Township Watch - June 2018

Committee of the Whole - Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Resort Village of Minett

Peter Fowler, from Ken Fowler Enterprises (KFE), spoke to clarify that his family had been misrepresented at the May Council meeting. He explained that he personally has spent his career in the hospitality industry and owns 61 restaurants with 5500 employees. It was emphasized that KFE was committed to working with the Township regarding the Resort Village of Minett, as well as trying to work with the community. Mr. Fowler informed the committee that he would appreciate open communication with the Township and not road blocks as that is the only way that he knows how to do business.

Marg Walton, representing KFE, spoke regarding the Interim Control By-Law that was passed by Council in May (Township Watch - May 2018) for Minett. Ms. Walton explained to the committee that:

  • the by-law was put in place to stop the submission of applications for the proposed development in Minett, but the rezoning application had already been submitted.
  • the developers have already completed all studies that they were asked to conduct. She questioned if the studies would be redone? Peer reviewed? Paid for by the taxpayers?
  • several years ago Ken Fowler undertook tests to demonstrate that water issues in Wallace Bay were not coming from his properties. These results were to be circulated in a press release which did not occur.
  • the proposed density for Minett, less than 1700 units which includes the rooms at the Rosseau and Clevelands House, is half of what is permitted.
  • that they have always worked within OPA 34 as they did not realize it had inadvertently been omitted from the Official Plan.

These presentations were for information purposes. There was no discussion by committee members.

Short Term Accommodation Uses

Regulating the use of short term accommodation has been on several agendas over the past year. Director of Planning, David Pink, explained that at the request of committee a steering committee was formed and met on four occasions. Following passionate debate on the topic, it was determined that a licensing by-law was not required. As the core of the problem is behaviour, so it was decided that a Code of Conduct should be established. A draft of the Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct Code of Conduct) was before committee for comments. Both renters and property owners will be fined if a complaint is filed. Committee discussed that most of the by-law complaints were between 11 PM and 7 AM when there is no by-law officer to respond, and that the respective by-laws do not have “enough teeth” to enforce them.


This item was for information purposes only. Mr. Pink will bring a recommendation forward to accept the Code of Conduct at a future meeting.

Management of Noxious & Invasive Vegetation

James Delaney, Manager of Environmental Compliance, explained how the district is working in partnership with the Muskoka Watershed Council and MTO regarding the removal of noxious and invasive vegetation. Roadways are surveyed for invasive species and noxious vegetation, once locations are determined The Weed Man uses herbicides in an attempt to remove the plant. In 2016 and 2017 roads in the Townships of Muskoka Lakes and Georgian Bay and the towns of Bracebridge and Gravenhurst were surveyed. In 2018 roads in the Township of Lake of Bays and town of Huntsville will be surveyed. Of the 26 sites that were assessed and sprayed the first year, 12 of the sites are demonstrating eradication of the invasive species. The entire presentation can be read here (Invasive Vegitation Invasive Vegetation).


A resolution will return to the July Council meeting that the Township of Muskoka Lakes supports a coordinated approach with the District to eradicate targeted invasive species.

Beaumaris Bridge

In late 2017 a hole was found on the Beaumaris Bridge, which was originally built in 1968. The hole was six inches on the surface, but once Public Works took a more in-depth look it was found that the hole was the size of a car below the surface. Other problems were also identified with the bridge which increased the cost of repairs substantially. Director of Public Works, Roger Young, was before committee to request a reallocation of funds in the amount of $315,558.00 to the project, as well as $357,707.00 in funding from the roads reserves to complete the project. The resolution was read and carried.

2017 Annual Report - Fire Department

Chief Hayes informed the committee that in 2017 the fire department responded to 620 calls, 43 of which were property fires which totalled a loss of $11,896,000.00. The fire prevention office completed 28 inspections, 20 of which are closed, 7 still in progress and 1 required successful legal action. Chief Hayes presentation included:

  • a breakdown of calls per fire station.
  • a breakdown of types of calls.
  • the impacts of Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017.
  • the impacts that could be placed on the Township's budget with the new legislation.
  • how the volunteer fire department is in good shape.
  • types of training that volunteers are required to do.

Councillor Barrick-Spearn thanked Chief Hayes for his presentation and taking steps to make sure that the Township volunteer fire fighters are so well trained. As well as ensuring that the volunteers are receiving the necessary training to ensure they are grandfathered with new legislation which will be a cost saving in future training.

The presentation was on the agenda for information purposes and no resolution was read. The written report can be found here (Emergency Services Emergency Services).

Council - Friday, June 15th, 2018

Interim Control By-Law/Resort Village of Minett

The Council meeting began with a discussion as to whether to allow six delegates to be added to the agenda. Following a discussion on policy and procedure where the clerk confirmed that delegates could be added at the beginning of a meeting, the agenda was amended to include the delegations. Prior to the approval of the May 18th, 2018 Council meeting minutes, Councillor Baranik requested reconsideration of the May 18th, 2018 Council Resolution C-30-18/05/18, Resort Village of Minett. She explained she felt that the interim control by-law was passed in haste at the May Council meeting and the heated topic needed to be debated. Councillor Baranik explained that all the people in Minett needed to be heard from as no building permits will be issued for a period of one year.

