Township Watch - June 2016

If you have not yet renewed your membership for 2016, please contact us at 

Should you need a blank membership form, one is available here -Membership Form - 2016 Membership Form - 2016

The MRA congratulates Township Development Planner Bryce Sharpe, and his Professor Wayne Caldwell, who will receive a Plan Canada Award in Quebec City in July for his planning thesis The Cart before the Horse:  Policy Perspectives on Farm Parcel Creation on Mennonite Farms.   According to the Plan Canada Award website “The article presents information that could influence other areas of planning. The article presents a model of farming and planning policy that allows for a return to more sustainable and environmentally sound farming practices, all with consideration to culture.”

The MRA also congratulates Laurie Forbes for being named Acting Secretary Treasurer for the July Committee of Adjustment meeting.

Committee of the Whole ~ Thursday, June 16, 2016

Presentation of Water Quality Model Update

Christy Doyle (Director of Environmental & Watershed Programs) and Summer Valentine (Director of Planning) at the District of Muskoka gave a presentation on the “Recreational Water Quality Review”.

They spoke how the water quality model protects the watershed in general.  The water quality model has been in existence for 30 years and indicates the health of lakes through phosphorus readings on over 650 lakes that cover 800 hectares.  The model undergoes review every 10 years with the most recent review being finalized last April.

Although the review showed that water quality is very good and phosphorus levels are stabilizing, it demonstrated that what occurs on land also impacts water quality considerably.  Attention needs to be paid to environmental stressors, as well.

A full comprehensive report can be found in the Committee of the Whole agenda on pages 15 to 250 on the Township web site - TML June 13 COW Agenda Package.

House Rental Presentation

A private property owner was before committee to discuss how two cottage properties near her were being used as “hotels”.  The cottage adjacent to her property was rented to up to 14 individuals last summer.  This year it is advertised as being able to accommodate 18.  Such use of this adjacent property has disturbed her family's peaceful enjoyment of their property as the renters:

  • Leave garbage outside,
  • Set off fireworks,
  • Drink & swear,
  • Party late into the night, and
  • Do not adhere to Muskoka Etiquette.

This individual explained to Committee that taxpayers depend on Council and Committees members to protect them.  Although a request was made to limit the number of people who can use the property, committee members explained that:           

  • They sympathize with her,
  • They understand this is a huge issue and it will continue to grow,
  • It is very hard to regulate, and
  • They do not have the tools or resources to tackle the problem.

There was no resolution to be read.

Mayor Bob Young ~ Lake of Bays

Mayor Young explained to committee of the whole that he was before them as a District of Muskoka councillor who is looking for equal representation at the district council table.  District council is comprised of 22 seats with elected representative from Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville and the Township of Muskoka Lakes holding four seats each, while Georgian Bay and Lake of Bays only have three seats.  This allows the “towns” to have a “veto” over the “Townships” on votes.

Borrowing By-Law

Treasurer, Shannon Johnson, explained to committee that this by-law is passed yearly.  In the past the Township has had a line of credit of three million dollars which was used to off-set spending while taxes were being collected.  Ms Johnson has been working with the bank manager to arrange three types of credit:

  • Increase the current line of credit to six million dollars
  • Three million to assist in financing and/or leasing new equipment, and
  • An increase on the Township's visa to $600,000.00 with 1% cash back.

The resolution was carried.

Draft Fireworks By-Law

As reported in the May Township Watch (Township Watch - May 2016) the Township is considering a fireworks by-law.  Fire Chief Richard Hayes presented the draft by-law to prohibit and regulate the setting off of fireworks.  Section 2d of the draft states “consumer fireworks shall not be fired within the Township Sunday through Thursday of each week without a permit”.  Fireworks may still be fired on specific holidays such as Canada Day and Victoria Day.  For more information on permits, exemptions and offenses and penalties please refer to the draft by-law (Fireworks Fireworks).

The resolution was carried at a vote of 8 to 2.  If you have comments or concerns about this by-law please contact your councillors as it must still be ratified by council once it has been reviewed by Township solicitors.

The Kee 75th Anniversary Event

Committee was informed that the event that had previously been scheduled for Saturday, July 16th has been canceled.  Although The Kee hopes to reschedule in August, no date was proposed.

Council ~ Friday, June 17, 2016

The Cove Marina

As reported in the May Township Watch the Cove's application to extend their docks was defeated by Council.  (Township Watch - May 2016)  Owners David and Michael Shaw submitted a separate application requesting a temporary use by-law which would allow the marina to re-install floating docks which were removed for non-compliance issues.  Their request was for docks 169 feet in length for a two year period.  Presentations were given to Council by those both for and against the application. 

Those is support stated, in many different fashion, that there is a severe demand for boat slips/docking for water access properties, including island properties.  And that “boat's are Muskoka's cars”.

Those against the application questioned why another application was before Council when the previous dock expansion had been defeated.  Residents in Foot's Bay are frustrated by the process and feel that surrounding properties need to be taken into consideration, not just the marina's desire to expand.

Director of Planning, David Pink, explained that although the last application to extend the docks had been turned down there was nothing to prevent a new application from being brought forward.   

Members of council discussed the application, they questioned/stated:

  • If any complaints had been receive regarding the floating docks, prior to their removal for non-compliance late last season?  Mr. Pink did not know of any complaints.
  • If those opposed had made contact with, or attempted to contact, the marina operators?  One member of the public said he had.
  • That boat traffic in Muskoka was expanding,
  • Council must also help the islanders who are being punished by the lack of mainland boat parking,
  • That marinas are needed to sell boats, gas, repair boats and
  • That the by-law before them was for a temporary use, while they looked for a permanent solution.

In a recorded vote, the resolution to allow the temporary use of floating dock passed first, second and third readings 9 to 1.

Bala Waterski Show

Summer Water Sports requested the use of Windsor Park on Tuesday Evenings from June 28th to August 30th for their waterski show which begins at 7:30 PM.  The 2016 season marks the 43rd year of ski shows in Bala.  The request was passed by Council.

Fire Service Vehicle Replacement

A replacement vehicle for the Torrance Fire Hall was in the 2016 budget at a cost of $70,000.00.  Chief Hayes reported to Council that a vehicle has been found under budget at Greavette Chevrolet Pontiac Buick Cadillac, GMC Ltd in Bracebridge.  Total cost of the vehicle with ancillary equipment is $60,199.07 ~ $9,800.00 under budget.

Duke House Student Housing

Recently the Muskoka Lakes Museum in Port Carling approached Georgian College to develop a “summer internship program”.  As with all summer jobs, locating affording housing in Muskoka is a challenge.  During discussions between Township and Museum staff, it was suggested that the Township rent the second storey of the Duke House to these students for the summer months.  This has been done, generating a small revenue for the Township.  This item was on the agenda for informational purposes only.


It is important to remember that there is no daytime burning in the

Township of Muskoka Lakes between April 1st to October 31

without daytime burning permits.


We hope to see everyone at our AGM on July 16th, 2016




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Apr 11, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
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