Township Watch - July 2013

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Rooming Houses

Rooming houses in the Township of Muskoka Lakes were on the Council meeting agenda of Friday, July 12, 2013.  As the by-law currently stands there is no definition of a rooming house or controls in place to govern them.  The Official Plan allows for them in urban areas with a small one being a three bedroom unit and a larger on being five bedrooms.  It was questioned if five friends rent a cottage for the summer did that cottage then become a rooming house?   Cottage rentals are making this a problematic situation and it will ultimately come down to enforcement.

Civil Marriages

An application is being made to the province to authorize “the civil marriage solemnization in the Township of Muskoka Lakes”.  Once registered, the township clerk will be permitted to delegate her authority to the CAO to perform marriage ceremonies.  A marriage license will still need to be obtained from the proper agency.

Tim Horton's

The Planning Meeting on Monday, July 15, 2013 was run quickly and efficiently by Chair Burgress.   Five delegations were present for Zoning By-law/Official Plan Amendments and Site Plan, all were approved.  The most interesting being Bruce Wilson Road Holdings, who are proposing building a Tim Horton’s in the vacant land in front of Foodland, at the corner of Bruce Wilson Road and Medora Street.  A traffic light will need to be installed.  Their plans comply with the Official Plan and zoning by-laws, but their proposed design was not acceptable to the Planning Committee or members of the public ~ one member of the public was heard saying “it is ugly”.  Although Tim Horton’s agents were well receptive to suggestions that local materials be used in the construction of the building, that it be “Muskoka colours”, a peaked roof be used, etc… there is nothing in the by-laws that allow for the committees input into the architectural design.  Tim Horton’s are to return to the next Council meeting with revised architectural drawings.

Boat Ramps

The Clear Lakes Property Owners were back at the Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, in regards to a boat ramp on Clear Lake.   One councillor pointed out that the “Clear Lake side brought grace” to the discussions.  Following the delegations the committee discussed the pros and cons of the proposed boat ramp.  It was brought forth that the Township’s policy has always been that they do NOT close off public land, the key word is “public” and it should be open to the public.  Mayor Murphy equated a “public boat ramp” to the “public library” pointing out the library is not open all the time and public access is not 24/7, only hours of operation that “this council decides”.  The final resolution read that the public ramp would be open to the public from 9 to 1 daily with signage indicating the restricted hours.


It was unfortunate that during the above discussion Mayor Murphy cut off the chair when he was voicing his concerns stating “Point of Order, as chair you do not take part”.  Mayor Murphy certainly takes part in many discussions when she is chairing meetings.  After a short break, Councillor Brent handed over the chair to the vice chair so he could continue to voice his concerns regarding the road allowance being public and signage not being effective.  Further in the meeting during the Bala Cranberry Festival 2013 discussion, Mayor Murphy stated she had a few questions.  The chair replied “My friend Robert (Robert’s Rules) says 1 question and 1 supplemental”.  Contrary to what was stated by the Mayor “Your friend Robert does not (apply) at COW”, our research indicates that the chair was absolutely correct.  Robert’s Rules apply at all Township of Muskoka Lakes Council and Committee meetings.

Sunday Hunting

CAO Chris Wray presented a report to the Committee of the Whole on the Request for Sunday Hunting.  He recommended that the discussion be open to public comment and then revisited by the Committee.  Written submissions will be accepted for the two week period, which Mr. Wray says will be advertised in the local newspaper.

Town Hall Meeting

Mayor Murphy will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, August 17th 2013 from 9 to 11 AM at the Windermere Community Center.

We hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer.


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