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Friends of Muskoka Waves Newsletter

WAVES XVI

Summer 2019 is finally here. Happy Canada Day Muskoka!

 IN THIS ISSUE:

(Press  to return to this index)

 UPDATE ON LEGACY COTTAGES DEVELOPMENT 


As we reported in Waves XVI in April, the hearing for the Legacy Cottages development on Lake Rosseau was postponed while a procedural question was being determined by the court. A new hearing date has been set for October 16 - 18, 2019 at the District’s offices in Bracebridge. 

The developer is proposing to build 43 condominium units on 470’ of shoreline property that is zoned for a commercial resort. Friends of Muskoka became a party to this hearing because we oppose these 43 units being used as residential cottages when the zoning for one residential cottage requires a minimum of 200’ of shoreline and other restrictions that protect our lakes from over-development.

Legacy’s developers are now permitted to receive their remaining 32 building permits for the 43 units they plan to build, as a result of TML Council’s decision to lift the Minett interim control by-law (ICBL) from Legacy’s property and a recent Court of Appeal decision. The Court ruled that Council did not have sufficient planning justification to apply the ICBL to Legacy. 

We are very surprised at this Court finding, since the lower court ruled that Council did not act in ‘bad faith’ when it applied the ICBL to Legacy. Council had decided that an ICBL was needed in order to pause development in the Minett area while it conducted studies into what scale and type of development is appropriate. As a result, the District of Muskoka and the Township of Muskoka Lakes set up a joint Steering Committee with representation from relevant stakeholders to review the Minett policies and make recommendations concerning changes that reflect current economic, environmental and community considerations. We expect to hear from the Steering Committee later this year. 

Our lawyer has confirmed that this decision of the Court of Appeal will not impact the October hearing which will consider the question of usage, not the issuance of building permits. At issue in the hearing is whether the 43 units may be operated as de facto residential condominium cottages on a property zoned for 100% commercial usage. 

 WORKING COMMITTEE HAS BEEN STRUCK FOR TML’S OFFICIAL PLAN REVIEW 


The Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) has struck a Working Committee to assist with the review of its Official Plan that will impact development in the township for the next 10 years or more. TML has also hired MHBC Planning as the lead consultant to the review. Although the Working Committee will not have decision making authority, it will be offering valuable recommendations and commenting on the policy proposals. 
 
The terms of reference for the Working Committee are here
 
We are pleased to announce that Friends of Muskoka President, Laurie Thomson, has been appointed as one of the eight committee members.  Other members of the public chosen from the pool of applicants include Liz Lundell, Bob Clarke, David Sculati and Patricia Arney. The TML Councillors appointed to the Committee are Peter Kelley, Gordon Roberts and Donelda Hayes.

The public will have an opportunity to provide input into the new Official Plan policies at a public meeting at 1:00pm on Friday, July 19th in the Milford Bay Community Centre. The public may also provide input at TML Council's Planning Committee open house on August 16th in TML’s offices in Port Carling. We encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to provide any comments you may have on these important policies.

 TML’S CANADA DAY WATERSPORTS EVENT TO SUPPORT ANDY’S HOUSE HOSPICE AND FLOOD VICTIMS


MONDAY, JULY 1ST AT CLEVELANDS HOUSE


The Mayor and Township of Muskoka Lakes are hosting a Canada Day Watersports Event at Clevelands House on Monday, July 1st. All proceeds will go towards Andy’s House Hospice in Port Carling and flood victims across the Township. 

We encourage you and your family and friends to drop by Clevelands House on Canada Day to enjoy these activities:

2:00pm - 5:00pm: Live music, children’s activities, and discounted watersports, including access to the waterpark, fly boarding and wake boarding. 

7:30pm: Waterski show

9:45pm: Fireworks

Friends of Muskoka has donated $1,500 to support this fun family event for wonderful causes, which you may also support by completing the sponsorship form attached to this invitation. You will receive a charitable tax receipt from the Township.

 MUSKOKA LAKES BRACELETS TO SUPPORT FLOOD VICTIMS
 

If you would like to offer financial assistance to the victims of Muskoka’s Flood 2019 who are in need, you may be interested in purchasing a Muskoka Lakes Bracelet.

Long time Muskoka cottagers Tamara Bahry and Amanda Petrovic have partnered with local support organizations and  Salt Fine Jewelry and designed a limited edition bracelet to bring awareness to the significant impact of the flooding in Muskoka and support flood victims. The bracelets are in the shape of either Lake Muskoka, Lake Joseph or Lake Rosseau, and wrapped in silk. You may choose your bracelet map in either gold or silver, add pavé, or place a diamond signifying your favourite location on the lake. 

The price for each bracelet starts at $190, of which 100% of the designers’ profits will be directed to Muskoka Victim Services to support flood victims.  You may purchase a bracelet at http://www.saltfinejewelry.com/ or by emailing muskokalakesbracelets@gmail.com

Further details are available here.

