Township Watch - February 2015


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The MRA would like to welcome former Director of Public Works, Len Troup back to the Township of Muskoka Lakes as Interim Director of Public Works.

North Bala Falls Small Hydro Project

Four delegations were present at the council meeting on Friday, February 13th, 2015 regarding the project.  Swift River Energy Limited (SREL) was there to request that a working committee be established as they wish to re-discuss widening the shoulder on Muskoka Road #169 and a lease on Township lands during construction of their project.  A private citizen, Mary Grady spoke on opportunities that are available to mitigate construction disruptions to the Town of Bala and to support the change in leadership voted for in October.  A representative from the Moon River Property Owners Association (MRPOA), Drew Cowern, presented their concerns in a letter.  Lastly, Mitchell Shnier a spokesperson from Save the Bala Falls, along with a Mr. Tom Adams who spoke of hydro prices and stated that a representative from Save the Bala Falls should be on the working committee.

The presentations by the various groups or individuals can be view by pressing the following links:

While some councillors were in favour of the working committee, four councillors voiced their concerns regarding SREL’s requests as they felt that the majority of people in Ward A clearly voted in the municipal election against the project and stated:
  • The use of township property is a decision of council not a committee,
  • This is a “let’s make a deal committee”,
  • The committee would have no purpose, no mandate, would be self serving and
  • It is not appropriate.

The working committee was further discussed during the Interim CAO’s report later in the day.   Four options for the working committee were brought forth -021315 - Working Committee Options.pdf Working Committee Options.  During the discussion it was suggested that prior to accepting a committee it should be decided if a committee was needed, would it be of benefit, if it would have a purpose or even a mandate.  In a recorded vote of five to four option two was chosen.

Comprehensive Zoning By-Law

As has been previously reported the comprehensive zoning by-law was in front of council for approval on Friday, February 13th, 2015.  There was a delegation present who asked that third reading be deferred until an amendment regarding 100 feet septic system setbacks from the shoreline could be added.  However, Director of Planning, David Pink explained that this was a significant change to make and a public meeting would have to be held on the issue. The consultant hired by the township cautioned council against such a change this late in process and stated that 30 days notice on the website would not be sufficient.   It was explained that the zoning by-law is a living document that will constantly be moving/changing and that amendments can be added at later dates.   Another concern voiced by a delegate was that at times staff makes recommendations and council reject these recommendation but are not required to provide reasons for their decisions. 

The comprehensive zoning by-law 2014-14 passed in a recorded vote of six to three.  There now is a 30 day appeal period.

Meeting Schedule

Last month the MRA reported that council had voted to amend their meeting schedule.- Township Watch - January 2015 In order for the meeting schedule change to be completed the Township Council Policy also needed to be approved.   This policy change was defeated on Friday, February 13th, 2015 in a tie vote of 4 to 4.  Once the future meeting schedule is established the MRA will inform you.  We apologize for any confusion this has caused.

Planning Committee of the Whole

This meeting was cancelled so there is nothing to report.

Committee of the Whole

The Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce and Walker’s Point Garden Diggers were in attendance at the meeting to ask for financial support.  The committee listened to their presentations and explained that their requests would be considered at budget time.

District

A resolution that was passed by the district engineering and public works committee in January gave staff direction to work directly with SREL regarding entrance and roadway occupation permits on Muskoka Road #169 in Bala was accepted by the district council.  Once conditions are met by SREL staff will issue the necessary permits.

Process

The MRA was extremely disappointed to hear a councillor state that they “speak for the people who elected me” as we thought councillors were elected to represent the entire township.  In our opinion, there is supposed to be one government at the council table not three.

 

The MRA was in attendance at all four Strategic Planning Sessions

and will attend both public meetings regarding the Windermere

solar farm in March.

 

Upcoming Events - Monthly Calendar

MRA - Board Meeting
Nov 25, 2017 9:00am to 1:00pm
TML - Committee of Adjustment
Dec 13, 2017 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Committee of the Whole
Dec 14, 2017 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Council
Dec 15, 2017 9:00am to 12:00pm
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