Boating speeds and dock lengths are concerns for neighbours in the vicinity of a proposed marina expansion on Lake Joseph.
Stills Bay Landing Corporation, which operates a marina on Hamill’s Point Road in the Foot’s Bay area, has proposed increasing its dockage at the marina. The request came before Muskoka Lakes councillors at a December committee of the whole meeting.
Marina owners are asking for a dock length of 150 feet in a zone that permits 80 feet, said David Pink, senior planner for the township. A dock width of 130 feet, or 75 per cent of the frontage, is also proposed, said Pink. Currently the maximum dock width permitted is 25 per cent of the lot frontage, he said.
However, the municipality’s proposed comprehensive zoning bylaw would permit a 75 per cent frontage coverage and a dock length of 125 feet, he added.
According to Pink, the marina currently has three finger docks with various-sized slips, or enough capacity for 38 boats. The proposed expansion, if approved, would allow for 50 boats or 12 additional boats, he said.
The township’s official plan encourages marina expansion, but boat speeds could be a concern in this area, said Pink, who recommended the removal of the finger docks in the plan.
Leo Longo, a lawyer representing the marina owners, said his clients require more dockage space.
Longo suggested councillors circulate the proposal and see what neighbours have to say.
“There are facts you should know through a public process,” said Longo.
Councillors generally agreed and approved the application for circulation.
Coun. Ron Brent said there is a docking area of concern in the same bay and residents may come forward to council to speak about it.
“It is going to become a hot topic,” said Brent.
There was also concern about the speed of boats in the area with the increased dockage.
Michalski Nielsen Associates Ltd. has completed a boat impact assessment, said Pink.
Data collection occurred over six days in August and September 2010 and found over the busiest boating days recorded, Saturday, Aug. 28 and Sunday, Aug. 29, 158 and 169 boats crossed the observational area. On poor weather days, very little boating was observed.
The report concludes that the additional slips should be permitted on the condition that boaters entering and leaving the marina travel at the speed equivalent of what is known as “no wake” or “dead slow” speeds. No wake means the boat does not go fast enough to create wake.
Councillors had some doubts that boaters would observe reduced speed signs, if they were posted.