Guy Burry

District Councillor – Ward C

1 – Improvements for TML / Better Community:

As we all know, there are numerous challenges and opportunities facing Muskoka. I believe that the most significant challenge facing the District is the ongoing threat of overdevelopment and the potential long-term negative impact it could have on our lakes and quality of life. To be clear, I’m not against development, but I do feel it needs a long-term strategy, carefully planned, and implemented.

Supporting and developing prosperous, vibrant communities in the District is fundamental to future community success. We must first come together and then work with other governments to successfully tackle the District’s serious and growing attainable housing shortage.

In addition, ensuring the District continues to have state-of-the-art Internet service and is incorporating emerging technologies will also contribute to a more robust and better community for everyone.

2 – Tax Increases / Effective Delivery:

As a property owner, I am concerned about the efficient and effective use of taxes. It is essential to recognize that we have no control over the provincial assessment and the Township’s portion of tax revenue is a relatively small percent of the overall tax bill. While I think that the Township manages the tax revenue monies we receive well, the District budget is where we need to focus on providing a more cost-effective and equitable delivery of services.

3a – Data to Justify Environmental Improvements:

The Province requires municipalities to update their Official Plans regularly to ensure that they stay current with Provincial Policy, and incorporate any new requirements imposed by the District, including consideration of flood plain mapping. I support updating the Site Alteration, Tree Preservation, and Septic Inspection by-laws. These changes will protect the environment, especially in the waterfront areas. Effective implementation will be critical, and that will require consistent by-law enforcement.

For more detailed information, I would like to refer interested electors to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-environment-conservation-parks. Programs draw on the best available science and research to develop and deliver policies, legislation, regulations, standards, programs, and services. One such program is the Lake Simcoe Science Committee which was formed to improve watershed quality.

The plan covers lands and waters close to, adjacent to, or within any lake in the watershed, tributaries, and wetlands.

The Science Committee comprises ten scientific experts in research, environmental science, water quality, and climate change. One of the critical objectives, backed by science, is to reduce loadings of phosphorus and other nutrients into Lake Simcoe and its tributaries. These experts have identified that the primary stressors that degrade water quality include excessive phosphorus, pollutants, and e-coli.

The primary sources of excess phosphorus to Lake Simcoe and its tributaries include effluent from sewage treatment plants and septic systems. That plan states, “Septic systems that are inadequate or not functioning properly are potentially significant sources of pathogens that may eventually enter Lake Simcoe and its tributaries.” As a result, all lands within 100 metres of Lake Simcoe’s shoreline, other lakes in the watershed, and any permanent stream entering Lake Simcoe, became prescribed areas for required on-site sewage system maintenance reinspections. There is simply no need to repeat this science. It is irrefutable.

3b – Financial Impact of Regulatory Environmental Changes:

Implementing a septic reinspection program in Muskoka Lakes will similarly reduce phosphorous loading and protect oxygen levels critical to maintaining water quality and fish populations and safeguard our drinking water.

4 – Affordable Housing:

Supporting and developing prosperous, vibrant communities in the District is fundamental to future community success. We must first come together and then work with other governments to successfully tackle the District’s serious and growing attainable housing shortage.

I would promote exploring the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainable Affordable Housing initiative. Funding is available for highly innovative pilot projects that generate greenhouse gas reductions for affordable housing.