This was followed by a presentation by Leo Longo from Aird & Berlis representing Legacy Cottages. Mr. Longo explained:

  • that no interim control by-law can prevent use that is lawful, established and operating.
  • that Legacy Cottages has 11 building permits issued and legal non-conforming use protects a valid building permit, as such the developer is entitled to build and use the structures without being controlled by the interim control by-law.
  • that the interim control by-law says that uses are only in existing buildings which is illegal.
  • that the by-law has gone too far.

He requested that Legacy Cottages be removed from the interim control by-law in recognition of its legal rights as his clients do not wish to lose an entire building season.

Council then heard from the six delegates, who stated that:

  • Council had made a good decision in May with the interim control by-law.
  • a pause was needed on development so that the necessary studies could be conducted.
  • Interim control by-laws were an important planning instrument.
  • if council repeals that resolution for the studies, and repeals the interim control by-law they cannot put another interim control by-law in place for three years.
  • Council can do site specific repeals of the by-law.
  • they were disappointed the interim control by-law had returned this month.
  • that a holding zone is not the same as an interim control by-law.
  • the by-law is needed to look at whether the development is appropriate.
  • exempting Legacy Cottages could be argued favouring one developer.
  • this is not a NIBMY issue and Council must not sell out Muskoka.

When asked what they would like to see as appropriate development, one presenter replied a “vibrant commercial resort”. Councillors then asked questions of staff including one to clarify the “hold zone” in Minett. Mr. Pink explained that the hold zone that is currently on Minett is in place to ensure orderly development in Minett, including the water and sewer plant and rezoning property so it is in conformity with the Official Plan. Mr. Pink further stated that in his opinion Section 38 of the Planning Act does not allow for variances, but does allow for the reduction in area or repeal of the by-law. Councillor Baranik emphasized that she was not against doing the studies but felt that they could be conducted without a “pause” being put in place as property owners are being inconvenienced, businesses are being affected and people cannot get building permits.

The majority of Council felt that the interim control by-law should remain in place as:

  • with a hold zone building can occur if it is in compliance with the official plan.
  • the necessary infrastructure is not in place.
  • “one month has gone by and the sky has not fallen”.
  • the studies are 10 to 12 years old.
  • the by-law gives the Township a chance to do the studies with today's technology.
  • only “some” people are being inconvenienced.

In a recorded vote of 7 to 3 the reconsideration of the resolution was defeated with Councillors Ledger and Baranik and Mayor Furniss voting for reconsideration. In a second recorded vote, the resolution to repeal the interim control by-law was also defeated 7 to 3.

Ed. Note - The MRA had requested that proper process be followed regarding the interim control by-law, and are satisfied that that has now occurred. The MRA disapproves of the behaviour by some members of the audience at the Council meeting. It is not appropriate to be yelling and swearing at a public meeting.

Work Plan For Joint Review of Official Plan Policies

Resolutions were passed in January and April of 2018 to review the District of Muskoka and Township Official Plans regarding the Resort Village of Minett. Mr. Pink explained that the Township's Planning Department is not capable of handling the additional work but they will work closely with the Distinct. A project manager was found at the District and the review is moving forward with a cost sharing of 50/50. A full analysis of proposed project structure and roles and responsibilities can be found here (OP Work Plan OP Work Plan).

Fence By-Law

A public meeting was held for the new fence by-law (Fence By-Law Fence By-Law). Three submissions opposing the by-law had been received, and there was a presentation in opposition present. Director of Planning, David Pink, explained that the by-law would apply to the waterfront residential and community residential areas. The purpose of the by-law was to regulate fences:

  • to a height of 8 feet,
  • to a height of 3.3 feet within 25 feet of a street
  • to not allow any within 66 feet of a waterway
  • to prohibit if it blocks sight-lines of persons or vehicles

Following a brief discussion, it was decided to defer the by-law for further Councillor input.


In our May Township Watch, we reported that “Early this year there was a proposal from Core Broadband Inc., to install at 90-foot-tall steel lattice tower at 13 E. P. Lee Dr.” this should have been 13 Lee Valley Dr. We apologize for the error.


The MRA wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable Canada Day
and July 4th.


Mark your calendars - our Annual General Meeting
is on Saturday, July 21st, 2018 at 10 AM
at the Port Carling Community Centre.

Upcoming Events - Monthly Calendar

Ratepayers - Board Meeting
Aug 24, 2019 9:00am to 1:00pm
TML - Committe of Adjustment
Sep 9, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - General / Finance Committee
Sep 12, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Planning Committee
Sep 13, 2019 9:00am to 12:00pm
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