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The Muskoka Ratepayers welcomes Derrick Hammond, the Township's new Chief Administrative Officer, who started on May 29th, 2019. Mr. Hammond was present at the Committee of the Whole meeting, as well as the Council meeting this cycle.
According to a Township press release Ryan Murrell will begin with the Township on June 3rd, 2019 as the new Fire Chief and Community Emergency Management Coordinator.
The Muskoka Ratepayers congratulates Township Clerk, Cheryl Mortimer, who was appointed Acting Chief Administrative Officer for the month after Steve McDonald retired and Derrick Hammond took over the position.
As was reported in previous Township Watches, a committee was established to review development policies for the Village of Minett. Chair of the Committee, James Lewis, was before COW requesting funds on behalf of the committee to hire experts to conduct studies in the following three areas:
Mr. Lewis requested the funds be distributed at the beginning of June, so the committee could hire necessary experts and commence studies at the beginning of July. Mr. Lewis further requested that the committee term be extended to May of 2020 which would allow time to undertake the studies, review the results and make recommendations to the Township.
COW members then questioned:
Scot Weeres, from the District of Muskoka explained to Committee of the Whole that:
Committee briefly discussed approaching outside sources to contribute to the cost of the studies and it was decided that it was better if the costs were paid by the Township. A resolution to approve the requested funds was read and carried.
Ed Note: It is important to note that these funds are to be cost shared with the District of Muskoka and were allocated in the 2019 Township budget.
Director of Planning, David Pink, informed Committee that the Province had requested comments by June 1st on proposed changes to the Planning Act. Concerns exist as Bill 108 lacks a lot of details. It was proposed that the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) revert to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) format but retain the LPAT name. Bill 108 has drastically diminished decision-making times for municipalities, removed the ability for a municipality to add a property to a heritage listing without the owner's permission and affected development charges adversely. Mr. Pink explained that the Town of Aurora had written the Province objecting to Bill 108 in its entirety.
It was suggested that the decision be delegated to staff, but Mr. Pink pointed out that staff do not want to speak for all of the Township on this issue and any comments forthcoming from the Township would have more weight with the Province if they came from Council. Following a brief discussion, it was determined that staff would draft a resolution to be presented at Council the following day.
Mr. Pink presented a resolution to Council the following day for their consideration. The resolution was based on a similar one by the City of Aurora opposing Bill 108 in its entirety. The resolution was voted on by Council and carried.
Over the past month Councillor Mazan, Communication & Economic Development Specialist Corey Moore and By-Law Enforcement Officer, Jon Popple worked collaboratively to improve customer service when it comes to locating how to file a by-law complaint and how to complete the necessary forms. Mr. Moore demonstrated to committee that there is now a “Call to Action” button at the bottom of the Township's website home page that will take someone looking for by-law complaint information directly to the required page. This page shows how to submit a complaint, what to do after hours if you have a complaint, what occurs once a complaint has been filed, and the ability to review a list of by-laws and either download a complaint form or submit a complaint electronically. Mr. Popple explained that complaints were sent to two email addresses, his and a member of the building department, in case he was not available in real time. Mr. Moore further explained that there was a draft of a one-page handout that would be circulated so that all involved in by-law complaints could follow the same guidelines.
Committee commended those involved and provided feedback with suggestions that:
It was emphasized again that citizens should be encouraged to submit by-law complaints as Mr. Popple requires a “paper trail” to start the complaint process. Mr. Popple stated that if a citizen does not wish to fill out the complaint form, that a councillor could do so on their behalf.
This item was on the agenda for information only and no resolution was read.
Ed Note: The Ratepayers congratulates Councillor Mazan for taking on this important project and with the help of Mr. Moore and Mr. Popple doing so in such an expedited fashion.
Director of Public Works, Ken Becking outlined for committee that Portage Street in Bala is inadequate for on-street parking and requested that parking be prohibited on Portage Street from Muskoka Road 169 to the end of the street on both sides.
A resolution to support this request was read and carried.
