Concerns with process and proposals in the current Lake Plan

August 17, 2022 11:34 AM | Anonymous member

We are writing to express our opinions and concerns with regards to the current Lake Plan proposals, in the hopes to create an open, transparent process whereby all cottagers on Lake Muldrew can voice their thoughts for consideration and input with regards to proposed changes currently under discussion.

We will be unable to attend the August 27th meeting in person, as we will not be by the Lake that weekend, but would like our views shared at the meeting as well as in other places where others can see our concerns (more on this below).

Our cottage is located at 486 Peninsula drive, we have 18 acres of land, and 500 feet of frontage.

We appreciate the tremendous amount of time, effort and resources that have been invested into bringing forth a discussion on how our community can best enjoy and also preserve the character of the lake. 

Our issues can be summarized as follow
Process and timeline
Recommendations for representation and transparency

While we are in support with efforts being made to ensure the Lake remains sustainable and enjoyable and the need to revisit the current official plan and zoning bylaws and propose amendments we believe that any limitations ought to be relative to lot and frontage size rather than absolute values.

Specifically our objections are as follow
a. We object to a blanket limitation of building size of 375m2 (4,000 square feet) which we believe is the current measure regardless of lot size or frontage. We would be supportive of limits that would relate to (i) frontage size and (ii) lot coverage so that a property with 1 acre and a property with 30 acres would not be subject to the same constraints, but rather each commensurate with the property.
The size of the building behind an allowed frontage should have no bearing on the character of the lake, and should be permissible based on coverage ratios.

b. We object to descriptions such as “modest and reasonable” which are subjective and can create a wide variety of interpretations.

c. We object to the proposal to limit the ability for lots to be severed, without regard for the sae of the lot. As per above, severing a 1 acre lot and severing a 30 acre lot are not the same and do not compare in terms of density. Lots below a certain size could be limited, while lots above other size could and should be severed pending environmental assessments, and the abiding of bylaw for future builds.

e. We object to the restriction of “more permanently inhabited homes” on the Lake, and think the focus should be always on the proper use of the property wit regards to septic systems, etc rather than lacing an arbitrary cap on how long cottagers can enjoy their beloved places.

With regards to due process and timeline, are concerns are as follow:
a. Representation:
According to its mission statement, The Muldrew Lakes Cottagers’ Association (MLCA) is committed to fostering a co-operative and mutually caring home for all our cottagers while paying special attention to the unique environment and ecosystem of our lakes.  

We understand that the cottagers association is said to represent about half of the cottages on the Lake, but a decision made on behalf of all cottages should take into account the opinions of members as well as non members. It is our understanding, based on the survey results posted that 188 people responded to the survey. Further, only 176 respondents were owners, or partial owners.

We believe there are over 400 cottages on the Lake (this is data from 2011, as I have been unable to find an update, and cannot find how many cottages there are on the lake on the MLCA website, but have been told it is close to 400) and hearing from as many people as possible is critical given the seriousness of the proposed changes. Further, proposals to the town from the Cottagers’s association may be presumed by council to be endorsed by all/most cottagers, when insufficient efforts to ensure this is the case have been made to date.

b. Timeline:
Following two years of a pandemic, the meetings have been scheduled quite close to one another. At a time when many cottagers have opted to travel abroad after years of being unable to do so, moving quickly on these proposals, risks not including many whose voices should be heard. We say this from experience as we have been travelling (finally) and have come home to significant pressure to move forward on an initiative that requires time to absorb.
As mentioned above, we will be unable to attend the meeting on August 27th and suspect we will not be the only ones.

When can we expect to receive a copy of the amendments to the Lake Plan for review? We have not yet seen anything in terms of when to expect an amendment so we can process it before the next meeting? We would like to ensure that our views are submitted in writing prior to this meeting.

c. Transparency:
It is important for all voices not not only be heard by the board, but to be shared for respectful and candid discussion amongst the cottagers. Providing an arena for opinions to be shared is an important process in achieving consensus. While we recently became aware that we could post on the MLCA’s blog, this is not an option that has been made widely available. Based on discussions with other cottagers, there is a lack of understanding on how to make our voices heard.

Although we have been encouraged to post on the Muldrew Lake Cottagers association blog, this page requires a login, thereby eliminating any non members from posting.

d. Clarity and fairness regarding Process for reaching final recommendations

Against the above background, we are still unclear as to how everyone’s input will be considered, by whom and how the various suggestions will be incorporated into the final recommendation. We have not been made aware of a vote, or process for review of the various suggestions and a way to ensure that any proposals made on behalf of the cottagers actually, fairly and comprehensively reflect our view.

Will there be a vote on each recommendation? If so, when will it be? We are in agreement with other proposals put forth that issues of such serious impact should be ratified by a vast majority of cottagers, and agree with the 2/3s majority.

Will all cottagers, regardless of membership status on the MLCA be invited to provide input before the final proposal goes into the town? If so, what is the method of communication as we have seen no posters, nor received any emails with regards to this.

Will submissions to the city include the gamut of options and recommendations or will they simply be distilled to the simplest form so that one size is made to fit all the vast diversity of cottages on the lake?

In short, our requests can be summarized as follow
Constraints on size of cottage and ability to sever should be based on proportion relative to lot size rather than absolute values.
The process for submitting proposed changes should be slowed down to ensure
Representations: All cottagers in the Lake have time to review and process the proposed changes (at this point it is less than a two week time frame during a period when many are on vacation, which is insufficient)

Transparency and the ability for the community to engage in respectful open discourse with regards to issues that will affect us all

A vote should be passed by 2/3 of cottage owners on the lake or at minimum, 2/3 of the association members at a vote taking place at a time and through a process that allows them all to be heard and attend.

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