Skeleton Lake News

  • 12 Oct 2019 11:10 AM | Jeff Crocker (Administrator)

    President's Thanksgiving Message

    If you're like my family, you'll know Fall is perhaps the best season to be on the lake.  And I'm reminded when Thanksgiving Weekend comes around of how lucky and thankful we are to be able to share this wonderful paradise with such a caring and concerned community.

    As your new SLCO president I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to say thanks to Scott May for his time and dedication over the last three years as our president and for being a champion in the fight to protect our lake.  I'm also thankful that Scott won't be going very far and will be my wingman, serving as Vice President.  We have a lot to do over the coming 24 months.

    This past August we elected a slate of 15 directors to the SLCO Board of Directors; many veterans and some new faces. I'm very proud of the skills we have on our Board and the determination of them all to protect our lake.  You can find our Board members at Board of Directors.

    Your SLCO Board meets many times during the year to review programs and progress and we just wrapped up our last formal meeting for 2019 yesterday.  The Board members chair many committees which will also meet several times per year and rely heavily on the involvement of other volunteers around the lake.  You can find information about our committees here Committees.

    This coming year will be a watershed year for us.  We have a major battle looming on the horizon that will test our collective strengths.  But we also have to 'mind the shop' and keep all our other activities aimed at protecting our lake and fostering community ticking along.  At the conclusion of our meeting yesterday we prioritized our objectives over the coming year as follows -

    • Defeat the proposed Lippa Pit & Quarry
    • Build a strong Membership
    • Fundraising 
    • Focus on Stewardship

    How will we know when we've accomplished these objectives?  When our membership is over 300, when we reach $200,000 in donations and when we successfully shut down the proposed Pit & Quarry that threatens all that we consider sacred about our lake.

    Our focus on Stewardship is our raison d'être.   While we are being challenged by commercial development, we have to keep striving to roll out the actions and stewardship programs identified in the Skeleton Lake Plan & Stewardship Program.

    What can you do to help?  First and foremost renew or enrol for your 2019 membership if you haven't already done so.  You can do that online at {Member_Profile_URL}

    Second, you can make a donation by visiting Donate.

    Third, volunteer.  We are looking for all kinds of skills from running events, to running websites and creating content.  If you're interested, send us a note at

    You'll be hearing quite a bit from us over the coming weeks and months.  The provincial LPAT (formerly OMB) will be holding a Case Management Conference (CMC) on the 28th of November to discuss how to proceed with the multiple appeals launched by the Lippas.  The meeting will again be held at the Town of Muskoka Lakes municipal chambers in Port Ccarling starting at 11:00 a.m. and we will need a strong turnout to ensure the Township and the adjudicators know we won't be bullied into submission.  The SLCO Board will be hard at work preparing for that next confrontation.

    In the meantime, our very best wishes for a joyous and relaxing Thanksgiving Weekend with your loved ones.

    Jeff Crocker

    SLCO President

  • 13 Jul 2019 6:46 AM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    The Skeleton Lake Marina has kindly donated a new peddle boat to be raffled. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5/each or 3 tickets for $10. Tickets are available at the Skeleton Lake Marina and will also be sold at the regatta where the peddle boat will be on display.  The draw will be at 10 am on Sunday August 4th at the Skeleton Lake Marina. 

  • 19 Jun 2019 8:30 AM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    SLCO Newsletter – June 2019

    Community Updates

    Welcome to another great summer on Skeleton Lake! 

    We wanted to inform you as soon as possible of the great upcoming activities to help you plan your summer.  More information will be provided as we get closer to each event.

    Key Dates

    June 29-30, Sat-Sun

    'All Nations Skeleton Lake Water Walk' (see below for more info.)

    Aug 3, Sat 9:00 - 12:00

    Skeleton Lake Marina Fishing Derby Awards & Pancake Breakfast

    Aug 3, Sat

    42nd Regatta

    Aug 3, Sat 5:00 7:00 pm

    In celebration of the 50th and final year of races, Geoff and Andrea Ross will be hosting a cocktail party at their cottage, located at 1244 Skeleton Lake Road 2, Lot #25, for those who ever sailed in the race to come and reminisce.  

