Three private citizens presented to the committee the idea of creating a centre of Canadian History in Port Carling, using the Boatworks for a Canadian Race Boat Hall of Fame. Muskoka was chosen as the location as boat building/racing has been part of Muskoka's history and four Hall of Fame boat drivers are in Muskoka. Port Carling was chosen as boat races have been held there and it is the location of the Boatworks. All the boats will be on loan except for Miss Supertest III which has been acquired and already relocated to Muskoka. One of the Hall of Fame boat drivers stated that he “felt it was a tremendous opportunity for Muskoka”. The group requested that Council provide a letter of support which would be shown to sponsors; the committee agree to provide same. This item was on the agenda for information purposes only.
This item has been before the committee on many occasions, most recently in June (Township Watch - June) when staff were requested to return with a draft by-law. Director of Planning, David Pink, explained that the draft by-law - Short Term Rentals - before the committee was open for discussion and further explained that the most notable points in the draft were:
Mr. Pink stated that prior to passing a by-law, the Official Plan will need to be amended to recognize short term rentals and to actually allow them. Then the comprehensive zoning by-law will need to be amended to allow the use of short term rentals and define where they may or may not occur. And lastly, a licencing by-law would need to be passed. This would put additional work on staff in the planning department, building department and fire services....which staff may not be able to handle. Mr. Pink also emphasized that extensive public input into the by-law would be required.
Although members of the committee agreed that a licencing by-law was needed, they did not share the same views on the draft by-law before them. Committee members felt:
Mr. Pink reminded the committee that Council already has by-laws at their disposal (noise, parking, building, etc.) to help regulate those who are behaving badly and causing a disturbance. It was also pointed out that there is nothing in place to regulate actual property owners who behave badly. Following the discussion, it was unanimously decided that a steering committee would be established to review the situation and make recommendations to Council. The steering committee will be comprised of a councillor from each ward, as well as members of the public.
This item was on the agenda for information purposes and to give staff direction. No resolution was read.
(Editorial Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers' Association has been asked to sit on the steering committee. If you have comments or concerns about the Short Term Accommodation By-Law please forward them and we will take them forward on your behalf.)
Director of Public Works, Roger Young, explained that as part of the Strategic Plan passed by Council public works was to evaluate the Community Centres. Their assessment has found that the state of the Township's twelve year-round Community Centres was quite sound. A building condition index (BCI) of the current state of each structure was completed. All Community Centres had a 10-year average BCI of less than one percent, with the highest being 0.66%. A BCI of 5% or less indicates that buildings are in “good” general building conditions. The results indicated that the Township's Community Centre infrastructure in healthy.
This item was for information purposes only and no resolution was read. The full report broken down by Community Centres can be found here - Community Centres
Mr. Young also presented to the committee a report on the Duke House located at 90 Joseph Street in Port Carling. The house was bought in 2007 by the Township in the amount of $434,178.00 and since then $457,877.00 has been spent on it. The Duke House has been used as the Visitors Centre since its purchase, run either by the Township or the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce. With the amount of money spent on the property to date, and the MPAC assessment of $197,000.00, Mr. Young felt that disposal of the property was hard to rationalize. Three options were put forth:
Committee voted to obtain professional proposals on selling and/or renting out the property.
The Port Carling Figure Skating Club requested rental of the Port Carling Arena the week of Monday, August 20th to Friday, August 24th for the Brian Orser skating school. As well, that fees be waived for the Gala Demonstration on Saturday, August 25th for the use of the arena and Port Carling Community Centre for the VIP reception. This resolution carried.
Mayor Furniss began the Council meeting with a request to rename the committee room in the Township offices. On October 1, 2017 the Township lost Wendy Oliver to illness, a valued employee of 19 years. As Wendy had spent months reviewing and updating files in the committee room, Mayor Furniss asked Council to rename the room the Wendy Oliver Room. There were tears at the Council table and the audience as Council voted unanimously to do so.
Representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion were before Council looking for approval for a retirement home in Bala. The proposed four storey 133,342 square foot structure is to have 128 units, a 78 foot high atrium and common areas. The current Legion would be renovated into a medical clinic and Legion bar. The architect for the project explained that this project is to be a prototype for Legions across Canada. It was acknowledged that this is a big development for the Town of Bala and it should be done “right” without causing problems for the community. The architect spoke about the height of the building, fire access, road access, capacity restriction, as well as lot coverage.
Although not opposed to the proposed retirement home in principal, members of the public voiced concerns regarding the height of the building, lack of garden space, privacy of neighbours, lighting and that the project looked industrial. Councillors then discussed that:
A resolution with a reduced height of 55 feet was read and carried.
Maple Avenue and Victoria Street will be closed on Saturday, December 2nd, with portions of Burgess Avenue and River Street in Bala between 5:30 to 10PM for the Trek to Bethlehem.
A portion of Bailey Street in Port Carling will be closed from 5 to 8 PM on Saturday, November 18th for the Port Carling Santa Claus Parade.
Bala Falls Road, along with portions of Burgess Avenue, Victoria Street and Maple Avenue will be closed from 12 noon to 3 PM on Sunday, November 12th for the Bala Santa Claus Parade.
(Editorial Note - Please note that the Bala parade is being held on SUNDAY this year as it conflicted with Remembrance Day).
A report on District of Muskoka Council Composition has been posted on our website. Keep checking here www.muskokaratepayers.ca for District information.
To Renew your Membership or to Join the Muskoka Ratepayers' Association
MRA - Board Meeting
Feb 24, 2018 9:00am to 1:00pm
TML - Committe of Adjustment
Mar 14, 2018 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Committee of the Whole
Mar 15, 2018 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Council
Mar 16, 2018 9:00am to 12:00pm