Township Watch - March 2016

Planning Committee of the Whole - Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Watershed Planning Technician

Rebecca Willison presented to the committee a report on the District of Muskoka's Lakes System Health Monitoring program.  In 2015 84 sites on 70 lakes across the district were tested for chemicals, 17 of those sites were located on 13 lakes in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  During 2016 they will monitor 85 sites on 68 lakes across the district with 27 sites on 17 lakes in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  The program also monitors lakes for shoreline surveys, benthic, and terrestrial, as well as running a “Love Your Lake” program.   Please click apsdjpaosjdp[ Monitoring Muskoka's Lakes to read the entire report

Bill 73 Smart Growth for our Communities Act

Director of Planning, David Pink, explained to the committee that Bill 73, which has changes to the Development Charges Act and the Planning Act, passed at the Ontario legislature and has been given royal assent.  Although the changes have not - to date - taken effect once they do there will be some significant changes.

For a more details please see  1603 - PCOW - 43-46.pdf Smart Growth for the report.

Planning Meetings

With the change in Township policy, completed Planning applications go directly to Council and are no longer reviewed by the Planning Committee.  As a result there is little to report on.

Committee of the Whole - Thursday, March 17th, 2016


As reported in the February Township Watch, senior staff were charged with reviewing the budget to find savings of $200,000.00.   CAO, Steve McDonald explained to the committee that senior staff reviewed their budgets looking for “need to have” items versus “nice to have” items.  As well as taking community benefits into account - the committee was presented with a list of items (1603 - COW - 23-24.pdf Item List) that totaled $304,800.00.  Following a brief discussion the “purchase of lands” for $100,000.00 and the paving of the Walkers Point Community Centre parking lot for $35,000.00 were put back into the budget.

Treasurer, Shannon Johnson explained to the committee that the majority of these savings were coming from Park Reserves.  The savings to the discretionary reserves was $86,000.00 or less than 1 %.

ATV Use on Township Roads

As reported in the January Township Watch (Township Watch - January) the committee of the whole voted to allow ATV's on Township roads.  Although approved in principal, the committee requested to see the by-law before it was ratified by council.  Deputy Fire Chief Baranik presented the draft by-law to committee who questioned its wording.  Councillors wanted to know:

  • Why ATV's were limited to being on the road from sunrise to sunset,
  • Why they must travel on the shoulder, as the Township does not have sidewalks for pedestrians who also use the shoulders,
  • How / where will the ATV's be allowed in the towns and
  • Why will this by-law be applied Township wide and not just in Walkers Point as was originally requested. 

It was explained to the committee that the by-law was drafted according to the Highway Traffic Act and had been submitted to the OPP.  All roads in the municipality are closed to ATV traffic until the municipality opens them, therefore it is up to the Township to decide which roads are acceptable for use and which are not.  Prior to the by-law being ratified, it was requested that Inspector Medved come and speak to the committee.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Water Pre-Freshet Update

Deputy Fire Chief Baranik provided a verbal report to committee on the “pre-freshet”.  According to information provided by the MNRF all indications are that the watershed is currently normal, although with the early spring the watershed is one month ahead of where is usually would be.  It is anticipated that there should be no flooding in the area with the freshet this year. 

2016 Port Carling Farmers' Market

Committee passed a resolution permitting the Port Carling Farmers' Market to use Hanna's Park for their farmers market again in 2016.  The market will run between 7 AM to 3 PM on Thursdays from June 23rd to September 1st.

Council - Friday, March 18th, 2016


The budget returned to council on Friday for adoption.  Treasurer Shannon Johnson explained that with the changes from the day before, the Park Reserves were being drawn down by $1,028,996.00.  Capital expenses were drawing down the reserves by $4,390,777.00.  This will leave the discretionary reserves at 45.5% while in 2014 the Provincial average was 47.9%.

The 2016 Township budget was passed with a levy of 4.02% or an increase of $1.80 per $100,000.00 of property assessment.  Please click 1603 - Approved Budget.pdf Approved Budget for a copy of the final budget.

Bala Farmers' Market

A rezoning application was before Council for the parcel of land on which the Bala Farmers' Market was held in 2015.  While the applicant and volunteer manager of the market spoke in favour of the application, one business owner spoke against it.  As well there were several written submissions against it.  After a long discussion which included parking and safety concerns, not only were the lands not rezoned by a unanimous vote, Council also would not extend the temporary use of the lands as a Farmers' Market. 

District Updates

Councillor Harding reported that a consultant has been hired by the District of Muskoka to review safety aspects of Peninsula Road.  It is anticipated that revised speed limits will be posted along the road with speeds being both increased and decreased in places.

Comprehensive Zoning By-Law Appeals

Resolutions from closed session stated that the Township solicitor was to enter into minutes of settlements with three of the appellants.  Of the 18 initial appeals, three were withdrawn and minutes of settlement have been agreed to on a total of six more, leaving nine outstanding appeals.

The MRA wishes everyone a Happy Easter.

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and on Facebook at Muskoka Ratepayers' Association


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