nvplanningnew6721 No Comments

Join us for the Cottage Country Planning & Environmental Seminar on May 7th, 2015 at the Waterloo Summit Centre in Huntsville.


9:00 to 9:55 am – Living in Cottage Country and What You Need to Know (Muskoka Watershed Council Publication) – Christy Doyle (Presenter)
9:55 to 10:05 am – BREAK
10:05 to 11:00 am – Shoreline Reality: Surveying Issues Along Water Boundaries in Cottage Country – Tom Bunker (Presenter)
11:00 to 12:00 pm – Cottage Architecture in a Planned Environment – Kevin Crozier (Presenter)
12:00 to 1:00 pm – LUNCH BREAK
1:00 to 2:00 pm – Moving Beyond Lakeshore Capacity in Recreational Lake Management: The Science – Dr. Neil Hutchinson (Presenter)
2:00 to 3:55 pm – Moving Beyond Lakeshore Capacity in Recreational Lake Management: The Planning – Stephen Fahner (Presenter)
2:55 to 3:05 pm – BREAK
3:05 to 4:00 pm – Shoreline Vegetative Buffer Widths, Activities, Enhancement and Restoration – Dirk Janas (Presenter)

Presentation Synopsis

Living in Cottage Country and What You Need to Know” (Muskoka Watershed Council Publication)

The same natural features that attract people to “Cottage Country” are the very features most in danger of being lost unless we protect them. Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC) is pleased to present its new Living in Cottage Country: What You Need to Know handbook. This valuable resource is intended to assist planners, visitors and residents of cottage country – and beyond – in protecting the environment we all love.

Simple, everyday actions can keep our piece of cottage country healthy. The Living in Cottage Country: What You Need to Know handbook features over 100 pages of ideas, approaches and practices to living sustainably and preserving this special place for now and for the future. Key ideas and actions will be summarized including how to co-exist with wildlife, smart building and construction practices, creating healthy buffers, managing the layers of planning policies and regulations, and more. Want to become a more effective steward of the land and water so vital to our quality of life? This handbook is for you! Whether you’re new to the area or a long-time resident, whether you’re a planner or a builder, this new handbook will guide you on your journey to living sustainably in cottage country.

Shoreline Reality: Surveying Issues Along Water Boundaries in Cottage Country

This presentation is not attempting to offer comprehensive advice on the survey and legal issues surrounding individual boundary locations and shoreline development rights within municipal jurisdiction but only to highlight some practical instances where land use planning should consider how ownership of public and private lands has been impacted by topography and the history of Provincial development.

The session will highlight a number of issues including: Public/Private shore land creation including shore road allowances and reserves; flooding and ownership issues; confusing definitions of the water/land boundary; application of planning document “rules”; survey accuracies, interpretation, and water level changes.

Cottage Architecture in the Planned Environment

This presentation will cover a brief history of the forces that have impacted the development of ‘Cottage’ architecture in Ontario from the late 19th Century to today. As part of this discussion Kevin will focus on cottage architectural styles as they relate to larger trends in western domestic architecture. Issues of building style, building technology, transportation issues, and societal trends will be translated into the built environment as we see it today.

The impact of specific zoning issues on the built environment will be
discussed including shoreline setbacks, vegetative and ‘naturalized’ buffers, height requirements, coverage and use requirements as they impact architectural design and the client’s goals for waterfront properties.

The cottage architect’s tricks of the trade and how to work with zoning
issues for compliance and the best results for the client will be touched on. A brief discussion of how to follow the intent of zoning requirements while allowing for the client’s requirements of use, height, and size will follow.

The presentation will note future trends in cottage country design or where things are trending along with greater zoning restrictions and compliance issues. In addition, economic and social pressures on cottage areas and properties impact architecture as well as building technologies and building trends in architectural design that are changing the use of cottage properties will be examined.

Moving Beyond Lakeshore “Capacity” in Recreational
Lake Management

The past decade has seen conflicting developments in lake management and planning in cottage country. While Ontario and Muskoka boast progressive approaches to lake planning, the need for review suggested that other approaches may offer useful insights or approaches. In 2014, the MOE retained Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. and Northern Vision Planning Ltd. to complete a review and analysis of existing approaches to lakeshore capacity management in jurisdictions across Ontario, Canada and North America to determine if there was the need and the means to modify the Provincial approach. The resulting report is available through the MOE and has been widely requested.

