Skeleton Lake News

  • 09 Jul 2018 5:45 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    SLCO Newsletter – July 2018

    Community Updates

    Water Quality

    Water quality testing was conducted on May 31, 2018.

    There are six parameters that our water testing program monitors.  They are: Total Coliform,

    E. Coli, Total Phosphorus, Calcium, Clarity and Temperature.  All of these have a factor in the quality of our water.  Water samples for Total Phosphorous and Calcium are done and sent to the Dorset Environmental Science Centre for testing.  We will receive the results for these samples later this summer.  Dorset also receives our secchi (clarity) results for the season.

    Secchi testing on May 31, 2018 (a very sunny, calm day) resulted in a count of 11 meters.  This is an excellent result for clear Skeleton Lake.

    8 locations are tested May to September each year for Total Coliform and E. Coli:

    Wilson’s Bay                 SK2

    Newport Beach             SK4

    Beaman’s Bay               SK6

    Camp Ramah                SK7

    Bottom of High Falls      SK8

    Camp Kwasind              SK9

    Long Point Bay              SK10

    Long Bay                       SK11

    All of these locations in the first testing (May 31, 2018) tested very well.  There had not been a lot of rain, and not a lot of spring runoff due to our late spring and no pollen.  Our water testing so far this year indicates the high quality of the water in Skeleton Lake continues its reputation of a crystal clear clean lake.

    Garbage

    The garbage and recycling bin site located at Skeleton Lake Marina did not return this summer season.  The owner of the Marina requested that the District of Muskoka (District) remove the site due to ongoing misuse of it and the continued challenges of keeping the site clean and tidy.

    Instead, for those interested, the marina has arranged a new service.  New bins are now available to use at the side of the marina in a fenced, locked area.  The current cost per month to use the bins is approximately $25/month.  The amount of the fee is based on the number of people who use the garbage service.  The marina will not be using these bins and will not be making any profits on the program.

    Septic Pump-Out

    SLCO is planning to once again organize a ‘septic tank pump’ for water access properties.  This activity was done 2 years ago.  For those of you that might have missed it in 2016, now is the perfect time to get this necessary job done.  Click here to update your profile page and sign into your account Click the grey ‘ Edit profile  button, scroll down and click 'yes' to indicate your interest in a pump out this year.  Alternatively, you can email admin@skeletonlake.ca to indicate your interest in a pump out.   We will be sending out more details in a separate note.

    Nesting Loons

    The cry of the loon is a classic sound of life at the cottage.  As such, we need to do what we can to help protect our feathered friends.  A friendly reminder to please slow down on the water.  In particular, please be aware of the loons in the narrow channel between Rosebud Island and the mainland.  There is a sign at one end that says ‘slow no wake’, and there is a sign at the other end that says loon nesting area.  Speeding close to shore hurts our wildlife, damages boats and docks, and is dangerous!


  • 25 Jun 2018 5:56 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    The purpose of this letter is to inform you of recent news, and its resulting impact on the legal process of the proposed quarry just north of Skeleton Lake.

    I recently learned of the tragic news of the sudden passing of Mr. Frank Lippa, the quarry applicant

    It is currently unclear how this unforeseen event may impact the timing of the second OMB Pre-Hearing Conference that was to be held in Port Carling on July 13.  The ‘Rock the Quarry Rally’ for Skeleton Lake, previously scheduled for July 13 in Port Carling, has been postponed until sometime in August.

    Further updates will be issued as new information becomes available.  Until then, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Lippa family during this difficult time.

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Sincerely,

    Scott May, President

    Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

    e:   scott@skeletonlake.ca

    c:   416 559 2839



  • 15 Jun 2018 8:48 AM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    To:  SLCO Members

    Re: Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry – Key Dates

    The purpose of this letter is to inform you of recent activity, plus important upcoming dates in our continued fight against the proposed Lippa pit and quarry.

    Recent Activity:

    Over the past few months, our team has been working with some of our experts to support our case.  Specifically, initial assessments have been made by water quality, acoustics and road safety experts. 

