November 14, 2017

The District Municipality of Muskoka (the District) has, for more than a year, been undertaking a public review process for the updating of its Official Plan (OP). The District OP covers all of the towns and townships in the District of Muskoka. One of the items in the most recent OP draft is that the District is proposing 50% commercial and 50% residential use on commercial resort properties within the District. Please note, the OP is still in “draft” stage and not finalized. The District’s OP is fortunately being structured in a fashion that will allow the lower tier municipalities (i.e.: the Township of Muskoka Lakes) the ability to enact MORE STRINGENT/RESTRICTIVE regulations into their respective OP and Comprehensive Zoning By-Laws as they choose. The MRA has obtained clarification and confirmation from the Township of Muskoka Lakes Director of Planning on this and the following points.

If the District’s OP proceeds as currently drafted, the question becomes will the Township implement stricter regulations? The MRA certainly hopes so! And we will do our best to continue to monitor the situation. If the District draft OP is adopted, then the MRA will advocate at the municipal level when necessary.

Whether you agree or do not agree with these specific developments within the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Legacy Cottages (formerly Lakeside Lodge), Touchstone Resort and the Villas of Muskoka (formerly Tamwood Resort) have already been approved and have their permits. The new OP will not change what has already been approved for these properties. These developments are permitted under current zoning provisions, which do not contemplate any residential use on these properties. This means that all units must be available to the “travelling and vacationing public” and full residential ownership uses are not permitted.

The proposed development of the Resort Village of Minett by Ken Fowler Enterprises (KFE) is extremely daunting! The board of the MRA met with KFE for several hours to hear their proposed plans as KFE is currently soliciting comments from the public to help shape their proposal. Until more information is available the MRA has not taken a stand for or against the project. KFE is currently finalizing its zoning application in order to conform to the Township’s OP policies that were approved by the Ontario Municipal Board many years ago. The MRA is monitoring this project as well. If you have concerns with the KFE rezoning application, now is the opportunity to comment on it by contacting your Township of Muskoka Lakes councillors.

As always, we welcome comments and input from our members.


Liz Denyar