We are almost there – part of the way through March. Lots of snow, ice and cold, but things will look very different in just a few weeks. Here from the Muskoka Lakes Association is the March NewsBites.
Courtesy of the Muskoka Lakes Association
Welcome to March 2015 NewsBites
The MLA is pleased to inform our members that we will be presenting the MLA’s 2014 Water Quality Initiative Report to Bracebridge, Sequin, Gravenhurst, and Township of Muskoka Lakes councillors over the next two months. Water Quality Director Andrew Watson presented our Continue reading Muskoka Lakes Association March NewsBites→
The MLA is pleased to announce that our President, Michael Hart, has met with Township of Muskoka Lakes Mayor Don Furniss, Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith, Seguin Township Mayor Bruce Gibbon and District Chair John Klinck. These meetings provided an opportunity for our President to discuss current issues of concern and interest to the MLA and to provide an update on MLA activities. Michael is looking forward to meeting Gravenhurst Mayor Paisley Donaldson in the coming weeks. The MLA looks forward to continued congenial open relations with all District of Muskoka elected officials.
The MLA reminds all our seasonal residents to reserve Monday February 9th, 7 to 9 p.m. to attend the Township of Muskoka Lakes’ (TML) Community Input Strategic Plan meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn, 3201 Highway #7, Vaughan. Your input is critical to the formation of TML’s 4-year Strategic Plan. TML Mayor and TML District Councillors want to hear what you value most about Muskoka. As well, don’t forget to fill out TML’s on-line survey to provide you input to the Strategic Plan. The press release can be found here.
DISTRICT OF MUSKOKA
Sale of a Portion of Airport Lands – At the January 19th District Council meeting, Council held a very passionate debate on whether to sell, or lease, a parcel of land at the Muskoka Airport. In the end, Council voted 13 to 9 to sell the airport lands. Selling the land and receiving confirmed Provincial and Federal government redevelopment funding and resulting creation of local jobs won out over annual revenue from leasing the land. By selling this land, the development potential for an east/west runway is lost along with any future economic development potential on those lands. District CAO Michael Dubin stated that the District typically sells land versus leasing it and that it will still retain first right of refusal to repurchase the land. Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young called the vote to sell the airport lands “a tragedy”. For that story click here. Although the MLA supports increased job opportunities in Muskoka, an agreed upon, long-term strategic plan would have been helpful prior to this decision.
Bala Falls Entrance Permits Update – Swift River was before District Public Works committee asking for some minor wording changes to the conditions of their entrance permits. It was noted that Swift River has had difficulty obtaining a Performance Bond. Several delegates spoke about risk management and the importance of setting substantial financial securities in place in the unfortunate event something happened to the District’s assets in Bala; namely on District Hwy #169 and the bridge. A representative from the Wahta Mohawks reminded the committee that the government’s Duty to Consult had not yet been fulfilled. As such they requested the entrance permits be stayed until this has occurred. As their letter stated, “It would be most unfortunate for all should Wahta Mohawks find themselves in a position in the future where there are negative impacts caused by this potential development and we are forced to seek legal redress due to lack of adequate consultation.” Committee resolved to change the Performance Bond to a Letter of Credit for no less than $2 million dollars. This issue will be coming back to District Council for approval later this month. The MLA continues to support the District in taking extra care to ensure District assets are protected. The MLA
As a cottager, I always found news from Muskoka warming this time of year. So here from the Muskoka Lakes Association is January NewsBites.
Courtesy of the Muskoka Lakes Association
Welcome to January 2015 NewsBites
The MLA reminds everyone to check their cottages and homes regularly during the winter season. The Muskoka area has received well over four feet of snow in the last few weeks and we encourage you to ensure your roofs are shovelled. It’s always good to routinely check your property. If you are unable to make the trip to Muskoka, there are many service Continue reading Muskoka Lakes Association January NewsBites→
Not to be missed is this wonderful show at the Port Carling locks. From the MLA:
The Age of Elegance – Saturday August 9, 2014 from 10 am to 4 pm.
Old photographs of life in Muskoka are irresistible. Whether you see them at the Muskoka Boat and Heritage Centre in Gravenhurst or are lucky enough to have peaked into to a friend’s old family album, the images take you back to a dreamy time – graceful old cottages, beautiful mahogany launches, sporty little gentlemen’s racers, and men and women dressed in their finery. What was it like to live in the “Age of Elegance”?
