Dear Friends of Muskoka,

The Muskoka District Public Meeting in Bracebridge last Thursday November 23rd was a great success. Over 300 people attended, filling the council chamber, the lobby and a room in the basement where video monitors were set up. This was the highest public attendance at a meeting in 30 years! 53 people spoke – with only 4 supporting the developers’ position. Representatives from many lake associations, local residents, businesses, environmental organizations and cottagers were unanimously opposed to provisions that would allow for intensive waterfront residential development. This is not a cottager vs local issue; this is an issue of significant community concern.

Concerns focused on the environmental impacts of development, and the impact on the experience and character of Muskoka. District planners agreed that the Muskoka Official Plan (MOP) needs to strike a better balance between environmental, economic and “character” concerns and find a way to better incorporate climate change considerations into its decision-making.

For those that could not attend, a stream of the webcast will be available for the next few days. For a much shorter summary, refer to Friday’s articles in the Globe and Mail and the local Muskoka Region News.

We now have an opportunity to work with planners and politicians, and, with the experts we have hired, influence the policies in the next (likely final) draft MOP. We will work diligently to do this over the next couple of months. All cottagers are allowed to individually register to receive the Notice of Decision for the Muskoka Official Plan Review by writing the Clerk

In parallel we are working to influence the outcome of applications for condo agreements that are currently before the Township of Muskoka Lakes.

We also have a battle ahead of us with the Minett development, which to an extent falls outside the District OP as it was approved for 4000 units back in 2008. Their environmental, traffic, boating, etc studies are old, and standards have tightened – this represents an opportunity for us.

Other Progress to Date

  1. Touchstone – Application approved by the District but being appealed by Frank Jaglowitz to the OMB.
  2. Villas – Application approved by the District but deferred by the Township at their meeting on Nov 16th.
  3. Legacy – Application received by the District, but was declined and will be resubmitted at a later date with public review.

At this time there are NO applications approved that will permit residential occupancy in properties zoned Waterfront Resort Commercial. The Friends of Muskoka were part of all of the above setbacks to the proposed developments and we will be following each new application with ​a great team and multiple resources. We are working in co-operation with the MLA and several other lake associations to ensure consistency of message and to avoid duplication of effort.
Stay involved – we still have lots of work ahead of us. If you’ve not already done so, please sign up to receive updates from the Friends of Muskoka and stay tuned to Save Muskoka for upcoming events and news on our progress.

Thank you so much for supporting our effort. We couldn’t do this alone!

Paul Richards and Laurie Thomson
Friends of Muskoka