Staying informed with the MLA

Stay Informed with the MLA

This October, permanent and seasonal residents of Muskoka will be called upon to vote in the municipal elections. As an owner or tenant, or spouse of an owner or tenant in Muskoka, regardless of what municipality your primary residence is in, you are eligible to vote in Muskoka, provided you are a Canadian citizen. This does not include adult children, residents of properties held in trust, or business premises owned by the business and not you personally. (See the Voting Process below).

During the summer months you can stay up-to-date with current issues through local media. However, once the cottage has been closed, access to political or any type of news is limited, unless of course you regularly scan muskokaregion.com, or other on-line news sites.

The Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) has taken great steps over the past two years to improve communication with our membership and the community at large throughout all seasons. In addition to our regular contribution to this publication, we produce an annual yearbook, quarterly newsletters and regular e-blasts, all designed to get relevant information or articles of interest to you in a timely manner.

One of our most recent and most successful communiqués has been our monthly NewsBites. In 2013 the MLA appointed a staff member to attend local and district council meetings and report back to the board. This role has evolved to include a monthly email update to our members regarding all discussions and decisions made at various council and committee meetings throughout Muskoka, and the MLA’s involvement, contribution and response to various issues. This publication will take on even greater relevance as we quickly approach the municipal elections in October.

In the meantime, our political committee, in partnership with other lake associations around Muskoka, are working to develop assessment criteria to measure individual candidate mandates against the core values and mission of the MLA, i.e., the responsible use, enjoyment and conservation of the unique Muskoka environment. We will evaluate each candidate’s goals as they relate to safeguarding water quality, ensuring responsible land use and fair taxation.

There are several important reasons why you should exercise your right to vote in your adopted community. Key issues for this election period include OPP servicing costs, resort development and expansions, changes in zoning bylaws, residential, commercial and economic development, and infrastructure upgrades and on-going maintenance. These are all political issues and the decisions made by our councillors will determine how these issues are managed in Muskoka. Because we feel that your vote is so important, we would like to offer all residents access to our election coverage. Accordingly, we invite you to sign up for a free trial MLA membership by visiting our website at www.mla.on.ca or calling our office at 705-765-5723``705-765-5723.

Through our NewsBites and selective e-blasts specific to the election, the MLA will endeavour to provide you with the information you will need to make an informed decision come Election Day, and thereafter, continue to report on progress made regarding issues that impact our enjoyment of Muskoka.

Voting Process:

All elections in the six municipalities will be by mail-in ballot or hand delivery to the appropriate municipal office only. There will be no ballot boxes or polling stations in Muskoka. Watch for an insert with your tax bill about the mail-in voting process.

Key Dates:

September 12, 2014:       Nominations Close

September 29, 2014:       Ballot package mail-out.

October 17, 2014:            Ballot to be returned by mail or delivered to your local municipal office.

October 27, 2014:            Election Day

 Visit the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) voter information website to ensure that you are on the voting list, to update your personal or contact information or add a name to the enumeration list at www.voterlookup.ca. Requests from individuals under the age of 18 as of October 27, 2014 cannot be processed.

Marilyn Vogel, Communications Manager

You'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype