Category Archives: Muskoka News

Muskoka Steamships Sail Again: Reopening of the Port Carling Lock

Excitement is in the air as Muskoka enthusiasts and steamship lovers celebrate the completion of the dry docking process for the iconic Muskoka Steamships, Wenonah II and RMS Segwun. As of November 7th, the large lock at Port Carling has reopened, signaling the triumphant return of these historic vessels to the waters of Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, and Lake Joseph. 

RMS Segwun and Wenonah II at the Port Carling Lock, November 6, 2023.

Dry Docking at the Port Carling Locks

The dry docking process, which takes place at the Port Carling Lock, ensures the safety and preservation of the Wenonah II and RMS Segwun. This essential maintenance, mandated by Transport Canada, involved thorough inspections, repairs, and care for every intricate detail of these floating pieces of history. The dry docking process offered a rare opportunity for enthusiasts to witness these majestic vessels out of the water, showcasing the craftsmanship that keeps them afloat.

Reopening of the Port Carling Lock

As of today (November 9th, 2023), the Port Carling large lock, situated on James Bartleman Island, has reopened, welcoming the Muskoka Steamships back to the lakes. This reopening not only marks the successful completion of the dry docking process but also signifies the beginning of a new chapter for these vessels as they embark on another season of journeys through the picturesque Muskoka Lakes.

Celebrating a Tradition of Elegance

The Wenonah II and RMS Segwun, with their rich histories dating back to the late 19th century, continue to be cherished symbols of Muskoka’s elegance and timeless allure. The completion of the dry docking process ensures that their legacy endures, captivating both locals and visitors with the magic of steamship travel.

With the large lock now reopened, Muskoka Steamship enthusiasts can look forward to upcoming cruises and experiences aboard these historic vessels. Whether it’s a leisurely trip on Lake Muskoka, a captivating journey on Lake Rosseau, or an exploration of the serene waters of Lake Joseph, the Muskoka Steamships promise unforgettable moments against the backdrop of Muskoka’s stunning scenery.

RMS Segwun and Wenonah II at the Port Carling Lock, November 6, 2023.
Boater? Here’s What to Expect

The large lock in Port Carling is now once again available for boaters to travel through. It will soon close for the season (date pending), but the small self-serve lock will still be available for boaters to travel through. 

As the large lock at Port Carling swings open once again, Muskoka celebrates the successful completion of the dry docking process for the Wenonah II and RMS Segwun. These beloved steamships, meticulously cared for and preserved, are ready to set sail on another season of history and elegance. Join us in welcoming them back to the Muskoka Lakes and creating new memories aboard these timeless vessels. The journey continues, and the legacy of Muskoka Steamships sails on! 

Muskoka Steamships: A Journey Through History and Maintenance at the Port Carling Lock

Muskoka, Ontario, is known for its breathtaking landscapes, pristine lakes, and a rich history of leisurely exploration. One iconic feature of Muskoka is the Muskoka Steamships, which include the Wenonah II and the RMS Segwun. These vintage vessels have been sailing the Muskoka Lakes for generations, offering a unique and timeless experience for both residents and visitors.

The RMS Segwun dry docked at the large lock in Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. October 19, 2023.

But have you ever wondered why these charming steamships periodically dry dock at the Port Carling lock? In this blog post, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of Muskoka Steamships, their significance, and the essential Transport Canada mandated maintenance and inspection that takes place at this strategic location.

Muskoka Steamships: A Legacy of Elegance

The Wenonah II and RMS Segwun are more than just boats; they are floating pieces of history. The RMS Segwun, for instance, was built in 1887, making it one of the oldest operating steamships in North America. These vessels offer an authentic glimpse into Muskoka’s past and provide an unforgettable experience to those who step aboard.

The Importance of the Port Carling Lock
The RMS Segwun dry docked at the large lock in Port Carling, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. October 19, 2023.

To ensure the safety and longevity of these cherished vessels, Transport Canada mandates regular maintenance and inspection. The Port Carling lock, located on James Bartleman Island, where Lake Muskoka meets Lake Rosseau and connects to Lake Joseph, stands as the only place that can accommodate their specific needs. This strategic location serves as the indispensable hub for servicing and maintaining the Muskoka Steamships. This process should be completed around November 7th.

This also provides a great opportunity for inspection and maintenance of the large lock!

Port Carling Small Lock – Standing By!

