Who are the 'Friends' and why do I need to Save Muskoka?
Friends of Muskoka are a group of dedicated volunteers working to protect and to preserve the natural environment and unique character of Muskoka by promoting responsible use and development of its land and lakes.
Our petition to protect the lakes from overdevelopment has now reached over 25,000 signatures! Sign here.
We continue to advocate for what is best for Muskoka at 5 developments: Villas of Muskoka, Touchstone/MIST, Legacy Resorts, Marriott Hotel, and Resort Village of Minett.
– Villas and Touchstone/MIST: The developer appealed the District’s conditions in its condominium application to the OMB, and the hearing was scheduled to proceed on April 23 and 24. Friends of Muskoka applied for party status, and we and our lawyer and planner prepared for the OMB hearing; however, it was postponed at the last minute when the Board member hearing the matter became unavailable for the first day. On the second day, our lawyer participated in a pre-hearing conference with lawyers from the developers, the District and Township of Muskoka Lakes. The OMB hearing has been rescheduled for early November 7 to 9…..so another lost season for the developers of these two properties. There was discussion of mediation in the next few months.
– Legacy: At the end of February, the developer at Legacy Cottages applied for a work permit to build 8 new docks and a large boathouse with 3 additional slips, in addition to the existing docks, which would provide docking space for 50 boats – clearly intended to allow each of Legacy’s units to dock a boat. We have challenged this application at the federal Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and await their decision. At this point all other construction on the site has stopped, which we suspect is the result of our actions and wanting to hear the outcome of OMB hearing in November, which will also affect them.
– Marriott: Through our lawyer , we objected to the application by the Marriott Red Leaves to build 40 more cottages on their property, some of them only 10 feet from the shoreline. At the Township of Muskoka Lakes ‘Committee of the Whole’ hearing on February 15th, 3 representatives of Friends of Muskoka spoke in opposition, and won a unanimous deferral until the developer is able to address concerns about the septic system, (undersized and not on their property, which Council was unaware of) and the fire department access.
We have circulated four editions of our WAVES newsletter to our email list to give them timely updates on our progress and keep them engaged. Archive available here.
Our efforts to influence OP policies have resulted in District staff taking the position that more studies are likely necessary before the current draft is revised. On May 24, they will present options for the scope, timeline and budget of the OP review process to District Planning and Economic Development Committee (PEDC).
the problem in muskoka
We are asking for your help today to fend off a drastic threat to the scenic waterfront communities of Muskoka.
A new District Official Plan will, if enacted, generate high-density redevelopment of resort properties throughout Muskoka.
Sign up for the Friends of Muskoka Waves newsletter for updates on the next chance for input on the new Official Plan. Official plans set the rules of land use and development for a municipality. This new plan would allow any of Muskoka’s 80-plus waterfront resorts to be redeveloped into high-density residential enclaves – thanks to a developer-friendly redefinition of what constitutes a “Resort”. The District of Muskoka’s planners, in a misguided attempt to prop up the ailing resort industry, are proposing that 50% of all new units may be sold and operated as fully residential units, without the requirement to rent. The other 50% can be sold with minimal (and unenforceable) rental obligations. It is, simply, residential densification under the guise of being a “Resort”. Ironically the real effect maybe doing away with resorts entirely.
If passed, this new District Plan will change the character of Muskoka and our beautiful shorelines forever.
The Muskoka Lakes Association Board is unanimously opposed to the District’s proposals, and has agreed to mount a strong and collaborative opposition effort. Several other cottage associations are working with us. The Board believes this is truly a defining moment for Muskoka. It could be an expensive undertaking. But if we don’t act now, in 10 years our children will ask us why we didn’t.
What can you do?
1. SIGN THE PETITION
Please get involved. If you love this beautiful region, let your voice be heard. You can start by joining the thousands who’ve already signed our petition. Here’s the link: bit.ly/SaveMuskoka
2. GET INVOLVED IN THE MUSKOKA ELECTION AND VOTE!
You can register all of the people in your household who are entitled to vote in the crucial October 22, 2018 Muskoka elections, and vote online or in person on election day. Friends of Muskoka and the MLA have provided instructions for registering to vote here. We will send updates on the election to everyone on our email lists, so get on the list by inserting your information in the green box below.
3. STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES ON THE NEXT CHANCE FOR INPUT ON THE MUSKOKA OFFICIAL PLAN