Business owner may be looking to expand unapproved commercial marina near Summit Centre

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The owner of a private docking facility that was erected on Town lands without permission from the municipality may now be looking to expand those docks down the Muskoka River from their current location.

The Town extended a Memorandum of Understanding with the owner of the private docks, John Pantaleo, last year while he sought approvals for them from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

At the March 1 General Committee meeting, Kari Lambe, the Town’s Director of Community Services, presented a status update and told councillors that she had received a concept drawing for additional docking that appears to extend eastward from the location of the existing docking to the Town dock at the back of the Active Living Centre.

“I understand that Alberto’s owner (Pantaleo) is working on an application with PipeFusion with the MNR and DFO – it is my understanding they have submitted this (drawing) with their application for consideration but I haven’t seen the applications,” said Lambe.

The concept drawing shows new docking that appears to extend the length of the Town-owned land along the portion of Camp Kitchen Road that sits between the Canada Summit Centre and the Muskoka River, spanning the distance from the existing docking to the Town dock at the Active Living Centre.

In a follow-up conversation with Doppler, Lambe clarified that the Town has not yet received a proposal. She noted that the current Memorandum of Understanding is only for the docking that’s currently in place and an expansion was never discussed with council. “Once he gets the MNR and DFO approvals, he will then have to come back to the town to negotiate an agreement or license of occupation to install the commercial docking system.”

Lambe said that because Town staff haven’t received a plan, it’s unclear what alterations at the Town dock site would be required. “There may be some benefits to the community but we don’t know because we haven’t seen the plan.”

If the new docking structure were to link to the existing Town dock as it appears in the concept drawing, there would need to be a path to the dock that meets accessibility standards. Lambe said it’s unclear whether there is a boat launch included in the plan.

If the MNR and DFO approve the applications before them for the proposed docking, Town staff will return to committee with a more detailed report.

Related stories:
August 23, 2016 Private docking operation near Summit Centre allowed to continue – for now
February 27, 2016 Council to consider private docking on public lands near Canada Summit Centre

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7 Comments

  1. Lol. This is a joke right? What is it now, I can build whatever I want on town land and not even ask if it’s ok, never mind submit a request or anything? Sad Sad

    • Also, isn’t this the spot that they took out the boat launch and absolutely had to build the one at Avery beach up and add more docks built by Pipefusion. Please something is wrong here.

  2. Interesting point..If the docks are floaters, then they are on the water, and the water is federal jurisdiction. I do not believe there is a shoreline road allowance for the properties on the river…Meaning the property owners own to the rivers edge…and not an inch beyond. Methinks the only connection to the shore is at the proponents property…all quite legal, if the DFO approves.

    The merchants would appreciate the business of boaters, who currently have problems docking at the limited public spaces.

    Oh, and just maybe the boaters would walk up the hill to visit the Portage Flyer and Muskoka Heritage Place…they could do with increased users…..

  3. I think if the town allows this they should request that the business owner enhance the public access to the area to include boat and canoe or kayak acces, park like setting with benches and fishing area as many people use that area and it should not be or look like a private marina.

  4. Victoria Mathies on

    I am wondering if this amount of boat traffic is sustainable on the river…I know there are posted speed limits, but I have also observed that these are not always obeyed. I think the amount of parking and car traffic in and around the Summit Centre is already congested. What will happen when people want to leave cars in reach of their boats?

  5. No place for parking, and no place for boat trailers either. Very difficult to launch from that area because of the elevations, I think that`s why the boat launch was abandoned when the Summit Center was put in place with its new roads. Docks aren`t really the problem, – at least not as bad as the need for parking space for the cars and trailers left behind for the day`s boating. Launch sites are few and far between.

  6. It doesn’t much matter who owns the property or the shoreline along the river where these docks will be placed but it is all important that anyone setting up a docking business apply for permits to do so and have the approval of the Town of Huntsville – prior to any business activity. DFO (navigation issues and there will be many on this small body of water) and the MNRF (fish spawning zone and waterfowl habitat) should both be consulted prior to any waterfront activity whether it is for private or commercial use and they always require plans and an outline of what the usage will be and what or if the shoreline will be altered for any type of use. If this is a commercial enterprise, is or will the Town of Huntsville receive taxes and permit fees from the use of this property? Waterfront taxes are the highest in the District so any fees should be reflected in equal balance with privately owned waterfront properties. To alter the riparian or littoral aspects of public shoreline needs proper application for permits and prior approval. As others have pointed out there will be a need for vehicle and trailer parking and I am not aware of any parking lot sized areas close by where the docks have been used. What would happen if we all decided to open a business along the shoreline of our rivers without proper plans or permits? Ask any waterfront taxpayer about the huge amount of time and money that it takes to get a small dock approved and ask them what happens if you do not have a permit or proper approval – ask them if you can be fined for doing so. There seems to be significant imbalance of timing and approval – I vote no on this issue.

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