A few of the cottages in those photos have been maintained and can be seen today on parts of the Muskoka Lakes. Not so visible are many wooden boats, several approaching their centennial, hidden away in boathouses around the lakes. Mostly they were built right here in Muskoka for Muskoka cottagers. They may have been bought and sold, but they stayed in Muskoka accumulating history as integral parts of summer life for the generations that interacted with them.
The MLA Antique Boat Show is a bi-annual event held in Port Carling and sponsored by the Muskoka Lakes Association. It was started in 1971 by the late Bob Purves to honour boats that have been built in Muskoka or have spent most of their life in Muskoka Waters.
Come out and enjoy a day with these fine craft and their owners along with displays including vintage outboard motors, seafleas and antique Buicks from the 1920’s. One of our presenting sponsors will also be bringing a brand new Bugatti Vitesse that will be on display for all to see. It’s not very often a million dollar car comes to Muskoka!
The Show is on Saturday August 9 and runs from 10 AM until 4 PM at the Port Carling locks. Admission is free.
This event would not be possible without our presenting sponsors; Grand Touring Automobiles, Northfield Capital, Purves Redmond Insurance Brokers and Walker’s Point Marina.
The Muskoka Lakes Association just sent the following update which includes a detailed report from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Specific current levels are indicated for the following lakes: Tea Lake, Kawagama Lake, Lake of Bays, Wood Lake, Fox Lake, Mary Lake, Lake Rosseau, Lake Joseph, Lake Muskoka, Go Home Lake, Perry Lake, Doe Lake, Bernard Lake, Cecebe Lake, Ahmic Lake, Forest Lake, Dollars Lake, Crane Lake, Otter Lake and Oastler Lake.
Plus the current status of the river flows for the Big East, North Muskoka, South Muskoka, Oxtongue, Black, North Magnetawan, South Magnetawan, Magnetawan, Moon River, Musquash River and the Shawanaga River.
Here’s the message from the MLA and the linked .pdf below it.
As promised, the MLA continues to monitor water levels throughout our catchment area.
The attached freshet update, issued yesterday afternoon, details current watershed conditions throughout Muskoka/Parry Sound.
We encourage you to review the attached document, which provides significant detail, and to take action to protect property if your residence is located in one of the affected areas.
Residential and cottage activity both up year-over-year in March
Residential sales activity recorded through the MLS® system of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® numbered 204 units in March 2014. This was up 19 per cent from March 2013. Sales of cottage properties rose 18 per cent from a year earlier to 39 units in March 2014.
“While the year-over-year increases for March 2014 look about the same, residential sales surged above 200 units in the month of March for just the fourth time in history, while cottage sales were still running below the historical average for the month,” Mike Stahls, President of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. “In fact, the 77 per cent month-over-month increase in residential transactions from still subdued levels in February to very strong levels in March was the largest on record. This likely reflects, at least in part, the release of some pent-up demand following an unusually harsh winter.”
The median price for residential property sales was a record $225,000 in March 2014, up 13 per cent from a low reading a year earlier.
The median price for cottage sales was $385,000 in March 2014, a decline of eight per cent compared to March 2013.
The dollar value of all residential sales in March 2014 totalled $48.9 million, an increase of 35 per cent on a year-over-year basis and the highest level for this month on record.
The total value of cottage sales was $15.4 million. This was up 20 per cent from a year earlier.
Detailed – Cottage Sales and Median Price by Area
Median Sale Price
The average price information quoted can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas and property types.
The area served by the more than 670 REALTORS® who belong to Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®, is located less than a two-hour drive north of Toronto, in the heart of Canada’s Cottage Country. There are several major geographical areas within the Association’s boundaries, including the City of Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville, Almaguin Highlands, Lake of Bays and Haliburton. Each of these areas has a unique blend of properties ranging from residential homes located in the City of Orillia and smaller towns located throughout the remaining areas and the prestigious year-round recreational properties on large lakes, and lower and mid-range priced cottage properties on the smaller serene lakes.
After showing cottages by boat (they were mostly island cottages for sale) on Lake Muskoka and Lake Rosseau all day Saturday, we knew that we had planned well. We finished up around 6:00 pm at the top of Lake Rosseau, in Cameron Bay across from the Village of Rosseau, and just in time for dinner.
