The MRA congratulates Andrea Glazier on her appointment as Secretary-Treasurer for the Committee of Adjustment.
On Friday May 15th there was an interesting zoning amendment application before council. Knight Developments delegated to have the United Church in Foot's Bay rezoned from institutional to community residential. This proposal was being put forth so that the church could be converted into a single family attainable housing unit. This application was made in conjunction with the MacTier United Church in the Township of Georgian Bay, which is proposed to be altered into four attainable housing units. Both the Township of Georgian Bay and the Township of Muskoka Lakes councils gave unanimous approval of these applications.
The lands for the Brock and Willa Wellness Centre were before Council for a zoning amendment on Friday, May 15th, 2015. The Wellness Centre, which is comprised of a nursing station, hospice and seniors' residence, were requesting that their lands be rezoned from Environmentally Protected 1 (EP1) to institutional. After hearing a written submission from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the District of Muskoka that included concerns regarding flooding, environmentally protected wetlands, archeological potential, proximity to an old land fill among others, members of the public had an opportunity to speak. These speakers were supportive of the project but were concerned that “tree cutting and back filling” had been done on EP1 lands which was also a wildlife corridor.
After a brief discussion council voted to defer the application.
When Council was adopting the minutes from the April 21st, 2015 Committee of the Whole meeting (COW), a request was made to pull one item from the package to vote on separately. A Swift River (SREL) working committee recommendation to lease township lands to SREL had been defeated at the April COW. An amendment was proposed to increase lease fees to $150,000.00 from $125,000 SREL had offered. Both the separate vote and the financial increase caused many questions on “process” to the point that a legal opinion was obtained in closed session. Following closed session there was further discussion as whether this resolution should be voted on at Council Friday May 15th, 2015 or be returned to COW for further public input. Amendments to return the resolution to COW and that a heritage report be received prior to any deal were defeated. Amendments to include previous criteria on the original resolution and that the public be allowed reasonable viewing access of the south falls during construction were carried. Prior to voting on the main motion the township solicitor explained that Council was voting on the resolution that had been defeated at the April 21st, 2015 COW meeting. Lease Resolution. The Township Clerk further explained that the procedural by-law allows for such a vote and that ultimately council made the decisions. The amended resolution was voted on and was carried 6 to 4.
A representative from Roger's communication was before the planning committee on Tuesday,
May 19th regarding four proposed mono pine cell towers in Muskoka. After a brief discussion the committee followed staff recommendation to circulate notification of these proposed towers to neighbours within 1 km of their location. The proposed locations are 1088 Bradley Road, 1301 Foreman Road, 1723 Muskoka Road 118 West and Hamill's Point Road. As the proposed tower on Bradley Road is to be over 30 meters in height a public meeting will be held at a future date - Proposed Cell Towers
Soventix Canada Inc was before the Planning Committee to discuss three potential solar farms in the Township. Two of the proposed sites are on Windermere Road east of Shea Road / Ambleside Lane, while the third is proposed to be located on highway 141 in the vicinity of Lucky Road. Ian Howes, the presenter, explained that these solar farms would be well back and buffered from the road and located in fields that require limited or no tree cutting. If these potential sites are accepted by the Ontario government, Soventix will ultimately sell them back to interested corporations or municipal groups. The resolution to inform immediate neighbours of the projects and consider council support on June 12th, 2015 was carried in a vote of seven to three. More information on the projects and the proponent can be found in the planning agenda package - Proposed Solar Farms
This presentation was followed by another potential solar farm project to be located on Doherty Road. Petawawa Renewable Power Corp. approached the municipality to lease township lands for a potential solar farm and would provide an opportunity for revenue to the township. If accepted by council there would be a 20 year lease on these unused township industrial lands for the fee of $150,000.00. This presentation was in front of the committee for information purposes only and no resolution was read.
A draft Code of Conduct (The Code) was presented by the interim CAO, Clayton Harris, at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015. Mr. Harris explained that he had reviewed the District code that was passed in June of 2014 and based this Township one on it.
The codes mainly deviate on how complaints are brought forward. Unlike the District's code, the Township code is a stand alone document. It allows for both formal and informal complaints, details the complaints process and has an integrity commissioner. The code outlines that once a complaint is filed; the integrity commissioner reviews the complaint and makes recommendations to council on how to deal with the complaint. There was a long discussion regarding the wording of the code with several suggestions being brought forth by committee members including that perhaps a fee be attached to a complaint. This fee would be refundable if the complaint was found to have merit but not so if it was deemed frivolous. The code was returned to staff for amendments and will return to the June COW meeting. The draft code can be found in the COW agenda package - Proposed Code of Conduct
The OPP costing model was in front of District Council this month. A notice of motion was put forth by Councillors Bob Young and Don Furniss that policing costs should not be based on the general levy as it is unfair for the townships. This is an extremely complicated issue that was downloaded onto lower tier governments by the Province of Ontario. As tax bills are due to be issued in one of the municipalities, a decision on the billing model was necessary. After a long and heated discussion on the topic it was obvious that the towns of Bracebridge, Huntsville and Gravenhurst would be voting together, as would the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay and Lake of Bays. Although, the vote passed to put the costs on the general levy, a committee to review the OPP costs has been set up and further discussions are to take place.
Once again, the MRA is disappointed to see unacceptable behaviour at the council table.
It is disheartening when a councillor makes comments such as “I do not see this council being able to work together”.
The 17th annual Mayor's Golf Classic will be played on Monday June 22, 2015.
To register or learn more click here - Mayor's Golf Tournament
To Renew your Membership or to Join the Muskoka Ratepayers' Association
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