Committee of the Whole is a meeting where discussions take place that need to be approved at the Council meeting the following month. As there is a newly elected Council, this meeting was not held this month, so there would be no unfinished business for the incoming Council.
The Council meeting began with Mayor Furniss asking Council's indulgence as he made some opening remarks. Mayor Furniss congratulated Mayor Elect Harding on his new position, as well as returning Councillors Edwards, Hayes and Nishikawa on their re-election. Secondly, Mayor Furniss congratulated newly elected Councillors Glenn Zavitz (Ward A), Susan Mazan and Gord Roberts (Ward B) and Frank Jaglowitz, Barb Bridgeman and Peter Kelley (Ward C). Thirdly, thanks were given to Sandy Currie, Linda Barrick-Spearn and Terry Ledger for their service over the past four years, and Jean-Ann Baranik and Gault McTaggart for their service over two terms of Council. Lastly, Mayor Furniss thanked the staff, stating that the Township is blessed with professional employees who continue to provide increased level of service to the Township. Mayor Furniss specifically mentioned Clerk Cheryl Mortimer who is a wealth of information on Township Policy and Legislation. As well, CAO Steve McDonald who is indispensable and a very important connection between the staff and Council.
You are probably aware, the MRA does not often comment on private planning applications. As such this report will be shorter than usual.
A representative was before Council to request that approval be granted for a site plan agreement to allow Camp Ramah to replace a craft building and garage with a new multi-use activity building, a new bunkhouse and an enlarged parking area. These requests had previously been approved by Council, who voted and approved the site-plan agreement.
CAO Steve McDonald explained to Council that the report was on the agenda for information purposes only. A draft of the legislation was released earlier this month and Mr. McDonald wanted to bring some of the information to Council's attention.
Mr. McDonald explained that the key discussion points were:
Following a brief discussion, Mr. McDonald informed Council that he hoped that the Township would receive public input on the topic in the coming month. The full report can be read here - Cannabis Statute.
Ed Note: If you feel strongly about cannabis use being regulated in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, one way or the other, the MRA urges you to contact your incoming Councillors. Or, take a moment and complete the attached survey published by the Township prior to the December 7th deadline - Township Cannabis Survey.
Due to health issues beyond his control, Councillor Gault McTaggart missed the Council meetings in September, October and November. A resolution was brought forward to authorize his absence from these meetings, which passed in a recorded vote of 7 to 1.
Ed Note: Much to the MRA's surprise, Councillor Currie voted NAY to the resolution. The MRA believes that compassion alone for a fellow councillor should have resulted in a unanimous decision.
Prior to a break being called in the meeting, Councillor Harding offered his thanks to Mayor Furniss for his eight years of service. Councillor Harding stated that being Mayor is a “tireless job” and that sitting at the head of the table takes “strength and courage” as people throw daggers at times. Councillor Harding further stated that “the community has a lot to thank Don Furniss for, with his four years as Mayor and four as a councillor”.
The MRA thought our membership would be interested to hear that the Corporate and Emergency Services Committee at the District heard a presentation from a representative from GlobalFire, an organization who strive to assist underfunded emergency response/fire stations around the world. The committee passed a resolution to sell a surplus ambulance for $1.00 which will be deployed to the Guatemalan Volunteer Fire Department to transport patients from rural areas to the capital's hospital. Committee further showed interest in donating other surplus supplies and equipment and delegated that staff make all decisions under the value of $10,000.00.
Ed Note: The MRA congratulates the committee and District Council on their generosity in helping others.
Another piece of District information is, Mayor Furniss informed Council that during the October 2018 District Council meeting, planner Wayne Simpson, from Wayne Simpson & Associates spoke to District Council regarding the responsibility of municipalities acting as proxies for the Province to carry out the Planning Act. Municipalities are under strict obligations to follow the rules and regulations as set out in the Planning Act and cannot act arbitrarily.
Ed Note: The MRA hopes that the incoming Council will deal with planning applications according to the Planning Act and not constantly bring forward irrelevant information. Location of speed signs on the water, boat speeds, portions of applications that are not before Council getting mentioned jeopardizes approval of applications. By not following the Planning Act, as it is laid out by the Province of Ontario, our tax dollars are being spent to defend LPAT (OMB) appeals.
Councillor Young from Lake of Bays informed Council that the committee had had an excellent last meeting with input from a retired clerk from Kawartha Lakes. As it was the final meeting of the Council with the newly elected Council commencing in December, four recommendations were brought forward.
Following the recommendations Council had an in-depth discussion regarding the use of the second home study. Several Councillors voiced concerns with the second home study, including but not limited to:
It was suggested that the recommendation included wording that was not necessary. Following a brief recess Council voted to amend the recommendation by removing the wording “the best estimate available, currently a variation of the second home study” and replacing it with “a statistically valid estimate be procured” to obtain seasonal population. Council voted and the recommendations carried.
The MRA would like to congratulate Fire Chief Richard Hayes and Deputy Fire
Ratepayers - AGM 2019
Jul 20, 2019 10:00am to 12:00pm
Official Plan Review
Aug 16, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm