Acton Island Association

Acton Island Association Newsletter – February 2022

Dear Acton Islanders:
 
Hello to all members. The Board of AIA is busy working on the projects which members have identified as important in last summer’s survey, and in preparation for the upcoming summer season.  This update provides an overview of this activity and then specifically on key project areas. We all hope that the seemingly never-ending pandemic is in its late stages and normalcy returns for the upcoming Muskoka summer!  

Overview: 

First, we wish to inform you that the AIA Board is very excited and thanks all of you for your feedback on activity over last several months.  Our membership has grown to 133 residents, nearly double from our membership as of our AGM in July 2021.  However, there are many of our islanders who remain on the sideline.  We promise to provide our members meaningful value and call on you to spread the word.  Click here for a link to our new member sign up on the AIA website.  Please pass this along where you see an opportunity for new membership.
 
Much effort and time has been put towards watching and opposing off-side development in our community.  However, we have also worked hard on the areas identified by members in last summer’s survey.  These are aimed at maintaining/improving our life on the Island. 
 
We have set up the following working committees with leads as follows:  

  1. Land Use and Development: Lead - Michael Lewis.  Members - Jim Lewis and Debbie Korolnek, both residents on Innisfree Rd.
  2. Road Safety and Water Safety: Lead - Stephen Randall.  Members to be recruited
  3. Special Project Committee: Lead - Howard Day.  Members to be recruited.
  4. Membership, Communications & Marketing.  Lead - Phil Randall. Members to be recruited.
  5. Social Programs & Member Engagement. Lead – Sandra Taube Godard.  Members to be recruited.
Each Committee Lead has developed their committee’s purpose and potential scope of activity.  They are now working to add 2 to 3 AIA members on each of their committeesWe have a few interested parties; however, we need more please!  If you have interest in joining an AIA comittee please reach out to the Committee Leads (emails below) and/or reach out to Michael Lewis at lewismj73@yahoo.com

Land Use and Development Committee Re 2-1363 Innisfree Road -Tozser’s Plan to redevelop property:

In our last communication (November 2021) regarding this development proposal we informed all AIA members that the TML Planning Committee denied the application and we thanked all members for their support.  The Committee’s recommendation to deny the application did go to Council for final approval on December 15th and was ratified. Subsequently, the Tozsers have filed an appeal of this decision to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).  The OLT will now assign a case manager, who will set a date for a Case Management Conference or Hearing and instruct the appellants to notify all parties.  The TML Planning Committee will select legal counsel and make a decision as to how to proceed.  We expect that TML will defend their decision to deny the application given the Committee’s unanimous objection to the Tozsers’ revised development proposal, although the Township can take no position in the matter.  We expect this part of the process to be no less than 2 months from now and likely several more.
 
Regardless of the TML Planning Committee’s decision as to how to proceed, AIA and individual members who previously registered in either of the two development hearings can act as a “party” to the appeal process, or alternatively act as “participants”. Parties can participate fully in the proceeding, including presenting opening and closing submissions in hearings, presenting and examining witnesses, claim costs or be subject to costs when ordered by the tribunal. Participants may make written statements to the Tribunal setting out their position on the appeal and issues of the proceeding, together with their reasons in support of their position, but may not actively participate in the hearing process. In order to request party or participant status, a request form must be submitted to the OLT at least 10 days prior to the first hearing event. 
 
We will keep you informed on further development on this critical and potentially precedent setting development activity.  Our elected officials must stand firm to protect our environment and maintain the existing beauty of Muskoka and specifically Acton Island. We intend to hold them accountable. 

Special Project Committee - Propane Supply Program, Membership in FOCA, Gypsy Moth Program:

We have established a Propane Buying Group with two suppliers both Superior Propane and Grant Propane bringing much needed consistent and competitive pricing for propane to our Acton Island membership. If you have not accessed this program, reach out to Howard Day at hday60@gmail.com for information.  Although the programs with each supplier are slightly different they bring lower prices on fuel and improvements on other features you may enjoy! We will endeavour to further enhance the programs as we negotiate details with suppliers over the summer months of 2022 for the winter 2022/2023.
 
In addition, we have negotiated and paid the group rate for membership with the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association (FOCA). This is a $40 value for each of our AIA members. FOCA is made up of approximately 500 associations across Ontario with some 50,000 individual member families. They offer a wide range of resources including legal support, cottager’s insurance, advice on maintaining water quality and MUCH more.    Click here for FOCA Member Benefits summary and their Legal Help Line.
 
