Update: Judge rules Muskoka Lakes Councillor Currie not in conflict

(October 23 5pm) A Bracebridge court judge has ruled Township of Muskoka Lakes Councillor Sandy Currie did not violate municipal conflict of interest rules when voting on a portion of a bylaw opposed by the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA).

Resident Greg Knight had argued that Currie voting in agreement with the MLA’s concerns was a conflict as Currie is also a director of the MLA. In delivering the ruling today, Justice T.M Wood wrote, “The Muskoka Lakes Association has no monetary connection or contract with the Township. Its members will not gain or lose financially as a result of either the respondent’s [Currie’s] participation or votes on the sewage set back issue or the payment of a $125 filing fee by the Association.” The filing fee is the fee the Association is paying to have its concerns heard against the Township at the Ontario Municipal Board.

Knight and Currie have 30 days from today’s decision to file for costs.

You can read the entire court decision by clicking here: CurrieDecision

(October 19 11pm BRACEBRIDGE UPDATE) The judge at Bracebridge court will release at a later date his decision on Greg Knight vs Sandy Currie, in which Knight contends Currie had a conflict of interest during votes at the Council table relating to the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA).

While hearing statements from both sides, the judge suggested strongly that the case to argue pecuniary interest, either direct or indirect, was not strong enough, but that it was clear Currie has a bias toward advancing the goals of the MLA organization of which he is a director (as he ran with being a director as part of his platform). Currie’s lawyer also questioned whether Knight had filed his complaint within the right time frame.

The hearing began at 4pm and adjourned at 4:55pm. There’s no word on the court’s decision will be delivered.

(August 31 UPDATE BRACEBRIDGE) October 19 will be the new date for a court hearing in to whether Township of Muskoka Lakes Councillor Sandy Currie violated municipal conflict of interest rules.

His accuser, Muskoka Lakes resident Greg Knight, appeared in court today along with Currie’s lawyer, Patricia McLean, to ask the Court for an Order to ensure the hearing would be heard at the next available court application date of October 19. The order was granted. Currie was not present in the court.

Knight charges Currie should have declared an indirect conflict while voting in Council on a matter of concern to the Muskoka Lakes Association, of which Currie is Director. The article below provides details of Knight’s complaint.

Muskoka Lakes Councillor accused of Conflict of Interest

(June 2 PORT CARLING) Muskoka Lakes Councillor Sandy Currie has a court date to answer charges he may have an undisclosed conflict at the Township Council table.

Conflict of interest allegations were filed last Thursday (May 28, 2015) to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by Torrance resident Greg Knight. The filing sets a hearing date of August 31 in Bracebridge court. Download PDF to read the filed Court Notice of Application May 28.

“Councillor Currie remains a controlling mind of two different special interest groups, despite having been elected to represent the best interests of the community generally,” asserts Knight (referring to the Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) and the Moon River Property Owners’ Association (MRPOA)). “Others in the community have told me they think he’s acting in a manner that’s not appropriate.”

The document claims Currie should have declared an indirect conflict while voting in Council on a matter of concern to the MLA, of which Currie is a director. The MLA is taking the Township to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) over the issue of septic setbacks*. Previous directors of the MLA who campaigned for Township office, including Councillor Phil Harding, have stepped off the association’s board upon being elected to Council. Currie was reinstated in July 2014 for another term on the MLA board of directors and was elected to municipal Council in October 2014.

Currie’s loyalties divided, charges Knight

Knight says he took legal action after Currie did not respond to his emails raising his concern over the potential for conflict. “He breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act three times, and I warned him about it,” alleges Knight. “ Then he did it a fourth time. This is an issue of having divided loyalties. The law is clear — if you are going to represent the best interests of the municipality you cannot, at any time, have divided loyalties.”

Knight sent emails to Currie, the MLA, and the Township Clerk on May 19 noting that Currie had declared an interest at the beginning of a Planning Committee of the Whole meeting on Friday, May 16, and then retracted that declaration when the item came up on the agenda. In his email, Knight notes he had previously asked Currie in writing for a reason for his decision to vote repeatedly without declaring an interest – and had warned him before the May 16 meeting that if Currie continued to ignore him, he would bring an application to the courts.

Knight claims Currie has never responded to him. Currie is the Township Councillor for Ward A, the same Ward Knight lives in.

