Township Watch - July 2019

The following index should help you in locating an article of particular interest

Council - WedAnchornesday, July 10th, 2019

Development CharAnchorges By-Law

Julia Cziraky from Hemson Consulting Ltd was before Council regarding the passing of the development charges by-law. Following a very brief discussion that by-law was voted on and carried.

ProceduAnchorral By-Law

Mayor Harding reminded Council that this item had been deferred at the June Council meeting as changes were required. The necessary changes have been made and the by-law was reviewed by Township lawyers. Mayor Harding thanked both Councillor Kelley and Clerk Cheryl Mortimer on their hard work on the new procedural by-law.

During the discussions regarding the new procedural by-law Councillor Kelley raised that in previous discussions the change in the committee structure was to be for a trial period but that was not stated in the resolution that was before Council. Mayor Harding clarified that he said they would “re-evaluate” the committee structure after six months, but not revert to the previous structure. Staff will pole the Councillors to hear the strengths and negatives of the new committee structure. Mayor Harding emphasized that this structure is “nothing new”, Council was just doing things differently to provide a better delivery of service with a 30-day pause between applications being passed at the Planning Committee and then being approved by Council. Some Councillors voiced concerns that they understood there was a trial period but that was no longer the case.

The new procedural by-law lays out that agendas will be set the Friday before meeting week and all agenda packages will be available to the public. If required supplemental agendas will be provided 24 hours in advance of meeting.

The new committee structure was voted on and carried, but not unanimously.

Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers feels it is important to note that in recent years there was a “30-day pause” between when the majority of planning applications were passed and then approved by Council. This is not new!

Ed Note: As was reported in the March Township Watch - Township Watch - March 2019 - under Council Committee Structure, we note that presenters and some committee members voiced concerns that there be a trial period of the new committee structure, that was our understanding as well.

Closure oAnchorf Highway 632

Director of Public Works, Ken Becking, informed Council that Highway 632 the northern extension of Peninsula Road into the Town of Rosseau needs to be closed for a culvert replacement. The Ministry of Transportation is in favour of a 24-hour closure but requires Township support to do so. The 24-hour closure would replace one-way traffic for a period of 12 weeks. The exact date of the closure was not known but would be sometime between August 19th and 30th. Mr. Becking suggested that a mid-week 24-hour closure would be preferable to a weekend closure.

A request was made to ensure that the swing bridge in Port Sandfield was NOT opened during the closure to ensure that residents had access in and out of their properties. Mayor Harding, Chair of Engineering and Public Works at the District said he would inform Public Works of this request.

Council voted unanimously to support the 24-hour mid-week closure, suggesting the week of August 19th worked for the Township.

General/Finance CoAnchormmittee - Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Andy's House - RequestAnchor for Waiver of Development Charges

A representative from Hospice Muskoka was before committee to request that the Township waive the development charges and building permit fees on the construction of Andy's House. As well, Hospice Muskoka in requesting Township support when they make a similar request to the District of Muskoka regarding their development charges. Andy's House hope to open their doors in December of 2019.

CAO, Derrick Hammond explained to committee that development charges could be refunded through the development charges reserves, but building permit fees would come from taxation. The building department functions as a separate entity from the rest of the Municipal office and the permit fees would go to them and the monies to refund them would need to be located elsewhere.

Committee members questioned if a request like this had been received before and were informed that it had during the construction of the Health Hub. Treasurer, Shannon Johnson suggested that the monies could be taken from the working reserves rather than the 2019 budget. This item will be on the August Council agenda to be voted on.

2019 Bala Cranberry FesAnchortival Request

The Cranberry Festival came to committee to request road closures, parking exemptions, permission to use Township parks and parking lots as they have in previous years. This year there were two changes. Firstly, the closure of Bala Falls Road towards Purk's Place with local traffic using the other end of the road. This is a reversal of what has been requested in the past. Secondly, a request for Township support with waste management costs. In past years four Township staff members have worked approximately 30 hours over the course of the weekend at a cost of $6,000.00 to $7,000.00 to the Cranberry Festival. To locate full road closures, the full report can be found here - Cranberry.pdf Cranberry Festival.

Committee passed the resolution, with the exclusion of the solid waste request which will return to committee in August with a staff report.

Streetlight at DistricAnchort Road 38 and Sandor Drive

The Township originally requested that the District install a streetlight at the intersection of District Road 38 and Sandor Road. The District has said it is the municipality's responsibility and the Director of Public Works, Ken Becking was before committee to ask how they wished to proceed. Mr. Becking provided three choices for committee:

  • add the cost in the 2020 budget
  • draw monies for the project from reserves
  • deny the request

Treasurer Shannon Johnson explained that street lighting was a separate levy and taxation will be on the residents in the area. It was decided to add the item to the 2020 budget deliberations.

