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Commercial and residential development is a hot topic throughout the District of Muskoka.

In fact, requests for information about land use planning and development are among the most common reasons cottagers contact the Muskoka Lakes Association.

Our position

Under the guidance of a qualified land use planner, the MLA advocates for responsible land use planning and thoughtful development that protects water quality and respects the natural beauty of Muskoka.

What you can do

By understanding the land use planning process in your community, you can ensure your voice is heard in land-use decisions that affect you.

It's up to citizens and communities to speak up and protect what they care about. Community engagement and open communication between individuals, organizations, community and government are the basis for sound planning decisions.

To contact the MLA about an issue, to learn more about our efforts, or to get involved, please send us an email at

Our process
The MLA political and land use committee meets monthly to discuss issues affecting the Muskoka community.  This committee also reviews and responds to member requests for assistance about precedent-setting political and land use issues (zoning issues, by-law amendments, etc.).  Here's how the process works:

  1. Member to advise the MLA of a potential issue by email ( ).  Please provide a brief summary of the situation, as well as any official planning documents and/or notices from your municipality.
  2. Within one business day, you will receive an email acknowledging your message.
  3. The MLA will discuss the issue at the next meeting of the political and land use committee (typically the third Thursday of each month).  In the most urgent, precedent setting cases, the committee will review and discuss by phone or email in advance of this meeting.
  4. The political and land use committee will appoint a representative to your file.  This representative will contact you after the political and land use committee meeting to discuss next steps.

Note: The MLA does not typically engage in disputes between residential neighbours, unless the proposed land use issue has precedent setting impact.

Government and Land Use Committee (GLUC)

The Muskoka Lakes Association Government and Land Use Committee (GLUC) tracks issues affecting the Muskoka tax payers and the shoreline community.  We monitor municipal activities, particularly related to planning issues, policy development and budgets that affect taxation. We are proactive in tracking issues but also rely on our members to identify local issues. Our committee is made up of volunteers and as such, we must limit our involvement to precedent setting land use issues. We cannot respond to, or support issues related to neighbour disputes or enforcement of by-laws. The MLA seeks partners in our individual members or Lake Associations in pursuing planning issues given our limited resources. 

How does the MLA get involved in local planning and municipal issues?

  • Issue MLA is following or aware of (e.g. Municipal Official Plans)
  • Issue brought to MLA by MLA member or other lake associations

Why do we get involved?

  1. Precedent setting potential of the land use application and decision
  2. To protect future interests in land use matters (e.g. official plan reviews for future hearings)
  3. Potential for large scale effects of policy or decisions (e.g. Lake Health Policies)

Have an Issue? What you need to do:

  1. Contact us by email ( Please provide a brief summary of the situation, as well as any official planning documents and/or notices from your municipality. Tell us what resources you are bringing to support the issue. Make sure we know about any key deadlines.
  2. You will receive an email acknowledging your message as soon as we can.
  3. The Government and Land Use Committee will assess your file/issue and determine our potential involvement based on the why we get involved criteria. We typically meet monthly and will determine our potential involvement. If a rapid decision is required a subset of the GLUC committee members will review.
  4. If we become involved we will appoint an MLA representative to your file.
  5. If you are not an MLA member you will need to become a member. If you are a member or your lake association is one, you must be a member in good standing.
  6. All members need to be prepared to become involved in the issue. The MLA is supported by volunteers and will rely on an all hands on deck approach to prepare any response.
  7. The MLA may decide to lead or join forces, participate in the file at various levels and/or provide written comments on the file.

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