Township Watch - June 2019

The following index should help you in locating an article of particular interest

Committee of the Whole - Thursday, June 13th, 2019

District Solid Waste Management Presentation

Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works for the District of Muskoka, Fred Jahn gave an in-depth presentation on solid waste problems in Muskoka. It was explained that more waste is produced in the District of Muskoka per capita than anywhere else in the Province. The amount of solid waste that is being produced is not permitting landfills in the District to be on a sustainable path. The District encourages individuals to reduce, reuse and recycle. In coming years the District will take action by calling for service level changes in hopes that household solid waste will be equally divided between organics, blue box and garbage. Contamination of recyclable products is a huge problem, with 80% of things that are left at un-staffed bin sites ending up in the landfill.

Service level changes may include:

  • households being limited to one bag of garbage per week,
  • green bin pick up being added to rural areas, as well as drop off transfer stations and depots,
  • having smaller trucks so smaller roads can be accessed, and
  • the removal of community garbage bins as they are illegal,

Alternate service delivery options include:

  • extending curbside pickup
  • build another transfer station,
  • build waste depots that would be supervised with scheduled hours and a fence,
  • re-direct residents to existing waste disposal sites.

The District acknowledges that the public will be effected by these changes and wish to engage the public in the discussion. They are looking for a solution that is environmentally friendly and does not inconvenience people.

Committee members agreed that as a Council they need to be sensitive to the environment but felt that educating the public on how to reduce solid waste and how this is approached by the District will be extremely important.

Commissioner Jahn's full presentation can be seen here - Solid Waste Solid Waste.

Ed Note: Solid waste is a problem we all need to learn to manage. District Chair John Klinck will be speaking on this topic at our Annual General Meeting on Saturday, July 20th, 2019.

Moon River Chutes

Bala resident Gordon Smith delegated committee to discuss the flooding on the Moon River this past spring. Mr. Smith explained that the water comes through the watershed, over the falls in to the Moon River Chutes which is not capable of handling the volume of water. To emphasize his concerns, Mr. Smith compared this flow of water to a six-lane highway being decreased to two lanes of traffic. Mr. Smith asked committee to establish a separate committee to look at the water flow through the chutes and suggested an emergency spillway be built to divert the water. Once the new committee has reviewed the water flow and formulated a plan, Mr. Smith suggested that a petition be sent to the Province with the Townships suggestions on how to mitigate further flooding.

Mayor Harding explained that the Township and the District have made recommendations to the Province to review the Muskoka River Water Management Plan and look at the choke points in 2013, 2016 and 2019. Mayor Harding further explained that it is a problem beyond the Township and the bigger picture must be considered when looking at how to move water through the watershed and how to hold water back as well. It is also important to understand that those who reside below the Moon River Chutes are concerned that if changes are made to water flows that their properties may flood.

No decision was made on Mr. Smith's request to strike a committee and petition the Province.


Martin Ford, a small business owner and resident of Bala, explained that he was approached by the President of a large engineering firm from Toronto regarding the spring flooding that occurred in Muskoka. This engineering firm reviewed the Muskoka Water River Management Plan (MWRMP) and determined that it “is not actually broken”. The engineering firm determined that three hydro plants were “pooling water” north of Bracebridge to produce electricity and this was the cause of the flooding. The “experts” have said that the flooding was not related to climate change. Mr. Ford suggested that the Township look at the economic impact of the flooding and report it to the Province. The cost of flooding has an impact on everyone and Premier Ford “needs to deal with the hydro companies”.

Mayor Harding questioned how pooling of water north of Bracebridge could cause Lake Muskoka to rise four feet, the Moon River seven feet and Lakes Rosseau and Joseph two feet. Mr. Ford replied that civil engineers had done the research and stand by their findings. The engineers said Lake of Bays was dropped but then “started to pool”. Although the engineers have asked Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for the “water content in the snow in Algonquin Park” they are being “stonewalled”. Mr. Ford explained he has been told that the MRWMP works, that it allows for the lowering below average of the lakes but that did not occur. According to Mr. Ford the MRWMP did not implement their own plan. Mr. Ford asked the Township to request the Provincial government conduct an independent review of the MRWMP and that the Township and District compile information on the financial implications of the flooding to make a case to the Province.

Mayor Harding stated that there had been 3.5 million dollars in damage in the Township from the flooding and that it is costing the Province as well as they are writing disaster cheques. Mayor Harding clearly said he was opposed to an independent review as all that would say is “you screwed up”, he wished to move forward with a new plan without putting anyone on the defensive.

No resolution or decision was made regarding Mr. Ford's request.

Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers are simply reporting on the presentation; we do not have a stand for or against the above theory.

Council - Friday, June 14th, 2019

Development Charges

A representative from Hemson Consulting explained to Council that according to the Development Charges Act, municipalities must pass a by-law every five years to regulate development charges. The Township's by-law expires in August of 2019. A background study was completed by Hemson, and was presented to the Township in May. The June Council meeting is the public presentation of the by-law and it will be voted on at the July Council meeting. The possibility exists that the by-law could be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. Development charges are fees imposed on new development to pay for capital costs. Essentially...growth pays for growth.

