Township of Muskoka Lakes
P.O. Box 129
1 Bailey St.
Port Carling, Ontario
P0B 1J0


Don’t sell out Muskoka. 

Dear Mayor Furniss and others:

We have been residents/land owners on Lake Rosseau for 35 years. Our parents have owned a property/home on Lake Rosseau for 60 years.

I have read many of your response emails to many residents regarding your proposals to change the definition of what a “Resort” is.

Mayor Furniss, you are trying to turn the definition of a ‘Resort’ completely upside down. Effectively your definition is a condominium or residential community in sheep’s clothing.

Your new District Official Plan proposal would allow developers to sell 50% of their “resort” units as wholly owned residential homes and 50% as condos, where they have to be in a rental pool for only 2 weeks during the summer, and a total of 8 to 10 weeks for the entire year.

Who would police the 2 weeks, or the 8 weeks? For the first 3 years the contract states that the ‘Resort’ may be issued a one time $10,000 penalty for noncompliance – not per single violation.

This is simply a license fee!

The current requirement for Red Leaves owners is that they can NOT stay in their units for more than 30 days in summer, which is the complete opposite of your proposal! 

Again there is no way to enforce your proposal. You could drive a truck through the wording in your document. Homeowners would be able to rent their units to each other, to family… to get around this requirement.

The sales people in these developments are using this lax ‘non’ requirement as a sales feature. Your proposal is simply a backdoor loophole which would  allow developers to take resort land and turn it into a residential waterfront subdivision.

Mayor Furniss, in one of your responses you said “the owners are guests because they have to adhere to the resort/condo rules”. How does this make them guests in their own home? The only thing they have to adhere to is the condo by-laws – just like any other condo in NYC or Toronto. Are all of these condos now resorts?

Once again, this proposed change is just a backdoor loophole. Your proposal would allow developers to build high-density residential communities on our beloved lakes by simply changing the definition of a resort.  Very clever, but not so fast! 

  1. The Township plan fails to revive the resort industry. What you propose are not resorts. They are condominium villages, and urban developments without proper services.
  2. These developments will not provide long-term job creation. Where is the resort at Villas or Legacy Cottages? There are absolutely no resort services! No check-in desk, no restaurant, no housekeeping staff, grounds-keeping, or maintenance staff. Where are the employees? Where are the jobs?
  3. The Township is simply creating a backdoor loophole  for the developers to build residences without adhering to residential planning rules. The effect of this bypassing of residential planning rules allows turning commercial resorts into residential properties. These residential planning rules were put in place to protectour lakes.
  4. The Township is about to line the pockets of the developers at the expense of the environment and the families that call Muskoka home. Why?
  5. The township is NOT basing this decision on  current (within the last 10 years) studies on water quality, car and boat traffic, roads and bridges, boat safety or economics. There is no study on the long term cost to the township to service thousands of new high-density urban developments crowded around our lakes. Our community services are already overloaded (hospitals, fire, police, doctors).
  6. How do we force 1400 or 50 homes to fix a faulty private septic system? A legitimate resort can simply be shut down. How do you shut down 1400 or 50 private homes? Who is responsible when the developer is long gone?
  7. How do 3000 or more cars on a Friday night go across a brand new one lane swing bridge in Port Sandfield? Or return on a Sunday night? What about the safety of children buying ice cream at Silverstream grocery store. How do they even cross the road? It’s tough enough now!
  8. Where will all the thousands of new boats tie up in Port Sandfield, Port Carling? There are lineups for the limited dock space and gas pumps now.
  9. Where will all the hundreds of islanders, who will be displaced, dock their boats?

Here is a reasonable solution for reasonable development:

Let’s put the brakes on this, slow down, and do our homework.

Together, MLA and the Township will commission current studies in 2018 and then develop thoughtful and reasonable solutions to follow with all stakeholders’ input.

What’s the rush? The election on October 18, 2018?

Say NO to “Fake Resorts” in Muskoka!

Our voices are getting louder and stronger. We are picking up momentum by the hour. We are not going to go away. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $1 million. We are almost halfway there, between our private groups and the MLA, and it’s only been a few weeks.

The meetings on November 16 and November 23 are just the beginning of our battle. We know this, and we will not get discouraged or worn down.

Like most families in Muskoka, we are as passionate about our lake’s future as we are about our children’s future.


Concerned Cottager