Township Watch - January 2018

The MRA regrets that in the December Township Watch the District's CAO Michael Duben's name was spelled incorrectly. An email was written to Mr. Duben apologizing for the error.

The board of the MRA reminds our members that Township Watch is a report of what occurs at Township meetings. If a subject or topic is not raised during the meetings, it will not be included in the information provided in the Township Watch.

Council - Friday, January 12, 2018

Draft of the Muskoka Official Plan Review

Director of Planning, David Pink, explained that since the December Committee of the Whole meeting several pieces of correspondences have been received from the public, requesting the Townships comments to the District amending their Official Plan (OP). Members of the public, spoke raising concerns that:

  • the District did not review the plans for Minett in the OP review
  • section 26 of the Planning Act says that the OP must be reviewed in its entirety every 10 years
  • the Minett development complied with the 2005 Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) but should be reviewed with the 2014 PPS
  • the Township should ask the District to reduce the number of units on the water,
  • the term “unit” should be clearly defined
  • in 2006, 2007 and 2008 residents met at the Community Hall and voted unanimously that the development was “wrong for Minett”, and
  • that Friends of Muskoka wish to have the opportunity to sit down with the District and Township and participate in discussions regarding the development.

A District planner explained that no modifications were made to the Minett development in the Draft District OP, and that it had been moved forward as it was. It was then explained that the draft is still in the consultation phase and polices are open to further review.

Vice President of Development for Ken Fowler Enterprises (KFE), Greg Knight, explained that KFE applied for rezoning last February and that the Township has an obligation to deal with the application “on the table”. Mr. Pink then explained that the Township indeed has an obligation to review the application under current policies.

A resolution was read, requesting that the District review the Minett development “site specific” and that the public and Township be allowed further input. The resolution carried unanimously.

Hatherley Holdings

Dave Hannam, a representative from the LCBO, was before Council to discuss the placement of a modest 930 square foot sales trailer on property located at the corner of Peninsula Road and Muskoka Road 118. The request was for permission to locate the trailer on the property from May to October for three years. According to Mr. Hannam, the LCBO has no intention of relocating from its current location in downtown Port Carling, but to use the self-contained trailer to alleviate “concerns” with the current store.

In a submission received from the District of Muskoka, the District stated that they are concerned that the trailer may impact the EMS station which is also located on the property. The District requested that the application be deferred until discussions could take place between the Emergency Services Department and Engineering and Public Works Department, and requested a traffic impact study. Mr. Hannam explained that the LCBO was not opposed to a deferral, and they had already contacted the Engineering and Public Works Department at the District.

As requested, the application was deferred.


The 51st Port Carling Winterfest will take place on February 2nd to 4th, 2018. Council voted to allow the partial closure of Bailey Street on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Committee of the Whole - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Villas of Lake Muskoka

Director of Planning, David Pink, explained to the committee that this condo agreement had been deferred at the November 2017 Committee of the Whole meeting for a legal opinion - Township Watch - November 2017. Although the legal opinion has been received, the developer has appealed the District of Muskoka's condominium agreement to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Four members of the public voiced concerns regarding:

  • the Villas location in a very busy bay
  • increased boat traffic will affect the eco-system
  • units being available for the travelling public
  • a lack of resort facilities/amenities
  • the developers intend the property to be used as a cottage resort, and
  • that it is hard to move forward without having seen the Townships legal opinion.

Mr. Pink explained that the Township's legal opinion is currently protected by lawyer/client privilege.

As this item was on the agenda for information purposes, committee did not have a long discussion on the subject and no resolution was read.

Legacy Cottages

Director of Planning, David Pink, introduced this application explaining that the property, located in the Resort Village of Minett, has submitted a completed condominium agreement to the District of Muskoka who has requested comments from the Township. Legacy Cottages will be built in three phases:

Phase 1 - 15 units located centrally on the property, a swimming pool and associated building, main parking area, garbage enclosure and sewage disposal facilities.

