Hello Members and Supporters;
Lake of Bays Association (LOBA) and Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation (LBHF) were disappointed with the September 2022 Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) ruling in favour of the application of Langmaid’s Island Corporation (LIC) to redevelop this heritage site. LIC gained permission to develop 32 building lots on the island and two waterfront landings on South Portage Road.
Having said this, we achieved some wins that would not have happened without our participation as parties to the OLT process. The process had two stages: first, the three-week hearing in 2021 that resulted in the decision to approve development. A second hearing was scheduled to finalize the plan of subdivision, which falls under the authority of the District of Muskoka. Prior to the second hearing, each of the parties agreed to Terms of Settlement with LIC. A settlement hearing was held on June 7 and the OLT decision was issued on July 6. The Draft Plan of Subdivision is approved subject to the fulfillment of the conditions as detailed in Schedule 2 of the decision.
CLICK HERE to read the Decision
The positive outcomes, from the perspective of LOBA and LBHF, include the following:
- Four blocks of lands on Langmaid’s Island are set aside as conserved properties. They include the two highest peaks on the island, the rock cliffs on the south end, and the two rock barrens. Easement regulations prohibit public access or use of the conserved lands. The boundaries of the conserved blocks will be clearly marked. The decision requires appointment of a recognized conservation body to ensure conservation in perpetuity.
- The decision includes several measures to protect the shoreline and island tree canopy. It requires that lots have more shoreline and larger overall sizing than required under the Township of Lake of Bays Official Plan. Shoreline protection measures include 23-meter shoreline buffers (vs. 20 meters in the Official Plan); only limbing of trees is permitted in shoreline activity areas, unless the tree presents a hazard; the pathway from the shore is limited to a two-meter width (may be six meters during construction, then must be revegetated).
- The Township is mandated to oversee character guidelines for all built structures.
- Implementation of recommendations in the Boating Impact Assessment and its provisions for access and services, including long-term ownership and maintenance of the mainland landings.
- To inform lot owners and future purchasers, an ecological expert will prepare a Stewardship Manual that explains the owner’s role and responsibilities as a steward of the island’s ecology. It will describe the history of Langmaid’s Island and its natural heritage area designation. It will provide details on appropriate development and construction restrictions. The Stewardship Manual will be approved by the District of Muskoka and given to every prospective lot purchaser at the time of offer.
- A revised parking concept for the waterfront landings complies with municipal by-laws and provides the required number of spaces while adhering to all setback requirements.
- LIC has agreed that there will be no barging activity in the narrows on weekends and statutory holidays from July 1 to Labour Day.
- In all, 30 conditions must be fulfilled for final project approval to be granted. LIC has five years to clear these conditions, after which they would need to apply for an extension.
We were unsuccessful in negotiating several mitigation measures that would have lessened the impact of construction on the neighbouring community. However, LIC agreed to provide a Letter of Comfort indicating a “promise to act as a steward of the community, working with trades to ensure that the neighbouring lands are treated respectfully and with as minimal disruption as possible”. This letter is a gesture of goodwill upon which we hope the local community and LIC will base a cooperative relationship as development proceeds.
It will be incumbent upon the District of Muskoka, The Town of Huntsville and the Township of Lake of Bays to stand firm on each condition of approval and future development. The opportunity for variance and amendment requests always looms, and we expect our municipal planning departments to stay true to the intent of the settlement. This is likely the last waterfront subdivision of this scale on Lake of Bays. Let’s get it right.
LOBA and LBHF have worked diligently on this file for over 5 years. Although we didn’t succeed in defending the Langmaid’s Island policy in the Township of Lake of Bays Official Plan, we measurably mitigated the impact of development on the island ecology and the surrounding community. Being at the table made a difference.
We thank the many donors who supported us through contributions to the Langmaid’s Protection Fund and the LOBA Action Fund. We could not have done this without your support and endorsement.
Over time, 32 new families will join the Lake of Bays community. We should welcome them and lead by example so that they too will be good stewards of the lake.
President, Lake of Bays Association
President, Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation