Township Watch - March 2017

Committee of Adjustment - Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Director of Planning, David Pink, explained to the committee that the zoning by-law recognizes all minor variances that have been in place since January 1st, 1985.  Over 5000 of these variances remain open and in effect but do not comply with current by-laws.  Mr. Pink suggested that a time limit be placed on new approvals.  After a brief discussion, it was agreed that a three year time limit to obtain a building permit be placed on variances.  Once a building permit is issued, the project falls under the Ontario Building Code.  If a building permit is not applied for or the building permit expires the variance will lapse, and the minor variance will have to be re-applied for, which would be reviewed against the Official Plan and zoning by-law in effect at the time.

Committee of the Whole - Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Lake System Health Monitoring Program

Rebecca Willison, a watershed planning technician from the District of Muskoka, presented the 2016 results to the committee from their lake system health water quality monitoring program.  Ms. Willison explained that in the District of Muskoka:

  • there are 678 lakes 8 hectares in size or larger,
  • there are 17 river systems,
  • 15% of Muskoka is covered in water, and
  • 10.5% of Muskoka is covered in watershed.

In 2016, 27 sites on 20 lakes in the Township of Muskoka Lakes were monitored for total phosphorus, water clarity, dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles and benthic macroinvertebrate.  In 2017, 18 sites on 13 lakes in the Township will be monitored.  The “Love Your Lake” shoreline assessment will be done on Brandy Lake and a minimum of three properties on Three Mile Lake will be renaturalized.   To read the full presentation, or find out if your lake will be monitored in 2017 click here - Lake Monitoring Lake Monitoring

Ms. Willison showed committee a slide advertising their Muskoka Stewardship Conference - 50 Shades of Green all about algae which is being held at the Port Carling Community Centre on May 12th, 2017.  For more information go to

Class A Category 1 Pit & Category 2 Quarry

The application for a Pit & Quarry on Butler Mill Road in Hekkla was originally submitted in 2012, but was deferred until a number of studies could be completed.  Representatives from Skelton Brumwell & Associates Inc. informed the committee that the studies had been completed and the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF) have deemed the application complete.  It was explained that there would be a limited extraction site of 28.4 hectares while the remaining portion of the property would remain open space.  The life span of the pit & quarry would be 54 to 80 years and following rehabilitation the property would be open space with two lakes on it.  Following an in depth presentation -Pits and Quarries Pits and Quarries - the applicant's representatives stated that they were willing to work with the Township in regards to holding a public meeting and the timing of the meeting.

Following a short discussion, a resolution to proceed to a public meeting was read and carried.  At this time, no date or location of the public meeting was provided but will be advertised as it approaches.

Short Term Cottage Rentals

Director of Planning, David Pink, reported to the committee that as directed in January 2017, he had consulted with other area municipalities regarding short term cottage rentals.   Other municipalities in the District of Muskoka are not addressing the issue.  It was suggested that perhaps a licensing system could be put in place to regulate short term rentals or neighbour's concerns could be addressed through existing by-laws (noise by-law, building code, fire code, property standards by-laws, parking enforcement, etc).   A legal opinion was received which indicated that since cottages were considered residential, not commercial, they could not be regulated through the Township's zoning by-law.  Mr. Pink suggested to the committee that if they wished to move forward with the issue a working committee should be struck and public input should be received ,as some ratepayers rent their cottages out so they can afford to keep them.  The full report can be found here -Rentals Rentals

Committee discussed that the Township has received complaints regarding some short term rentals and asked CAO, Steve McDonald to prepare a report which would include:

  • how many times a property was visited following a complaint,
  • how many of the visits were on the weekend or in the evening,
  • were tickets issued,
  • what was the value of tickets collected,
  • were the tickets paid or disputed, and
  • where were the location of the complaints.

The committee decided to receive the requested information then determine if a working committee should be set up.  This item was on the agenda for informational and discussion purposes only, so no resolution was read.

Council - Friday, March 17th, 2017

Lakeside Lodge

A private citizen presented to Committee of the Whole as well as Council to voice his concerns that the District Official Plan (OP), that is under review states that resorts should be 50% travelling public and 50% residential.  This change to the District OP concerned the presenter in regarding the redevelopment of Lakeside Lodge on Lake Rosseau.  Planner, Margaret Walton, had explained at COW that Lakeside Lodge would be regulated by the current District OP, which means 100% resort units. 

WiFi Connectivity - Phase 2

As per the 2017 budget, the Township is moving forward with WiFi connectivity in eight locations in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  The locations are the Bala Arena, Milford Bay Fire Station, Patterson Corners Garage, Port Carling Arena, Port Carling Memorial Community Centre, Ranwood Garage, Torrance Community Centre/Fire Station and Windermere Community Centre.  Although users will be required to agree with a security waiver, they will otherwise not notice a disruption in service when the “hotspots” go live.  If funds remain available additional locations are the Glen Orchard Community Centre, Hekkla Community Centre, Raymond Community Centre, Raymond Fire Station and the Windermere Village Hall.  Connectivity in the Raymond area continues to be a challenge.  The resolution to begin phase two connectivity was read and carried.

April Meeting Schedule

Due to the Easter Long Weekend in April, the Township meeting schedule has been amended to the following:

Committee of Adjustment Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

            Committee of the Whole Wednesday, April 12th 2017

            Council Thursday, April 13th, 2017


The MRA believes that it would be respectful if some councillors remained on topic and asked relevant questions of presenters.

 Although there is still snow on the ground in Muskoka

spring is certainly in the air.


Please Note:  A MNRF “Flood Watch” is in effect for Muskoka

Go to MNRF - Flood Forecasting


Upcoming Events - Monthly Calendar

TML - Committee of the Whole
Apr 11, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Council
Apr 12, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
MRA - Board Meeting
Apr 27, 2019 9:00am to 1:00pm
MRA - AGM 2019
Jul 20, 2019 10:00am to 12:00pm
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