    Key Dates:

    The second Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Pre-Hearing Conference (PHC) will take place on Friday July 13, 2018 at 10 am and be held at the Municipal Office, 1 Bailey Street, Port Carling.  Your attendance is important, as we want to continue to demonstrate to the Adjudicator that a large number of people are strongly against the proposed pit and quarry.

    Later that same day, Friday July 13, from 7:30 – 10:00 pm, a ‘Rock the Quarry Rally’ for Skeleton Lake will be held in the Port Carling Community Centre.  Both guest speakers and live musical entertainment will be on hand.  Admission will be free and open to the public, (however donations for SLCO’s Stop the Lippa Quarry Fund will be gladly accepted!)  This rally will be informative and entertaining so please plan to attend.  More information on the rally is available by clicking on the following link:  Rock the Quarry Rally for Skeleton Lake @ Port Carling Community Centre ( 3 Bailey St ) .

    Looking further into the future, there is the possibility of a third PHC, although no date has yet been discussed.  The OMB Hearing itself will likely be scheduled for the spring of 2019 We will notify you of further details once they are available.

    I am looking forward to seeing you at the above-mentioned events.  In the interim, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Sincerely,

    Scott May, President

    Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

    e:   scott@skeletonlake.ca

    c:   416 559 2839


  • 02 May 2018 7:45 AM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    The 2018 Muskoka Summit on the Environment will be held on May 24 & 25 in Bracebridge. These summits, occurring every 2 years since 2010, have  become premier events featuring world-class speakers and public debate on key environmental issues.  This year's theme is "Restoring our Relationship With The Natural World".

    On the second day, all speakers participate in a panel discussion moderated by Paul Kennedy, host of CBC Radio's "Ideas".  He uses the panel discussion and excerpts from the rest of the Summit to create an hour-long radio presentation that is broadcast on "Ideas".

    Further information on the Summit can be found at:

    https://muskokasummit.org/

  • 02 Apr 2018 2:33 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    Please click here to see the recent Globe and Mail article describing the current fight against the proposed Lippa pit and quarry on Skeleton Lake. 

    - Tim Lutton

    April 2, 2018

  • 27 Feb 2018 3:12 PM | Jeff Crocker (Administrator)

    February 26, 2018

    To:  SLCO Members

    Re: Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry:  Summary of Feb 21, 2018 Pre-Hearing Conference

    The purpose of this letter is to provide you with a brief summary of last Wednesday’s Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Pre-Hearing Conference (PHC), held in Port Carling.

    The first PHC proceeded as planned.  Mr. Hugh Wilkins was the Adjudicator for the OMB.  Approximately one hundred people attended, which demonstrated to the Adjudicator this is an issue people care about.  The purpose of the PHC was for the Adjudicator and respective counsels to: identify ‘parties and participants’, note issues people wish to raise, and agree on future dates.  By the end of the PHC, the Adjudicator granted ‘Party Status’ to the SLCO, the Township of Muskoka Lakes, Mr. Ross Earl, and the Appellant Mr. Lippa.  In addition, the Adjudicator granted ‘Participant Status’ to thirteen people/groups, including the Lake Rosseau North Association, and the Lake Vernon Association.

    The second OMB PHC will take place on Friday July 13, 2018 at 10 am and be held at the Municipal Office, 1 Bailey Street, Port Carling.  As before, our legal counsel has advised that a strong turnout from residents and cottagers who are opposed to the proposed pit and quarry is important at the second PHC.  It is important to continue to demonstrate to the Adjudicator that a large number of people are strongly against the proposed pit and quarry.

    Looking further into the future, there is the possibility of a third PHC; no date has been discussed for a third PHC yet.  The OMB Hearing itself will likely be scheduled for the spring of 2019.  We will notify you of these dates once they are available.

    Please continue to follow us on our Skeleton Lake Cottagers’ Organization Facebook page.  In particular, please refer to the following post on the Feb 21 PHC.

    As we continue to go forward, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Sincerely,

    Scott May, President

    Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

    e:   scott@skeletonlake.ca

    c:   416 559 2839

  • 19 Feb 2018 8:01 AM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    February 18, 2018

    To:  SLCO Members

    Re: Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry:  Pre-Hearing Conference Reminder – Feb 21, 10:00 am

    As you are aware from my previous communications on this topic, Frank Lippa is seeking an Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to allow a 135.4 acre pit and quarry, in the vicinity of Butler Mill Road and Aspdin Road, less than 2 kilometers from Skeleton Lake.

    The purpose of this letter is to remind you of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Pre-Hearing Conference (PHC) to be held on Wednesday February 21, 2018 at 10 am.  The PHC will be held at the Municipal Office, 1 Bailey Street, Port Carling.  

    The primary reason for the PHC is to determine whether Mr. Lippa and his consulting team are ready to proceed to a hearing (i.e. are his studies and reports completed).  If so, the OMB Board Member may ask parties to settle on available dates for a hearing.  If Mr. Lippa is not ready to proceed, then he will ask the Board for a second PHC, likely 3 or 4 months from now.

    As our legal counsel has advised, a strong turnout from residents and cottagers who are opposed to the proposed pit and quarry is important at the PHC.  It is important to demonstrate to the adjudicator(s) that a large number of people are against the proposed pit and quarry.  Thus, we encourage you to attend the PHC on Wednesday, February 21, at 10:00 am at the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council Chambers in Port Carling.   

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Sincerely,

    Scott May, President

    Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

    e:   scott@skeletonlake.ca

    c:   416 559 2839


  • 09 Feb 2018 8:41 AM | Jeff Crocker (Administrator)

    Re:  Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry - Pre-Hearing Conference Information

    As you are aware from my previous communications on this topic, Frank Lippa is seeking an Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to allow a 54.8 hectare (135.4 acres) quarry, with an extraction area of 26.4 hectares (65.2 acres), in the vicinity of Butler Mill Road and Aspdin Road, less than 2 kilometers from Skeleton Lake.

     The purpose of this letter is to give you further information about the upcoming February 21, 2018 OMB Pre-Hearing Conference ("PHC") to be held at the Municipal Office, 1 Bailey Street, Port Carling commencing at 10 a.m.  The information that follows has been provided by SLCO's counsel, Donnelly Law.  

     The primary reason for the PHC is to determine whether Mr. Lippa and his consulting team are ready to proceed to a hearing; i.e. are all his studies and reports completed.  If so, the OMB Board Member may ask parties to settle on available dates for a hearing.    If Mr. Lippa is not "ready to go", then he will ask the Board for a second PHC, likely three or four months from now. 

     Setting a date for a hearing is greatly dependent on the duration anticipated.  A hearing of a few days can be scheduled in the next few months; longer hearings are being scheduled later this year.  We anticipate that approximately three weeks is needed for the Lippa hearing, which means that the first available dates for a hearing will likely be 9-12 months from now.

     If a hearing date is set, the parties will then agree on dates to exchange witness lists, witness statements and reply statements, and visual exhibits.  These exchanges normally occur approximately three months prior to the hearing date. 

     At the PHC, the SLCO and the Township of Muskoka Lakes will be seeking "party" status.  A party must demonstrate that it has some interest in the proceedings (e.g. property ownership, concern for the environment) and must have communicated with Council regarding the application (e.g. attended Council's meeting and vote on June 10, 2017).  If party status is granted (which is likely), SLCO will have the right to call expert evidence, cross-examine Lippa's witnesses, and make closing arguments.  

     Citizens who wish to have "party" status should be prepared to call expert evidence on any issue that they raise; if the citizen plans to give evidence him/herself ("lay witness"), it is preferable he/she have recognized credentials which qualify them to give evidence on that issue.  Parties that call lay witness evidence only and do not assist the Board may be liable for costs.  Citizens who do not have the credentials to be a witness, but who wish to participate by giving a short statement, can alternatively ask for "participant" status.    SLCO will assist participants by drafting a Participant Statement which anyone who is opposed to the quarry can sign and submit.

     The onus to prove the quarry represents good planning and will not adversely impact the environment rests with Mr. Lippa.  It is his lawyer's responsibility to provide the issues his consultants will be addressing at the hearing.  Anyone wishing to seek party or participant status should come to the PHC with a rough outline of their issues; e.g. noise, dust, water quality, traffic safety, etc.  Expert witnesses will not be called at the PHC.