Fortunately our favourite Muskoka restaurant Crossroads Pub & Grill is just across from the village public docks. Crossroads is one of Muskoka’s best kept secrets – and that’s not just our opinion; check out the opinions of others on TripAdvisor. As you may see, the only criticism is that it takes a while to get your food served. That’s true, but having your meal made on the spot for you, well, it is absolutely worth the wait. Richard and Julie run a fantastic, community engaged restaurant serving a lot of local products. Pure. Simple. Delicious. Check them out in action. I think they didn’t notice their Videographer spelled restaurant wrong at the end:)
So, having arrived at 6:30 for dinner, meeting up with family and friends and taking our own sweet time to order and enjoying our fabulous meals, we weren’t back to the boat until 10:15. Even at the height of summer in Muskoka, it’s getting pretty dark. With a dock waiting on lake Muskoka, we had a long way to go: all of Lake Rosseau, half of Lake Muskoka, Indian River, Mirror Lake and the lock at Port Carling between them – which closes at 8:00 PM.
It’s a surreal experience, at cruising speed on the black surface of the lake. I know the way, but it is COMPLETELY different in the dark. Nothing is familiar; everything you normally use for guidance is gone. I know that Lake Rosseau goes from close to 300ft. depths in the north to 100ft. or so in the south toward Port Carling; but it’s the edges I’m more worried about, and the rock shoals here and there. Anything other than that safe depth of water would be an absolute, potentially life threatening, disaster. This becomes little trouble though if you have, like I do an iPad and Navionics. For about 15 bucks I know, within a reasonable margin, where I am, where I am going and where the hazards are. All lit up on the iPad screen – you have to turn the brightness all the way down at night – really excellent!
The main lock at Port Carling closes at 8:00 PM, and we arrived there around 11:00PM. Fortunately there is a self-serve lock available. It’s tricky manoeuvering around to the smaller lock in the dark. There are marker buoys set, but no good lighting – if you have docking lights, put them on to pick up the reflective tape on the buoys. Head for the blue dock edge and tie up.
The self-serve part of the Port Carling locks is easy. Head over to the booth – we pay annually (about $85) for lock use, otherwise there is a drop box for your payment on the honour system. Then, you just stick your hand in the hole, move the lever in the direction of whichever gate is open, hold the lever in that position until the gate closes and the lock fills. It is crazy with bugs attracted by the light right over your head – but no biters for whatever reason.
The rest of the trip through Indian River and down into Lake Muskoka was just as beautiful as the Lake Rosseau passage. And again, no problem with the assistance of the iPad and Navionics. We docked about midnight. Nice adventure!
The single most important thing you can do to protect the value of your Muskoka cottage waterfront property investment is to protect the water quality of your lake. One of the best ways to help sustain/improve water quality in your lake is to ensure you have a natural shoreline and a buffer zone; an area of natural vegetation running along your shoreline.
The function of the buffer zone is to act as a filter for water flowing to your lake, and studies show that they greatly reduce water pollution. The plants and soil absorb runoff water laden with sediments, nutrients and pollutants harmful to the lake. Turf grass does not do an adequate job filtering water runoff, and is very attractive to geese and other nuisance species.
Native Plants … and lots of them! “Ideally the buffer area is thickly covered with native vegetation. The higher the percentage of the ground that is covered, the better your buffer can work. A landscape made up of native plants is low maintenance. Once established, they can survive without extra watering, and without application of pesticides and fertilizers. Native plants are adapted to deal with local bugs and diseases and can get all the nutrients they need from existing soil.”
On the Living Edge Sarah Kipp, Clive Callaway
You can pre-order native plants from the Muskoka Lakes Association.
“The Annual MLA Seeding Day is scheduled for Saturday May 18, 2013 at the Port Carling Community Centre from 9 am to 12Noon. The emphasis this year will be on Muskoka native species. An order form (with pricing) is available from the MLA website here. We have a lot of seedlings available in some of the most wanted species including White Birch, Balsam Fir, White Spruce, Dogwood and Nannyberry among others.”
Order soon as quantities are limited. Orders can be emailed to email@example.com, faxed to (705) 765-3203 or mailed to Box 298, Port Carling, ON, P0B 1J0
Dr. Michelle Palmer discusses how recent climatic warming, changes in acidic deposition, and human-related activities such as road salting and the accidental spread of invasive species have altered the water quality of our lakes in Muskoka, with a focus on changes in lake temperatures and water chemistry since the 1980s.
At the end there is an extensive Question & Answer session.
Our Lakes: How they have changed over the last 25 years.
Dr. Michelle Palmer will discuss how recent climatic warming, changes in acidic deposition, and human-related activities such as road salting and the accidental spread of invasive species have altered the water quality of our lakes in south-central Ontario, with a focus on changes in lake temperatures and water chemistry since the 1980s.