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Friends of Muskoka Waves Newsletter

WAVES XVII - SPECIAL ISSUE

Township of Muskoka Lakes’ Official Plan Review

Community Vision Survey

Fill out TML’s Survey to Help Shape Muskoka's Future!


What is your vision for Muskoka?  Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) is seeking our views on the Vision Statement for the next Official Plan.  Now is your chance to input your views into this process.  TML has circulated this Survey and will use the answers to draft the Official Plan policies that will guide decisions affecting development and the environment in Muskoka Lakes for the next 5-10 years.

Hard copies of the Survey are also available at the Township Offices, 1 Bailey Street, Port Carling.

The Survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, and will close on Friday August 9th. We strongly encourage you to complete it now, and ask your friends and family to complete it as well. 

What is a Vision Statement?

The Vision Statement sets the direction for the policies in the Official Plan, including the emphasis placed on protecting the environment and natural character, and how economic growth and development will be pursued.

TML’s current OP has this Vision Statement:

“The Township of Muskoka Lakes will continue to grow and continue to change. The Official Plan recognizes and supports the Township of Muskoka Lakes as a vibrant, prosperous community. Its lakes and rivers are preeminent resources that define the municipality and are vital to the Township’s character and economy.” 

By comparison, Seguin Township, which incorporates the northern portions of Lake Joe and Lake Rosseau, and Georgian Bay Township have  the following visions and goals in their OPs:

Excerpts from Seguin Township Official Plan’s Vision:

“The Township will develop as a community that is protective of lake quality and character, sound financially, supportive of appropriate employment opportunities, provides choices for housing, and preserves the natural heritage features of the Township.” 

“The Township has a number of significant environmental and natural heritage features that contribute to the ‘sense of place’ felt by many of the Township’s residents… The protection of these attributes is a key underlying principle in this Official Plan and for this reason, this Official Plan establishes an ‘Environment-First’ philosophy in the Township. This means that the environment will be given priority over economic or social development when making all land use and public works decisions.”

Excerpt from Georgian Bay Official Plan’s Goals:

“Environment: To protect, support, and enhance natural heritage and natural environmental assets. Economy: To focus on economic prosperity, responsibly develop the economy, and build on environmental assets. Society and Culture: To celebrate the Township’s heritage and focus on cultural and community assets. To provide for a policy framework that recognizes the distinct and varied nature of the Township in the coastal areas, inland areas and Settlement Areas.”

Come and express your views at the Public Meeting in Port Carling on August 16, 2019!


TML Council’s Planning Committee is holding a public meeting to hear the community’s views on the Official Plan at 9:00am on Friday, August 16th at the Port Carling Community Centre. We encourage you to attend and express your views to our Mayor and Councillors about how you would like to see Muskoka Lakes protected and developed over the next 5-10 years. 

Unable to attend?  You can email comments to planning@muskokalakes.ca

The Planning Committee is particularly interested in hearing comments about these key issues that are outlined in this excerpt from TML’s Request for Proposal on the OP review:
  • Recreational carrying capacity*
  • Environmental policies
  • Lake health policies
  • Shared economy issues (such as Airbnb, Uber, etc)
  • Waterfront access policies
  • Floodplain
  • Housing
*Recreational Carrying Capacity is the amount of activity that can be reasonably accommodated on a given body of water without either unduly damaging the environmental condition of the lake or unreasonably impeding the peaceable enjoyment and safety of other users.  

More information and helpful links are available on the Muskoka Lakes Official Plan Review website.

District vs Township Official Plans - a clarification


Both District and Township Official Plans guide decisions made by Councils.  The District OP (DOP) sets the overarching Vision for the District of Muskoka.  The Township of Muskoka Lakes OP (TML OP) guides activity and decision-making in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, one of 6 towns and townships under the District umbrella.  The District has completed the process of reviewing its Official Plan, with the exception of its resort policies, which we and others challenged in November 2017.   We continue to work with District politicians and planners on these resort policies.  The revised DOP will be in place for the next 20 years. 

The Township of Muskoka Lakes has begun reviewing its Official Plan, which will be in place for 5+ years. The Township of Muskoka Lakes officials have an opportunity to include provisions in the TML OP that will protect Muskoka’s environment for generations - including provisions such as a Recreational Carry Capacity threshold for development, and an Environment First philosophy.

If an Environment First philosophy is incorporated into the TML OP, it will give direction to non-elected planning staff that Muskoka’s future should not be modeled after Collingwood or Lower Simcoe which approved the 4,000 unit ‘Friday Harbour’ development.  Muskoka deserves a future developed in the same environmentally responsible way as Seguin Township that shares Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph with us.

Fire Warning!

Please be aware that there is a Total Fire Ban across Muskoka. The Fire Danger Rating is set to EXTREME. No Fires. No Fireworks. No burning of any kind. One spark can destroy entire shorelines and communities. If you see someone making a fire - tell them to put it out, to protect Muskoka. 

Fill in the survey and then get back to the dock! Have a great summer. FOM

FRIENDS OF MUSKOKA

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.

JOIN FRIENDS OF MUSKOKA

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.
JOIN FRIENDS OF MUSKOKA

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