Gas-powered motorboats could officially be prohibited on Clark Lake if an application to the Federal government is successful.
The small lake has no public access and is only about five metres deep, explained Clarke Lake resident Teri Souter.
The majority of Clarke Lake residents have had an informal agreement to keep gas-powered boats off the lake since the 1970s, but they’d like to make it official.
The issue prompted resident Shelley Martin to organize a lake association. Martin and Souter have also been investigating the process and lobbying the municipality to make the application on their behalf.
Souter credits the fact that the small lake is not considered at risk thanks to the informal agreement a majority of the lake residents have had for the past 50 years.
“Shelley and I made a presentation to general committee at the end of March and it’s been going back and forth a bit with staff trying to figure out how to get the resources on the Town-side to make it happen, and at council on Monday night [June 27], council agreed to direct staff to proceed with the application…,” explained Souter.
She said the process can take up to two years but once approved, prohibiting gas-powered boats on the lake would become enforceable. “Should somebody need to be warned, or they could be fined, it’s laid out in the regulation what the actual fines are if there’s non-compliance,” said Souter. “It’s really the only real way that we can protect the water for future generations.”
Souter said although there’s been an informal agreement in place, there have been some issues with short-term renters. She said the issue involves “people either disrespecting or not knowing in some cases that it is a no motorboat lake.”
There are currently 26 lakefront properties and if a proposed severance is approved, it’ll bring the number up to 27, but the majority of the property owners, with the exception of two, support formalizing the ban on gas-powered boats on the lake.
She said the majority of residents are more than willing to help Town staff apply for the Vessel Operation Restriction Regulation (VORR).
“As more and more properties change hands the risk becomes greater of non-compliance,” said Souter. Residents are hoping the legislated restriction would include a maximum amperage on electric motorboats to curb the effects of boat wake on the shoreline.
Souter noted that most residents are hoping to protect the lake’s ecosystem. Consultation will also take place with members of First Nations communities.
Clark Lake is located off Muskoka Glens Cottage Road in the Ward of Chaffey. If the regulation is approved, Clark Lake will become one of the very few lakes in Muskoka with a VORR designation. Souter knows of one other, Atkins Lake in Bracebridge.
“For the most part, everybody wants the same thing which is clean, quiet enjoyment for the future,” said Souter.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!