Phase 2 - 11 units located on the waterfront.

Phase 3 - 17 units located on the rear of the property.

On site management is required at all times if guests are on the property. The full report can be foud here - Legacy Cottages

As two similar developments, Villas of Lake Muskoka and Mist Opportunities (Touchstone) have had their condominium agreements appealed to the OMB; Mr. Pink suggested that Township comments should be more extensive than in the past.

Planners for the developer explained that the application before the committee was for a change of ownership and that “land use was regulated through zoning”. He stated that the developers agreed to move the management building into the first phase of the development, but expressed concerns regarding the request to reduce “exclusive areas”. It was explained that renters will be looking for some “private areas” around the units, but the area will not be marked off. All planning approvals for the development had been addressed and requested that the condominium agreement be approved.

Four members of the public expressed concerns regarding:

  • making it clear this property is a resort
  • the removal of trees right down property lines
  • the lack of amenities on the property
  • council ensuring to protect commercial use of the lands
  • units being available to the travelling public year round
  • units being in a rental pool for two weeks during peak season does not make the development commercial, and
  • deferring the application until the two other OMB appeals are settled.

Committee members then held discussions on the following:

  • resorts do not have exclusive use areas
  • that the OMB may rule 8 to 10 weeks is not long enough in the rental pool
  • this is a commercial property but only 20% of its use is mandated as commercial use
  • two weeks rental in high season is not sufficient, and should be a minimum of four weeks
  • that “one way or another” this application is going to the OMB, and
  • the current OMB appeals will set a precedent on how the Township moves forward with this application.

Committee voted to defer the application.

Milford Bay Community Centre

The board of the Milford Bay Community Centre requested permission to construct a decorative garden in the location of the previous winter ice rink. The garden will be approximately 60 by 80 feet with 12 plots and benches around it. Committee voted to approve the request.

2017 Year End Reports

Director of Planning, David Pink, presented to committee the year-end report for the planning department. 2017 was a busy year with 349 official plan amendments, zoning by-law amendments, site plans, minor variances, consents application, deeming by-laws, condominium reviews and cell tower and solar applications. As well, there were 16 appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board (Planning Activity). Mayor Furniss questioned how the Township of Muskoka Lakes compared to other municipalities in the District. Mr. Pink replied that the Township was ahead of the other municipalities.

Development Services Coordinator, Neil Donald, explained that his 2017 year-end report outlined that 1235 permits had been issues in 2017 with a building value of $129,147,489.30. In 2017 the building department inspected 331 sewage systems in the Torrance area, concentrating on Lake Muskoka fronting properties. The report also outlines 241 complaints that the by-law officer responded to between March and December 2017. The full report can be found here. ( Development Services).

Both reports were on the agenda for information purposes, and no resolutions were read.

Sign By-Law

In follow up to the December Committee of the Whole meeting, where MRA Director Mike Webb delegated regarding LED signage in the Township (Township Watch - December 2017) the sign by-law was re-discussed. Roger Young, Director of Public Works, explained that the by-law would refine what was allowed on “municipal changeable signs”. It was proposed that LED signs will only be in red light, which is less obtrusive, messages will be displayed for 15 seconds each and messages will clear from the screen prior to the next one appearing. The new sign by-law will contain new definitions of what messages are permitted to say.

Committee also discussed how to regulate billboards on Township highways and are awaiting a legal opinion.

Mr. Young was instructed to make the necessary amendments to the by-law, which will be ratified by Council at a later date.

Come out and enjoy the many activities at the

51st Winterfest in Port Carling from

Friday, February 2nd to Sunday, February 4th, 2018

(Winterfest Flyer - Winterfest)


Upcoming Events - Monthly Calendar

MRA - Board Meeting
Feb 23, 2019 9:00am to 1:00pm
TML - Committe of Adjustment
Mar 13, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Committee of the Whole
Mar 14, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
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