If you would like to support flood victims without purchasing a bracelet, you may donate through Muskoka Victim Services, by indicating in the message area that the funds are to be directed to Muskoka Flood Relief on the recommendation of Friends of Muskoka. You can support Bracebridge residents through the Town of Bracebridge’s donation program here.

 MUSKOKA FLOOD 2019: HOW YOU CAN VOICE YOUR CONCERNS TO THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT
 

1. Email the Province with Photos of your Flood Damage

The 2019 flooding in Muskoka makes it painfully clear that the Province’s Muskoka River Water Management Plan needs to be updated. You can help convince the government of the urgency of this situation by emailing and sending photos of the flood damage to your property. Click here for a sample letter prepared by Friends and the Muskoka Lakes Association to Premier Ford and Ministry of Natural Resources and Fisheries (MNRF) Minister Yakabuski, that includes their email addresses and copies Friends and the MLA.  

2. New Website for Photos of Flood Damage: MuskokaFlood2019.com

We are working with Muskoka residents and collaborating with other groups to display photos of this spring’s flood damage at MuskokaFlood2019.com. We will direct government officials to this website to help them understand the devastating impact of the flooding, and the need to take action to ensure it is not repeated. If you are willing to share your photos of the flood, please email them to muskokafloods@gmail.com. 

If you prefer to share your photos on social media, make sure to use #muskokaflood2019

3.  Sign the Petition      

Over 1600 people have signed a petition calling on the Province to authorize an independent inquiry into the causes of the spring flooding in Muskoka, to help ensure it is not repeated. Click here to add your name to this petition. 


 THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT HAS PASSED BILL 108 


Regrettably, the Ontario government has passed Bill 108 - More Homes, More Choice Act. Friends of Muskoka has a number of concerns with this Bill, which will make it easier for developers to push through inappropriate development that could cause irreparable damage to the natural features that drive the economy in the District of Muskoka. 
 
Numerous regulations are required to implement the provisions in Bill 108, which we will review as they are published and provide comments to the government if we are concerned about their  impact on Muskoka. 
 
A summary of the changes resulting from Bill 108 has been prepared by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and is available at this link

 ONTARIO REGIONAL GOVERNMENT REVIEW 


The Ontario government continues to review the dual tier municipal government structure 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).  

As reported in Waves XV, Friends of Muskoka President, Laurie Thomson, made this submission to the Province’s Special Advisors in Bracebridge on May 14th. Friends and the MLA then wrote this joint response on May 21st to a number of the questions asked by the Special Advisors. We expect a decision will be delayed until after the fall election. We will continue to update you on this important issue that is likely to make a significant impact on all of Muskoka.


 PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AT MARY JANE LAKE 

 
A developer is proposing to subdivide Mary Jane Lake, a small narrow lake located between Peninsula Road and Lake Joseph. The subdivision would create 14 lots around the lake, which could disrupt a nearby beaver dam, the effects of which are uncertain. Environmental reports produced by the developer are currently being peer reviewed. A public meeting is scheduled for July 12th at 9:00 am  at the Township of Muskoka Lakes offices at 1 Bailey Street in Port Carling.  The full Public Meeting Notice, with a list of all proposed exemptions, can be found here.

Four reports submitted in support of the application can be accessed here.
           

 ALL NATIONS WATER WALK AROUND SKELETON LAKE RESPONDING TO THE LIPPA PIT AND QUARRY 

As we described in previous Waves newsletters, a developer is seeking approval to build an aggregate quarry and pit near Skeleton Lake. Township of Muskoka Lakes Council refused a zoning bylaw amendment, and the developer has appealed Council’s decision. 

An All Nations Water Walk around Skeleton Lake will occur on Saturday, June 29th and Sunday, June 20th. The water walk will be led by First Nations women in prayer and protection for Skeleton Lake and surrounding watersheds. 

Both days will begin with a sunrise ceremony at 5:30am, starting at 113 Long Point Road on June 29th, and at Fish Hatchery Park on June 30th, and led by Deina Bomberry from Wasauksing First Nation. You are welcome to attend the sunrise ceremonies or join any part of the walk. 

More information is available on the Stop Muskoka Pit website, or by contacting Erin Dixon at centreseed@gmail.com.

 PORT CARLING HEALTH HUB IS OPEN WEEKENDS FOR SEASONAL RESIDENTS AND VISITORS, AND RELIES SOLELY ON DONATIONS 


The Port Carling Health Hub is offering the services of a nurse practitioner to seasonal residents and visitors, to treat minor illnesses and injuries on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during July and August. As this is not a walk-in clinic, call 705-765-0708 the day you would like an appointment. Office hours and other details are available here.

As this Health Hub relies solely on donations to cover the $30,000 cost of its nurse practitioner and administrative assistant, we encourage you to support it by sending funds to the Township of Muskoka Lakes offices in Port Carling, marked for the benefit of ‘the summer nurse practitioner’. If you would like further information, contact Councillor Allen Edwards and his wife, Linda here.


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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