General/Finance Committee – Wednesday, February 16th, 2022
Muskoka Road 169 Speed Limit
General/ Finance Committee members heard two delegations regarding the speed limit on Muskoka Road 169 in Torrance. The first delegate, Greg Knight, stated that a District Traffic Study was completed in 2012 which recommended that the speed limit be lowered from 80 km/hour to 60 km/hour on Muskoka Road 169 in the Torrance area, but it was not supported by Council. Since the completion of that study, traffic in the area has increased with off-water economic development occurring in “downtown Torrance”. Muskoka Road 169 is also used by individuals visiting the parks in the area including the Torrance Barrens and Hardy Lake. Mr. Knight requested that the District complete a new traffic study in the area.
The second delegate, Dave Kitchen, who recently purchased the Torrance General Store provided support for Mr. Knight’s request. Mr. Kitchen stated that he would like the review completed for the overall safety of customers, guests, and residents in the area. According to Mr. Kitchen Torrance has become an off-water development node with which comes a lot of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
A resolution was read to ask the District of Muskoka to conduct a speed limit analysis from south of Bala to the east intersection of Torrance Road on Muskoka Road 169. And further, to consider lowering the speed limit to 60 KM/hour in this area. The resolution carried.
Ferndale Road Realignment
A representative from the Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club was before Committee to present the issue of Ferndale Road bisecting the golf course. With the current placement of the road golfers must “play” across the road and on both sides of Ferndale Road for six of 18 holes. This presents a safety hazard to not only golfers but to drivers, walkers etc… The Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club wish to begin the process of reviewing Ferndale Road with a study to investigate realigning it and seeking public input. The Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club’s preferred option would be to reconfigure the road. The Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club’s entire presentation can be seen here. (LINK Gen/Fin pgs 5-24)
Committee members then voiced concerns regarding what they had heard including:
- this is a huge ask of the Township,
- the Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club should meet with the Trails Committee and outline the impact this may have on Hazelwood Trail,
- this request had not followed the usual process as it was not listed as an item on the agenda,
- the Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club said they were going to present this to the District next month but it was the first the Township was hearing of the project,
- many questions need to be answered, and
- an Environmental Assessment should be managed by the Township but funded by the Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club.
Director of Public Works, Ken Becking explained that the process being proposed is designed to “find a solution” and the Township may not like the proposed solution. If any changes were being suggested to Township owned lands the Township would have the opportunity to veto the work. CAO, Derrick Hammond, pointed out that if the road were moved it might be transferred to the Township and they should be looking at infrastructure and costs as well.
The representative for the Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club explained that they were looking for Township support to proceed with the Environmental Assessment to review all issues and challenges of the golf course being bisected. They understood that a solution may include use of golf course lands, or other lands. The Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club was looking for input from the Township and hoped to find a solution that was amenable to the Township.
Following a lengthy discussion, Chair Zavitz thanked the Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club for their initial presentation and said they could return based on what they had heard from committee.
This item was for information purposes and no resolution was read.
ED Note: Although this was an interesting discussion, the Muskoka Ratepayers agree with the Committee members who felt that process was not being followed. This item was not listed on the agenda and as such, should not have been discussed to the extent that it was.