As the 149th season at Clevelands House Resort comes to a close, the owners of the iconic Muskoka resort property say they are baﬄed by a recent political decision to shut them out from discussions regarding the future planning of their 1200 acre resort property.
In response to public concern over the future of resort development in the historic Resort Village of Minett, Muskoka planning staﬀ recommended that a steering committee be created to make recommendations to Council regarding future oﬃcial plan policies. Staﬀ created a lengthy selection criteria and forty applicants put their names forward.
Resort owners in Minett were assured by District staﬀ that a balanced committee would be established. Indeed, criteria for selection included a connection to the Resort Village of Minett and aﬃliation with proponents of active development applications within the village.
In a press release, Ken Fowler Enterprises states it put forward ﬁve applicants to the committee. All candidates possess signiﬁcant skills and experience which no doubt tick the required boxes. Yet they have been completed excluded from the 13 member committee.
“We were supportive of the District’s approach to get a number of interested parties around the table to talk about where we’re going,” says Doug Fowler. “But now, for the ﬁrst time in one hundred and ﬁfty years, Clevelands House is being treated like the outsider, rather than the focal point of our community.”
“An imbalanced committee will no doubt bring about imbalanced results. The Fowler family owns 90% of the lands within the study area. They are clearly major stakeholders here and their interests are being completed ignored. The entire process is undermined, and I ﬁnd that very disappointing” says Fowler representative Greg Knight.
“I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a land use planning process that so blatantly excludes the interests of the land owners before! The heavily politicized and unorthodox approach to land use planning going on at the Township of Muskoka Lakes recently is unfortunate” says Knight.
Knight says Ken Fowler Enterprises is considering its next steps in this regard.