December 23, 2013

Dear Mayor and Councillors

At the recent meeting of the Planning Committee of the Whole, a draft by-law to “Assess and Control the Effects of Water and Ice Disturbing Equipment on the waters of the Township of Muskoka Lakes”, was introduced.  This draft by-law appears to have been expanded to combine two separate and unrelated matters – ice away systems (bubblers) and water flow disturbances.  On November 19, 2013 the MRA delegated and presented to the Committee of the Whole on the subject of bubbler system use (and misuse) – period.  This same presentation was made to District of Muskoka on December 16 and to the Town of Gravenhurst on December 17, 2013.

To say that the MRA, in Councillor Burgess’s words “challenged the township” to write this by-law, is simply not the case.

The Ratepayers are supportive of many of the initiatives set out in the by-law that relate to bubbler systems.  These initiatives provide a platform for study.  However, much additional work and investigation, using experts in the field, needs to be carried out.  Further, we would like to know who authorized the retention of legal assistance in the drafting of this by-law.  We support the suggestion made by Councillor Nishikawa that a committee be struck to examine the bubbler issue and the MRA would be pleased to be a part of this committee.

To be perfectly clear, our interest lies ONLY with the portion of the by-law that relates to bubblers and ice-away systems. The other matters that the township has incorporated in the by-law appear to relate to “structures and facilities” that affect “water flow velocities”.   This is a completely unrelated and separate issue that might be construed as yet another attempt to block the small hydro plant at the Bala falls.  We request that these two issues be treated as two separate items for further discussion and action.

Yours sincerely

Liz Denyar

President – Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association