There is a proposal before Gravenhurst Council to develop a parcel of land in Muskoka Bay, at the east edge of Gravenhurst wharf. The proponent’s application has been deemed complete by the Town and the Town is now obtaining peer reviews of some of the reports and studies submitted. Once those peer views have been completed, the Town will call for a public meeting to consider the application, likely in August or September. Thereafter, Town staff will review the application, the peer reviews and the public input and submit a report with a recommendation to the Town’s Planning Committee.
Some areas of concern include:
1. The proposed height and length of the boathouse complex, which is to extend 630 feet from the shore alongside the Steamships wharf and roughly double its length (49 feet is permitted) at a height of 53 feet or almost 5 storeys (13 feet is permitted) and to be comprised of two storeys (only one is permitted), with retail space on the second floor.
2. The absence of adequate parking. The Town requires 1.25 parking spots for every residential unit. The proposal contemplates between 129 and 186 residential units, with only 153 parking spots planned, so a shortfall of between 8 and 80 units. The Town also requires a minimum of 235 parking spots for the proposed retail, commercial and amenity space. The proposal contemplates NO commercial parking spaces and will rely on municipal parking within a “reasonable“ walking distance, while acknowledging that the four closest municipal lots are at 85% of capacity at peak times. The parking shortfall is between 243 and 315 parking spaces.
3. The proposed height of the mixed use residential/commercial building onshore is 111 feet and a maximum of 7 storeys (35 feet is permitted). This is much taller than the blue and yellow condominium buildings (6 storeys) at the other end of the wharf. The submitted drawings indicate eight floors above grade and one floor below grade. However, the plan is to fill in 10 feet at the water’s edge so that the below grade floor is actually at or close to the current grade at the water. Thus, there will actually be 9 storeys with essentially no setback from the water.
4. Boating safety is an issue with 55 new boat slips proposed right beside the Steamships wharf. The applicant’s boating impact study acknowledges that this section of Gravenhurst Bay is overcapacity. However, the study contends that resultant overcrowding of the maritime space can be overcome by speed limits in the bay and education programs.