During the ~ month long closure of the large lock, the small self-serve lock is still operational to allow passage between Lake Rosseau and Lake Muskoka.

A Rare Opportunity to Witness the Steamships Out of Water

The dry docking process at the Port Carling lock provides a remarkable and rare opportunity for enthusiasts and curious onlookers to witness these historic steamships out of the water. It’s a chance to see the intricate details of these vessels, which are typically hidden beneath the surface, and gain a deeper appreciation for their craftsmanship. 

You can see a video of the RMS Segwun dry docked at the Port Carling Lock on our instagram.

Transport Canada Mandated Maintenance

The mandated maintenance and inspection processes are critical to ensuring the safety and functionality of these historic vessels. They include checks on the steam engines, hull, and other essential components. These activities are conducted with the utmost care and expertise to preserve the charm and reliability of the steamships.

The Muskoka Steamships, Wenonah II and RMS Segwun, are living pieces of history that offer a timeless and elegant experience on the Muskoka Lakes. The Port Carling lock plays a vital role in preserving these iconic vessels by providing the only location that can accommodate their specific needs for Transport Canada mandated maintenance and inspection. As they continue to navigate the beautiful waters of Muskoka, the legacy of the steamships lives on, enchanting new generations with a taste of the past.

The iconic Port Carling Wall, located diagonally across the intersection from the Port Carling Lock.

So, the next time you see the Muskoka Steamships cruising on Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, or Lake Joseph, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the care and maintenance that keeps these pieces of history afloat. Hopefully you had the chance to see them out of the water during the dry docking process, but if not don’t forget to check out our instagram for a closer look!

RMS Segwun at the Port Carling Lock.

Nov. 6, 2023 – Dry docking complete at the Port Carling Lock!

Unveiling Muskoka’s Legacy Cottages: Part One

Nestled on the shore of Lake Rosseau in the heart of Ontario’s esteemed Muskoka region, a contentious development has emerged that is raising concerns among many local residents and environmentalists. In this first part of our series, we’ll delve into the concept and location of the Legacy Cottages project, aiming to provide an informative overview while remaining objective. 

In later parts we will discuss the bumps in the road the developers and the Township of Muskoka Lakes faced along the way, Minett’s redesignation to a “Resort Village,” and some of the developer’s other projects. 

An aerial view of the 43 units of Legacy Cottages on the shore of Lake Rosseau, Minett, Muskoka, Ontario.
Legacy Cottages. Lake Rosseau, Minett, Muskoka. August 2022.
Understanding the Legacy Cottages Project:

Legacy Cottages, spearheaded by the Rosseau Group, is a development located along the shores of Lake Rosseau, one of the most prestigious lakes in Muskoka. The project aimed to create a modern and affordable retreat for individuals seeking to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the region, as well as promote increased tourism. This area of Lake Rosseau is in the village of Minett, which is located in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. 

Legacy Cottages kicked up a lot of debate, especially regarding density concerns and potential environmental impact on the water quality and shoreline of Lake Rosseau. The project consists of 43 units, 9 docks, and a boathouse on 470 feet of shared shoreline – that’s approximately 11 feet of shoreline per cottage. It is located on the site of the old Lakeside Lodge, which is located next to Clevelands House Resort. 

This high density of development was allowed due to the District planners deciding that the use of a two week rental pool qualified Legacy Cottages as commercial rather than residential. We’ll talk more about this when we talk about Minett’s redesignation to a “Resort Village” and the 22 million dollar lawsuit filed by the developers against the Township of Muskoka Lakes. 

Project Concerns:

Critics of the Legacy Cottages project raise valid concerns about its potential environmental impact. The region’s lakes and forests are sensitive ecosystems that play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity, water quality, and overall ecological balance. 

The proposed location of the Legacy Cottages project is a matter of concern for many. Lake Rosseau has already faced some water quality concerns attributed to the presence of other resorts and developments – namely an excess of certain nutrients such as phosphorus. 

Phosphorus is the nutrient that controls algal growth in most lakes in Ontario, which means an excess in phosphorus can lead to an algal bloom. While the natural addition of phosphorus into a lake via sediment and precipitation is necessary and nothing to be concerned about, excess phosphorus due to human inputs are of concern. Namely, septic system seepage and surface runoff from lawn fertilizer and agricultural sources. Not only can something like an algal bloom be detrimental to the ecology of the lake, it can reduce the attractiveness of the lake for tourism.

