Clear cutting has landed this property owner in a lot of trouble


A property owner on North Waseosa Lake Road has landed himself in a very untenable situation with the Town of Huntsville’s building and by-law department after contravening his site plan agreement.

Following up on a complaint about the landscaping at this particular location, executive director of Development Services, Mike Gooch visited the lake front property to discover that almost all the mature trees and shoreline vegetation had been removed, and the naturalized ground cover had been ripped out. In its place was a barren swath of mulch and gravel. The ‘after’ pictures look like a textbook chapter on what not to do.

Gooch informed council on Monday night that the department is working with the property owner to restore the lot, including the replanting of the mature trees, and expects the project could cost the owner as much as $50,000. “A site plan agreement is a legal document,” Gooch told council. “People need to realize that.”


Lake Waseosa Lake Waseosa Lake Waseosa Lake Waseosa Lake Waseosa


  1. Peggy Peterson on

    This is interested and should be addressed but I would like to ask why a private Real Estate Developer from Toronto was allowed to clear cut the Provincial Crown Land at the Bala Falls without so much as a lease on the land in place. This is a protected Traditional Portage also and the fact that Lakeside Tree Experts went ahead with cutting the Indigenous marker Tree , a Heritage Tree should also be investigated. Does it require the Muskoka Lakes Township Mayor to direct his staff to investigate ….

  2. The picture of the old cottage which sat in the middle of the site, close to the lake would explain why there aren’t trees. Yes, they did take a some old cedars out that had been eaten by the deer and a big maples that were taken down in a storm. I think given time the property will be well restored and an asset to the lake.

    Whomever took these pictures should look elsewhere on the lake. As we saw a beach magically appear on a shoreline that was well treed.

  3. Much worse things going on around that lake. Lake’s ratepayers’ association (LWRA) should be on top of it and a bunch of others.

  4. I trust that the property owner is fined to the maximum allowable!!!!! Increasingly these lands are being sold off to “outsiders” who have a single purpose for the land in mind. Stewardship (I know such an archaic term) considers the big picture, long-term sustainability of the one part of the world that we can’t reproduce in the short term. Ugly though it may be to urbanites, it will take 60 years to replace this owner selfishness.

    As Muskokans sells off piece after piece of what has made this part of Ontario so grand, I hope that our politicians (especially those who aren’t in the Real Estate business) can make a stand and protect our heritage

  5. If this had occurred in the Township of Lake of Bays, not only would the “development” agreement been far more invidious; but the cost of the consequent remedies would have set a very fine precedent indeed. I don’t know what is required for the other five area municipalities to adopt a similar system, but I feel that it should be pursued with due haste.

  6. Absolutely disgusting actions by the landowner. No respect for legal documents nor the environment! We need stewardship not stupidship !

  7. It would be nice to have some aerial photos and a copy of the plan of the lot included to provide a better context. Also, if there was an old cottage removed that data should be included too as it would explain a bit more. Lastly, did the “old maples” indeed get blown down? This too would make a lot of difference.
    Trees grow, trees die and are replaced, it is natural but sometimes when we make a hole in the forest for a cottage the surrounding trees all fall more or less at once as they lose their “neighborhood” and are just too stressed. When this happens it is sometimes necessary to just clean up and plant new and wait 20 or 30 years.
    For all these reasons more information would be good here.
    On the other hand, the gravel to the lake and the trailered Sea Doo beside the garage would maybe indicate that the owner had “other uses” in mind for this part of the property , maybe uses they should have discussed with the town and revised their site plan to include, just maybe?

  8. I had no involvement with this matter, but as an area resident and former Director of the LWRA, I may be able to shed some light on certain of the comments.

    A Lake Association has no enforcement capability. They can advise and consult with the Town, but ultimately it is up to the Town whether or not to take action on any specific issue. Historically, LWRA supported the requirement for site plan agreements in general, but any agreements are between the owner and the Town. In this case, the Town has indicated that the owner violated that agreement and taken action.

    The new cottage was built the previous year and used all this past summer. The clear-cutting was done this past fall, after most seasonal residents had left. The clear-cutting had nothing to do with the construction of the new cottage, removal of the old, or the recent storm. If the property owner had second thoughts about landscaping, the correct route would have been to approach the Town and ask to amend the agreement. The new agreement should ensure the lake was protected from runoff both during and after the construction.

    In the case of the new beach that appeared on the other side of the lake, to my knowledge the Town did not have a site plan agreement with that particular property owner, so the Town had no jurisdiction. Work next to the water requires a federal permit from Fisheries and Oceans, except that ministry was gutted by the previous government so there’s no one left to enforce anything.

  9. So I would like to know why the Mayor is saying that these people are going to pay dearly for they have done to the shoreline when THE TOWN OF HUNTSVILLE as well as the MNR and the Oceans and Fisheries were notified of someone else dumping concrete and gravel into the SAME LAKE to make themselves a boat launch in a fish spawning area and nothing was done about that…Ruining a fish spawning area is FAR WORSE then landscaping a shoreline in my opinion.

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