Langmaid's Island Development Appeal Decision
Langmaid’s Island is approximately 53.79 hectares with 6,180 meters of shoreline in the southwest part of Lake of Bays, in the Township of Lake of Bays. The island was purchased in 2018 and the owners, Langmaid’s Island Corp., proposed a 32-lot subdivision on the island, with two mainland access points from South Portage Road, in the Town of Huntsville. The island is identified in the Lake of Bays Official Plan as a Muskoka Heritage Area with very specific policies that discourage new lot creation. In November 2019, Langmaid’s Island Corp. filed appeals with the Ontario Land Tribunal, based on no decision being made by the Township of Lake of Bays and Town of Huntsville within the mandated time limit. The hearing was held in February 2021 and lasted 23 days. The Lake of Bays Association and the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation were joint-parties at the hearing, supporting the town’s and township’s planning staff reports to deny the application. On Monday of this week, the Tribunal released his decision.
We are disappointed to report that the decision is to allow for 32 lots to be developed on the island. We are reviewing the decision with our lawyer and exploring our options regarding the next phase of the Tribunal process about the Plan of Subdivision.
While we are disappointed with the decision, we feel our participation in the hearing netted some improvements to the original development proposal. In particular there are three recommendations in The Tribunal Findings section that we believe are wins for the Lake of Bays Association and the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation.
A number of spaces on the island will be required to be set aside as conserved lands. With regard to these areas, the Tribunal wrote:
-  The Tribunal hopes that the Applicant and the Foundation will continue to work together to determine an appropriate legal mechanism for the Foundation to become the long-term stewards of the conservation areas defined on the Island. There is no doubt in the Tribunal’s mind that the Foundation would steward these areas in the best interest of the residents, both island and the larger community.
-  Dr. Coleman opined that further way to preserve the views to the Island it to protect the rear yards of the proposed lots and restrict the removal of trees in this area. With the rear yard setback being 10 m, it was his opinion that this would greatly enhance the views to the island. On this issue, the Tribunal agrees. The preservation of the linear strip of treeline will strengthen the continuity and connectivity of this tree line between the two designated open space blocks, further enhance and conserve the cultural landscape and ecology. This directly relates to Dr. Coleman’s concern over the fragmentation of the conservation easements.
And finally, the Tribunal suggested that there could be two phases of development with a pause in between to reassess the impacts of development.
-  Therefore, the Tribunal directs that as a condition of draft PofS [Plan of Subdivision], Muskoka and the Applicant should determine the appropriate phasing of development on the Island along with the appropriate technical studies that will be required to fulfill this condition. The Tribunal heard that an appropriate phasing plan could include the development of 20 lots on the Island as Phase 1. A Phase 2 that would allow for the development of the remaining lots would be conditional on the Applicant submitting to the satisfaction of the approval authority with necessary technical studies to ensure that adequate parking, vehicular access, and boating volumes are maintained at an appropriate level. This condition and the requirements to satisfy the Tribunal may be considered as part of the Phase 2 of this hearing as required.
We thank all of you who supported the Lake of Bays Association and Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation through this appeal. As we review the decision and make plans on how we intend to proceed, we will keep you informed.