In this issue of Township Watch, we are introducing an "index" that will take you immediately to the section to the article that might interest you. Just click on any of the links immediately below.
At the February 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting staff were directed to provide background on this item to the Committee. An in-depth report including all previous reports on the subject was provided for committee members - Short Term Rentals
Some committee members voiced concerns that the By-Law Enforcement Officer for the Township does not work weekends. CAO, Steve McDonald explained to the Committee that what the Township does regarding by-law enforcement is no different than surrounding municipalities. Mr. McDonald further stated that a report focusing on by-law enforcement was being brought forward in April.
This item was for information only and no resolution was read.
Ed. Note: As the Muskoka Ratepayers' had a member sitting on the steering committee, when this item was placed on the agenda a letter was written to Committee members voicing concern that recommendations put in place by the last Council had not been implemented and should be prior to opening the topic up again. Our letter can be read here - MRA Letter to Council
Mark Misko, Director of Engineering and Transportation at the District of Muskoka spoke to the Committee regarding re-aligning Muskoka Road 118 West in Port Carling from the Indian River Bridge to Wallis Mill Lane. In February 2017 the Township requested that the District conduct an engineering analysis of the roadway. The District hired a consultant that looked at site lines, on site parking and pedestrian traffic. It was determined that there were issues with the road and pedestrian traffic on weekends, with cars backing out of angled parking spots and no formal crosswalk in the area. Several options were presented regarding the intersection Muskoka Road 118 West at Armstrong Point Road including a round-a-bout, re-aligning the road and a formal entrance to Armstrong Point Road. In January 2019 District staff met with the Port Carling Downtown Enhancement working group to ensure they were aware of potential changes.
Mr. Misko's recommendation to the Township was that the centre line on Muskoka Road 118 West remain the same with angled parking being removed from the east side of the road and replaced with parallel parking. He also recommended that a formal entrance be installed for Armstrong Point Road and dedicated crosswalks be installed in the vicinity of James Bartleman Park and outside the Bank of Nova Scotia.
Committee discussed the proposal raising concerns and various comments such as:
Following the committee discussion Mr. Misko said that the District could review the location of the centre line on the curve in the road. No resolution was read.
Agatha Farmer's article "Traffic, parking, pedestrians are a dangerous mix on 118 in Port Carling" can be read here - Article
Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers' sincerely hope that if two crosswalks are installed in such close proximity to each other that their use is regulated. Otherwise vehicle traffic through Port Carling could become even more paralyzed than it already is during the summer months. Also, perhaps the crosswalks could be for seasonal use, similar to the traffic light at Bruce Wilson Drive.:
Board Chair, Phillip Matthews and Chief Executive Officer, Natalie Bubela from Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) spoke to the Committee about:
Their full power point presentation can be seen here - Healthcare
Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers' are pleased to see that the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital will remain in Bracebridge.:
Thomas Palloway, Managing Director of Headlite Canada approached the Committee for support in requesting the closure of Lock Street on August 24th, 2019. Mr. Palloway is hosting a family friendly Muskoka Jazz Festival on James Bartleman Island from 12 noon until 11 pm featuring multi JUNO award winner Molly Johnson and seven other artists including local jazz guitarist Jack Nickalls.
Mr. Palloway explained that he will be completing an aggressive advertising campaign throughout southern Ontario, as well as the northern portion of New York State. The full presentation to Committee can be seen here - Music
Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers' were very encouraged to hear Mr. Palloway say that he will only be using local businesses for the food concessions.
As reported in the February Township Watch, Mayor Harding proposed a change in committee structure that would replace the Committee of the Whole with a Planning Committee and Finance/ General Services Committee. This item was not passed with the Action Items from the Committee of the Whole meeting held on February 14th, 2019, as there was a request to re-discuss it.
Presenters and some committee members had concerns regarding the new system. Their concerns included:
Those in support of the structure change were supportive as:
A resolution to delegate Committee of Adjustment matters to staff was read and defeated.
A second resolution to amend the committee structure, revise the meeting schedule, update the Township's procedural by-laws and related policies and post notices for citizens to sit on the advisory committees was read and carried in a recorded vote of 9 to 1.
Ed Note: Although not included in the second resolution, Mayor Harding did state that if necessary, the new committee structure could be re-evaluated in six months.
Ed Note: The Township will soon start to advertise for citizens to sit on the following advisory committees: Economic Development and Grants, Heritage and Attainable Housing, and Parks and Trails. They will be advertising on their website, social media and in the local papers.
Council voted to hire Suzanne Craig as the new Integrity Commissioner for the Township of Muskoka Lakes for a term of up to four years, with provisions for an extension. This term will commence at the end of the current Integrity Commissioners agreement with the Township. Ms. Craig was appointed Integrity Commissioner for the District last month. Although no longer practising law, Ms. Craig brings with her extensive knowledge including knowledge of the Municipal Conflict of Interest. Act.
As reported in the October Township Watch - Township Watch - October 2018 - Catherine Naismith and Robert Allsopp applied to the Township to have their property located at 2509 Windermere Road, formerly known as the Windermere Post Office and General Store, designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The necessary notices were issued, and no objections were received. Council unanimously voted to designate the property. The designation will be registered on the title of the property.
The Muskoka Ratepayers' attends the District Council and many committee meetings via webcast. Unfortunately, the system at the District was not functioning and the Council meeting could not be broadcast. If we become aware of any important information from the meeting, we will circulate it to you independently.
It is the Muskoka Ratepayers' practice to simply report on what has occurred at Township and District meetings. We are making a rare change in that policy to include the following information.
Premier Ford is looking for input on your regional government. In case you wish to have a voice on how your regional government is working, we are including a link ( Newspaper Article ) to a MuskokaRegion.com article, and a link to the online survey at - Online Survey - Upper tier is Muskoka District.
Please note, the deadline to complete the survey is April 23rd, 2019.Do you have any interest in taking part in the Township's
Ratepayers - Board Meeting
May 25, 2019 9:00am to 1:00pm
TML - Committee of the Whole
Jun 13, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Council
Jun 14, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
Ratepayers - AGM 2019
Jul 20, 2019 10:00am to 12:00pm