     SLCO will be contacting Mr. Lippa's lawyer to ascertain whether a hearing date will be sought at the PHC, or whether this PHC is just a status update.  I will advise you of the response we receive.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with your questions or concerns.

    As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Sincerely,


    Scott May, President

    Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

    e:   scott@skeletonlake.ca

    c:   416 559 2839

  • 18 Jan 2018 7:17 PM | Jeff Crocker (Administrator)

    To: SLCO Members

    Re:  Status Update #2 - Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry

    With 2018 underway, I wanted to send you an update on the actions the SLCO Board and our lawyer, David Donnelly, have taken with respect to opposing the proposed Lippa pit and quarry.

    We have retained a number of experts to help us prepare our case for the OMB hearing.  We have already received a preliminary report from a traffic safety expert, who has identified a number of issues that would arise on Aspdin Road as a result of the heavy truck traffic that would be generated by the quarry operations.

    We are also meeting this week with David Pink, Director of Planning for the Township of Muskoka Lakes.  As you know, Township Council unanimously rejected Lippa's re-zoning application for the quarry, and we are working with David to co-ordinate our opposition.  

    A reminder that a pre-hearing conference will be held on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.  The purpose of this conference is to determine the issues, parties, and participants prior to the actual Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing, which is expected to take place later this year or early 2019.  As David has advised, a strong turnout from residents and cottagers who are opposed to the proposed pit and quarry is important at the pre-hearing conference.  Thus, please mark Wednesday, February 21, at 10:00 am at the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council Chambers in Port Carling on your calendar, and plan to attend if possible. 

    In the interim, we encourage all members to go to the SMP website (stopmuskokapit.ca) and sign the petition opposing the Lippa quarry.  The petition represents the voice of many in the community.  There are now almost 2,000 signatures on it!

    As communicated last month, SLCO has sufficient funds to meet both the legal and expert costs it is currently incurring, up until the pre-hearing conference.  However, substantial additional monies will be required if we are to succeed at the subsequent OMB hearing.  Our intention is to launch a fundraising effort over the next few months. 

    We will continue to keep you informed on this important issue.  We appreciate your ongoing support as we work hard to keep Skeleton Lake the special place we all enjoy.

    As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Sincerely,


    Scott May, President

    Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

    e:   scott@skeletonlake.ca

    c:   416 559 2839

  • 19 Dec 2017 9:27 AM | Jeff Crocker (Administrator)

    December 17, 2017

    To:  SLCO Members

    Re:  Status Update of Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry

    A brief note to keep you informed on the status of the proposed Lippa pit and quarry:

    As many of you are aware, SLCO and the “Stop Muskoka Pit” group have been working together to oppose a 200,000 tonne/year pit and quarry that Frank Lippa is proposing to develop at a site 1.7 km from Skeleton Lake.  In June of this year, the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council voted unanimously to deny Mr. Lippa’s rezoning application, in response to concerns raised about the impaired water quality, noise, and traffic that would result from such an operation.  Mr. Lippa subsequently filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).  In response, SLCO has retained external counsel (David Donnelly) and various experts to assist us in opposing Mr. Lippa’s appeal.

    Last week, we received some new information about the OMB Lippa appeal hearing.  Specifically, a pre-hearing conference will be held on Wednesday, February 21.  The purpose of this conference is to determine the issues, parties, and participants prior to the actual OMB hearing, which is expected to take place next summer.  As David advises, a strong turnout from residents and cottagers who are opposed to the proposed quarry will be important at the pre-hearing conference.  Thus, please mark Wednesday, February 21, 10:00 am at the Township of Muskoka Lakes Council Chambers in Port Carling on your calendar, and plan to attend if possible. 

    Fortunately, SLCO has sufficient funds on hand to meet the legal and expert costs it is incurring, up until the pre-hearing conference.  However, substantial additional monies will be needed if we are to mount a successful opposition at the subsequent OMB hearing.  Our intention is to launch a significant fundraising effort in the New Year. 

    We will continue to keep you informed on this matter, and are confident of your ongoing support as we fight to maintain the pristine water, along with the peace and quiet, that are so central to our enjoyment of Skeleton Lake.

    As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

    Sincerely,

    Scott May, President

    Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

    e:   scott@skeletonlake.ca

    c:   416 559 2839

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