A controversial cottage construction in Muskoka Lakes is making national news.
The National Post recently ran an article titled – Blight on the lake: The fight over a mega-cottage in Muskoka – which offered a rundown on the ongoing dispute over the development of property on Sugarloaf Island on Lake Joseph.
The struggle to maintain a balance between protection of the local ecosystem and development has been an issue in Muskoka Lakes for decades but the pressure has ratcheted up significantly in the past few years as property values have skyrocketed.
The 10,000+ member Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) has also been increasingly active in their opposition to the widespread development of the lakes. In June, the MLA petitioned the Township, saying:
“We believe that the extreme tree removal and blasting at Sugarloaf Island … has destroyed the natural environment and beauty of a large swathe of this island. It also is a blight on the landscape for neighbours and tourists and negatively impacts the ability of neighbours to enjoy their properties.”
The Township of Muskoka Lakes has also been cracking down significantly on development violations in recent months.
In September, following Provincial Offences Court proceedings, a Brandy Lake property owner pleaded guilty to charges laid under the Township Site Alteration By-law 2008-56 and received a fine as a result. An Order to Remedy had also been previously issued to the subject property, as well as two properties on Lake Joseph’s Sugarloaf Island and a property on Fish Hatchery Road. The Orders to Remedy require the submission of re-naturalization plans and restoration of the sites to the satisfaction of the Township, all in accordance with the recommendations of a qualified environmental professional.
“Property owners must be held accountable for their actions and the initial charges are only part of the process,” says Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding. “The second part – The Order to Remedy is by far the most important and will involve restoration of the property at the cost of the owner. These remediation efforts are directed by the Township and are based on input from experts in environmental fields.”
Charges for violating the Township of Muskoka Lakes’ site alteration and tree preservation bylaws onSugarloaf Island have been adjourned to Oct. 27.
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