Township Watch - May 2019

The following index should help you in locating an article of particular interest

Senior Staff

The Muskoka Ratepayers welcomes Derrick Hammond, the Township's new Chief Administrative Officer, who started on May 29th, 2019. Mr. Hammond was present at the Committee of the Whole meeting, as well as the Council meeting this cycle.

According to a Township press release Ryan Murrell will begin with the Township on June 3rd, 2019 as the new Fire Chief and Community Emergency Management Coordinator.

The Muskoka Ratepayers congratulates Township Clerk, Cheryl Mortimer, who was appointed Acting Chief Administrative Officer for the month after Steve McDonald retired and Derrick Hammond took over the position.

Committee of the Whole (COW) - Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Minett Joint Policy Review Steering Committee

As was reported in previous Township Watches, a committee was established to review development policies for the Village of Minett. Chair of the Committee, James Lewis, was before COW requesting funds on behalf of the committee to hire experts to conduct studies in the following three areas:

  • the economic impact of resorts in Muskoka at a cost of $80,000.00
  • an updated boating impact assessment for Wallace Bay at a cost of $30,000.00, and
  • updating environmental impact studies at a cost of $15,000.00.

Mr. Lewis requested the funds be distributed at the beginning of June, so the committee could hire necessary experts and commence studies at the beginning of July. Mr. Lewis further requested that the committee term be extended to May of 2020 which would allow time to undertake the studies, review the results and make recommendations to the Township.

COW members then questioned:

  • whether the boating impact study “will go far enough”,
  • if the committee has “adequate horsepower” to continue moving forward,
  • will other organizations be asked to contribute financially to these studies,
  • where the 1.6 hectares used in Recreational Carrying Capacity came from, and
  • whether the impacts of the boating study could be used in developing a Recreational Carrying Capacity that could be used in the new Official Plan.

Scot Weeres, from the District of Muskoka explained to Committee of the Whole that:

  • boating impact studies were usually paid for by developers,
  • the environmental studies will be used to update current studies that are available, and
  • some of the necessary information are basic questions that they do not have answers to.

Committee briefly discussed approaching outside sources to contribute to the cost of the studies and it was decided that it was better if the costs were paid by the Township. A resolution to approve the requested funds was read and carried.

Ed Note: It is important to note that these funds are to be cost shared with the District of Muskoka and were allocated in the 2019 Township budget.

Bill 108 - More Homes, More Choices, 2019 Ontario's Housing Supply Action Plan

Director of Planning, David Pink, informed Committee that the Province had requested comments by June 1st on proposed changes to the Planning Act. Concerns exist as Bill 108 lacks a lot of details. It was proposed that the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) revert to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) format but retain the LPAT name. Bill 108 has drastically diminished decision-making times for municipalities, removed the ability for a municipality to add a property to a heritage listing without the owner's permission and affected development charges adversely. Mr. Pink explained that the Town of Aurora had written the Province objecting to Bill 108 in its entirety.

It was suggested that the decision be delegated to staff, but Mr. Pink pointed out that staff do not want to speak for all of the Township on this issue and any comments forthcoming from the Township would have more weight with the Province if they came from Council. Following a brief discussion, it was determined that staff would draft a resolution to be presented at Council the following day.

Mr. Pink presented a resolution to Council the following day for their consideration. The resolution was based on a similar one by the City of Aurora opposing Bill 108 in its entirety. The resolution was voted on by Council and carried.

By-Law Enforcement - Website/Complaint Process

Over the past month Councillor Mazan, Communication & Economic Development Specialist Corey Moore and By-Law Enforcement Officer, Jon Popple worked collaboratively to improve customer service when it comes to locating how to file a by-law complaint and how to complete the necessary forms. Mr. Moore demonstrated to committee that there is now a “Call to Action” button at the bottom of the Township's website home page that will take someone looking for by-law complaint information directly to the required page. This page shows how to submit a complaint, what to do after hours if you have a complaint, what occurs once a complaint has been filed, and the ability to review a list of by-laws and either download a complaint form or submit a complaint electronically. Mr. Popple explained that complaints were sent to two email addresses, his and a member of the building department, in case he was not available in real time. Mr. Moore further explained that there was a draft of a one-page handout that would be circulated so that all involved in by-law complaints could follow the same guidelines.

Committee commended those involved and provided feedback with suggestions that:

  • perhaps putting the “Call to Action” button at the top of the page,
  • having a way for people to be able to submit pictures with their complaints,
  • people who complain at 8 PM on the weekend should be acknowledged before Monday morning, and
  • these changes are extremely helpful, and the Township will be delivering a better product.

It was emphasized again that citizens should be encouraged to submit by-law complaints as Mr. Popple requires a “paper trail” to start the complaint process. Mr. Popple stated that if a citizen does not wish to fill out the complaint form, that a councillor could do so on their behalf.

This item was on the agenda for information only and no resolution was read.

Ed Note: The Ratepayers congratulates Councillor Mazan for taking on this important project and with the help of Mr. Moore and Mr. Popple doing so in such an expedited fashion.

Portage Street Bala

Director of Public Works, Ken Becking outlined for committee that Portage Street in Bala is inadequate for on-street parking and requested that parking be prohibited on Portage Street from Muskoka Road 169 to the end of the street on both sides.

A resolution to support this request was read and carried.

Commercial Air Service Program & 2019 Explorers' Edge Bus Shuttle in Port Carling

James Murphy, Executive Director for Explorers' Edge came to committee to discuss air service coming to Muskoka. Porter Airlines will be flying into the Muskoka Airport for 10 weeks in the summer. The cost of the flight will be $72 from Toronto to Muskoka and $45 from Muskoka to Toronto. Once tourists arrive by air, it is important to be able to disperse them around Muskoka. Explorers' Edge will have five bus routes in the District of Muskoka. One of these routes will be to Rosseau via Port Carling, Minett and up to Crossroads. Mr. Murphy then outlined some incentives that are offered to those traveling in the area.

Explorers' Edge wished to use Hanna Park for a drop off and pick up location in Port Carling Mondays and Thursdays. Committee members felt that Hanna Park was not the appropriate location as the Farmer's Market is held on Thursdays and there are swimming lessons at the beach. Although an exact location was not determined committee voted on a resolution to allow Explorers' Edge to have a bus drop off and pick up location in Port Carling for a 10-week period to correspond with Porter Airlines seasonal service to and from the Muskoka Airport.

Flood Update

Mayor Harding informed Committee that the Township was no longer in a state of emergency. Sandbags that were used to control water are to be returned to public works yards at Glen Orchard (3951 Muskoka Road 169), Ranwood Yard (1158 Ranwood Road), and Patterson Yard (1078 Raymond Road). Mayor Harding thanked the staff for their tireless work during the state of emergency.

Ed Note: The Ratepayers wrote Mayor Harding complimenting him, the Fire Department and staff on how they handled the flood. Our letter can be read here -Ratepayers Letter Ratepayers Letter

Council - Friday, May 17th, 2019

Staff Presentations

At the beginning of the Council meeting Mayor Harding presented two members from the Public Works Department with certificates - Ryan Rettie with his certification as a road's supervisor and Brent Gammon as a certified playground inspector.

Standing Committee Appointments

As previously reported, Committee of the Whole will cease to exist and will be replaced by standing Committees. The General/Finance Committee will be responsible for Finance and Administration, Fire, Public Works, Economic Development and Grants, Parks and Trails and Library Board Planning. The Planning Committee will be responsible for Planning, Development Services, Heritage and Attainable Housing.

The new committees are as follows, with Mayor Phil Harding ex-officio on both:

General/Finance Committee

  • Councillor Glenn Zavitz (Chair)
  • Councillor Donelda Hayes (Vice Chair)
  • Councillor Allen Edwards
  • Councillor Peter Kelley
  • Councillor Susan Mazan

Planning Committee

  • Councillor Barb Bridgeman (Chair)
  • Councillor Frank Jaglowitz (Vice Chair)
  • Councillor Allen Edwards
  • Councillor Ruth Nishikawa
  • Councillor Gord Roberts

These committee appointments were voted on and carried unanimously.

