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Waldsea slowly being dismantled

It's a very sad place to be these days. Waldsea Lake Regional Park is looking less and less like a park these days and more and more like a war zone as cabin after cabin is moved away.
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Three large cabins are moved off their lots and out of Waldsea Lake Regional Park in a train of semis operated by Air Ride Buildings Movers from Prince Albert. The three cabins were moved together as power lines needed to be moved to accommodate their size.


It's a very sad place to be these days.
Waldsea Lake Regional Park is looking less and less like a park these days and more and more like a war zone as cabin after cabin is moved away. There are holes in the ground where cabins once stood, trees mowed down due to efforts to get the cabins out, and everywhere, cabins stripped bare and waiting for demolition.
"It's sad when you go out there and everything is gradually disappearing," said Naomi Ramsay, chair of the Waldsea Lake Regional Park board and one of the cabin owners at the lake.
With things torn up because of what it takes to move some of the cabins out, "it looks like a bomb was dropped on it now," she noted. "I'm not sure if I want to see the demolition.
"It's a very sad place to be. You can just feel it."
Air Ride Building Movers took three of the largest cabins from their lots next to the water at the north end of the park to a staging area to the east of the lake on March 11. All three were moved at the same time, as all three required SaskPower to either cut or raise lines in order to get them down the road.
Over half of the 20 or so cabins scheduled to be moved out of the lake have now been moved. Demolition of the other 20 cabins will begin on March 18, reported Ramsay.
Two of the buildings belonging to the park - the hall and a garage - have already been sold to private individuals, Ramsay noted, and they still have to be moved to the staging area. That move is being looked after by the new property owners, she added.
"It's no longer something we have to worry about," she said.
Two other park-owned buildings - the concession and their water building - are going to be sold at auction, she added, along with all of the other park-owned equipment, like tractors and possibly even some picnic tables.
"We have donated some picnic tables to the Vintage Club," Ramsay noted. The Humboldt and District Vintage and Antique Club had expressed interest in the picnic tables, as they hold large events out at their site south of Humboldt in the summer months.
"We decided they would have a good use (at the Vintage Club), so they came and picked up 15 or so."
Taking the park apart is something that is going along fairly well now, Ramsay said, though there were some security issues in the first few weeks.
A security company has been hired to patrol the park day and night, to ensure that only authorized people, including cabin owners, are at the lake, especially when buildings are being moved.
Seeing cabins moved and the lake being dismantled is a very personal thing for cabin owners, Ramsay stated.
The lake, after all, "has been such a part of their lives."
And the process of saving these cabins has been such a long one - the battle has been on since the first flood in the spring of 2007 - that many have reached the end of the line.
Some cabin owners who had originally planned to put their cabins on new lots at new lakes have actually changed their minds, Ramsay said.
"There are a lot fewer cabins going to other lakes," she said.
"They just can't do it anymore. They can't start all over," she said of the reasons for the change of heart. "They've done this for so long.... (The process) has taken a lot more out of them emotionally than we thought."
For Ramsay and her family, starting over again somewhere new is not an option anymore. Their cabin is slated for demolition, and they don't know where they would put a new one where they would feel safe from flooding and still be near the water.
"We have more than a slight fear of rising water," she admitted. "We are done with fighting with the water."
Had there been hope left, they would have continued to fight to save their cabin at Waldsea, Ramsay said, even with the constant stress of worrying about what would happen with the water level every year.
But with that hope gone, they don't want to start over again.
"It's hard to change where your heart is," she added. For many people, Waldsea is still their lake.
Some forecasters calling for a hot summer makes the process of closing Waldsea even harder.
"It's a hot summer one summer too late," she said.
Had last summer been a hot one, it would have made all the difference in the world.
"But you can't change the weather," she said.