Great Gulf Homes filed an application with the Town of Gravenhurst in April for a proposed expansion of the Taboo resort hotel complex on Lake Muskoka. The application seeks three zoning by-law amendments:

  1. Height: Increasing the permitted height by 109%, from 11 m (36 ft.) to 23 m (75 ft.) (20 m, excluding mechanical penthouse). It is unclear what height allowances have been approved in the past, and the MLA is working with our professional planner to ensure that the proposed development will adhere as closely as possible to whatever height approvals are currently in place.
  2. Density: Increasing the permitted number of units by 68%, from 109 to 183 which we understand aligns with the 2016 official plan, although not the zoning by-law. We were pleased that Great Gulf acknowledges that each room will count as one unit, as required by the official plan.
  3. Parking: The required 377 parking spaces to be located on-site may be accommodated across Highway 17/Muskoka Beach Rd. at the Taboo Golf Course.

We acknowledge that Taboo has been a resort (formerly the Muskoka Sands Inn) for many years, the property is on municipal services and is accessed via a District Road and that some redevelopment should be permitted.

At the public meeting held by the Town of Gravenhurst on June 28, 2022, over 90 submissions were received from the public, and the MLA and the Friends of Muskoka filed a joint submission here. Our representative spoke at the public meeting, as did representatives of the South Muskoka Lake Community Association.

Primary concerns raised were height, density and the need for dark sky lighting. For example, the proposed hotel entrance at the top of the bluff, extending several storeys down, provides a multi-storied glassed-in view of the lake. We are concerned about the impact of glass reflection during the day and the appearance of a “new lighthouse“ at night.

Great Gulf also stated that it plans to condominiumize the hotel units, such that investors may purchase a unit that they may occupy and rent out, but that residential use would not be permitted. However, we are concerned that 42 or 44 weeks exclusive use by the unit owner and only 8 to 10 weeks in a rental pool (with only two weeks in the summer) is more reflective of residential use at the much higher densities afforded to commercial properties.

We will continue to work alongside our association partners in the hopes of achieving a development at Taboo that addresses our concerns.