After Action RepAnchorort Flood Emergency

Fire Chief Ryan Murrell explained the report was a full review of the actions that were taken by the Township during the spring flooding. The report identifies successes, challenges and lessons to learn, Chief Murrell highlighted three items:

  • technology: The Township needs to look at how they alter the public to an emergency
  • a gap in fire services: There may have been a need for swift water rescues
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry presence during the flooding, or lack thereof.

Committee was informed that the Emergency Management Team existed to make fast emergency decisions and press-releases that were made available and circulated as quickly as possible. Clerk, Cheryl Mortimer who was Acting CAO during the flooding, reminded committee that this was the first official state of emergency the Township declared, and she felt they did a great job. Perhaps there was some miscommunication, but the clerk's department who received calls from the public forwarded the calls to the necessary departments.

Mayor Harding congratulated Cheryl Mortimer, the entire Fire Department, as well as the Deputy Fire Chief who took control of the situation.

The report -Flooding.pdf Flood Report - was received as information by committee to guide the continuous improvement of the Township's Emergency Management Program.

Ed Note: The Board of the Muskoka Ratepayers wrote the Township and congratulated them on the actions during the flooding - Letter of Thanks.

Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers congratulate Council Zavitz on his position as Chair of the General/Finance Committee.

Planning ComAnchormittee - Friday, July 12th, 2019

At the beginning of the meeting Chair Bridgeman congratulated Bryce Sharp on his title of Registered Professional Planner and being a member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute. The Muskoka Ratepayers congratulates Bryce.

Mary JanAnchore Lake

A joint public meeting was held with the District and Township Planning Committees regarding an application on Mary Jane Lake. Although introductions were made by Chair Bridgeman, the meeting was chaired by Nancy Alcock Chair of the District Community & Planning Committee. Those in attendance were informed at the commencement of the meeting that no decision would be made that day.

District Planner, Sam Sousa introduced the application explaining Mary Jane Lake was located west of Bruce Lake and Peninsula Road. The lands in question are 158 acres that surround a 25-acre lake. Fourteen new lots are being proposed on the lake ranging in size from 2.8 acres to 10.3 acres with shorelines of 301 feet up to 382 feet. Mr. Sousa explained that several technical reports had been done, peer reviewed, and concerns raised had been addressed. Township Planner Rian Allen then explained that a zoning by-law amendment was required to rezone the lands. Rick Hunter, planner for the applicant explained they submitted their application in July 2018 and have been working with District and Township staff since then. It was explained that the development would be accessed by a private road, have a single boat launch, lot sizes were larger than required in the Official Plan, shoreline structures would be limited to a single dock per lot and the properties would be under site plan control.

The applicant then explained that he and his brother bought the property in 2015 as it was suitable for an elite water-ski school. Boats designed for small wakes, which have minimal impact on the shore, are the only boats that will be used at the school. The following restrictions will be placed on the lake and enforced through members being in good standing with the road association in order to use the boat launch:

  • single boat use at a time,
  • no 2-stroke outboard engines,
  • no oil will be permitted to go into the lake,
  • no boats with wake enhancement will be allowed, and
  • large lot sizes.

Many in attendance spoke against the application raising concerns regarding:

  • outflow of water into Little Lake Joe,
  • shoreline degradation,
  • wetland concerns,
  • safety of the Blanding turtle
  • significance of the site has been downplayed,
  • water quality,
  • fueling of boats,
  • deer wintering area, and
  • are the number of lots suitable or excessive.

Three citizens spoke in support of the application saying

  • the density was appropriate,
  • Mary Jane Lake is naturally a good place for water-skiing,
  • there is “serious national pride” with the development,
  • if someone is not interested in water-skiing, they would not buy property on the lake, and
  • it is a peaceful quiet environment.

Chair Alcock thanked everyone for attending the meeting and stated that the Planning Committees would consider all that had been said.

Official Plan ReviAnchorew Committee

Director of Planning David Pink explained the committee had met on June 27th for an introductory meeting and that the first statutory meeting would be held at the Planning Committee meeting on August 16th, 2019.

Consultant, Jim Dyment explained that originally the District wrote the Official Plans for all municipalities. Mr. Dyment felt it is important to start from scratch and write an entire new document and not one made up of a series of patches.

Lippa Pit & QAnchoruarry

Director of Planning, David Pink told committee that the Official Plan Amendment that was defeated last month has been appealed.

Committee had no questions or comments.

OPP EnforAnchorcement of Township By-Laws

Councillor Jaglowitz asked that this item be on the agenda as he understood from discussions that the OPP would respond to by-law complaints and wanted staff to be authorized to establish an agreement with the OPP. Chief Building Inspector, Neil Donald stated that the process is already in place, and the OPP will respond, take notes and informs the by-law officer but they will not press charges. It was suggested that staff sit down with the OPP to discuss the situation. Although it was suggested that this could be dealt with at staff level, CAO Hammond felt it was important that a staff report be written.

No resolution was read.

Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers congratulate Council Bridgeman on her position as Chair of the Planning Committee.

Thank you to all who attended our AGM.


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