Township Watch - October 2014

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The MRA would like to welcome Rian Allen to his new position as Senior Planner with the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  Rian is a registered professional planner who brings experience from the County of Huron and City of Waterloo.

Bala Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan

The statutory public meeting, as laid out in the Heritage Act, was held for the Bala Heritage Conservation District on Friday, October 17th, 2014.  Eleven written submissions were read with seven of them in opposition to the “plan” as, among other reasons, the boundaries made no sense.  There was a lack of rationale to the study and plan, the views were not defined and there was no merit to it.  Although no formal presentation was given, consultant Daniel Currie from MHBC, addressed concerns raised in the letters quoting sections of the Heritage Act as reference.  Mr. Currie then addressed the “shadowing and views”, explaining that properties along the shoreline that can be seen from the Heritage District are not part of the plan and are expected to change over time.   This was followed by six delegations, five opposed and one in favour.  Those in opposition were three private citizens, an agent from Swift River Energy Limited as well as a lawyer for Canadian Pacific Railways who emphasized that the Heritage District cannot legally interfere with the CPR as they are governed by the Federal Railway Act.  There were no questions asked by the councillors, although some did offer comments:

  • Other Ontario Municipalities are embracing Heritage Districts,
  • That this will have a tremendous impact on the community,
  • That other structures can be added at later dates,
  • Properties within the Heritage District that are to be excluded leaving only three parking lots. 

The resolution passed in a recorded vote of six to two. (Two councillors were absent from the meeting).

YMCA Camp Pinecrest 

Representatives from Clear Lake Property Owners Association, Clear Lake Road Committee and a spokesperson for the property owners of Gullwing and Echo Lakes came to council requesting that a decision be made regarding the YMCA camp expansion.  They asked council to defeat the by-law to rezone a portion of the property, as they felt it would provide them with a better stand at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Hearing.  A pre-hearing has already taken place, with five days scheduled in April 2015 for an OMB Hearing. 

Comprehensive Zoning By-Law 

Draft 4 of the Comprehensive Zoning By-Law was discussed on Friday, October 17th, 2014 with three written submission being read and one private delegation.  Although not on the agenda, the Muskoka Home Builders Association was given an opportunity to delegate as well.  They are not against the by-law but feel there are far reaching effects for individuals who are currently designing their homes, and asked that the by-law not be implemented for a given amount of time.  Director of Planning, Mr. Pink, understood their concerns but said that no matter when the comprehensive zoning by-law is passed there would always be someone who is in the middle of a design and that the comprehensive zoning by-law was either in effect or not, there was no other option.  Although in September the planning committee had agreed to give the Muskoka Home Builders a 90 day grace period between when the by-law was posted on the Township web site and when it went into effect that has changed as 90 days will be the middle of December and a new council will be in place.   It was agreed that the by-law would be given first and second reading on November 14th, and a special council meeting would be held on November 28th to give the by-law third reading. 

Lakeside Lodge

The redevelopment of Lakeside Lodge was in front of the planning committee for three and a half hours on Monday, October 20th.  The developer and his planner decided to bring it back before the planning committee one last time prior to appealing the lack of decision to the OMB.  A major concern of the committee and many in the public seats was that the old sewage system be decommissioned immediately and a new one put in place. 


The MRA is continually amazed at how delegates are not called at their designated times.  This cycle one delegation was kept waiting for close to an hour before their application was called.




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