Township Watch - July 2015

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The MRA welcomes Roger Young as the new director of Public Works for the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  Interim director Len Troop will remain on a part time basis to ensure a smooth transition.

Setbacks from the High Watermark for Sewage Disposal (Septic) Systems

This item was on the agenda to hear comments from the public and no decisions were made.

Although the Ontario building code states that all sewage disposal systems must be 15 meters (50 feet) back from all waterways there is no provision for this in comprehensive zoning by-law 2014-14, nor was there in comprehensive zoning by-law 1987-87.  This lack of provision has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by two parties.   Two individuals spoke at the council meeting on Friday, July 17th  in support of implementing a 50 meter (100 feet) setback.  As the comprehensive zoning by-law is applied to all equally, concerns were also raised:

  • The current system of dealing with these systems is not “broken”,
  • Variance approvals will be required and the decision will be taken out of the hands of those who have technical expertise on placement of sewage systems,
  • Many variance applications will be received,
  • How will smaller lots be serviced, and
  • Costs will be incurred when the public needs to apply for a variance.

Rogers Cell Towers

As was reported in the May Township Watch (May Township Watch) Rogers Communications wishes to install four “monopine” cell towers in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  These applications were before council on Friday, July 17th.  After hearing presentations by Roger's representatives and concerned citizens, the proposed tower at 1301 Forman Road was defeated, while the proposed towers at 17-1723 Muskoka Road 118 W, Hamill's Point region and 1088 Bradley Road were all approved.

Paving of the shoulder of Muskoka Road 169 in Bala

At the Monday, July 20, 2015 district council meeting district Councillor Harding reported that the engineering and public works committee had granted approval to SREL to widen and pave the shoulder of Muskoka Road 169 in Bala on a permanent basis to permit construction vehicles to pull off the traveled portion of the roadway.  As with all committee reports, this was voted on by district council and passed.

Paving of the shoulder of Muskoka Road 169 was also on the Committee of the Whole (COW) agenda on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.  Presentations were heard from Mitchell Shnier representing Save The Bala Falls - 1507 - STBF Delegation.pdf STBF Delegation, Chief Franks of the Wahta Mohawks - 1507 - Wahta Delegations.pdf Wahta Delegation, and Barbara McIntosh from the Moon River Property Owners Association - 1507 - MRPOA Delegation.pdf MRPOA Delegation .  Following their presentations District Councillor Harding informed those in attendance that the proposal by SREL to pave the shoulder of Muskoka Road 169 had passed the previous evening at the district meeting and that protecting heritage attributes were made a condition.  During discussions it was suggested that the township write a letter of support to the Province encouraging them to consult with the Wahta Mohawks.  It was then suggested that a letter be written to the District stating that new information had been brought to the committee meeting and that the township reserved comment on the road widening.  Both of these letters were defeated in tie votes of five to five.

Subsequent to this meeting, the MRA was disappointed to learn that two Township of Muskoka Lakes district councillors went against this vote ~ the will of council ~ and wrote the district council on their own stating that new information would be coming forward.

Due to a previous disruption in the council chambers, there was OPP presence at this meeting. 

Parks and Trails

The parks and trails committee have met five times this year and now wish to move forward on developing an active transportation link from Walker's Point to Bala.  They will use the old Bala Road and weave the trail through Torrance.  The report was brought forth by the trails committee to ask the Committee of the Whole's permission to work with township staff in starting the project.

District ~ July 20th, 2015

As has been reported in the May and June Township Watches (May) (June) Knight Developments has a proposal to redevelop the Foot's Bay and MacTier United Churches into attainable housing units.   The district community services committee approved attainable monies in the amount of $300,000.00 towards the projects with a condition that an official plan amendment is completed prior to August 25th, 2015.

* See also the earlier report on Bala shoulder road widening above.

Mayor's Barbeque

Mayor Furniss is hosting a thank you BBQ on Tuesday August 11, 2015 at the Port Carling Community Centre from 11 to 2.  The event is open to all!


Prior to the commencement of the council meeting on July 17th Mayor Furniss informed council that they all had before them a copy of the by-law that outlines the proceedings of council.  If the by-law is silent on a topic, Robert's Rules will then be followed.  It was pointed out that after a resolution is read at a meeting; all councillors are permitted two questions per topic.

The MRA is disappointed that rude and disrespectful behaviour continues to be seen around the council and committee table. 

There was a “Special Council” meeting held on Friday, July 3rd, 2015, to discuss one time sensitive item only.  Although the MRA were not present, we would like to emphasize that we have done our due diligence and have found out that process was followed at this meeting.  When the meeting was called to order there was a quorum of council present.  A vote was taken to decide if council would table an additional agenda item regarding a discussion of the use of Margaret Burgess Park by the Moon River Property Owners Association. The motion was defeated.  A second vote was then taken regarding hearing presenters speak on the use of Margaret Burgess Park.  This was also defeated.     We understand that people in the public seats were upset by the results of the votes, but that is due process. Council voted and like all votes, the majority rules.  It is absolutely unacceptable to disrupt public meetings to the point that a break had to be called.  This occurred not once but twice that day with the OPP being called the second time to ensure order.

Furthermore, it should be pointed out that Margaret Burgess Park is NOT property of the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  The land is owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and is currently leased to Swift River Energy Limited ~ the township has no say on its use.

We thank all our members who attended the AGM on July 18th and for their kind words following the meeting.


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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