James Murphy, Executive Director for Explorers' Edge came to committee to discuss air service coming to Muskoka. Porter Airlines will be flying into the Muskoka Airport for 10 weeks in the summer. The cost of the flight will be $72 from Toronto to Muskoka and $45 from Muskoka to Toronto. Once tourists arrive by air, it is important to be able to disperse them around Muskoka. Explorers' Edge will have five bus routes in the District of Muskoka. One of these routes will be to Rosseau via Port Carling, Minett and up to Crossroads. Mr. Murphy then outlined some incentives that are offered to those traveling in the area.
Explorers' Edge wished to use Hanna Park for a drop off and pick up location in Port Carling Mondays and Thursdays. Committee members felt that Hanna Park was not the appropriate location as the Farmer's Market is held on Thursdays and there are swimming lessons at the beach. Although an exact location was not determined committee voted on a resolution to allow Explorers' Edge to have a bus drop off and pick up location in Port Carling for a 10-week period to correspond with Porter Airlines seasonal service to and from the Muskoka Airport.
Mayor Harding informed Committee that the Township was no longer in a state of emergency. Sandbags that were used to control water are to be returned to public works yards at Glen Orchard (3951 Muskoka Road 169), Ranwood Yard (1158 Ranwood Road), and Patterson Yard (1078 Raymond Road). Mayor Harding thanked the staff for their tireless work during the state of emergency.
Ed Note: The Ratepayers wrote Mayor Harding complimenting him, the Fire Department and staff on how they handled the flood. Our letter can be read here - Ratepayers Letter
At the beginning of the Council meeting Mayor Harding presented two members from the Public Works Department with certificates - Ryan Rettie with his certification as a road's supervisor and Brent Gammon as a certified playground inspector.
As previously reported, Committee of the Whole will cease to exist and will be replaced by standing Committees. The General/Finance Committee will be responsible for Finance and Administration, Fire, Public Works, Economic Development and Grants, Parks and Trails and Library Board Planning. The Planning Committee will be responsible for Planning, Development Services, Heritage and Attainable Housing.
The new committees are as follows, with Mayor Phil Harding ex-officio on both:
These committee appointments were voted on and carried unanimously.
The following committees will stand concurrent with the term of Council.
Economic Development & Grants Committee:
Heritage & Attainable Housing:
Parks & Trails Committee:
Mayor Harding explained he had spoken to all Councillors and tried to place them on committees that they showed interest in. Some council members appeared to be somewhat surprised by the list of citizen members as they had not received the names until late the night before and had not had a chance to digest them. Mayor Harding explained the positions had been advertised, applied for and the appointments were done by himself. There was a request to discuss a member in closed session but this did not occur. The resolution to appoint the advisory committees was read and carried.
Ed Note: The Ratepayers were concerned to hear Councillor Jaglowitz state “I said I did not want to be on any sub committee”. When elected, a councillor is expected to take on additional responsibilities, not just ones they wish to fulfill.
A spokesperson for cottagers on Camel Lake spoke to Council requesting that Council continue their opposition to the proposed subdivision on Camel Lake at the LPAT. Five points were outlined:
Director of Planning, David Pink explained that three bids were received from interested parties. The evaluation committee met and unanimously agreed that the position should be offered to Meridian Planning Consultants and its sub-consultants. Meridian Planning Consultants have experience in Muskoka, as well as experience in recreational carrying capacity, waterfront commercial development and usage of Airbnb's.
The resolution was read and carried.
According to a press release on May 28th, 2019, “The Township of Muskoka Lakes is looking towards the future to ensure its website platform is meeting the needs of the community. Over the next few months, the Township will be working to redesign and develop a new website.” If you wish to have your input heard, please complete the attached survey that can be found at - Township Web Site Survey Info. The survey will be open until June 9th, 2019.
The Township is looking for candidates to sit on the Official Plan Review Steering Committee. It is anticipated that the committee will meet approximately seven times during regular business hours over the coming months. Meetings will conclude some time in 2020. If you are interested, please complete the attached form and submit it by June 7th, 2019 - Steering CommitteeThe Ratepayers would like to personally thank the Muskoka Lakes Volunteer Fire Department and all volunteers for their hard work and long hours during the recent flooding event.
Official Plan Review
Aug 16, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm