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, acting on behalf of the province and in alignment with the Provincial Policy Statement, recommended to amend the language to strongly discourage operations within 2K and 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 – 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

Restrictions 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 Councillors 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 have 20 days to appeal the decision.

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?

SLCO is waiting for Ontario Land Tribunal* to reschedule the appeal proceedings to crush within 700 meters of Lambert's Lake (E14-2).  We are enlisting the help of key partners such as the Muskoka Lakes Association and others to help us aggressively defend Rule E14.2 in the OPA-52 appeal.  If successful, the original appeals for OPA-46 and ZB-13/14 will not need to be heard.

    *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.

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