Following the issuance of Stop Work Orders, multiple property owners and their contractors have been charged under the Tree Preservation By-law and Site Alteration By-law. The charges involve three separate properties, two on Sugarloaf Island on Lake Joseph and the other on Brandy Lake. Orders to Remedy that require the submission of a satisfactory re-naturalization plan of disturbed areas were also issued.
The violations allegedly include altering the landscape and grade of the property in contravention of the Township Site Alteration By-law, destroying trees in contravention of the Township Tree Preservation By-law, and clearing property. The property owners and/or contractors will have an opportunity to defend the charges in court. Total charges of all violations could bring fines of up to $320,000.
“For too long property owners across Muskoka Lakes have gone unchecked, often just do things that contravene by-laws, asking for forgiveness later. The charges are evidence that those who contravene Township By-laws will face significant fines as well as substantial Orders to Remedy their property, resulting in significant delays in completing their projects,” says Mayor Phil Harding.
“The natural environment of Muskoka Lakes has made it a globally recognized place to visit, live and play,” says Mayor Harding. “Our vision is focused on protecting and enhancing these features – not destroying it for personal benefit.”
One of the levels of increased service approved by Township Council through its 2021 Budget is By-law Enforcement. Additional By-law Enforcement resources now allow for extended hours of enforcement during the summer months.
The Township of Muskoka Lakes says they are committed to helping owners achieve approval through compliance with regulations. Building owners or occupants who have concerns or questions regarding by-law compliance for a project are asked to contact By-law Enforcement at 705-765-3156.
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