Karen Ellis (Incumbent)
Candidate for Mayor
Township of Muskoka Lakes
I offer the following comments on the concerns raised by your group.
Bala Falls: Township continues to raise concerns and will continue until all questions have been addressed by SREL. The Township has no jurisdiction on the final decision regarding this project as it falls under the province’s The Green Energy Act. This act takes all municipal powers away and leaves the township as a commenting body only! Township is hosting a public meeting on Saturday, September 18th in Bala at the Community Center beginning at 10 am. The meeting will update the community on issues raised by the township.
Gull Rock: The zoning currently permits a Trailer Park. It was licensed for 65 sites. An Official Plan Amendment and rezoning application has been received to permit a Tourist Resort with up to 65 housekeeping units. This application has been deferred pending the receipt of an Archeological Report and a Peer Review of the Site Evaluation Report. It is doubtful it will be back before Council before the New Year.
Red Leaves: The receiver is actively operating the resort. To our knowledge occupancy levels have been quite high this summer. Until the resort is sold, we are not anticipating additional development.
Wallace Marine: We are not aware of any redevelopment at this time although approval for a long deck and series of docks has been granted.
Cleveland’s House: We are not aware of any redevelopment plans at this time.
Bylaw Changes: The Official Plan was passed by council in March 2009 and sections have been appealed to the OMB. Council continues to work on the Draft Zoning Bylaw and had a public meeting on July 24th to gather comments from residents. Council will decide in early September if this bylaw will be passed by the end of this term. I personally do not think this will happen. I believe council must take the time to get the zoning bylaw correct the first time and deferring the whole process until after the election and holding another public meeting next spring for further discussion is the right way to go.
Balancing seasonal/year-round Residents views: At times it can be difficult but one must remember that everyone is here for the love of Muskoka. Council must listen to all views and then make decisions based on the majority of the stakeholders. I strongly believe that having members of the public on advisory committees also is very informative and brings a different perspective to the table.
I have been a member of council for the past 13 years, for the last 8 months as the mayor. I was the Chair of the Township Planning Committee for 8 years. I chaired both the Waterfront Density Bylaw Committee, which addressed the issue of the built form not dominating the waterfront and the Township Official Plan Review Committee. Each of these committees worked diligently over 3 year periods to complete the mandate assigned to them.
I live in Glen Orchard with my husband and have two grown sons, both of whom work in the township.
I was a trustee with the Muskoka Board of Education for 9 years, the final year as Chair, before the Harris government created The Trillium Lakelands District School Board.