Township Watch - November 2013

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The MRA made a presentation on Tuesday, November 19th to committee of the whole on the topic of Bubbler Systems and the risk associated with them.  Under the Canadian Criminal Code, section 263(1), a person that causes an opening in the ice and fails to advise the public of the danger is liable to charges, including manslaughter, if a death accident occurs.  The MRA feel it is time these systems have a level of control to operate by.  Why not attach this issue to the Township dock and boathouse by-laws already in place?  As Muskoka has the largest concentration of boathouses and docks in Ontario, the use and often overuse of bubblers to protect them is increasing.  The MRA developed a set of guidelines for the Township of Muskoka Lakes to consider which included:

  • Develop Township guidelines, perhaps with the assistance of a consultant.  These guidelines should address safety signage, warning lighting, fencing, limit the area to be protected.
  • A Township permit would be required before installation of a bubbler system was started.
  • Anyone wanting to install an “Ice Away” system would need to demonstrate the need of such a system to the Township.
  • Owners would need the consent of adjacent shoreline owners potentially affected by such an installation.
  • Owners would be required to provide evidence that the system would be monitored weekly or bi-weekly for compliance.

Touchstone on Lake Muskoka

The new owners of Touchstone on Lake Muskoka were before the planning committee on Monday, November 18, 2013 to discuss a Memorandum of Understanding that was entered into between the previous owners and the Township in 2008.  The memorandum stated that a sewage treatment plant would be constructed prior to the 48th unit or by December 31, 2013, whichever came first.  According to planner Margaret Walton the reality is that the new owners need time to construct the plant.   Ms Walton requested that if committee was not willing to remove the date fully, to consider granting a three year extension.  Touchstone continues to use their sewage lagoons which are monitored by engineers monthly, and discharged into Lake Muskoka twice a year.  It was discussed that benchmarks/timelines be put in place and a letter of credit/application bond be issued to the Township.  The Township does not want to lose another resort.  It was decided that legal advice was required regarding the implications of “default” when the plant is not completed by December 31, 2013.

YMCA Camp Pinecrest

As it has been in the past, YMCA Camp Pinecrest on Clear Lake was a contentious issue at the planning committee.    Pinecrest was before the committee to request a change in zoning as they wish to expand the camp by 45 000 square feet.  Public meetings were held in 2010 regarding this expansion where a number of issues were raised by the community.  Neighbours and the Clear Lake Property Owners Association delegated their opposition to this development.  It was repeatedly stated that the camp has not been working with the neighbours causing an air of distrust.  Although the camp last season used school buses to transport some of the campers, neighbours are still concerned about the traffic on the road.  One neighbour stated that there certainly is a failure to communicate between both sides and that he felt the solution should be mediation, as bilateral discussions are not accomplishing anything.    

Once the discussion went to the committee, Clear Lake Road and its traffic quickly took over the camp’s proposed change in zoning.  It was stated that the traffic reports that were provide should be sent to Public Works to be “peer reviewed”, including the Township’s own report.  Unfortunately the discussion digressed to issues that included the fact that the YMCA is a charitable organization, how the YMCA wishes to spend their money on this development, what happens when and if the camp is sold, that a weight restriction be put on the road and went so far as to question the weight of a two tiered coach liner.  Chair Burgess did not limit questions by the committee, with one member stating that they realized they were well over their allotted questions.  As Chair, Councillor Burgess took part far too frequently in the discussion.  In the end, the issue was deferred for mediation which was far off the topic of a zoning by-law change and not within the purview of the township.

Council Code of Conduct

Two separate Council Code of Conducts (the “Code”) were circulated at committee of the whole, with copies being provided to the gallery.  Although there were a great deal of similarities between the two, the Code from the District of Muskoka did not include the hiring of an Integrity Commissioner.  As it was brought forth that councillors had not had an opportunity to review both Codes and that they were awaiting a staff report, this issue will be returning to next cycle of meetings.



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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