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Crown Lands on the Muldrew Lakes

A large portion of the Muldrew Lakes shoreline is Crown Land. In the map below, the beige/yellow areas are Crown Lands and the gray areas are privately owned lands. You can click on the image of the map to open a PDF. There are approximately 18,458 feet of Crown Land fronting onto the Muldrew Lakes. You can view these lands in the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas (CLUPA) and read the accompanying report here.

Participants in the workshop asked if these lands could be sold for cottage lot development. The short answer is 'no', since the land use report says that "Authorization will not be granted, nor will disposition of Crown lands be considered for seasonal recreation, rural residential, or remote cottage development".

EcoVue is in contact with representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to obtain more details regarding the future management of these lands. This information will be included in EcoVue's report.

Recreational Carrying Capacity (RCC)

Recreational Carrying Capacity is the ratio of residential units on a lake to the lake surface area, with adjustments made for shoreline shape and tourist development. Recreational Carrying Capacity works to preserve a lake's social capacity by preventing crowding and indirectly limiting boat traffic. The concept was first introduced in the 1960s and 1970s and early models proposed a factor of 4.0 hectares of lake surface area for each residential unit.

More recently, models of recreational carrying capacity have been applied in the Township of Seguin.  A requirement of 1.62 hectares per dwelling has been insituted through the Seguin Official Plan. The value for lake surface area is derived by first subtracting the first 30 metres from the shoreline. The 1.62 ha factor was derived through a combination of the work that was done for the Lake Alert Program by the MNR in the early 1970s, and extensive public consultation in the region. The 1.62 ha/dwelling ratio is thought to be representivative of the recreational patterns found on lakes in Central Ontario.

Recently, the Township of Seguin was successful in defending a decision to deny the creation of a new lot on Oastler Lake on the basis of recreational carrying capacity at the OMB (OMB File PL151021).

A Rough Calculation of Recreational Carrying Capacity on the Muldrew Lakes

Surface Area of the lakes - Approx 420 hectares. Surface Area less the first 30 metres from shore - 258.9 hectares.

258.9 ha / 1.62 ha per dwelling = 159.8 dwellings

Therefore, using a filter of 1.62 ha per dwelling, the recreational carrying capacity of the lake is 159.8 dwellings.

Current number of dwellings = 395

According to the above model, the lake's recreational carrying capacity has already been exceeded.

Please Note: The rough calculation above is a conservative estimate as it does not include several important factors:

1. The recreational impact of the Inn on the Lake

2. The recreational impact of day users putting boats in at Indian Landing. 

3. The potential impact of developing any of the vacant lots on the lake.

The final report by EcoVue will include a more detailed and accurate analysis of recreational carrying capacity, as well as recommendations for moving forward should residents be interested in pursuing this policy option.

What would this mean for land owners?

If a recreational carrying capacity were introduced on the Muldrew Lakes as a hard cap on development, any existing vacant lots could be developed, but no further lot creation (severances) could occur.  So for example, if someone owns a vacant lot with 1000 ft of frontage, this lot could not be severed into two lots, and only one dwelling could be constructed in the future. Similarly, if your house or cottage is on a large lot, you would not be able to sever off a piece to sell in the future. Recreational carrying capacity would not prevent land owners from renovating, rebuilding, putting up a shed or a bunkie, etc. etc., within the allowances of the applicable Zoning By-law.

Limiting the size of Cottages within the 30 metre setback

Survey respondents identified large rebuilds within the 30 metre setback impacting the environment as well as the visual character of the lake as problematic. This issue often arises when an existing cottage which is closer than 30 metres to the water is torn down and replaced with a new build. A policy currently exists within the Gravenhurst Zoning By-law that limits the width of a cottage in this scenario based on its distance from the water. However, this policy is only being enforced by Town planning staff when the rebuild is located within the same footprint as the existing building.  A Muldrew-specific policy could be introduced to require this limit in width no matter where a new cottage is placed within the 30 metre setback. The limits in width based on distance from the water in the Gravenhurst Zoning By-law are as follows:

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