On July 18, Muskoka District Council approved both the Muskoka Official Plan Amendment No. 49 and the Township of Muskoka Lakes Official Plan Amendment No. 56, cementing in policy the rules that will govern development in Minett.
At the June 23rd District CAPS meeting, Friends of Muskoka and the MLA made several final recommendations and comments, all of which were agreed to by the District’s consultants and approved by the Committee, including strengthening the wetland protection and environmental assessment requirements.
A representative of both Legacy Cottages and the JW Marriott (Rosseau) requested some exemptions for these two properties. We suggested this request was not appropriate. Thankfully, the consultants and Committee agreed and it was denied. Legacy Cottages also asked to extend the lands covered by municipal services to include additional lands they had recently purchased. We maintained this was not appropriate, and are pleased that this request was also denied; it would have created additional development rights beyond those that were approved by the Township and recommended by the Minett Joint Policy Review Steering Committee, and have not been subject to public input.
Although we would have loved to see very little additional development in Minett beyond the refurbishment of Clevelands House Resort, we know that it was impossible to turn back the clock and erase approvals put in place over a decade ago. Overall, we are pleased with where these policies have landed. It is a vast improvement from what it was going to be!
We would like to thank District and Township staff and Councils for moving forward with an Official Plan for Minett that is broadly in keeping with the recommendations of the Minett Joint Policy Review Steering Committee, members of which included FOM directors Laurie Thomson and Frank Pottow.
Your Support in Action
What has been accomplished in Minett would not have been possible without you, our community and supporters. Our community elected a strong Council who approved this revised plan. In addition over 2000 of us, through our Minett survey, letters, phone calls and delegations, told Council what our expectations are for Minett. Thank you!
We also thank Mr. Goldhar who purchased Clevelands House in Minett when it was subject to policy review through an interim control by-law. He listened to our community and worked with stakeholders to agree on a plan with:
- Reduced Density: from 4,300 units of unlimited size to 1,700 units with a unit cap of 850 sq ft + units in the JW Marriott and Legacy Cottages (2,020 total).
- Lower Heights: from 6-11 storeys to 5 storeys (16m) and only 2 storeys right at the waterfront. We advocated for lower heights, as recommended by the Minett Steering Committee, but Mayor Harding and Mr. Goldhar sought higher buildings in the resort village and Council settled on 16m. Mr. Goldhar has assured Council that the design and effect will be in keeping with the character of Muskoka.
- Less Docking: a hard limit on the number of docks
- Reduction of the Minett Village boundary: by 170 acres, reducing the future growth potential in the area.
- Better Environmental controls: throughout the Minett village.
- Significantly stricter owner usage restrictions: from 42 weeks per year to 26 weeks, with only 4 weeks in July and August. This will help ensure the development remains commercial, since units will be available for rental by the public.
- Mandatory dark sky compliant lighting: on all structures with full cut-off fixtures being required in order to minimize light spillage into the surrounding environs, while maintaining safety.
- Environment protections will extend to nearby Bruce Lake: as advocated for by Bruce Lake residents with support from us and the MLA
Muskoka Needs Your Vote!
We should be proud of what our community has accomplished. But it’s not over yet! The Council elected in October will make decisions on the development plan details and zoning rules. We need to elect aligned candidates who will work with the community and Mr. Goldhar to ensure the policies we’ve worked so hard these past 4 years to get approved are fully realised.
Voting is easy this year – it is online. Make sure you and your spouse or partner are registered to vote. Visit vote4muskoka.ca for election and candidate information. Candidate bios will be available late August.