The Muskoka Ratepayers are hosting an Anti-Fraud presentation at
the Port Carling Community Centre
on Saturday, June 3rd, 2023,
10 am to noon.

This event is open to all.

Note that Township Watch is a monthly publication that is made available to Muskoka Ratepayer members. This sample edition is being made available to potential members so they can take a look. We hope you like the contents.

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


The Muskoka Ratepayers congratulates Crystal Paroschy on her appointment as Director of Legislative Services.  We look forward to working with her.

The Muskoka Ratepayers would like congratulate Deputy Clerk Cheryl Hollows for the impressive job she did while taking on the responsibilities of Acting Clerk.  Ms. Hollows is a wealth of information and did not miss a beat while filling the role.

General/Finance Committee

Arena Feasibility Study

Director of Public Works, Ken Becking, reminded Committee that the Township has adopted a Parks and Recreation Master Plan which included 111 recommendations.  Recommendation 40 was to proceed with an arena feasibility study.  Mr. Becking was asking that the draft Terms of Reference  for the study be endorsed by Committee.  The key deliverable will be a good study that will take part in two phases.  Phase One will involve information gathering with a public consultation, and Phase Two will produce a range of practical alternatives.  The recommended study will be driven by a consultant and staff, but ultimately Council will be responsible for the final decision.

When asked why the recommendation does not say that either of the arenas could be rehabilitated, Mr. Becking responded that the only thing that is being excluded is the “do nothing” approach.  In reply to the question of estimated timelines, Mr. Becking stated that he hoped the entire process could be completed by the end of the year.  Mr. Becking informed Committee that the information gathering should be brief as most information was collected in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.  Lastly, Mr. Becking stated that the consultant will report back to Committee at the completion of each phase with updates and progress reports.

A resolution to endorse the Term of Reference to complete an arena feasibility study and to allow staff to prepare a Request for Proposal for consulting services to complete the study was read and carried.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Muskoka Road 38 Renaming

Deputy Clerk, Cheryl Hollows, informed Committee that the Tri-Council had chosen a new name for Muskoka Road 38, Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie.  Ms. Hollows full report on the background and process of renaming the road can be read here - Road Renaming.

A resolution was read and carried stating that the Township of Muskoka Lakes supports the District of Muskoka in the renaming of Muskoka Road 38.

ED Note: See the District Council section below for additional information.

Terms of Reference for Fire Station Location Study

Chief Murrell was before Committee with Draft Terms of Reference for a fire station location study.  In July 2022 the Township received a Fire Master Plan that contained 38 recommendations.  Recommendation 20 was to undertake a feasibility study for three options for fire station locations.  Chief Murrell explained that this study will take place in two phases with Phase One being information gathering and Phase Two being the development and examination of alternatives.  According to the agenda package the three options that were presented to Council were determined through a review of the 2014 Fire Master Plan.  The three options are:

  • Option #1 - closing of two fire stations,
  • Option #2 - creation of a new five fire station model, or
  • Option #3 - creation of three key stations, with four sub-stations.

A resolution was read to approve the Terms of Reference for a fire station location study and to permit staff to issue a Request for Proposal for consulting services for the study.  The resolution carried.


Muskoka Lakes Water Levels Website Page

Township Communication Advisor, Kalleen Turchet presented to Council a new Water Levels page ( on the Township website that was developed by herself, Director of Public Works Ken Becking, Fire Chief Ryan Murrell and CAO Hammond.  Although the Township strives to keep residents informed regarding water levels, water levels are managed by the Province and other levels of government.  The new webpage includes tabs on:

  • Managing Water Levels in the Township
  • Township Advocacy
  • Monitoring Conditions
  • Integrated Watershed Management
  • Stay Informed in an Emergency
  • Key Contact

This item was for information and no resolution was read.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Alternate For District Council Named

Council appointed Councillor Mary Ellen McIntyre as the alternate to attend District Council meetings if a District Councillor is unable to attend.

Planning Committee

Short-Term Rental Regulation Process

Chief By-law Enforcement Officer, Rob Kennedy, presented to Committee the process that his department hopes to follow while developing a short-term rental by-law for the Township including a licensing program as decided by Council.  Mr. Kennedy explained the plan they laid out includes making a presentation to Committee on “variable sections” included in some licensing by-laws such as number of days one can rent per year and how many nights can be rented per stay.  Mr. Kennedy suggested that a Special Council meeting be held where the presentation can be given and receive input from Council on the “variable sections” of the proposed by-law, as well as discussing current statistics the Township has on current short-term rentals.  Input will also be received on what other municipalities are doing with short-term rentals.  Following that discussion, an Engage Muskoka webpage will be created with information on the by-law, there will be public consultation, an Open House will be held, a public meeting will be held where the draft by-law will be presented and allow for further public comments, if required an amended draft would return to Committee or go directly to Council and then staff will begin working on the implementation of the by-law.

Following Mr. Kennedy’s presentation, a question was asked as to when Council had embraced a licensing by-law?  Councillors Zavitz, Roberts and Moyer Kent all voiced concerns with this wording as they felt the Township was investigating a short-term rental by-law, learning the pros and cons of a by-law, or simply evaluating a by-law.  Director of Development Services and Environmental Sustainability, David Pink, reviewed for Committee the steps that the Township has taken since 2016 when Council heard presentations from planners and lawyers on the subject and set up a working group to discuss a licensing by-law.  Staff were asked to proceed with developing a short-term rental by-law but ultimately Council approved a Code of Conduct in approximately 2018.  Although the short-term rental by-law was written it was “shelved”.  During the summer of 2022 a resolution was passed asking staff to return with the licensing by-law for consideration.  Mr. Pink explained that this process is starting with a staff report on how they wish to proceed as they believe this is a complex and contentious issue.  Mr. Pink was clear that Council has not made a decision or voted to pass a licensing by-law to date but stated that ultimately licensing is the only option that will work in the Township to regulate short-term rentals.

CAO Hammond further stated that last term staff were asked to update old by-laws.  Instead of simply presenting Committee with a drafted by-law, staff decided to come forward with the process they will follow while drafting the by-law.  Furthermore, if Committee does not wish to proceed, they have the ability to stop the process.  Mr. Pink added it would be best to hold a Special Planning Committee meeting for this topic.

Councillor Nishikawa raised points she had learned at the ROMA Conference in January regarding short term rental by-laws.  It was suggested that a short-term rental by-law should not be under the Planning Department as it is not a planning issue, that the by-law should be self-funding and that it is a long process to develop a short-term rental by-law.  Councillor Nishikawa suggested that a small committee be formed, perhaps with one Councillor per ward, to research the by-law and report back to the Planning Committee with interim reports.  CAO Hammond said that a smaller committee was possible, but staff had felt that all Councillors would want to be involved.

Having heard the explanations, Committee members were supportive of the process.  A resolution was read and carried to endorse the process to consider and develop regulations for short term rentals.

ED Note: The MRA realizes that in the above report it says a “Special Council meeting” and a “Special Planning Committee meeting” which are not the same, but that is what was said.

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

District of Muskoka

Renaming of Muskoka Road 38

Following broad community engagement with the Wahta Mohawks 45 potential names for Muskoka Road 38 were put forward.  A list of 13 potential names was then created for a committee to review and reduce to three.  A Tri-Council meeting was then held with representatives from Wahta, the Township of Muskoka Lakes and District Chair Lehman.  The name Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie was chosen.

Put together Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie means “Mohawk People Road”.  Separately “Kanien’kehá:ka” translates to “People of the flint” and “Iohatátie” translates to “long travelling path”.

The District will now work with the Ministry of Transportation to have the name officially changed.  They will also create and install new signs, run a public knowledge campaign, provide a tool kit to help those who have to have their address changed and work with emergency service and their own impacted databases.  The full district report including the process, background and a short instruction video on how to pronounce Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie can be read here - Road Renaming

Richard Hay from Wahta Mohawks First Nation and a member of the Turtle Clan provided District Council with a lesson on how to pronounce Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie.  Mr. Hay who learned the Mohawk language in his late teens explained that the letter “k” sounds like the English letter “g” and the letter “i” sounds like an English “y” if it is located before another vowel and that a “:” indicates a slight pause while speaking.  Further that a “t” sounds like an English “d” and “t + ie” sounds like “j + ye”.  Here is a short video created by the Wahta Mohawks First Nation on how to pronounce Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie -  Click Here.

Following Mr. Hay’s presentation Council voted unanimously to accept the name change and support it with the Ministry of Transportation.

Monday, March 20th, 2023

Committee Meetings

The MRA commends Mayor Kelley for sitting in on all District Committee meetings.  It is impressive to see Mayor Kelley orienting himself with all aspects of the District.

The Northern Lights were seen
across Muskoka during
the night of March 23rd, 2023.