We also suggest exploring their website at foca.on.ca  Go to the sign in portal and enter under the ID prompt "focamember" as the email and "Foc@M3mb3$2014" as the password.  Note some events held by FOCA do have fees, and you will be charged individually at the member rate.
 
Spring is coming soon and so is the possibility of a return of the Gypsy Moth Infestation.  Email communications of AIA’s suggested programs was sent to all members on Sept 20, 2021.  A link to this email and its attachments can be found here on the website.  It is our understanding that the aerial spray program from Zimmer Air working with the Ontario Centre for Defoliator Control is at capacity and no further registrations are being accepted, but do call in case there are cancellations.
 
To be a member of this committee, please reach out to Howard Day at hday60@gmail.com  He is looking for willing volunteers with curious minds, and interest and energy to dig in and make a difference for our members. 

Road Safety and Water Safety Committee:

In our October 2021 Communications we indicated that a traffic study would be conducted to understand the volume of traffic and speed at which traffic is moving on Acton Island and Innisfree Road.This was completed over an 11–12-day period commencing on the Thanksgiving weekend.
 
We have reviewed the findings and are in the process of seeking a subject matter expert for advice on the outcome.We have reached out to the head of Public Works for discussion, and we intend to engage the OPP for input.
 
We will ask TML for another study to be conducted in the July/August 2022 time frame to compare the two results.
 
Overall, there was no surprise on Acton Island Rd, having more traffic than Innisfree Rd, and that average speeds are greater on the former given its width/configuration.On Acton Island, the median speed was 53.0 kph – 57.0 kph while the average speed was 49.9 kph– 56.0 kph.Median and Average Speeds on Innisfree were both below the 50 kph posted legal speed limit, notwithstanding whether the legal speed is right. What is concerning is the volume of cars on both roads which are exceeding the speed limit, and on Acton Island Rd where a large volume was well beyond 65 kph.
 
The Committee’s goals are to identify and bring about enhancement to the safety of our roads and waterways.  Activity will be in advocating for change where needed, seeking alterations in bylaws where deemed required and promoting safe and responsible use through education, signage and relevant activity for our Acton Island residents and visitors.

The Committee needs members to assist in this #1 rated concern by AIA members.  We are looking for willing volunteers with interest and energy to make a difference.  Direct experience in Transportation Planning, Water Safety, Police Force, and/or Municipal Government/Engineering would be helpful. Please contact Stephen Randall at acton@sympatico.ca 

Other Committee Work:

  1. In 2022 we will start to make improvements on the website with more relevant news/content, making it always up to date and becoming the go to place for AIA communications. We are now looking at building separate and private entry for members as you would find in many club and association’s websites.  Please reach out to Phil Randall at philprandall@gmail.com if you have interest in joining his committee and have experience in marketing and specifically technology around website development and management.
  1. We haven’t forgotten about the idea of a Hiking Trail on the island.  The Land Use and Development committee has just started the exploration phase here. 
  1. The Social Programs & Member Engagement Committee now has Sandra Taube Godard as its lead.  She will be recruiting 2-3 of our members to help develop and execute our Social Programs, such as an Opening Party, the AGM, and a Closing Party.  Please reach out to Sandra directly at s.taubegodard@gmail.com if you have a keen interest in helping here for this very fun and engaging area.

Last, we hope that you are supporting the MLA with your membership. Their January NewsBites provides a wide array of activity and updates such as: Development Pressure in Muskoka, Update on the TML Budget approval, a reminder on the upcoming elections on October 24, 2022, and much more.  

Please mark your calendar for our Annual General Meeting on Saturday afternoon July 23, 2022.  

Thank you for being members of AIA. 

Michael Lewis
Acton Island Association

AIA Board of Directors

Michael Lewis, President & Lead on Land Use & Development 
Hugh Kerr, Immediate Past President & Board Legal Advisor

Malcolm Foulkes, Secretary
Stephen Randall, Treasurer & Lead on Road and Water Safety
Phil Randall, Director & Lead on Membership, Communications & Marketing  
Howard Day, Director & Lead on Special Projects
Sandra Taube Godard, Director & Lead on Social Programs & Member Engagement
Alexandra Giffin, Director

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Acton Island Association, P.O. Box # 271 Bala, ON POC 1A0
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Acton Island Association · PO Box 271 · Bala, ON P0C 1A0 · Canada

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