The proposed project would make all this too dangerous to continue …

Feb 252015

At the December 16, 2014 Township of Muskoka Lakes Council meeting, the proponent’s presentation included the drawing below (click on it for a larger view). This shows the proponent would like to “preserve” Margaret Burgess Park by being allowed to instead use the following Township lands for their proposed construction (which would be at least two years):

  • Portage Landing (the land south of the proposed construction site, labelled “staging area” below)
  • Precambrian Shield parking lot
  • Don’s Bakery parking Lot

We’ve heard this before from the “Probity” group (who even had green “Save Margaret Burgess Park” buttons made for the municipal elections last October). Let’s look at what the proponent’s “deal” would really mean for Bala.

As shown by the southbound red truck turning from Muskoka Road 169 into the “staging area”, the proponent desperately wants to fill Portage Landing with 15′ of blasted rock, so they could drive dump trucks into it to reach their proposed construction site (shaded red below).

But it is  fact that Portage Landing is all trees. So to dump their blasted rock and to get their dump trucks into it, the proponent would first need to cut down all the trees in at least the north 95′ of Portage Landing. We’ve counted, this means the proponent would cut down more than 100 trees in Portage Landing to “Save Margaret Burgess Park”.

So let’s look at Margaret Burgess Park. Below is an overlay of two drawings from the proponent; one shows the trees in Margaret Burgess Park and the other shows the path of the gravel the proponent would dump into Margaret Burgess Park to make a ramp up to their proposed temporary bridge over the Bala north falls (they would use this bridge so their dump trucks could reach their proposed construction site).

As highlighted by the red arrows we’ve added to the overlay drawing below (click on it for a larger view), the proponent would need to cut down two trees, maybe three in Margaret Burgess Park.

So which is the better deal, the proponent’s current plan to cut down two or three trees, or what they’re now asking for, to cut down over 100 trees from Portage Landing.

It is obvious, the Township should not “make a deal” with the proponent. The proponent’s current plan to cut down only two or three trees in Margaret Burgess Park would be far better for Bala than their “deal” of instead cutting down over 100 trees on Portage Landing. But this is even more clear if we look at the bigger picture of the two “choices”:

  1. Proponent’s current plan:
    1. Cut down two or three trees from Margaret Burgess Park.
    2. Dump some gravel in Margaret Burgess Park to make a ramp (they would later remove the gravel).
      OR, proponent’s “deal” …


  2. Proponent is asking Mayor Furniss and the Councillors of the Township of Muskoka Lakes to agree to “Save Margaret Burgess Park”, so the proponent would instead:
    1. Cut down over 100 trees in Portage Landing
    2. Fill Portage Landing with 15′ of blasted rock
    3. Occupy the Precambrian Shield parking lot for at least two years
    4. Occupy the south half of the Don’s Bakery Parking lot for years

We think the proponent would already be making enough of a mess of Bala (in both cases they’d also be; occupying all of Diver’s Point, driving dump trucks into the Bala north channel beside Purk’s Place, and of course, blasting the Crown land south of the Bala north falls down 60′ and filling the entire site with a 70′-wide x 100′-long poured concrete powerhouse that would rise 30′ above Muskoka Road 169).

Let the Mayor and Councillors know that the Proponent’s current plan is mess enough. We don’t want them cutting down 100 trees at Portage Landing to save a few trees in Margaret Burgess Park.

  6 Responses to “Proponent expects Township Mayor and Councillors to let them cut down 100 trees instead of just two”

  1. We elect our Council to protect our interests. Start doing your jobs. Stop this shameful nonsense.

  2. STOP THE DAMN! Don’t cut 100 year old trees, any trees. We don’t need this minuscule hydro project. They aren’t making any more shoreline. Bala is a crown jewel in Muskoka’s crown.


    CARE! Heather Truemner – a tax payer

  3. As we are all trying to save the natural environment of the area around the Bala Falls, and maintain it for pleasurable use – as it has always been – it makes NO sense to be cutting down trees in the area – especially 100 trees. The entire project is a matter of a very foolish decision made 10 years ago – by the Liberal Govt under Dalton McGuinty – to develop ‘green energy’ for the province which the province does not need. And in fact will be selling to upper New York State at a lower rate than we pay in Ontario right now. This is not only stupid, it is ridiculous. The taxpayers and 85% of the residents of Bala have demonstrated and said very loud and clear that they do NOT want this project – so why is the Council still even considering it ? We have said very clearly that it would be a terrible blight on the landscape, would make for very dangerous travel around an area already very busy with car and truck traffic, people moving in all directions and boats at docks on both the Moon River side and the Lake Muskoka side of the bridge. It will ruin the economy of Bala for two years – the people of Bala have a right to carry on their business – as they have always done and to make a living there. To prevent them doing this is totally wrong. To prevent or hinder in any way the traffic through the town is ludicrous – it is bad enough with no construction, and worst of all, the town of Bala will not benefit in any way financially (or any other way) from the project. The monetary gains will all go to the Bracebridge/Lakeland Power Co. Why would Bala want this? So forget cutting down the 100 trees and leave Bala alone. Let’s not destroy a beautiful resort town, full of history and recreational space – to build a hydro dam the the people have clearly said they don’t want.

  4. As someone who has sat on the “sidelines” on this issue, feeling that I was somewhat removed, it is now becoming very obvious that this is a much more negative situation with more far reaching ramifications than I had appreciated. Clearly, based on so much of the information that is now available this does NOT appear to be something that is in the best interest of Muskoka, and particularly those in the Bala Falls area. We, as residents of Muskoka, need to look beyond our own backyard and demand more information before projects like this are finalized. These projects set precedents for future initiatives that could have the same kind of devastating affects as this project will on Bala. I voted for Don Furniss, believing that he wanted to enact positive change and ensure that what makes Muskoka so unique, particularly the landscape, would be protected and preserved. This project now seems to be a slam dunk for the company, while providing nothing positive for Muskoka. I hope there is much more discussion and transparency before this initiative goes any further, While there was frustration with the past Mayor, for several reasons, hopefully, because of her passion about this “cause”, it won’t overshadow extensive due diligence before any closure is reached. I look forward to seeing a positive solution for all Muskoka residents.

  5. PLEASE do NOT decimate the area by cutting 100 plus trees when 2 or 3 is possible in Burgess Park.All councillors must see this is the better way if they care about Muskoka Lakes and respect the voters you are responsible to in a just fashion.
    Respectfully submitted to Mayor Furniss.

  6. As a former hydro management worker now retired after a 35 year career I cannot understand the desire to allow further progress of a proposal which has no merit towards unrequired hydro generation in an area which has been so effectively shown to not warrant or support this proposal.

    In a province where we have seen hydro rates soar under the guise of deregulation and the formation of the OEB to monitor and sell off surplus unwanted generation, why is a private entity being allowed to suggest that a generating facility is good or even necessary in Bala? Where are the powers that be during these discussions? As a property owner on Lake Muskoka and a ratepayer in Ward C I strongly object to this or any proposal which suggests hydro generation is required in Bala or good for Bala. I also have further doubts whether so called hydro generation is even needed in ontario given that we sell off surplus at a rate where we lose money in doing so. Only in Ontario can this be seen as a smart business strategy. I also wish to register my objections to the potential of possible personal property damage to my neighbours and fellow property owners.

    During the past 21 years of property ownership on Lake Muskoka, I am quite aware of the continued annual risk of water level fluctuation and the number of recent excess spring levels experienced in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. I wait with baited breath for this spring and what we will be forced to deal with yet again. How many cottagers experienced significant dock and boathouse damage due to these excess water levels which were not covered by insurance and given that this proponent has no holdings, who do we turn to for restitution for damages caused by the proposed construction? The risks to many are too great for the perceived benefits of a few. It is important to stand up and be counted.

    Stop this proposal before more time, money and effort are expended on a plan which has no merit to the residents of Bala or to the taxpayers of Ontario and to the ratepayers of Muskoka. My admiration and thanks to those who have continued this fight on a daily basis and continue to do so. Thank you. Brian Ley

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