Special Township Council Meeting, Tuesday January 26, 2016, at 3:00 pm
The Township of Muskoka Lakes has scheduled a Council meeting this Tuesday January 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm, it will be in the Port Carling Community Centre, which is at 3 Bailey Street, across the parking lot from the Township’s administration building in Port Carling. The meeting Agenda is here.
As reported in our last e-Newsletter, the Township is rushing to lease three parcels of Township land to the proponent to facilitate their proposed construction of a hydro-electric generating station in Bala.
But there are too many unanswered questions. Come out (and invite any media you know – others need to know about this) to this special Council meeting to see if Township Council will answer:
- Why would the Township sign a lease which only the proponent can choose to extend to 20 years, but the Township apparently has no rights to terminate.
- Why has the area’s business community not been notified by the Township of the plans to sign this lease. The businesses would want to know that the proponent would fence-off and have exclusive use of most of the Precambrian Shield parking lot and the Don’s Bakery parking lot, for up to 20 years.
There are apparently some restrictions, for example, as noted in the “Summary of Lease Terms” in the Agenda (which the Township just posted on their web site on Friday), the proponent could only use the south part of the Don’s Bakery parking lot, and only from after Cranberry weekend to April 30 each year. But our Councillors have not been allowed to convey this to anyone, and in any case, without knowing the details of the rest of the lease, these restrictions could be meaningless.
- Why did the Township attempt to vote on this lease at their January 15, 2016 Council meeting without ANY public notification, and why have they now only on Friday released selected “Summary” information for the meeting Tuesday – what else is in the lease which they refuse to disclose until it is signed.
- Why are the Mayor and too many Councillors claiming they must sign this lease Tuesday as their only chance to “save Margaret Burgess Park”, but even with this “saving”, would the proponent:
- Continue to choose which activites they would permit in Margaret Burgess Park – as they already did last summer when they stated they would instruct the OPP to arrest anyone attending the Moon River Property Owners’ Association’s free Canada Day celebration last summer, to which everyone was invited.
- Build a huge fence along the entire shoreline and west side of Margaret Burgess Park, with Danger and No Trespassing signs to keep people from climbing down the rocks to the water, claiming their lawyers or insurance company forced them to do it.
The public deserves to know the plans now.
- The proponent would cut down all the trees on Portage Landing and pile it 15′-high with their blasted rocks (to save them the money of moving these elsewhere); how ugly would the retaining wall be to keep this steep slope from eroding and falling into the Moon River, what landscaping would the proponent actually do, how much would us taxpayers have to pay for the Township’s annual maintenance of this artificial landscaping. And why would the proponent build a portage here – right beside their treacherously-turbulant tailrace flow, when the MNR has said this area is already too dangerous for portaging.
The public deserves to know more, before any work is started.
Did you know that in 2008 the turbulent water exiting the Wilson’s Falls generating station (just 40 km from Bala, but rarely visited) drowned a 16 year old boy. Did you know that the proposed Bala generating station would have TEN TIMES this flow AND be automatically started at about noon on summer days, just when people would be in the water only a few feet away.
Did you know that the proponent has not released any plans on how they would operate their proposed station safely.
Will Bala become the “drowning capital of Muskoka”, will the proponent and Township install fencing and Danger signs everywhere (Margaret Burgess Park, along the north channel, Portage Landing, Diver’s Point) to reduce their liability, in a futile attempt to reduce the drownings.
Will the Township require that the proponent provide an acceptable safety plan before any further approvals or permits are provided to the proponent.
Will the Mayor and Township Councillors vote to approve signing this lease before these safety concerns are addressed, thinking they will be rid of this issue when in fact it would just come back to haunt them every time there is a drowning.
Find out for yourself, come out to the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council meeting this Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm, in the Port Carling Community Centre, 3 Bailey Street, across the parking lot from the Township’s administration building in Port Carling.