Vote for the candidates who know the issues and who will fight to preserve the character of Muskoka. 

To be clear, this is not a slate of candidates. It is a list of individuals who we believe share the values that we have expressed throughout our campaign to SaveMuskoka:

Friends of Muskoka expects all elected officials to follow their own judgement and act independently at all times, based on their personal assessment of each matter that comes before Council.

Read the FOM/MLA response to the MRA’s concerns about candidate endorsement in the Muskoka Municipal Election.

Aligned candidates in The Township of Muskoka Lakes

Identified by Friends of Muskoka and the MLA
(photos and brief bios below)

Phil Harding

Township Councillors Ward A/1
Donelda Hayes
Glenn Zavitz

District Councillors Ward A/1
Ruth Nishikawa

Township Councillors Ward B/2
Gord Roberts
Susan Mazan

District Councillor Ward B/2
Allen Edwards

Township Councillors Ward C/3
Barb Bridgeman
Peter Kelley

District Councillor Ward C/3
Frank Jaglowitz




Phil Harding grew up in Muskoka and Toronto. He has repeatedly demonstrated that his values are aligned with the core values of Friends of Muskoka in his statements and votes on Township and District Council over the past 8 years.  At the September 13th All-Candidates meeting, Phil said this in response to the question ‘Are you in favour of high density waterfront development?’: “Regarding high density on the waterfront — no, plain and simple.”

Phil explains his views: “It’s time to rethink our commercial zoning policies. It’s time we understand the recreational carrying capacity of our lakes. It’s time we recognize that residential development disguised as commercial has virtually no economic benefit other than lining the pockets of the developers and significantly jeopardizing all things Muskoka.” Click here to read Phil’s full opinion piece. 

Not only does Phil object to high-density residential waterfront development, he championed the Interim Control By-law (ICBL) that has paused the 4,000 unit development in Minett while studies are done to determine what development is appropriate.  In contrast, the two other candidates for mayor, incumbent Don Furniss and Ward B councilor Terry Ledger, cast the only two votes against the ICBL.

A former director of the Muskoka Lakes Association, Phil has served two terms as District councillor for Ward C.  Click Phil’s website to read more about his goals and aspirations for Muskoka.


Township Councillor Ward A/1

Donelda has served two terms as a township councillor for Ward A. She has also served as acting deputy mayor, as well as on the township council budget committee, the public library board and the Walker’s Point community centre hall board. Donelda has also served as primary council liaison for the clerk’s department, and secondary council liaison to the treasury department.

During Donelda’s two terms on council, she has been a strong advocate for responsible, sustainable development. “Donelda believes the most pressing issues in Muskoka Lakes are: The environment — this includes water, land, air and the night sky; A fiscally responsible budget that addresses all the needs of the township; Successful review and completion of the official plan; Addressing infrastructure needs and developing a sustainable long-range plan to manage it.”

Read this article  for more information about Donelda and her goals for Ward A and Muskoka Lakes.


Township Councillor Ward A/1

Glenn celebrated his first birthday at the Torrance cottage his grandfather built. With his wife, he ran a Waterloo-based marketing firm, Ozone Communications Inc. In 2010 they sold the firm and began what Glenn calls their “early-retirement journey,” focusing on Muskoka. As councillor, Glenn promises to promote transparency, a positive mindset, and more respect for the taxpayers’ dollars. He believes that the environment in Muskoka “is the economy for all of us.”

“We must preserve our lakes, trees, rocks and rivers — they are why we’re here — we enjoy and rely on them. I believe we must put hi-density multi-unit lakefront development aside to focus on our No. 1 resource, it’s our environment and our responsibility to preserve it. Given the Township of Muskoka Lakes vision statement is “To respect, maintain and enhance our Muskoka”, we must collectively work to do better. Thoughtful development is key,” said Glenn in this article.

Glenn has specific goals for Ward A: “I particularly want to engage the many Ward A voters, listening to your opinions, concerns and gauge attitudes … to tap into what’s on your minds.”

Read Glenn’s website to learn more about Glenn and his goals for Ward A/1 and Muskoka Lakes.  


District Councillor Ward A/1

Ruth-Ellen Nishikawa has served three terms as a township or district councillor representing Ward A. She has been a reliable supporter of positive environmental policies, heritage, community centres and trails. She says the most pressing issues in TML are continued protection of Muskoka’s lakes and forest health, attainable housing, and serving the aging population.

Ruth has been a vocal opponent of over-development during her three terms in office. She spoke and voted in favour of the Interim Control By-law that paused development in Minett while studies are done to determine what development is appropriate. Ruth says of her accomplishments that she is “proud to have brought forward, adding to our complement of parks in Muskoka Lakes, the Walkers Point Lookout trail.” “My part on community services has brought programming for all ages to Muskoka that assist in better quality of life initiatives”.

Ruth’s desire for her next term is to “continue to work with a team that will deal with the difficult planning issues in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, addressing Muskoka watershed impacts created by man, and seeing the development of senior housing for West Muskoka.”

Read this article to learn more about Ruth and her goals for Ward A/1 and Muskoka.


Township Councillor Ward B/2

Gord is a year-round resident who has been actively involved in the Muskoka community for 35 years. In 2004, he founded the Leonard Lake
Stakeholders Association. As an LLSA board member, he directed the
association’s water quality initiatives, its invasive species awareness program, and its lake partner program. He assisted in loon nesting platform construction, and in 2017 participated in an intensive water-quality study. As chair of the Milford Bay Community Centre board, he recently spearheaded the building of 35 raised community vegetable gardens. Additionally, he has held senior project-management positions in the IT field.

“In 2016/17, I was a key member of Leonard Lake’s challenge of the District of Muskoka’s new Recreational Water Quality Model (OPA45), and Leonard Lake’s strategy to communicate the benefit of a recreational carrying  capacity model for Muskoka,” said Gord in this article.

Gord’s goal is to preserve Muskoka’s special character through his extensive
experience protecting water quality and lake health. He supports responsible fiscal management, and thoughtful and rational development.

Read Gord’ website to learn more about his views on the most pressing issues facing Muskoka.

And read about the 4th annual Thanksgiving food drive organized by Gord to benefit local food banks.


Township Councillor Ward B/2

Susan grew up in Bracebridge, attending Monck Public School and BMLSS, and working locally at the Bala Foodland, Santa’s Village, and The Old Station Restaurant. After studying at the University of Western Ontario she specialized in public relations. Susan has leadership and business experience and led a national sales team with approximately 100 sales representatives across Canada while focusing on client management and program execution for international brands such as Gatorade and Kraft. “It was in these roles that I learned the importance of managing multiple priorities, while balancing a diversity of needs, and where I developed the leadership and skills to deliver results,” says Susan.

Issues and challenges on Susan’s radar are protecting the environment, managing responsible development, managing the budget with accountability and transparency, strengthening communities and revising the Official Plan. “I would consider it a privilege to represent all of Muskoka at the council table, protecting our environment as our top priority, while working together to manage municipal costs and create new opportunities for a year-round economy,” said Susan in this article.

Check out Susan’s website to learn more about her experience and goals for giving back to the community.


District Councillor Ward B/2

Allen has served two terms as district and township councillor for Ward B. For the past four years, he was the vice-chair at District on the planning an economic development committee, as well as chair at the township on the planning committee. Allen serves as a board member of the Ullswater and Windermere community centres. A tireless promoter of the Health Hub in Port Carling, Allen has been the Primary Council Liaison for the Building Services and Planning Departments.

Allen explains: “I have vast experience in communicating with lawyers, planners, developers, ratepayer groups, lake associations and the general public. I pride myself in always respecting people’s views, listening, asking questions, learning the facts and assessing the information, then acting, offering fair, common-sense solutions. I am a team player, as three different mayors in Muskoka Lakes, appointed me to the committee of adjustment.”  

Allen’s main concerns over the upcoming term are:  The district official plan, especially resort development and the Resort Village of Minett; Preservation of the environment and lake quality; Controlled development, with sunset clauses; Fiscal restraint; To support the excellent township and district staff with respect and rapport; To continue supporting the Health Hub in Port Carling.”

Read this article for more information on Allen and why he is seeking re-election for a third term.


Township Councillor Ward C/3

Barb is an MBA graduate whose career includes operating a successful financial business for 13 years. She has broad experience in government, charitable and non-profit organizations. She says her skills include team-building, collaboration, project management and inspired leadership. As councillor, she pledges to use her skills to create “a brighter future” for the community. Barb is a strong supporter of the “Environment First” philosophy and, if elected, is determined to preserve and enhance Muskoka for the benefit of future generations.  

“I was introduced to Muskoka over 50 years ago when my parents bought property on Lake Rosseau. I have been part of the “four-seasons” experience ever since then. Now my grandchildren are fourth-generation Muskokans. As they learn the beauty and wonder of our unspoiled natural environment, I am more determined than ever to preserve and enhance Muskoka so that future generations can experience all the unspoiled, natural recreation opportunities that we enjoy now. I will work collaboratively with all Council members to ensure that our decisions benefit all. We are one community,” said Barb in this article

Read Barb’s website to learn about Barb’s goals to help craft new solutions in Muskoka Lakes.  


Township Councillor Ward C/3

Peter Kelley is a former corporate lawyer who became president of GE Commercial Distribution Finance. After leaving GE in 2007, he co-founded TCF Inventory Finance, now a $2.7-billion subsidiary of TCF Bank. A proven leader and negotiator, Peter believes that solutions come from transparent, responsible and accountable governance. 

As a cottager on Lake Joseph and a permanent resident of Port Carling, Peter is well suited to understanding and representing all township residents, seasonal or permanent. If elected, I will work hard to ensure that Muskoka becomes a preferred location for capital investment, business growth and increased full-time employment for our permanent residents,” said Peter in this article.

Peter believes the most pressing issue in Ward C is the “planned construction of residential developments, masked as resorts, which are proposed to be built on lakefront lots zoned commercial or resort, without any regard for the density and setback provisions normally required of residential development.”

Peter adds: “The focus of the new council must be on these residential developments disguised as resorts. We owe it to future generations of Muskokans to fight for the protection of our environment, fight for the preservation of the unique Muskoka character and, at the same time, pursue new economic growth for our region to provide local residents with environmentally respectful, full-time job opportunities.”

Read Peter’s website  for more information on his goals for Muskoka Lakes.

Frank jaglowitz

District Councillor Ward C/3

Frank Jaglowitz resides in the area of Minett, and has been a leading advocate for responsible development in Muskoka over the past 12 years. Frank began his career as a chartered accountant with a predecessor firm to KPMG. He has founded a number of firms in the accounting, computer-services and software sectors, and has consulted to a wide range of small- and medium-sized businesses.

In recent years Frank has become increasingly concerned about the rise in “unsustainable” residential development on resort properties in Muskoka, expressing his concerns to Township and District councils and staff on numerous occasions.

As councillor, he would work for sustainable development in Muskoka that includes affordable housing. “I want to ensure we have sustainable development in Muskoka, that’s balanced across our region and that includes attainable housing for our community. We need to grow our economy, and I want to be part of a Muskoka that grows responsibly,” said Frank in this article. In addition, “At district council, Jaglowitz wants to change how OPP and other costs are shared among the municipalities. He said that his expertise in municipal cost accounting will help ensure that Township of Muskoka Lakes residents pay only their fair share of these costs.”

Frank believes these eight issues are important for a sustainable Muskoka: Responsible Resort Development; Job Creation; Year-Round Economic Growth; Affordable Housing; Fiscal Responsibility; Fairer OPP Cost Sharing; Improved Management of Airbnb-type Cottage Rentals; and Watershed Protection.

Read Frank’s website for more information on his background and goals for Muskoka Lakes.  

MLA Aligned Candidates in Seguin, Gravenhurst and Bracebridge

The Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) has researched the candidates to present their Aligned Candidates in in Seguin, Gravenhurst and Bracebridge. See their recommendations here.



*Friends of Muskoka ( is a registered third party advertiser in the Township of Muskoka Lakes

*The Muskoka Lakes Association ( is a registered third party advertiser in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Town of Gravenhurst, Town of Bracebridge, and Seguin Township.