There are also other environmental concerns like the construction of shoreline structures such as docks, lack of shoreline buffer zone, the use of retaining walls, an increase in boat traffic, and an overall increase of human activity in the area. We will delve deeper into the environmental concerns surrounding the project (including a look at the water quality of Lake Rosseau and Wallace Bay) in a future part of this series, and examine if they could lead to the degradation of the surrounding natural environment.

9 Docks and a Boathouse. Legacy Cottages, Lake Rosseau, Minett, Muskoka. August 2022.
Objectives of the Legacy Cottages Project:

Proponents of the Legacy Cottages project argue that it aims to enhance the accessibility of Muskoka’s beauty to a wider audience while contributing to the local economy through increased tourism and development. Buying a cottage in Muskoka, sometimes referred to as the “Hamptons of the North” can be extremely expensive. With units at Legacy starting at $699,000, buying a cottage there allows access to one of Muskoka’s most prestigious lakes at a far more affordable price point. 

Conclusion:

In this first part of our series exploring the Legacy Cottages project, we have introduced the concept, location, and objectives behind this contentious development in Muskoka. While some argue that the project presents an opportunity for modernization and economic growth, others express concerns about its potential impact on the area’s fragile ecosystem. It must be emphasized that the developers have not broken any laws, and while I may not agree with the rules – they have followed them. 

In the next installment, we will delve deeper into the re-designation of Minett to a “Resort Village,” before turning our attention to a deeper dive on the  environmental considerations surrounding the Legacy Cottages project for Part 3. This will include a look at potential alternatives or mitigations that could strike a balance between development and conservation. 

Part 4 will likely cover the lawsuit, with Part 5 being about the Rosseau Group and some other projects they’ve been involved with (including their current project – Cherokee Lane on the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst). 

Stay tuned for a comprehensive analysis of this ongoing discussion and its implications for Muskoka’s future.

Why do we have a problem with flooding in Muskoka?

There are a few things that contribute to flooding in Muskoka, which we mostly experience along the Muskoka River Watershed – one of four watersheds in Muskoka. This watershed includes the Muskoka River, Moon River, Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau, and Lake Joseph, among others.

The front patio at Duke’s in Port Carling during the 2023 flooding in Muskoka, showing the water level up over the patio flooding the building
Duke’s (Duke boats) in Port Carling, Muskoka, ON. April 21, 2023.
Building location

The first major factor is where we’ve built cottages and homes. Many of the builds in the areas that experience the most flooding in Muskoka (Muskoka River, Lake Muskoka, and Moon River) are built on floodplains. In fact, builders on Lake Muskoka have started to build with that in mind… and not just by raising docks and boathouses! I saw a post made by Corbin Patten Designs on Instagram recently where they had included a raised section in a boathouse to keep a beer fridge safe during future floods.

If you don’t know what a floodplain is, it’s an area adjacent to a river or other watercourse that is susceptible to flooding. Floodplains are typically low-lying and flat, making them ideal for the slow accumulation of water during periods of high precipitation or snow melt. While these areas provide important ecological functions like natural flood control, water purification, and habitat for fish and wildlife, unwittingly building on a floodplain can be disastrous. Ensure that you are checking floodplain maps before you build or buy!

Here’s a link to a floodplain map from Muskoka Geohub! Or just leave the pre-purchase check to your real estate agent, I know for a fact they always check (because Catharine and I are your realtors, right?).

Environmental factors

Flooding in Muskoka can be caused by a variety of environmental factors, including the amount of snow pack here and in Algonquin, the speed of thaw, and the level of precipitation. The Muskoka River watershed has its headwaters in Algonquin, and the amount of snowpack there significantly affects flooding here. When there is an above average amount of snow pack in Algonquin, it can lead to a larger volume of water entering Muskoka’s waterways during the spring thaw. The speed of thaw is also crucial in determining the severity of flooding in Muskoka. If temperatures rise too quickly, the snow and ice can melt too rapidly, overwhelming the local waterways and causing flooding. Finally, the amount of precipitation during the spring months can also contribute to flooding, as heavy rains can cause rivers and lakes to overflow their banks. All of these factors must be taken into account when predicting and preparing for potential flooding events in Muskoka.

