Proposed Lippa Pit & Quarry

What is the Proposed Lippa Pit & Quarry?

An application was filed in 2017 to build a pit and quarry on private lands owned by the Lippas on Butler Mill Road.  If approved, this permit would allow the extraction of 200,000 tonnes of gravel every year. Blasting and extraction would occur below the water table.  Haul routes for transporting the extracted material would be along Aspdin Road, either 15 kilometers west to Rosseau or 22 kilometers east to Huntsville. 

Approval for the quarry requires amendments to the Township of Muskoka Lakes Official Plan and Zoning By-Laws as well as a license from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) under the Aggregate Resources Act.  

Why is it a threat to Skeleton Lake?

These are the risks:

Water Quality

Via Lambert's Creek, Lippa will “de-water” crushing operations into our lake leading to contamination and increased nutrients.


The hundreds of large gravel trucks travelling along Aspdin Road, adjacent to our lake, will destroy our peaceful enjoyment of it.


Increased truck traffic on this scenic, pedestrian and school-bus route would create safety issues for both cottagers and area residents.

Health Risks

Crushing generates silica dust and other toxic substances that prevailing winds can bring over our community ... as well as wildlife habitat.

Ground Water Contamination

The hydrogeological/hydrological impacts of blasting below the water table could affect the unique structure of our lake

Real Estate Values

These risks will have a negative impact on real estate values, your investment.

The Timeline ...

June 2017 – Lippa’s request to amend the Official Plan and zoning bylaws (OPA-46 & ZB-13/14) was unanimously defeated by the Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML). 

July 2017 – Lippa appealed this decision to the *Ontario Municipal Board; SLCO made plans to defend the Township of Muskoka Lakes decision.

2018 – Mr. Ross Earl, a resident of Lambert’s Lake, disclosed that while Lippa had complied with the Township’s two-kilometer setback rule (E 14.2) for Skeleton Lake, Lambert’s Lake is only 700 meters from the proposed site.

June 2018 – Lippa submitted an additional amendment application (OPA-52) to crush within 700 meters of Lambert’s Lake. The TML refused it outright, citing a total lack of public support for the project.

July 2019 – Lippa appealed this decision (OPA-52) to the *Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).  If this appeal fails, the original appeal (OPA-46 & ZB 13/14) dies.

November 2019 – The Case Management Conference (CMC) used by LPAT to determine the issues, parties and participants was inconclusive. 

March 2020 – The second CMC was postponed indefinitely due to Covid 19.

Township of Muskoka Lakes Official Plan - Timeline Continued ...

Post-Covid - Over the last four years, the SLCO has been an active participant in the development of the new Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) Official Plan (OP), more specifically the proposed changes to Section K4 - Application Requirements for Mineral Aggregate Operations.   SLCO sought to keep existing policies that restrict new aggregate operations to areas more than 2km away from waterfront areas and within 10km of a provincial highway.   

During this time, the District of Muskoka staff, acting on behalf of the province , recommended to amend the language to strongly discourage operations within 2K and suggested less restrictive wording to reduce the setback from a lake to only 500m. This less restrictive version could make it easier for aggregates operators to locate close to lakes in Muskoka and, in particular, make it potentially easier for Lippa to reapply for their proposed Pit & Quarry near our lake.

SLCO continued discussions with planning staff at both township and district levels.  A letter was sent to Council urging it to maintain its position with respect to the requirement for a 2km setback from the waterfront and the 10km proximity of a provincial highway.

September 14, 2023 – TML Planning Committee Meeting 

Along with support from the Muskoka Lakes Association, Friends of Muskoka, Muskoka Small Lakes Coalition, and several delegates speaking on behalf of our lake, the Planning Committee agreed to retain these two key clauses within the TML OP, despite objections from District Planning staff.

October 18 – TML Council Meeting

The desired setbacks are reinstated. Council votes and approves the new Township of Muskoka Lakes Official Plan containing everything requested by SLCO and it’s coalition of lake association partners at the Planning Committee meeting; a letter is sent indicating SLCO’s satisfaction with section K4. 

October/November 2023 - In preparation for the District Council Meeting SLCO and its partners…

  • Reaches out to District Councilors to lobby for their support. 
  • Lobbies to delegate at the District Council meeting - with no success. 
  • Prepares a letter for submission to District Council from an alliance of Lake Associations asking them to accept the new OP as currently written.  
  • Requests that Skeleton Lake cottagers and residents email District Council in support of existing restrictions and attend the District Council meeting.

November 20 – District Council Meeting

Success!  District Councilors voted unanimously (22 - 0) to approve the new Township of Muskoka Lakes Official Plan, without any modifications to the mineral aggregate policies, as proposed by the District Planning staff. Policies to protect our lakes from new aggregate operations have not only been retained, but they have been strengthened. District Planners now had 20 days to appeal the decision.

Unfortunately, both the Lippa family and Miller Paving filed appeals with the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) against the two key policies targeted at regulating aggregates operations that the SLCO strived to maintain.

March 21, 2023

On March 21, the OLT held a Case Management Conference and will begin, over the coming year, to hear the appeals against the new OP.  

Many people were involved in this fight with special thanks going to:

Mayor Nancy Alcock (Huntsville), Mayor Peter Kelley (TML), Jeff Crocker (Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization), Susan Eplett (Muskoka Lakes Association), Laurie Thomson (Friends of Muskoka), Mark Scarrow (Muskoka Small Lakes Coalition), Tom Newman (Stop Muskoka Pit), Ross Earl, Linda Haslam-Stroud, Erin Dixon, Geoff Ross, Betsy Rothwell. Thanks to all of you who made phone calls, sent e-mails, and attended public meetings. 

What's Next?

The SLCO worked very hard and, with the assistance of our local Councillors in Muskoka Lakes, successfully embedded important parts of our Stewardship and Lake Plan into the Township of Muskoka Lakes Official Plan.  The SLCO, with assistance and support of other lake organizations, was also successful in encouraging Council to continue with the existing policy that prohibits aggregate operations within 2km from the Waterfront areas in the Township, while adding strengthening wording to it.

The recent appeals shed light on Lippa’s true ambitions.  While the appeals of their original application, made in 2017, have largely been dormant since 2019 (when the new OP project was launched), it is now apparent that they were hoping that less restrictive rules would be adopted in the New OP allowing them a path of lesser resistance to their goals of establishing their under-the-water-table pit and quarry in our watershed.  We can’t let this happen.

    Where do we go from here?

    The SLCO, our partner lake associations and TML Council all intend to vigorously defend the new OP and our own ability to protect our most important resource in the township – our lakes.The OLT has set up a file (OLT-24-000035to hear the appeals.  

    *Player Summary:

    • Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA), Friends of Muskoka, Muskoka Small Lakes Coalition
    • *Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT):  "In 2017, the Ontario Municipal Board was continued as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). On June 1, 2021, LPAT was amalgamated and continued into the OLT." 
    • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF):  Now the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resource and Forestry.

    What can you do?

    • Continue to support the SLCO
    • Make a donation
    • Send letters to councillors to defend the appeal to amend the two-kilometer setback rule
    • Show up at council meetings and OLT hearings and make your voice heard. It does have an impact.

    "Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization" is a non-profit organization.
    All Rights Reserved.

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software