    Aug 4, Sun 1:30 - 4:00

    Annual Jack Wyndham/Bill Wilson Sailing Race

    Aug 11, Sun 10:00 - 12:00

    SLCO Annual General Meeting, Camp Ramah

    Aug (Date to be determined)

    Family Day

    Water Walk

    On June 29 & 30, there will be an ‘All Nations Skeleton Lake Water Walk’ around Skeleton Lake, led by First Nations women, to show respect and care for the lake and surrounding watershed.  You may walk both days, or for any shorter distance.  There will also be a sunrise ceremony at 113 Long Point Road in Utterson on the Saturday morning that you are welcome to attend.  Erin Dixon, a Métis woman, with longstanding family ties to Skeleton Lake, has been instrumental in organizing this Water Walk.  Erin will be one of the women leading the way on the walk.  If you are interested in volunteering, or becoming more involved, please contact either Erin Dixon at or Holly LaForge  For additional history and guidance on waterwalks, you can stay connected through the website

    Free ‘Waste Management Flood Vouchers

    Oops - We previously announced the Town of Huntsville had arranged for a dumpster to be placed on Camp Newport road on June 1 & 2 for people to put solid floating waste into from the spring flood.  Unfortunately, the bin was never delivered by the contractor.  Our apologies to anyone that showed up with lake waste, only to find no bin!  Instead, the Town of Huntsville has made available free ‘Waste Management Flood Vouchers’ which are valid until July 2, 2019.  They can be picked up inside the Skeleton Lake Marina at the desk during normal business hours.  (Note: the marina is not involved with the collection of spring debris.  Instead the marina is kindly acting as the distribution point for the vouchers.)  A big thank you to both the Town of Huntsville, and the Skeleton Lake Marina.

  • 16 Jun 2019 4:02 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

  • 25 May 2019 4:14 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    May 25, 2019

    To:  SLCO Members

    Re:  2019 Spring Freshet - Recovery and Clean-up

    As communicated in my May 5 note, the Town of Huntsville is moving forward with recovery efforts from the spring freshet, collecting and removing the debris in our lakes and rivers.  The Town has partnered with several lake associations to finalize an approach for watershed clean-up.  Specifically, they have arranged for a dumpster to be placed at each lake for one weekend.  For Skeleton Lake, a dumpster will be located at 180 Camp Newport road on Saturday June 1 & Sunday June 2.  Guidelines for use of the dumpster are as follows:

    • The bin will be an ‘Aces Waste’ dumpster, orange in colour
    • Only man-made, floating items are to be retrieved from the lake and deposited in the dumpster
    • If floating items are too large to be placed in the dumpster, the item is to be placed beside the dumpster (the Town of Huntsville will ensure the items are placed in the dumpster)
    • No trees or natural vegetation, such as foliage or shrubbery shall be deposited in the dumpster
    • No debris collected from the land is to be deposited in the dumpster
    • No household garbage is to be deposited in the dumpster
    • The Town of Huntsville will cover the costs associated with the dumpster

    Additionally, if you sustained property damage, supports are currently available as follows:

    If you have any questions, please contact Denise Corry (Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Huntsville):

    Ms. Denise Corry 

    37 Main Street East
    (705) 789-1751 ext 2356 | 1-888-696-4255 ext 2356


    Scott May – President Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization


    c:   416 559 2839

  • 05 May 2019 1:04 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    To:  SLCO Members

    Re:  2019 Spring Freshet - Recovery and Clean-up

    A short note on the 2019 spring flood.  First, on behalf of the SLCO Board, I hope you have not been personally affected by this year’s spring run-off and flood.  We recognize many residents in Muskoka have suffered damage to their property.

    We have received a communication from the Town of Huntsville that they asked us to share.  They are advising that collecting and removing the debris in the lakes and rivers will be a key focus for the Town.  It is their hope that they can partner with the Lake Associations to finalize an approach for watershed clean-up.  It is the Town’s goal to reach out to organizations shortly so they can begin these discussions.  In the interim, they have asked lake associations to share the following information with their membership:

    • The Town of Huntsville will be working with the lake associations to collect & remove debris from the lakes and rivers
    • Residents are encouraged to not try and retrieve floating items at this time
    • Should you see a large item (e.g. larger than a Muskoka chair) floating in our watershed, please call 705-789-6421 ext. 0 and the town will assist with securing it until such time as it can be collected

    If you have any questions, please contact Denise Corry (Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Huntsville).  Her contact details are:

    Ms. Denise Corry 

    37 Main Street East

    (705) 789-1751 ext 2356 | 1-888-696-4255 ext 2356

    Thank you for your assistance.