Limitations to MNRF control

Okay, and here’s a reason that not many people seem to know… the dams along the Muskoka River Watershed are NOT flood control structures! The MNRF can draw down water to prepare for potential flooding, but beyond a certain point there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Here’s an excerpt from the 2019 Ontario Flood Report:

“It must be emphasised that dams in central Ontario, including those in the Muskoka River watershed, are not flood control structures. Flood control structures require a large lake or reservoir and associated drawdown capacity to store or hold back flood waters. Analyses have confirmed that lakes in the Muskoka River watershed that are regulated by dams have a limited capacity to drawdown water to affect flooding, and during periods of large volume rapid runoff, the available drawdown capacity is insufficient to reduce peak flood water levels. In this sense, the greater the magnitude of the flood event, the less ability the MNRF has on affecting or mitigating flooding through operation of its dams. Once the dams are fully open, the MNRF does not have the ability to increase the rate of flow, as it is then based on the amount of water in the system and the natural rate of flow and elevation as it moves through the wide-open dam sluice ways.“

There’s also a limit to how much they can draw down the water levels which has nothing to do with the dams, and more to do with the creatures we share Muskoka’s waterways with. Drawing down water levels can have a significant impact on lake trout spawning. Lake trout are a cold-water fish species that require specific water temperature and oxygen levels to successfully spawn.

In many cases, lake trout will spawn in shallower water nearer to the shoreline than their usual habitat. However, if water levels are drawn down too quickly or too far, the shallow spawning beds may become exposed to the air, causing the eggs to dry out and die. Additionally, sudden changes in water levels can cause currents and turbulence that can dislodge the eggs from the spawning beds, reducing the chances of successful hatching and survival. As such, water managers must carefully consider the impact of drawing down water levels on lake trout spawning and take steps to mitigate any negative effects.

A flooded dock next to Patterson Kaye Lodge on Lake Muskoka in Bracebridge. The dock is completely below the water due to the flooding in Muskoka.
A flooded dock next to Patterson-Kaye Resort on Lake Muskoka in Bracebridge, Muskoka, ON. April 21, 2023.

So, what can we do about flooding in Muskoka?

Well, here’s what the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry can do:

Muskoka River Water Management Plan (MRWMP)

The MNRF is responsible for managing the water resources in Muskoka and has developed a comprehensive water management plan to mitigate the impact of flooding events and protect the local ecosystem.

The plan includes a range of measures, such as monitoring water levels and flows, managing dams and water control structures, and providing timely warnings to communities in the event of flooding. You can check out the full Water Management Plan here.

The MNRF also works with other government agencies, local municipalities, and community groups to develop and implement best practices for managing water resources in the region. These practices include promoting the use of permeable surfaces to reduce runoff, and restoring wetlands to provide natural flood control. Overall, the MNRF’s water management plan aims to balance the needs of the local ecosystem with the social and economic benefits of water use in the region.

And as for us?

Be prepared

Expect flooding if you cottage or live in certain areas – in particular the Muskoka River, Lake Muskoka, and Moon River, or on any floodplain. Prepare your property, dock, and boathouse when you close your cottage in the winter. Sign up for our newsletter – you’ll be reminded when the time comes, and you’ll be shown exactly how to close your cottage and prepare for potential spring flooding. I’ll be sure to add an additional post about bracing for a flood before the spring 2024 flood season in Muskoka.

Use a local real estate agent

Not only do we know what areas flood (and see it firsthand), we’ll make sure to review floodplain maps as part of our due diligence – something that a Toronto real estate agent wouldn’t necessarily think to do. I would not be the first person you would ask about problematic condo buildings in the city or the areas of Toronto with the best walkability, and they should not be your trusted source for information about Muskoka.

Continue monitoring the situation when the water level begins to decline

The first sign of receding water levels is not the time to stop monitoring the situation.

First of all, high levels of precipitation, additional snowpack melting and adding water to the watershed, and dams flows being reduced to relieve flooding further down the watershed can all cause the levels to start rising again.

But here’s the bit everyone seems to forget – let’s say the water level was high enough that your boat is floating around in your boathouse. I’m sure you’ve secured it carefully, and removed anything that could damage it. But what happens when the water level drops? You need to make sure the boat makes it back into the slip. Not only can you damage your boat and the boathouse, but how would you ever move it again if it ends up out of the water? A jetski could be put back in the water with help from a few friends… good luck doing that with a boat!

You also need to watch the water levels if you’ve tied your boat off somewhere higher up in the boathouse. Obviously you can’t just make the ropes long enough to compensate, because you don’t want your boat smashing around in there. But what happens if you’ve tied it normally and the water level goes down beyond the length of rope you’ve used? I’ll tell you what – damage! Time to practice your sailing knots. We’ll teach you in our flood coverage if the water level starts to get high enough.

Stay up-to-date

You can check current flood information (warnings and watches by area) from the Government of Ontario here.

We posted daily flood update stories on our Instagram this year, with up-to-date photos and location information, plus alerts about flood warnings, updates from the township, real time water level graphs from multiple water bodies in Muskoka, and other relevant info. We also stopped by a number of cottages to check on them for their owners. Follow us on instagram here to be kept up-to-date about flooding in Muskoka next time around.

We’ll also be doing our flood updates by email next year. You can sign up for our newsletter here.

Is Slow Cottage Internet About to Become a Thing of the Past?

We all know the frustration. You’re trying to open an email attachment with a photo of your grandkids, look at a real estate listing, get some work done, or even just check the weather… and you’d like to not spend all day doing it! While newer internet technologies like fibre are trying to make that a thing of the past, the coverage is majorly lacking. In many areas the fastest high speed internet is just across the street from near-dial-up speeds, and due to the cost and difficulty of rewiring it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. 

Should we just give up and disconnect? No way! Enter SpaceX, with their new Starlink Satellite Internet service. This satellite service will operate via a satellite constellation of at least 12,000 satellites, with more pending approval. According to SpaceX, Starlink will offer speeds up to a gigabit per second – a far cry from rural cottages which often max out at a speed of up to 5Mpbs (a 995Mbps difference!). During the beta testing phase, customers are expected to experience speed variations from 50 – 150Mbps. Even places that currently have no internet availability at all will finally be brought into the 21st century. 

This is not traditional satellite service – Starlink’s satellites are in low earth orbit, which will not only make the service more reliable, but will also help keep down space debris. Each satellite is fitted with an onboard propulsion system to deorbit at the end of its life, and in the unlikely event that system becomes inoperable the satellite will burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere within 1-5 years. At the higher altitudes used by traditional satellite services, this could take hundreds or even thousands of years. Satellite service also means that unlike fibre, you won’t have to have anything wired to your home to receive the fastest speeds available.

Though it is not fully ready for consumers yet, it is operational! Check out this tweet from Elon Musk, sent in October 2019 via Starlink internet!

He followed up with a second Starlink tweet – “Whoa, it worked!!” According to SpaceX, “Starlink is now delivering initial beta service both domestically and internationally, and will continue expansion to near global coverage of the populated world in 2021.”

While we truly do look forward to being able to work online at less molasses-like speeds, I, for one, will be celebrating laser-fast internet with a good ol’ Netflix marathon in my PJs!

Royal LePage Port Carling Rebrand as Luxury Brokerage, Johnston & Daniel

Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty’s Port Carling and Bala Offices Rebrand as Luxury Brokerage, Johnston & Daniel

Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Realty is excited to announce that as of December 6th, 2017, our Port Carling and Bala offices are rebranding as the newest offices of established luxury real estate brand, Johnston & Daniel.

Meeting the growing demand for luxury real estate in Muskoka

With the significant increase in demand for luxury real estate services in the region, Johnston & Daniel is the perfect offering for Muskoka’s real estate market. As a division of Royal LePage, Johnston & Daniel offers the service of a luxury boutique brokerage backed by the scale, synergy and credentials of Canada’s largest and oldest real estate company.

Clients will have access to an intuitive and custom-tailored experience and will benefit from a robust and collaborative real estate network, a hallmark of Johnston & Daniel’s culture.

Active clients can rest assured that we have taken great measures to plan and prepare for a seamless transition while remaining focused on their needs. Outside of re-signing documents under the new brand, current clients will not be affected.

We look forward to this exciting new chapter and the opportunity to serve Muskoka’s growing luxury real estate market proudly under the prestigious Johnston & Daniel brand.

About Johnston & Daniel

Since 1950, Johnston & Daniel has been representing the distinctive properties in Southern Ontario’s most affluent neighbourhoods. Offering caring, intuitive service and building long-term relationships, Johnston & Daniel is the standard of excellence in real estate.

Muskoka Parry Sound Flood Watch

For clients and cottage owners that get our updates : we have a Rainfall Warning for today & into Friday morning for Parry Sound/Muskoka.

