Township Watch - March 2019


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.

Committee of the Whole - Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Council - Friday, March 15th, 2019

District Council - Monday, March 18th, 2019

Provincial Regional Review

AnchorCommittee of the Whole - Thursday, March 14th, 2019

AnchorShort Term Accommodation Uses

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 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 MRA Letter to Council

AnchorEngineering Analysis Muskoka Road 118 West Port Carling

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:

  • that it is not a traffic flow problem, but a parking problem,
  • large trucks coming around the corner at the Bank of Nova Scotia need to cross the yellow line in order to keep their passenger side tires off the sidewalk,
  • perhaps parking could be removed completely from the east side of the road and the road
  • re-aligned,
  • remove the angle parking on the west side of the road and replace it with parallel parking,
  • were store owners contacted regarding these potential changes,
  • how many accidents have occurred at the bend in the road over the last 10 years, and
  • drop the speed limit to 30 km per hour.

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.:

AnchorMuskoka Algonquin Healthcare

Board Chair, Phillip Matthews and Chief Executive Officer, Natalie Bubela from Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) spoke to the Committee about:

  • what happens at MAHC,
  • their commitment to quality,
  • their financial position,
  • their current needs of $49 million dollars, $9 million in equipment/technology and $40 million in infrastructure,
  • use of donor funds,
  • investment care,
  • their strategic plan including capital planning, ministry capital planning process,
  • the future model and services and infrastructure approach including locations of hospital expansion or builds, and
  • design guideline.

Their full power point presentation can be seen here -Healthcare Healthcare

Ed Note: The Muskoka Ratepayers' are pleased to see that the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital will remain in Bracebridge.:

AnchorMusic Events in Port Carling

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 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.

AnchorCouncil - Friday, March 15th, 2019

AnchorCouncil Committee Structure

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:

  • voters expect their councillors to represent them on all issues,
  • not delegating Committee of Adjustment matters to staff,
  • that there be a six-month trial period of the new structure,
  • all Council members should be at the planning meetings,
  • having 10 members on committees is not more onerous than six on each,

Those in support of the structure change were supportive as:

  • councillors are elected to do more than just sit on one committee,
  • the Township had let issues “slide” and is not dealing with “everything” they should be,
  • the new structure provides councillors with “more tools” to become more involved,
  • that those with concerns about an application will be given five minutes to delegate at Committee, 30 days to contact Councillors and then an additional two minutes when the application goes to Council, and
  • there will be more engagement between the community and Council.

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.

AnchorIntegrity Commissioner

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.

AnchorWindermere Post Office & General Store Heritage Designation

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.

AnchorDistrict Council - Monday, March 18th, 2019

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.

AnchorProvincial Regional Review

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 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
Community Clean-Up Campaign on April 27th
Details can be found here -Cleanup Cleanup



Upcoming Events - Monthly Calendar

Ratepayers - Board Meeting
Jun 20, 2020 10:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Planning Committee
Jul 10, 2020 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - General / Finance Committee
Jul 15, 2020 9:00am to 12:00pm
TML - Council
Jul 15, 2020 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Ratepayers - AGM 2020
Jul 18, 2020 10:00am to 12:00pm
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