After several years of debate and adjustments, Muskoka Lakes Council passed the official plan amendment for the village of Minett.
The plan has been in development since 2018 and set out to address community concerns respecting the extent of Resort Commercial development rights within the Resort Village of Minett designation and its potential to impact the waterfront character in that area.
During the November 10th council meeting the OPA was edited and debated by local residents, a representative for developers and council.
Several residents spoke before council about their thoughts on the OPA and potential changes. Most potential changes involved wording changes that to ensure that local interests were respected. These included provisions that mandated resorts had a location for staff to live on location, maximum building height, unit size and several other changes.
Director of Planning David Pink was on hand making amendments to the OPA wherever possible to satisfy residents and council.
Most of the meeting revolved around subtle word changes. Councillor Peter Kelley discussed the importance of these small words changes.
“Words really do matter. The language that we choose really does matter. If it’s difficult to understand or ambiguous in any way, it becomes unenforceable,” said Kelley
A key point that was debated by council involved the wording of on-site management. The question was if a resort needed to have a manager on-site at all times to complaints, emergencies and to assist guests. The plan before council had been written with some flexibility according to Director Pink to allow for different types of resorts that the OPA may apply to.
Mayor Phil Harding supported this flexibility citing the potential for a four-unit resort that would not need to have on-site management like a much larger resort.
“Do they have to have on-site management or could they manage their four units off site? I think generally speaking we all want on-site for large 400 room hotel,” Harding said.
But several councillors supported making the wording stricter. Councillor Frank Jaglowitz described the wording as being so open, “you could drive your truck through it.” Councillor Allen Edwards agreed with the wording change citing public support.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from the public they want on site management.” said Edwards
The wording of on-site management along with several others was revised for the final draft. Council approved the OPA and it has now been sent to the Muskoka District who will debate it before possible passage.
After the vote Harding thanked everyone who had worked on and supported the new plan for Minett.
“To all those to all the delegates we’ve heard today, to our staff to our council and to our steering committee who met for countless months. Thank you all. If this amendment does finally come to fruition, though it may not be what we all want, it is a significant change to what the existing policies are within the village of Minett and certainly far greater protection for the Township of Muskoka Lakes,” said Harding
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