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. Friends of Muskoka believe that the environment IS the economy in Muskoka since millions of people come to Muskoka and invest here because of its clean water and natural, treed shorelines. Our lakes, forests and rivers are a resource that can drive Muskoka’s economy for decades to come if we put the environment first. To this end, Friends of Muskoka is trying to stop residential subdivisions on the waterfront in Muskoka and will work to enshrine sustainable development in the Municipal and District Official Plans. For more information, click here.
Main activities of Friends of Muskoka
Our WAVES newsletter provides timely updates on our progress and keeps our members engaged. Wave archive is available here.
Our petition to protect the lakes from overdevelopment reached over 25,000 signatures and was instrumental in raising awareness of the threat to the natural environment and unique character of Muskoka!
Thanks to the record numbers of people who voted to protect the future of Muskoka, the candidates who support sustainable development now form a majority on four of Muskoka’s municipal councils.
Now we have momentum!
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 100-plus waterfront commercial properties to be redeveloped into high-density residential subdivisions – 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 as it will be much more lucrative for a developer to fully build out and sell homes on these properties than it will be to run a resort.
If passed, this new District Plan will change the character of Muskoka and our beautiful shorelines forever.
The Muskoka Lakes Association Board and Friends of Muskoka are unanimously opposed to the District’s proposals, and have mounted a strong and collaborative opposition effort. Several other cottage associations are working with us. 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.
Friends of Muskoka have been working tirelessly over the past year to educate politicians and planners as to what is actually happening and we have effectively paused activity at 5 resorts, including the entire Resort Village of Minett. Developers could be permitted to build up to 3600 residences just in Minett, more than all the cottages on Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph COMBINED, and that could create a community larger than Bracebridge. Other developments already underway include: Legacy Cottages on Lake Rosseau where the developer has clear cut to build 43 cottages on 470’ of shoreline; Villas of Muskoka on Lake Muskoka where 23 units have been built along 800’ of shoreline; Touchstone Resort on Lake Muskoka that has applied to build an additional 100 residential condominium units; and JW Marriott (Red Leaves) on Lake Rosseau that has applied to build an additional 42 residences along the shoreline. With over 100 commercially zoned properties in the District, (including resorts, camps and marinas), there is huge risk of over-loading the lakes from the stand point of safety, our continued enjoyment, and water quality.
What can you do?
STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES ON THE NEXT CHANCE FOR INPUT ON THE MUSKOKA OFFICIAL PLAN – SEE THE EVENTS PAGE HERE.
Let’s stop the Muskoka sell-out!
Friends of Muskoka are working hard through the winter months to protect Muskoka from unsustainable development. Thank you for all your ongoing support and encouragement. In This Issue: • News from Village of Minett • Effective Opposition to Bill 66 • Ontario...
The Ontario PC party introduced Bill 66 on Dec. 6, 2018. Bill 66 is a major threat to every municipality in Ontario and could undue much of the progress we've made in the battle to SaveMuskoka. The OntarioNature blog has a great write-up on the dangers of Bill 66 and...
Politicians, lake association members and advocates seem eager to debate a policy that has the potential to limit waterfront development based on lake surface area Read Alison Brownlee's full article at MuskokaRegion.com here.