In the June 1st, 2018 letter - Letter to Council - that the Muskoka Ratepayers' Association wrote to the Mayor, and council, and circulated to our members, we suggested that the Interim Control By-Law passed in May could “open the Township to potential law-suits”. This indeed is the case. See the following:
Legacy Cottages Sues Township of Muskoka Lakes For $22 Million In Damages; see press release here - Legacy Press Release
As reported in the September Township Watch - Township Watch - September 2018 - an application was before the COA and Council for an Official Plan Amendment, severance application and a zoning amendment application to create five lots. The severance application was deferred at COA for 30 days to review the information that was provided at the September meeting, while Council defeated their portion. The application returned to COA this month as unfinished business where staff advised that “no decision” should be made as the application has now been appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal in its entirety. Although those in opposition to the application asked Committee to defeat the application, committee members followed staff recommendations and no decision was made.
Grade nine students - Hailey Duggan and Eve Carreau, from Rosseau Lake College delegated Committee to talk about responsible development in Muskoka, specifically the Resort Village of Minett. Their presentation began with “We are the future of Muskoka. This development will have more of a long-term impact on our generation than yours”. They explained that they had read a newspaper article and were initially against the development. They asked a member of Council to speak to their class, who said he “would like that the environment stays the way it has always been”. Following this councillor's presentation, the class took a trip to Minett where they explored the area and spoke to individuals. The trip caused them to do further research and ask more questions. The students decided that if the development was done responsibly with concerns for the environment, ecosystem and over-development taken into consideration, the project should proceed. Their entire presentation can be read here - We Are the Future of Muskoka
Rosseau Lake College student Cindy Xie spoke next regarding the differences between China and Muskoka from the view-point of a visitor. Cindy spoke about the views, water and landscape in Muskoka but voiced concerns that noise pollution and gas in the lake may harm the environment. Cindy stated that she felt that in China it is too late to control the environmental pollution and therefore the “freeze” placed on the development in Minett was important to review the effects of pollution and development on the lake. The entire presentation can be read here - The Difference Between China and Muskoka
The owners of 2507-09 Windermere Road, Catherine Naismith and Robert Allsopp, applied to the Township to have their property designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. A consultant, Liz Lundell, was hired to do a property evaluation and confirmed that there was heritage value to the property. The application explained that over the years the owners have worked hard with their own hands to restore the property and it is their desire to ensure that the property remain in its restored state. Committee voted that a notice of intention be served on the property owners and the Ontario Heritage Trust, as well as advertised in the local paper. The resolution carried. To learn more about the property click here - Heritage
Representatives from the Bala Park Island Cottagers Association asked committee to revisit the parking restrictions recently placed on Currie Street in Bala. They explained that Currie Street like many roads in Muskoka is unique by nature and ends in front of a private garage. They explained that to maximize parking, owners park diagonally and close to each other in the designated parking area. If the parking restrictions remain in place on Currie Street, which is also used, they will be losing parking spots. Visitors who come up and spend money in Muskoka will have nowhere to leave their trucks and trailers while they enjoy time in Muskoka. It was explained that there used to be three marinas in Bala Bay but that has declined to only one and the 'No Parking' zone is making it difficult on property owners. A request was made to reduce the 'No Parking' zone from the entire street to commencing it at “the top of the hill”. Although the presenters asked that the No Parking signs be removed at the lower end of Currie Street, Committee felt these concerns could be noted in the minutes and that the incoming Council could have a fulsome discussion on the topic. No resolution was read.
A written request was submitted by the promoters of the Bala and Port Carling Farmers Markets for reduced rental fees for 2019, in the amount of $1,500.00. Following a brief discussion committee felt that this request should be part of budget deliberations and that it would be unfair to “stick” the new Council with a reduction of fees in the amount of $3,500.00. No resolution was read.
Ed Note: The MRA understands this is a loss of revenue but feels it is unfortunate that the request was not granted as we believe that the Farmers Markets attract people into Bala and Port Carling who spend money in the local stores as well.
The Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce delegated Committee to request a reduction in the rental fee of the Port Carling Community Centre for the Christmas Market on November 3rd, 2018. General Manager, Norah Fountain, explained that the Christmas Market aligns with the Township's economic development plan and brings people into the Township. Many local businesses take part in the market by either attending as vendors or opening their store fronts, along with other local home-based vendors who do not have actual stores. Although there is an entrance fee for vendors, these monies are used to advertise and promote the Christmas Market. If a rental fee was required the costs to the Chamber would outweigh the revenue they receive. Some committee members felt that the Chamber received monies through the budgetary process and therefore rental fees should not be waived. Others emphasized that the Market demonstrated economic development and the fees should be waived. It was decided that the Chamber return following the event, and if in a loss position, then the fees could be waived.
Ms. Fountain agreed to this proposal but explained that the Chamber would be required to reduce their advertising budget.
Ed Note: The MRA certainly hopes that the Chamber is refunded their rental fees as it has been standard practice over this term of Council to waive rental fees. A few examples are Winterfest, the Cranberry Festival, the beginning of July Legion event, and various organizations Annual General Meetings, etc.
According to the Municipal Act municipalities are required to appoint auditors. Council voted to appoint BDO Canada LLP as their auditor for years ending in December 2018, December 2019 and December 2020 on a year by year basis. A resolution was read and carried.
Council was asked to grant the closure of Maple Avenue from Muskoka Road 169 to River Street, Victoria Street from Maple Avenue to Burgess Ave, and Burgess Ave from Victoria Street to River Street in Bala from 5:30 PM to 10 PM on Saturday, December 1st, 2018 for the Trek to Bethlehem. No discussion occurred; a resolution was read and carried.
Council was then asked to grant permission to close a portion of Bala Falls Road, Burgess Avenue from Muskoka Road 169 to Victoria Street, Victoria Street from Burgess Avenue to Maple Avenue and Maple Avenue from Victoria Street to Muskoka Road 169 to vehicular traffic from 12 PM to 3 PM on Saturday, November 17th, 2018 for the Bala Santa Claus Parade. The resolution was read and carried with no discussion.
Members of Committee of the Whole discussed these appointments in Closed Session following the meeting on Thursday, October 11th, 2018. The appointment of members was removed from the Council agenda at the beginning of the meeting on Friday, October 12th, 2018. Following an in-camera meeting on Friday, October 12th, 2018 a resolution was read stating that the Township of Muskoka Lakes accepts the appointments to the Steering Committee. Names were not released at this time. The joint steering committee was subsequently approved by the District Planning and Economic Development committee and District Council Monday October 15th, 2018. A joint press release with the list of representatives can be found here - Minett Joint Policy Review
Ed Note: A Director with the MRA put their name forward for the committee but was not chosen to sit on the committee.
Director of Public Works, Roger Young, has resigned from his position at the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Mr. Young has taken a position in Vaughan. The MRA wishes Roger all the best in the future.
The MRA's position on development has been misconstrued by some, and we have published an article on our web site to state where we stand. It can be found at - The MRA and DevelopmentThe MRA was thrilled to hear that the Muskoka Lakes Fire Department had 23 people at their Open House on October 11th in Port Carling who were interesting in themselves, or their significant other becoming a firefighter for the Township of Muskoka Lakes. From this open house 16 have expressed interest to continue to the interview stage. We understand that there may be more interested as well. Interviews start the week of the 23th of October. These numbers are a sure indication that the fire department is on the right track.
Official Plan Review
Aug 16, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm