Hello Raven Lake Cottage Association Members,
With the MNRF posting of the stick dock removal notices this week, and the uncertainty and stress that this is undoubtedly causing our members, we want to share the below detailed update on the docking project. While there are no guarantees the project will be completed by spring of 2022, we would like to take this time to show our progress and plans for the project going forward.
Planning & Zoning Process
We conducted an on-site visit at the landing with the Township of Lake of Bay (LoB) planner on Oct. 1st. Based on the discussion at this meeting, we have determined that the best approach is to pursue two plans simultaneously – one that does not require rezoning (and is therefore more likely to be completed by spring) and a second that it is dependent on rezoning (and therefore more time consuming).
The MNRF has told the RLCA that they will issue us a Land Use Permit (LuP) (lease) for the water lot adjacent to the landing dependent on the RLCA: i) having a land survey completed (the RLCA is waiting on the completed survey materials now); and ii) the removal of the existing stick docks (MNRF posted the removal notice on Oct. 6th with a 45-day removal period ending on Nov. 20th). The RLCA has also requested that Bill Lang from Barriston Law in Huntsville, who has been engaged with this project for the last year, also act as our representative with the MNRF to secure our LuP.
Plan 1 will not require rezoning with LoB; this gives the best chance for docks to be in the water for ice out in the spring. The limitation of this plan is that it will only hold approximately 66 boats. Currently the Raven Lake Dock Association (RLDA) has 64 signed members. Therefore, while Plan 1 will be able to accommodate everyone who has currently signed, there are additional water access cottagers who may still choose to join the RLDA. If the number of members goes beyond the number of docks available for next year, we will need to look at creative ways for the community to accommodate more boats, such as dock pooling. Plan 1 is intended to be an interim solution while we secure the necessary rezoning approvals for plan 2.
Plan 2 requires a rezoning application to LoB. Because there is more involved in a rezoning application, this process may not be completed in time for March-April 2022. The RLCA is reaching out to find a local professional planner with availability and the knowledge to begin the rezoning application process as soon as possible.
The Landing Committee is starting work on both plan 1 and plan 2 now and will run them in parallel, where reasonable and appropriate. While completing the necessary Plan 2 approvals before the next cottage season is unlikely, if the necessary approvals are received in time, we would skip plan 1 and go straight to plan 2.
Once rezoning approvals are secured under Plan 2, this will allow us to increase the number of slips as needed to accommodate all water access residents that decide to join the RLDA.
The RLCA’s intent is to set up the docking project as a condominium corporation (a “Dockuminium”, if you will) as per the recommendations of both our Lawyer and the LoB planner. By structuring the docking project as a condominium, we can leverage the provincial rules around establishing a capital reserve and setting yearly maintenance fees to cover establishing the capital reserve and covering the yearly maintenance costs. Governance of condominiums in the Muskoka region is done at the District of Muskoka regional level, so the RLCA will have to make an application to and work with the district for approvals. This adds an additional layer of government interaction to this project; if the RLCA is not able to set up the docking project as a condominium structure for the spring of 2022, we would proceed with the new docking project structured as a club and then transition to a condominium structure once the necessary approvals are completed.
Vendors & Bidding Process
The landing committee has reached out to several dock vendors and have found 4 that are willing to bid on the project. We will be proceeding with a Request for Proposal / Quote (RFP) which includes both plan 1 and plan 2 shortly. One of the conditions of the RFP is that the vendor must be able to complete the new docks and have them in place on the ice after the snowmobile season ends and before ice out in March-April of 2022. We will need detailed plans from the vendor that we choose to proceed with the building permit applications for plan 1. Again, if the approvals for plan 2 are secured in time for next spring we would skip plan 1 and go forward with plan 2.
The landing committee has also reached out to 4 local contractors and have found 1 that is able to complete the removal of any stick docks still in place at the landing before the Nov.20th deadline. This will include removing the stick docks from the shoreline and disposing of the material properly. The contractor will also be moving any remaining boats or trailers from along the shoreline to the back of the parking lot so that there is space for the removal process as well as the installation process in the spring. We would again encourage anyone who has left a trailer or boat at the landing to remove it themselves before Nov. 20th.
Keeping You Informed
Again, while there are no guarantees in place at this time, progress with the MNRF for the LuP and the ongoing LoB Council support including our on-site meeting with the LoB planner suggest that we do have a path to having new docks in the water for the start of next year's water access cottage season.
The landing committee is going to be scheduling a virtual Q&A session on October 27th at 7:00 PM at which we will speak to the details in this update and offer the opportunity for questions. Please watch for an invitation from the RLCA over the next few days.
RLCA Landing Committee
(Sean Hungerford, Scott Lewis, Graham Donald, Ross Lawrence)