Advisory Committee Appointments

The following committees will stand concurrent with the term of Council.

Economic Development & Grants Committee:

Council Members

  • Councillor Peter Kelley (Chair)
  • Councillor Susan Mazan (Vice Chair)
  • Councillor Barb Bridgeman
  • Councillor Glenn Zavitz

Citizen Members

  • Laurie Campbell
  • Curry Clifford
  • Valerie Fleck
  • Cassandra Ford
  • Greg Knight
  • Angie O'Hara

Heritage & Attainable Housing:

Council Members

  • Councillor Donelda Hayes (Chair)
  • Councillor Frank Jaglowitz (Vice Chair)
  • Councillor Allen Edwards

Citizen Members

  • Susan Daglish
  • Wayne Gibson
  • Angie O'Hara
  • Colleen Penniston

Parks & Trails Committee:

Council Members

  • Councillor Ruth Nishikawa (Chair)
  • Gord Roberts (Vice Chair)

Citizen Members

  • Douglas A. C. Davis
  • Wayne Gibson
  • Peter Ringler
  • Anne Young
  • Greig Young

Mayor Harding explained he had spoken to all Councillors and tried to place them on committees that they showed interest in. Some council members appeared to be somewhat surprised by the list of citizen members as they had not received the names until late the night before and had not had a chance to digest them. Mayor Harding explained the positions had been advertised, applied for and the appointments were done by himself. There was a request to discuss a member in closed session but this did not occur. The resolution to appoint the advisory committees was read and carried.

Ed Note: The Ratepayers were concerned to hear Councillor Jaglowitz state “I said I did not want to be on any sub committee”. When elected, a councillor is expected to take on additional responsibilities, not just ones they wish to fulfill.

Camel Lake Subdivision

A spokesperson for cottagers on Camel Lake spoke to Council requesting that Council continue their opposition to the proposed subdivision on Camel Lake at the LPAT. Five points were outlined:

  • the road would not permit appropriate emergency services access
  • there would be unsafe traffic conditions on Camel Lake Road,
  • the subdivision would exceed acceptable levels of recreational carrying capacity,
  • there will be negative impacts to the environment, and
  • the deterioration of water quality.
As this item was to be discussed in Closed Session, Council listened to the presentation but made no comment. Following Closed Session a resolution was read “Be it resolved that the Township Solicitor/ Director of Planning on behalf of the municipality, be instructed to withdraw party status to the LPAT Hearing with respect to Subdivision Application S2015- 3, (Camel Lake/ Evans, Roll #2-1-035)”. The resolution carried.

Official Plan Review - Consultant Selection

Director of Planning, David Pink explained that three bids were received from interested parties. The evaluation committee met and unanimously agreed that the position should be offered to Meridian Planning Consultants and its sub-consultants. Meridian Planning Consultants have experience in Muskoka, as well as experience in recreational carrying capacity, waterfront commercial development and usage of Airbnb's.

The resolution was read and carried.

Township News

Survey - New Website

According to a press release on May 28th, 2019, “The Township of Muskoka Lakes is looking towards the future to ensure its website platform is meeting the needs of the community. Over the next few months, the Township will be working to redesign and develop a new website.” If you wish to have your input heard, please complete the attached survey that can be found at - Township Web Site Survey Info. The survey will be open until June 9th, 2019.

Official Plan Review Steering Committee

The Township is looking for candidates to sit on the Official Plan Review Steering Committee. It is anticipated that the committee will meet approximately seven times during regular business hours over the coming months. Meetings will conclude some time in 2020. If you are interested, please complete the attached form and submit it by June 7th, 2019 -Steering Committee Steering Committee

The Ratepayers would like to personally thank the
Muskoka Lakes Volunteer Fire Department and all volunteers for their
hard work and long hours during the recent flooding event.

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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