEdge Technologies and by a private consultant retained by the municipality in an effort to find the most effective and efficient treatment systems for the community. The AdEdge Technology’s Absorption system was selected and construction of the water treatment facility and the associated pipeline and reservoir installations began in the fall of 2009. In September of 2010 the system was commissioned. The water treatment plant produces treated consumptive water that exceeds the minimum requirements of Provincial legislation in terms of mandatory limits on arsenic content and turbidity. A Permit to Operate the plant was issued on September 6, 2010



History of Refuse Management



In 1984, the municipality expropriated a parcel of land to be used as a refuse disposal site for residents of the municipality. The facility served as a landfill for non-combustible materials, as a refuse incineration site for combustible materials and as a collection site for recyclable materials. The municipality managed and operated the facility compliant with provincial standards under permits from Administrative Authorities.
In 1991, the municipality purchased a parcel of land to be used as a solid waste collection and disposal site. The facility served as a landfill for non-combustible materials, as a refuse incineration site for combustible materials and as a collection site for household garbage and recyclable materials. In 2010, the site was converted to facilitate ‘refuse transfer ‘activities for refuse from residents and for neighbouring communities on a fee for service basis. The municipality manages and operates the Kannata Valley Refuse Transfer Station (KVRTS) facility compliant with provincial standards under a “Permit to Operate a Refuse Transfer Station” form Sask Environment
2010-Present –
In 2010, under the guidance and of the Ministry of Environment, the municipality voluntarily discontinued the practice of “land filling” and burning and converted the site into a Refuse Transfer Station (RTS). The Refuse Transfer Station is operated in accordance with the provisions of the Refuse Management Regulation under the Environmental Management and Protection Act.
The RTS has designated areas for the collection and transfer of refuse: Several small bins are accessible via a man gate 24/7 for the collection of household garbage. All other areas are only accessible via the vehicular gate at designated hours of operation. Access to large roll-off bins are for the collection of by-products from building construction (in limited quantities), toilets, sinks, pipe, hose, lawn furniture, paint cans, and household electronics. Another area is designated for the collection of recyclable iron, steel and batteries. A third area is for the collection of trees and shrub that are suitable for mulching. And, finally, there is an area for the collection of soil resulting from excavations from within the community.
The municipality will not accept refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, hot water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, mattresses, sofas, chairs, household furniture and other refuse deemed bulky and oversized. Also not permitted on this site are propane, gasoline, oil, and other combustibles and/or their containers; pesticides, chemicals and their containers; equipment (vehicles, trailers, boats) bodies and frames and tires -including tires used as boat dock bumpers.
History of Sewer Management
In 1990, the municipality addressed the collection, storage and disposal of domestic liquid waste in the municipality by enacting Bylaw 45/90 to be compliant with Section 83 of the Public Health Act (1978). The Sewage Bylaw requires the collection of domestic sewage from private property in vaults or holding tanks. Contractors providing sewage pick-up and disposal service within the municipality, must be licensed by the Administrative Authority (Sask Environment).
In 2003, the municipality, in partnership with the Resort Village of Saskatchewan Beach, constructed a sewage lagoon on the SW ¼ 29-21-21-W2nd with funding from the Canada-Saskatchewan Infrastructure Program. The two municipalities, as owners, issue permits to septic service providers authorizing the use of the lagoon in compliance with appropriate terms and conditions of use.

n 1990, the municipality addressed the collection, storage and disposal of domestic liquid waste in the municipality by enacting Bylaw 45/90 to be compliant with Section 83 of the Public Health Act (1978). The Sewage Bylaw requires the collection of domestic sewage from private property in vaults or holding tanks. Contractors providing sewage pick-up and disposal service within the municipality, must be licensed by the Administrative Authority (Sask Environment).

Kannata Valley from the Air