The 14 jurisdictions in Ontario, Canada and the USA that were reviewed in the scan employed a wide variety of approaches to managing shoreline development on inland lakes with unique combinations of technical and planning tools depending on the primary focus of their management approach. Elements of one or both of two broad approaches were generally used by each jurisdiction:

  1. Shoreline Management by Capacity – approaches that manage shoreline development by placing limits on the number of lots or development units based on different thresholds and densities.
  2. Shoreline Management by Mitigation – approaches that rely on the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) including minimum development standards to mitigate impacts of shoreline development.

The presentation will feature presentations on the results of the of the jurisdictional scan

  • On the range of technical approaches to lakeshore management of water quality and the natural environment by Dr. Neil Hutchinson, and
  • The range of planning approaches across jurisdictions by Stephen Fahner.

The speakers will present summaries of the approaches used by the 14 jurisdictions and how the best features may be applied in Ontario.

Shoreline Vegetative Buffer Widths, Activities, Enhancement and

Dirk Janas will provide a presentation on natural feature buffers and
setbacks for shorelines that are commonly implemented on projects in cottage country. The interface of the terrestrial and aquatic environments along the shoreline is often referred to from an ecological perspective as the “ribbon of life”. Shorelines are also an area of preferred recreational activity for cottagers. These opposing functions of shorelines present challenges in balancing shoreline land uses.

Dirk will present factors that are considered in determining buffers widths, potential activities within these areas, and enhancement and restoration opportunities. He will review and compare approaches in determining suitable buffers based on the environmental science and what is implemented through planning policy.

Speaker Bios

Christy Doyle M.E.S., M.C.I.P., R.P.P.

Christy Doyle is the Director of Environmental and Watershed Programs with the District of Muskoka and the Muskoka Watershed Council. After spending much of her childhood on Peninsula Lake, Christy began her planning career at the Township of Muskoka Lakes and later as a Bracebridge-based planning consultant. Now, together with her husband and their young daughter, she is happy to be making Muskoka home again.

Christy returns to the area after spending ten years working with the Province of Ontario. In her provincial roles with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, Christy was responsible for providing the policy direction for a variety of major planning projects across Ontario including the expansion of the Rouge Park, the redevelopment of downtown Toronto lands for the PanAm Games and the development of Seaton, the largest land assembly in the provincial realty portfolio. Christy was also actively involved in advising the government on many of its recent planning reforms, including the Greenbelt Plan, the Growth Plan, the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act, and the Central Pickering Development Plan.

Christy has a Bachelor of Arts (Geography) from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Environmental Studies (Planning) from York University. She is an advocate for urban transit initiatives and a member of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Thomas A Bunker, O.L.S., C.L.S., P.Eng

Tom graduated as a Civil Engineer in 1970 from the University of Toronto. He started his professional career at New Liskeard and became licensed as an Ontario Land Surveyor in 1973 and a Canada Lands Surveyor in 1975. His Northern Ontario surveying experience took him from the Quebec border to Red Lake and from Blind River to James Bay. In 1979 an injury suffered in a helicopter crash prompted him to pursue a business degree and Chartered Accountant designation.

In 1988 Tom formed T. A. Bunker Surveying Ltd and in 1989 he purchased a survey firm in Gravenhurst. From Muskoka he has consulted with private clients, municipal, provincial and federal governments and engineering, planning and environmental consulting organizations on wide ranging technical and legal survey projects. He was elected to the Council of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors with a one-year term as President ending in 2005. He has recently retired from daily assignments and has transferred the firm to his son Tim and brother Chris whom he trained as professional surveyors over the past 12 years.

Kevin Crozier, B.A. Hons., B.Ed., B.E.S., B. Arch.

Owner Crozier Designs Inc., Architect/Designer

Kevin is the owner of Crozier Designs Inc. and has worked on waterfront properties throughout Ontario’s various Cottage Country areas since 1985. Kevin’s firm has specialized in single family residential work that encompasses cottages, boathouses and other outbuildings associated with cottage lifestyle and living during that time. Crozier Designs has had great success working on projects that range in size from modest ‘bunkies’ and cottages for regular working people to family compounds for the wealthy and connected that encompass large estate cottages, multi-slip boathouses, and all the amenities you would see in upscale magazines such as Canadian House & Home or Architectural Digest.

A growing facet of Kevin’s practice is reconciling his client’s requirements for their recreational properties with increasingly complicated and restrictive zoning and environmental policies affecting these properties. Kevin routinely deals with zoning issues and policies relating to waterfront properties and has a great deal of experience negotiating the needs of his clients with the various agencies that impact these developments.

Dr. Neil Hutchinson Ph.D.

Dr. Neil Hutchinson has always felt an affinity to water, though his mother recalls that mud was a more accurate description. He completed an Honours B.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Guelph in 1978, returned in 1979 and completed his Ph.D. in 1985. He spent 14 years with the Dorset Research Centre of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment where he provided much of the input into development of the Provincial “LakeCap” policy. He worked from 1998 to 2009 he was the Senior Aquatic Scientist at Gartner Lee Limited, a national environmental consulting firm and has worked with the District Municipality of Muskoka since 1998 on the development and implementation of their Lake System Health program.

In November 2009 he formed Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. as a consulting firm specializing in aquatic science, technical facilitation and peer review services. The firm presently consists of fourteen scientists working out of offices in Bracebridge and Kitchener Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta

His professional career has focussed on pollutants and stressors of aquatic systems, with a focus extending from geochemical to laboratory to whole-watershed levels of investigation and a specialization in PreCambrian Shield systems. His clients include municipal, provincial and federal governments and Boards, First Nations and private sector developers, industry and mining companies and his work spans the country from Muskoka to Nunavut.

When not at work, Neil lives on the shore of a small lake in Bracebridge, in a home which he shares with his wife Barb, three daughters, two dogs and too many blackflies in June. Hobbies include making music, canoeing, skiing and sailing.

Stephen Fahner, B.A.(Hon.), A.M.C.T., C.M.M.III, M.C.I.P., R.P.P.

Stephen Fahner, has over 32 years of experience in the public sector, the last 24.5 years with the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Stephen oversaw the review of approximately 300 – 400 planning applications per year, in the position of Director of Planning, which resulted in extensive experience from major resort redevelopment to minor variances. Stephen has extensive knowledge of the Planning processes in the Province and has pioneered numerous planning policies in Cottage Country including: Waterfront Landings, Commercial Downzoning Guidelines, Classification of Lakes, Shoreline Vegetative Buffers, Waterfront Density, Tree Preservation Bylaw, and Site Alteration Bylaw. During this tenure, he was also the Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment. Stephen has routinely appeared in front of the Ontario Municipal Board, being involved in approximately 250 Hearings in his career with the Township.

With the establishment of Northern Vision Planning Ltd. in the fall of 2012, Stephen has obtained a number of clients involved in waterfront residential lot creation, waterfront single lot development, a gravel pit, an industrial park, marinas, resorts, a trailer park, waterfront residential structures, and the review of Comprehensive Zoning Bylaws and Official Plans. Stephen has also assisted Planning Departments with operations, document reviews, and training. His firm hosts an annual Cottage Country Planning and Environmental Issues seminar. He recently co-authored an article in the OPPI Journal with Dirk Janas of Beacon Environmental on Long Term Site Monitoring. In 2004 he also authored an article on Shoreline Vegetative Buffers for the Journal.

Dirk Janas B.Sc.

Dirk Janas has more than 17 years of experience as a terrestrial ecologist and environmental consultant with a broad range of project experience in both the public and private sectors. He recently joined Palmer Environmental Consulting Group and is the manager of the Bracebridge office. He has completed numerous natural heritage studies for land use planning and development, environmental impact studies, and environmental assessments throughout cottage country. Dirk specializes in the characterization and assessment of terrestrial ecosystems as well as species at risk and wetland assessments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *