The Muskoka Ratepayers is an advocacy group whose objective is to ensure that the Township receives responsible governance from those that were elected to represent us in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.

The Goals of the Muskoka Ratepayers

  • To protect and promote the interests of all property owners within the Township of Muskoka Lakes
  • To encourage orderly development of the Township in such a manner as to preserve and enhance the value of residential, commercial and industrial properties
  • To support the the youth of our community

The Objectives of the Muskoka Ratepayers

  • Attend Township Council meetings to gather, first hand, information of interest to our members
  • Be accessible to the members of the Association through any Director on the Board
  • Hold public forums on issues of major concern to the membership
  • Support the youth of our community
  • Stay in contact with other associations with regards to our mutual interests
  • Have our Board and its committees review issues affecting all Ratepayers in the Township.  Bring any concerns to the attention of Council, and meet with members of Council to resolve relevant concerns that our members may have.

The Muskoka Ratepayers and Governance

The following are principles and policies that the Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association has adopted. If you are of like mind, you should consider joining us, To do so, please click on –  Join Us

  • General Principles – Our mandate is:
    • To represent all Township property owners, both seasonal and permanent, in an attempt to ensure that their tax loads are fairly and reasonably conceived
    • To encourage governmental initiatives to develop a welcoming and thriving community
    • To encourage our government to implement plans and budget initiatives which focus on efficiency, productivity, and development while initiating short and long term strategies that are in the best interests of the community
  • Operations:
    • To have MRA personnel sit and act as a watchdog at all Township Council and many committee meetings,reporting relevant information and decisions to our membership
    • We do not intercede with the Township to resolve our members conflicts or problems of a personal nature
  • Policy:
    • To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, our Directors are required to recuse themselves from meetings or discussions which are directly related to the area of conflict
    • Resignations are required from any MRA Board Member or Officer before they file for political candidacy
  • Elections:
    • We are not political activists
    • We hold all candidates meetings at election time, but do not endorse candidates or make recommendations
    • We summarize what each candidate has said at the meeting and make the information available to all members and the community at large

The Muskoka Ratepayers Association (MRA) is an organization with a unique role in our community.

Ratepayers was created  to make our community stronger by bringing together the interests of permanent residents, seasonal residents and businesses. These three groups must act as one if we are to have a strong representative economy, an enhanced, year round economy that builds on the natural beauty that is Muskoka. In bringing us together, the MRA feels that everyone should have an awareness of the issues facing the Township of Muskoka Lakes, an awareness of the actions of Council in reflecting the needs of the community through their decisions.

The MRA is not a political organization and comprises members and Board Members of varied political stripes. In our reporting function, we attend all meetings of Township of Muskoka Lakes Council and committees meetings. From these meetings we prepare objective reports (Township Watch) of issues discussed and opposing points of view and present it for membership in a newsletter format. This is key information to know what is happening in Township government and to allow you to hold your elected representatives to account. (Hyperlink to latest Township Watch)

The MRA writes letters on issues of importance to the community, currently being discussed by TML Council, such as budget development, Official Plan creation etc.. These Letters dig deeper into the issues and bring up opposing points of view that should be discussed when developing Township policy. ( hyperlink Dons OP comments).

Important issues are always developing in our community and we strive to build awareness of the issues, options for solution and the impact on our constituent groups (permanent residents, seasonal residents and businesses). Papers developed for this reason are posted on our website, sometimes published in newspapers as an open letter and often sent to TML Council and higher levels of government. ( hyperlink to letter on the Torrance Barrens).

Annually, we produce a Yearbook with articles about many of the issues important to membership and important contact information for political representatives to allow you to express yourself in person or gain help in resolving an issue. ( hyperlink to 2021 Yearbook).

Our website contains reference information that is much easier to retrieve than on the TML website, such as TML current budget, revised Planning regulations etc.. ( hyperlink to Planning changes)

When municipal elections are held, we take an important objective role by hosting an All-Candidate Meeting to allow the community to get to know the candidates and what they represent. Unlike other community interest groups, the Muskoka Ratepayers poses questions for each candidate to answer based on issues that are important to our members and the community at large.   This provides an excellent head to head comparison between candidates. (Hyperlink to candidates response).

All of this information is either sent to our membership or is available on our newly redesigned website. We feel that this represents one of the best values that you can get

2021 – 2022 Directors

At the 2021 virtual AGM, the members elected a new Board of Directors.  Liz Denyar is our President, Peter Long is the Past President, and Don Furniss is the Secretary / Treasurer, Our Directors include Doug Bryden (Ethics), Lynda Bryden, Gord Carlton, Judy O’Malley, Jim Boyd (Environment), Tom Grajnar, and Sharon Aiken (Membership).

Our Administrative Assistant is Dee Denyar.

The Muskoka Ratepayers Board of Directors is a dedicated group of volunteers with a common passion to help protect Muskoka. We are residents, cottagers, some of us are on the water, some of us live and work in the towns of Muskoka, so our interest and goals reach beyond the lapping waves and boathouses of the big lakes.

The Muskoka Ratepayers Board is comprised of both permanent and seasonal residents.  Lately, we have made it a priority to recruit permanent Muskoka residents to our board, as this allows us to keep very current with what is happening in the township. The Muskoka Ratepayers Association is not a cottage association, though many of our members enjoy their waterfront properties. The Ratepayers’ represent ALL the ratepayers of Muskoka, and is concerned not only with the issues of the our seasonal members, but also with the year-round viability of Muskoka. The permanent residents on our board  enable us to more easily react to the evolving environment of Muskoka, and to have a greater presence at the District of Muskoka.

The Muskoka Ratepayers have a representative at every meeting of the Township Council, General/Finance Committee, Planning Committee, and Committee of Adjustment. To ensure that we report objectively on our Township Council, we require that any director running for elected office take a leave of absence from the MRA Board, and should they be successful, they must step down from the Board.  Your concerns about Muskoka are our concerns and we make sure your voice is heard.

Of course, the Muskoka Ratepayers would not be able do the work we do without the invaluable support of our Executive Assistant Dee Denyar. Dee keeps us all organized, is the friendly voice when you telephone us, and attends many Council meetings. Thank you Dee.

The bios of current board members are available below.

Board of Directors

Liz Denyar

Board President
Email
About Liz

Peter Long

Past President
Email
About Peter

Don Furniss

Secretary / Treasurer
Email
About Don

Douglas Bryden

Ethics
Email
About Douglas

Lynda Bryden

Director
Email
About Lynda

Gord Carlton

Director
Email
About Gord

Judy O’Malley

Director
Email
About Judy

Jim Boyd

Environment
Email
About Jim

Tom Grajnar

Director
Email
About Tom

Sharon Aiken

Membership
Email
About Sharon

Dee Denyar

Executive Assistant
Email
About Dee