Expanding the reach of the MLA
Established in 1894, the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) was established by a prominent group of citizens from Toronto and Hamilton who summered in what is now the Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML), an amalgamation of the Townships of Watt, Cardwell, Medora and Wood, portions of Monck Township, the Villages of Windermere and Port Carling and the Town of Bala. Its goals then were to protect and promote the interests of the residents, to preserve the healthful sanitary condition and scenic beauty of the area and to encourage aquatic and other sports.
Despite launching in Gravenhurst to access the lakes, early cottagers settled mostly in TML. The majority of the MLA founding members had cottages on Lakes Rosseau and Joseph; however a small group of cottagers on Lake Muskoka had formed their own association. By 1895 they had joined the MLA as representatives of Lake Muskoka.
Today, within the MLA’s catchment area, fifty percent (6700) of Muskoka’s seasonal residents cottage in TML and twenty-five percent of those are MLA members. This represents seventy percent of the MLA membership. Conversely, less than ten percent of cottagers in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Seguin are MLA members. Clearly, there is an imbalance.
In recent years the MLA has endeavoured to correct this disparity and focus our attentions and efforts on all municipalities equally. To that end we have created a more balanced Board of Directors with the appointment of three directors from each of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Seguin Township. In addition, we have appointed a new staff member to attend district and municipal council meetings and report on all political activity to the Board. Our membership is kept informed through our latest communications tool, NewsBites, a monthly E-blast that summarizes the discussions and decisions made at these meetings and the MLA’s involvement, contribution and response to key issues. We also encourage our members to ‘Stock up in Muskoka’ with the MLA Advantage Card program which includes special offers and discounts throughout the entire District. Visit our website for a list of participants at www.mla.on.ca. |
”We are very excited about our enhanced focus on all four townships. The Board and all operating committees are reviewing where we can impact waterfront property owners across the region. The MLA’s expectation is a rapid growth in recognition and membership in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Seguin Township, supported by our recent membership drive and growing partnerships with other local associations on the big and small lakes” said Michael Hart, President MLA.
This year municipal elections are being held in October. Through our partnerships with smaller lake associations, and through our own Political and Land Use committee, we intend to bring valuable information to our members regarding the position of all candidates with respect to the MLA’s mission; to promote the responsible use, enjoyment and conservation of the unique Muskoka environment.
For over 120 years the Muskoka Lakes Association has represented the interests of seasonal residents in the district, much as our MLA forefathers envisioned. We have evolved over the years as times have changed, but our core values have remained intact. We continue to be a voice on behalf of our members, but we have also reached out in support of our local communities through our Advantage Card program ― supporting local retailers, and our student bursary ― helping community high school students to further their education. We will continue to monitor the state of affairs in all municipalities and become involved, when appropriate, in the identification and resolution of key issues as they occur.
For more information about the MLA, or to take advantage of our free trial membership, visit us at www.mla.on.ca or call or office at 705-765-5723705-765-5723.
Marilyn Vogel, Communications Manager