Also a flood watch advisory from the Ministry of Natural Resources. Here passed along by the Muskoka Lakes Association.

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Flood Watch – Parry Sound District/ Muskoka

BULLETIN: Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Flood Watch
Parry Sound District/ Muskoka
Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Ministry of Natural Resources – Parry Sound District is advising area residents that a Flood Watch is in effect for all watersheds within the District which includes the District Municipality of Muskoka, the Territorial District of Parry Sound and a north-west portion in the County of Haliburton.

Water levels and flows in lakes and rivers will increase as a result of rainfall and continued melting of the snow pack. The rate of rise in water levels and flows will increase over the next several days due to warmer air temperatures and forecasted rainfall.

It is expected that lower-lying portions of known flood-prone roads along river courses will be impacted to various degrees as river levels continue to rise. It is anticipated that vulnerable, low-lying roads and properties along the Big East River within the Town of Huntsville may begin to be impacted over the weekend as river flows increase.

Residents affected by high water conditions in the past should take necessary action in advance of rising water levels to secure any vulnerable property in close proximity to rivers and lakes and closely monitor developing conditions.

Residents and those visiting the area are advised to be aware of current watershed conditions, exercise caution while around waterbodies and maintain close supervision of children and pets.

MNR is closely monitoring the weather and developing watershed conditions. Further updates will be issued as appropriate.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Description of Weather System

Rainfall amounts up to 45mm with possible thunderstorms are forecasted for today and tomorrow with daytime highs reaching 13 degrees Celsius over the weekend will advance the melting of the snow pack and cause a significant increase in water levels and flows over the next few days.

Description of Current Conditions

The remaining snow pack in the area continues to average a depth of 50 centimetres with an average water content of 150 millimetres. This is approximately 50% higher than normal for this time of year. Levels and flows have been slowly increasing over the past few days but warmer temperatures with rain will cause flows and levels to increase more rapidly.
During this time of year we can expect higher and faster flowing water in most watercourses. Slippery and unstable banks and extremely cold water temperatures can lead to very hazardous conditions around any water body.

Expiry Date: This message will expire on Monday, April 13 2015, 05:00 PM

Terminology: Notification Levels

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – WATER SAFETY: indicates that high flows, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for such users as boaters, anglers and swimmers but flooding is not expected.

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – FLOOD OUTLOOK: gives early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions

FLOOD WATCH: potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities

FLOOD WARNING: flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.

Contact Information

For more information please contact:
705-646-5531
705-646-5509
705-773-4226

A close watch on local conditions and weather forecasts from Environment Canada is recommended.

Environment Canada bulletins can be found at http://weather.gc.ca/

The Surface Water Monitoring Centre public webpage can be found here: http://www.ontario.ca/flooding

Muskoka cottage sales outperform in February

We have had a record cold winter here. Indeed the coldest Muskoka has been since 1934. It may be hard to imagine buying a cottage in Muskoka in the dead of February, but it is not at all uncommon. This remarkable performance may indicate a strong season for Muskoka cottage sales.

Residential non-waterfront sales activity recorded through the MLS® system of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® numbered 92 units in February 2015. This was an increase of 17.9 per cent from February 2014 and marked an above average month of February.
Sales of waterfront properties, meanwhile, jumped 46.7 per cent from a year ago to 44 units in February 2015. This was a record for the month.
“While cottage sales don’t really get going until April or May, February’s record tally suggests this may be a very busy spring,” said Mike Stahls, President of Muskoka Haliburton Orillia – The Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. “Non-waterfront activity was also still doing quite well in February, just not quite as strong as it was in January. The bottom line is that the local housing market has had a record start to the year.”
The median price for residential non-waterfront property sales was $223,500 in February 2015, edging up 0.7 per cent from February 2014.
The median price for waterfront sales was $360,000 in February 2015, an increase of 19.8 per cent from February 2014.
The dollar value of all residential non-waterfront sales in February 2015 totalled $21.1 million, rising 15.0 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
The total value of waterfront sales was $24.3 million, rising 71.7 per cent from levels in February 2014. This was a record for the month of February.

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Muskoka Lakes Association March NewsBites

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

Muskoka Lakes Association February NewsBites

Here from the Muskoka Lakes Association is the February NewsBites.

Courtesy of the Muskoka Lakes Association

Welcome to February 2015 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

MLA NewsBites Page 1

Continue reading Muskoka Lakes Association February NewsBites