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Friends of Muskoka Waves Newsletter


A state of emergency has been declared by several municipalities throughout the District of Muskoka. (Photo: Jean-Francois Morissette/CBC)


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Muskoka’s lakes and rivers are experiencing major floods this year, with large amounts of spring run-off and rain passing through the watershed system. The District of Muskoka has declared a state of emergency due to excessive flooding as have three area municipalities including: Town of Bracebridge, Town of Huntsville, Township of Muskoka Lakes. The District is in regular contact with all area municipalities and continues to actively support flood relief efforts in Muskoka. 

“The main focus of our Emergency Control Group is to continue to provide support to the efforts of area municipalities impacted and to ensure that resources are in place to support both relief and recovery efforts in all of our area municipalities during and after this historic flooding event,” said Chair Klinck. 
Muskoka’s lakes and rivers are experiencing some of the worst flooding on record.
The flood warning issued by the District of Muskoka and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is described at this link

Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding explains the root of the problem in his April 25th Facebook post: “Regrettably lake levels are controlled by the Province and the MNRF who follow the Muskoka River Water Management Plan (MRWMP). This plan however is significantly out of date as it came into effect in 2006. The Liberal government rubber stamped a 5 year extension to this plan in 2016 - compounding this problem is that when the plan was created it used data from the 80's or 90's - absent climate change information - and as such the plan does not address the issues facing property owners in 2019 let alone going forward.” Mayor Harding also describes who you can contact at the Province to express your concerns, and what you can do to protect your property. Full post captured here

Important information and helpful resources detailed in District of Muskoka press release here

The Township of Muskoka Lakes has created a 2019 Muskoka Lakes Flood Information page with resources for local residences here.


The LPAT hearing for the Legacy Cottages development on Lake Rosseau was scheduled for May 22 - 24, 2019. However, it has been postponed by LPAT until the summer at the earliest while a procedural question that applies to all LPAT hearings is determined by the court. 

Friends of Muskoka became a party to this hearing, since we oppose the proposal to build 43 year-round residential cottages on 470’ of shoreline on a property that is zoned for a commercial resort.

We will let you know when the new hearing date has been set.


The LPAT hearing into two developments on Lake Muskoka -- Villas of Muskoka (formerly Tamwood Lodge) and Touchstone Resorts (formerly Aston Villas) -- that began in November 2018 has concluded. 

During three days on April 16 - 18, evidence was presented by our planning and resort experts, and by neighbour and FOM Director Janet Griffin. A key issue is whether these developments are actually commercial resorts, or whether the developers are marketing and selling residential units on property zoned for commercial use (ie. ‘fake resorts’). Click here for more information. 

Since there was not enough time for the lawyers representing the various parties to make their closing arguments, they will make them in writing over the coming weeks. We were not given a time frame for a decision - stay tuned.  


In Waves XIII we described the significance of Ontario government’s review of dual tier municipal governments in eight regions, including the upper-tier District of Muskoka and its six lower-tier municipalities (Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Georgian Bay, Lake of Bays and Township of Muskoka Lakes). 

The government has extended its deadline for public comments to May 21. You may send an email or letter, or complete an online survey - instructions and additional information are at this link

Friends of Muskoka is preparing a submission and has applied to present to the Province’s advisors when they are in Muskoka on May 14. Our position is outlined on our SaveMuskoka website.

We encourage our supporters to make their voices heard on this important issue that is likely to make a significant impact on all of Muskoka.


Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) Council has voted unanimously to renew the Minett Interim Control By-law for 12 months until May 17, 2020. However, Council voted to exclude Legacy Cottages from the ICBL based on legal advice they received at an in-camera meeting.  A property owner on Peninsula Road who plans to build a garage was also excluded.

Friends of Muskoka delegated at the Council meeting, and supported the 12 month renewal of the ICBL while the Minett Joint Policy Review Steering Committee completes its studies and makes recommendations that will benefit not just Minett, but all of Muskoka.

Although FOM is confident that Council gave the exclusion of Legacy careful consideration after receiving legal advice, it is unfortunate that this property is being excluded since it is such an irresponsible development with 43 year-round residential cottages on 470’ of shoreline, where the developer clear cut the property. 

As a result of Legacy being excluded from the ICBL, Legacy could now receive its remaining 32 building permits, for a total of 43 building permits originally permitted. However, Legacy has not yet received condominium approval for the units, which has been delayed as a result of an LPAT hearing. As described above under ‘LPAT Hearing for Legacy Cottages Postponed’, the LPAT hearing will take place at the earliest this summer.  


Friends of Muskoka are a group of dedicated volunteers working to protect and to preserve the natural environment and unique character of Muskoka by promoting responsible use and development of its land and lakes. Friends of Muskoka believe that the environment IS the economy in Muskoka since millions of people come to Muskoka and invest here because of its clean water and natural, treed shorelines. Our lakes, forests and rivers are a resource that can drive Muskoka’s economy for decades to come if we put the environment first. To this end, Friends of Muskoka is trying to stop residential subdivisions on the waterfront in Muskoka and will work to enshrine sustainable development in the Municipal and District Official Plans.


You can help Friends of Muskoka to protect and to preserve the natural environment and unique character of Muskoka by promoting responsible use and development of its land and lakes.


Click here and bookmark our constantly updated calendar of events or click here to download and import / subscribe to the Friends of Muskoka calendar in your desktop or phone calendar application.


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