A special council meeting was called regarding The Cove Marina expansion. As was reported in the April Township Watch (April 2016 - Township Watch) the council agreed in principal to the dock expansions at the marina. Although both sides did make compromises a mutual agreement was not reached prior to the meeting. The Cove was willing to reduce the dock length from 90 meters (in the April request) to 70 meters. Concerned community members in the area had agreed to 60 meters which is a difference of six boat slips. After input from concerned members of the public, Council asked questions regarding:
It was suggested that the development be phased in with the north dock, The Cove's gas dock, being built first and the south dock the following year. After discussion and comments, amendments to the resolution were made to permit the dock length as shown on a plan that was to be attached to the resolution and that the south dock would be placed in a “holding zone” until approvals were received by Transport Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and site plan. These amendments carried at a vote of five to three. The resolution to give third reading to The Cove expansion was then read and defeated in a tie vote.
According to Director of Planning, David Pink, cottage rentals in Muskoka are becoming a large issue with increased complaints that waterfront properties are being rented for shorter periods of time, even as short as one night. Planning staff emphasized that renting cottages is a long standing tradition in Muskoka which the Township of Muskoka Lakes has always allowed and they were not suggesting that it be regulated. They were just bringing it to the committee's attention for informal purposes only. Some municipalities are suggesting that rentals less than 90 days be banned, while others are saying rentals less than 30 days should not be allowed. Committee members voiced their concerns that:
It was decided that staff would keep track of the number of complaints registered over the upcoming cottage season, as well as what type of complaints ~ parking, noise, trespass, fireworks etc.
Director of Public Works, Roger Young, informed the committee that they have had two requests for Community Gardens. The first was brought forth by Port Carling Community in Bloom who wish to have a small garden in Hanna Park to provide produce for seniors who are unable to afford them. The second request was from the Milford Bay Community Centre Hall Board to have a garden which will also donate its produce to seniors. The resolution was passed and will be ratified by Council in June.
Fire Chief Hayes was before the committee seeking advice on a potential fireworks by-law, to read his full report ( Fireworks). This issue was before the committee on April 14th, 2016 and staff was charged with returning it to the committee with options for a by-law regulating use of fireworks in the Township. Chief Hayes explained that no other municipalities in the district have a fireworks by-law. It would be very challenging to enforce such a by-law. However, there does exist an opportunity to educate the public on the proper use of fireworks. Committee members suggested that a by-law would be hard to enforce, but with no by-law in place there is no way to control fireworks from not being fired nightly, as is happening in one community. Chief Hayes was requested to draft a by-law for committee to review that would:
Chief Hayes will return to the committee with the by-law and then it will need to be ratified by council.
EDITORIAL NOTE: One councillor suggested that the public be consulted on this potential by-law. If you have concerns for or against this potential by-law, we suggest you contact your municipal councillors. Use of fireworks is currently regulated by the noise by-law which prohibit their use after 11 PM and the burning by-law which does not allow their use during fire ratings of “high” and “extreme”.
On Saturday, July 16th, 2016 the Kee to Bala will celebrate 75 years of music in Muskoka. This is a full day celebration with family events running from 12 PM to 5 PM including tours of the Kee which include the history of the venue, outdoor live music, live radio broadcasts. Ticketed and licensed events will begin at 8 PM to 2 AM with an outdoor stage for numerous rock and roll bands. Promoters of the event anticipate upwards of 2,500 in attendance for the evening.
Following a committee discussion that included the following concerns:
A resolution was read that:
This resolution carried and must now be ratified by Council in June.
As previously reported Council passed the 2016 budget on March 18th, 2016 (March 2016 - Township Watch). Treasurer, Shannon Johnson, presented the final tax rate for 2016 which indicated that the Township of Muskoka Lakes has the lowest residential tax rate of all the municipalities in the District of Muskoka. Of the taxes charged to Township residential property owners 51% of the levy goes to the District, 31% to various School Boards, while 18% remain in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. A complete breakdown of taxes can be found here ( Tax Information)
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) challenged municipal goverments to “donate in support of those affected by the devastating Fort McMurray Wildfires in Alberta”. After a brief discussion Council voted to donate $5,000.00 to the Fort McMurray Disaster relief efforts.
Campbell Strategies has been lobbying the Provincial government on behalf of the Township of Muskoka Lakes regarding OPP costing. As Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay are also effected by the police services costs within the District of Muskoka, they too participated. Mayor Furniss reported to Council that the three Chief Administrative Officers attended a meeting for the Police Services Act and meetings have taken place with policy advisors. Although headway is being made with the current “funding formula for the sharing of police service costs with the District of Muskoka” the Township will be carrying $3.3 million dollars of costs. Council voted four to three in favour of extending Campbell Strategies’ agreement to obtain a fair funding formula.
Councillor Harding, Chair of Engineering and Public Works at the District, reported to Council that a contractor was not found to rebuild the small locks this spring as scheduled. To ensure that the locks are available for public use this coming season a temporary repair was completed, and the locks will be rebuilt next year.
A resolution from closed session read that “Bala Falls Road be updated to include a commemorative naming and a memorial plaque honouring the late Gerry Dunn be placed in the vicinity of The Kee to Bala, formally Dunn's Pavilion, in recognition of the lasting impact of Gerry Dunn and Dunn's Pavilion, to the community of Bala and the Township of Muskoka Lakes”. The Director of Public Works, Councillor Nishikawa and a representative from the Dunn family will arrange for the wording and location of the plaque.
The MRA wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable May long weekend.
To Renew your Membership or to Join the Muskoka Ratepayers' Association
MRA - Board Meeting
Feb 24, 2018 9:00am to 1:00pm
TML - Committe of Adjustment
Mar 14, 2018 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Committee of the Whole
Mar 15, 2018 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Council
Mar 16, 2018 9:00am to 12:00pm