    Scott May - President Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization

  • 02 Apr 2019 4:06 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    Spring has arrived (well sort of, if you ignore all the snow currently in Cottage Country) and so has the 2019 Muskoka Stewardship Conference.

    This year’s Stewardship Conference is about how the living parts of our unique watershed are all connected to function as one living ecosystem that serves our needs and enhances our lives.  Attendees will hear from the experts on the basics of watersheds, how all the parts function together as a living ecosystem, the benefits from keeping this ecosystem healthy and what is needed to achieve this.  There will also be an opportunity to have your questions answered by the experts.

    The Conference will take place at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville, from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm on Friday April 26.  Tickets are only $60/person.  Please refer to the flyer below.

    The Conference will be worthwhile for everyone who cares about Muskoka's environment.  Looking forward to seeing you at the Conference on Friday April 26.

  • 08 Mar 2019 5:58 PM | Tim Lutton (Administrator)

    At the 3rd OMB Pre-Hearing Conference (PHC) last November, Ross Earl made a ‘Motion to Dismiss’ the Lippa application, which was strongly supported by SLCO.  At the time, a decision on the Motion was reserved by the Adjudicator.  That decision has now been issued, on 5 March 2019.   In summary, the Tribunal ordered the motion to dismiss the appeals be denied, which is unfavourable to SLCO’s case.  Full details of the decision can be found by clicking here.

    On a positive note all Parties agree that a further Official Plan Amendment Application is required to address the issue of Lambert's Lake and Mud Lake being within 2 kilometres of the proposed rock crushing operation, which is prohibited under the Township of Muskoka Lakes Official Plan.  This is good news because it recognizes the significance of the issue at hand, and we are well-positioned to fight this new application.

    We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available.  In the interim, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.


    Scott May

    President - Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization


    c:   416 559 2839

  • 07 Mar 2019 12:20 PM | Jeff Crocker (Administrator)

    RE: Continuation of Objection Notice - Lippa Pit & Quarry ARA Application /

    Where To Send Your Replies

    Several SLCO members have inquired about where to send their Continuation of Objection responses.  The following instructions are provided by the lawyers representing the Lippa Applicants.

    Your letter must be delivered within 20 days of receiving notice, i.e. tomorrow, March 8, 2019.

    To meet the deadline at this time you should submit your Continuation of Objection letter by email or else hand deliver it.

    You letter must be submitted to both the Applicant and the MNRF at the following addresses:

    The Applicant:  

    Mrs. Elizabeth Lippa

    c/o Skelton Brumwell & Associates Inc.

    93 Bell Farm Road, Suite 107

    Barrie, Ontario

    L4M 5G1

    Attention: Kristen Hinde, P. Eng




    Bracebridge Area Office

    1350 High Falls Road

    Bracebridge, Ontario

    P1L 1W9

    Attention:  Jeff Schosser, Aggregates Technical Specialist


    NOTE: You must include your valid postal address, including you street address, in your email or your response will not be considered acceptable.

    Remember - to remain a recognized Objector, you must send your Continuation of Objection Letter by tomorrow.  


  • 06 Mar 2019 8:18 PM | Jeff Crocker (Administrator)

    March 6, 2019

    To SLCO Members

    Re: Continuation of Objection Letters - Proposed Lippa Pit and Quarry  

    This is a follow-up letter on the topic of Objector Letters.  In my communication of February 13, I informed members that if they continue to have objections to the Lippa Quarry application and are not satisfied by the information in the package from John Ewart (lawyer for the Lippa family), they are required to provide a second letter to keep their Objector status, either by personal delivery, by registered mail or by e-mail.

    If you have submitted an objection letter in the past, we urge you to take a few minutes to re-submit and update your letter of objection.  This second letter needs to be delivered to both the Applicant and the MRNF by Friday March 8, 2019, which makes e-mail the preferred method of communication.  Note that an e-mailed objection that does not contain a valid postal address (i.e. a street address, not a PO Box) will not be considered acceptable.

    A number of people reported having difficulty retrieving these reports from the Skelton Brumwell site (Lippa’s engineering firm), including our experts.  Two requests to Lippa’s lawyer to extend the deadline have gone unanswered.

    We instructed our experts to prepare submissions to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (‘MNRF’) to respond to the updated technical reports submitted by Lippa’s consultants.  According to our experts, here are just a few of the deficiencies in the reports:

    Water Quality

    1.    It has not been demonstrated Skeleton Lake, an ultra-oligotrophic (or ultra-clean) body of water, will be protected.  This is a bottom line for residents.

    2.     Lippa’s consultant disagrees with Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks (formerly the MOECC) conclusion that Skeleton Lake has a high phosphorus sensitivity.  This is contrary to the findings of our very highly regarded water experts.

    3.     Proposed mitigation measures such as diffusing discharge of phosphorus and implementing new Stormwater Best Management Practices are not clearly defined, and no comments or approval is indicated from MOCF.

    4.     The technologies proposed to treat the phosphorus laden effluent water are designed to trap fine suspended particulate and reduce phosphorus suspended in water.  There is no assurance this will have any significant effect on phosphorus entering the lake.

    5.    Dissolved phosphorus is a primary concern for Skeleton Lake because the rock Lippa proposes to blast and crush is high in phosphorus.

    Noise Impacts

    1.    Noise impacts are a still a significant concern.  In fact, along Butler Mill Road, they will be enormous (22dB) increase in noise over the status quo on the lake.  That’s like sitting in your living room with a quiet dishwasher running (40-45 dB) vs. having someone turn on the television in your living room so loud you can’t carry on a conversation (60-65 dB).  

    2.     Our expert predicts the noise will be so disruptive, our quiet community will be downgraded from an acceptable noise impact area from a quiet rural rating Class 3, to a Class 2 or 1 area, equal to an urban or suburban noise zone.  This would be like moving from a very quiet Skeleton Lake (Class 1) to a street near a busy intersection e.g. Leslie and Finch Ave., Toronto.

    3.     The updated acoustical report lacks basic information which makes it difficult assess the impacts.

    4.     The mapping is not clear enough to identify all of the affected neighbours.

    5.     Missing factors along the haul route such as gradients (hills) in the road leading to the quarry means that the quarry is potentially 5dB louder than predicted.  There is a very high potential that people are going to be woken from their sleep!

    6.     No analysis is presented whether or not the haul route selected is the route that most minimizes noise impacts for residents and the environment.

    7.    The hours of operation mean it is likely loud trucks will begin at 5:45 am, with trucks sitting outside the quarry gate idling.

    Traffic Safety

      1.    Based on a review by a qualified traffic safety engineer retained by SLCO, we are of the opinion that the safety of the haul route has not been fully assessed.

      2.     Specifically, school bus operations and truck traffic interactions have not been fully assessed, we can’t be sure our kids are safe.

      3.     Intersection, curve and hill sightlines have been identified as deficient (possibly unsafe) along the proposed haul route corridor but have not been addressed in terms of improvements to the road needed.

      4.     The proponent’s safety consultant concluded that the 80 km/h posted speed is not appropriate for the roadway geometrics and operations, which raises the clear question of whether 80 km/h is too fast to be safe for heavily loaded aggregate haulers. 

      5.     In addition, the Lippa’s safety consultant concludes that there have been only two collisions along the haul route over a five-year period.   According to our expert, this frequency seems extremely low for even the best performing rural roadway over a 5-year period. 

      6.    The increase in collision potential due to slower moving trucks has not been quantitatively assessed and therefore it is unknown if it poses a risk, which is a legitimate concern for people sharing the road with these new trucks. 

        Land Use Planning

        1.    The Township and SLCO remain opposed to the application, including the aspect of crushing within 2km of a waterbody.  If the Township and subsequently the LPAT prohibits the crushing, the operation changes significantly and all of the related reports would need to change.  

        2.     We question if a pit in this remote location is viable if the raw aggregate must be shipped somewhere else for processing before being shipped to market.  This is a lot of travel on our roads that may pose an unnecessary traffic safety risk.

        3.     Until this matter is resolved, it seems premature for any agency or impacted resident or First Nation to provide final comments on the application.

        4.     The Official Plan states:

        a.    14.7        The siting of an Aggregate Pit should be based on the following criteria, in addition to all requirements of the Aggregate Resources Act:

        ·       Site is located on an arterial or major collector road capable of handling the increased traffic and haul loads;

        ·      Site is in close proximity to a provincial highway.

        5.    In our opinion, the site meets neither of these criteria and these policies. These policies are intended to prevent the traffic safety issues that have been identified above.

        You might find these points helpful as you draft your letter.  In parallel, SLCO is preparing its own letter of objection, based on these points, which we will circulate to the SLCO membership as soon as it is available.  


        Scott May 

        President - Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization


        c:   416 559 2839

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