The Development Charges Background Study can be found here - Development Charges Development Charges

Lippa Pit

Director of Planning, David Pink gave Council a brief background on the Lippa Pit & Quarry located on Butler Mill Road. An application for an Official Plan Amendment and rezoning were originally received by the Township in 2012. The application returned to the Township during the summer of 2017 for a public meeting where it was defeated by Council. The applicant appealed the decision to the Ontario Municipal Board. Several pre-hearing meetings took place where it was determined that the Lippa Pit & Quarry needed a second Official Plan Amendment to be permitted to crush rock within 2 kms of a water body. Mr. Pink explained to Council that they had two options in front of them - to circulate the application and hold a second public meeting or defeat the application that day and have it appealed to the LPAT. As the public was aware that there would be rock crushing at the pit & quarry, it was felt no new information would come from another public meeting.

Council unanimously voted to uphold the previous Council's decision and defeated the application.

Procedural By-Law

A new procedural by-law was to be passed at the Council meeting so the new meeting schedule and committees could begin in July. Councillor Kelley met with Mayor Harding and Clerk Cheryl Mortimer during the lunch break to discuss concerns he had with the by-law that was presented to Council. Following a brief explanation at the Council meeting, it was decided that Councillor Kelley would work with Ms. Mortimer on the necessary corrections.

Council did vote to approve a new agenda template. Council will either vote on the procedural by-law at the July Council meeting or at a Special Council meeting to be called, if necessary.

Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers congratulates Councillor Kelley on doing his due diligence to ensure that all “i's” are dotted and “t's” are crossed in the new procedural by-law.

Official Plan Review Steering Committee

As was reported in the May Township Watch, the Township asked for citizen volunteers to sit on the Official Plan Review Steering Committee. The committee, which has three council members and five citizen members is as follows:

  • Councillor Kelley
  • Councillor Hayes
  • Councillor Roberts
  • Laurie Thomson
  • Liz Lundell
  • Patricia Arney
  • David Sculati
  • Robert Clarke

David Sculati is a sitting Director of the Muskoka Ratepayers. The project is expected to take 18 months, with the committee meeting seven times during that time period. According to the staff report in the agenda package the terms of reference are:

“The Official Plan Review (OPR) Steering Committee shall report directly to Planning Committee and shall be responsible for the following:

  • Provide advice, assistance and guidance on the Township’s OPR project to the Township’s selected consultants and Township staff in completing the project in accordance with the approved Proposal for consulting services, including timing and budget;
  • Review and provide input on matters such as policy directions, communications and consultation plans, public comments, and the various drafts of the proposed Official Plan;
  • Ensure necessary policy issues are addressed by the consultants;
  • Provide appropriate recommendations to Planning Committee on the appropriateness of all documents for public consultation purposes and recommend to Committee the final version of an Official Plan suitable for adoption by the Township of Muskoka Lakes.

As such, Steering Committee members are to be advocates for good planning and should have a reasonable understanding of land use planning related matters at the local, District, and Provincial level.”

A tentative date for the Official Plan Review public consultation meeting is Friday, July 19th, 2019 at the Milford Bay Community Centre.

Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers thank all who put their names forward for the committee.

Resolution from Closed Session - Legacy Cottages

As you may recall the development known as Legacy Cottages was included in the Interim Control By-Law (ICBL) that was passed in May 2018 for the Village of Minett. Legacy petitioned the court to have the property removed from the ICBL but lost the case. This decision was appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeals and was heard this past spring. Although the Township did exempt Legacy when Council extended the ICBL in May 2019 for another year, the appeal process had begun, and the case was heard. Legacy was successful in their appeal and were awarded court costs.

A resolution from closed session reads “Be it Resolved That the Township solicitor be authorized, on behalf of the municipality, to agree to an award of costs to the Appellant in the amount of $135,000.00 related to Court file no. C65923.”

District Council & Committee Meetings

As the District was upgrading their webcasting system this past week, Council and Committee meetings were moved from the Council Chambers to a room where webcasting was unavailable. As a result of this move the Muskoka Ratepayers were unable to attend the meetings. If anything of importance comes forward, we will update our membership with that information.

On behalf of the Harry Debes Muskoka Lakes
Community Health Hub please find attached information

on weekend primary health care - Health Hub Health Hub
Remember to mark your calendars please.
The Muskoka Ratepayers AGM is
Saturday, July 20th, 2019 from 10 AM to noon
at the Port Carling Community Centre.

Upcoming Events - Monthly Calendar

TML - Planning Committee
Jul 16, 2020 9:00am to 12:00pm
Ratepayers - Virtual AGM 2020
Jul 18, 2020 10:00am to 10:45am
TML - Committe of Adjustment
Jul 21, 2020 9:00am to 12:00pm
Powered by ECMS Horizons