Greg Knight vs Sandy Currie
Action filed May 28, 2015

Muskoka News Watch contacted the Township and Councillor Currie on Friday for a response on the court filing. CAO Clayton Harris responded that the Township had not yet had a chance to review the material. He confirmed again today that the Township is still waiting to speak with the Township insurer before being able to comment further.

There has been no response from Councillor Currie.

While the Township is waiting to consult with its insurer, Knight say he thinks Currie will be on his own when it comes to covering legal fees, not the Township.

“If I am wrong, I expect Mr. Currie will look to me for costs personally, not the Township,” continues Knight. “I’m willing to risk it.  Mr. Currie’s behaviour is inexcusable.”

In the only other conflict of interest case against a councillor in recent history of the municipality (a situation that occurred over ten years ago), the Councillor had to pay his own legal fees. That case was reportedly dropped before it went to a hearing and the Councillor was reimbursed by Township for his costs.

Mayor Don Furniss confirms this has been past practice for Councillors – to defend at their cost in the case of Conflict of Interest charges, and for the Township to reimburse those costs when a Councillor is found not guilty.

What if a Councillor is found guilty under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act? According to the court document filed, Knight is seeking:

  • a move to declare Currie’s seat on Council vacant
  • an order disqualifying him from being on Council for seven years
  • a declaration that Currie has violated the act, costs of the action; and,
  • other remedies the Court may permit.

The is the second time the first-term Councillor has found himself in hot water this year. Council passed a resolution in April asking that he apologize for actions, including suggesting a boycott of two Port Carling businesses owned by fellow Councillors.

*Note: The MLA appealed on the basis that the new Township zoning bylaw fails to establish a 100-foot setback from the waters’ edge for septic systems, something the MLA would like to see included in the bylaw that would provide more setback protection than is presently required under the Ontario Building Code. The MLA also wants shoreline buffers enforced in all zones.

Related Articles:

April 26, 2015, MNW: Currie apologizes for actions

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Single car crash on Highway 11

(October 21, 11am GRAVENHURST) Members of the Bracebridge Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to a single motor vehicle collision this morning, Wednesday October 21, 2015 shortly before 8:30 a.m. on Highway 11 north near Sedore road in Gravenhurst.

The northbound vehicle left the roadway, rolled over and ultimately landed on its wheels again.  The female driver suffered minor injuries and was transported to hospital.

Communities in Bloom Bala rebrands as it reblooms

(October 17, 2015 BALA) Thanks to Bala’s Communities in Bloom (CIB) volunteers, many of the CIB gardens around Bala have been refurbished and restored this summer.  The team is also excited to launch its new branding, “Bala in Bloom”, which reinforces the volunteer commitment to keeping Bala blooming every day.

Some of their accomplishments over the past four months:

  • installed 60 hanging baskets on Hwy 169 and Bala Falls Road
  • cleaned-up and restored Windsor, Jaspen Park, Bala Falls Road gardens, and  the Shield, LCBO, Freshmart and Bala Community Centre gardens.
  • found new homes for donated bridge boxes, under the Legion/Chamber Welcome to Bala signs on Hwy 169 and Hwy 38, complete with fall mums and a new look for the Hwy 38 location
  • provided Fall bridge & main street décor &, in partnership with Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce, are launching a Christmas décor contest for local businesses
  • added a new Practica dog station at Margaret Burgess Park
  • maintained and distributed heritage plaques and brochures

Interested in joining in the fun and keeping Bala in bloom?

Contact Jan Turner:
705 762 4094
jan.turner@sympatico.ca

Featured photo: Submitted photo of the Bala in Bloom team

Related Articles:

July 22, 2015: Bala Communities in Bloom flowering well; thanks camper volunteers

June 8, 2015: Vandals strike blow to renewed CIB effort

August 18, 2014: End of a blooming era: CIB Bala to fold

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep good news stories like these flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you, and thanks to CIB Bala for keeping MNW informed as well!

Local federal candidates sound off on TPP trade deal

(October 11 PARRY SOUND MUSKOKA) The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal that creates the largest trading block in the world was signed earlier this week. It’s been a long time coming and not without controversy. What do our local federal election candidates think about the TPP?

Conservative incumbent candidate Tony Clement was ready with a release on the announcement October 5 calling the TPP a boon for Canadian business. “This will be good for Canada, and for all businesses in Parry Sound-Muskoka who do business internationally,” said Clement. “The TPP deal means more jobs, more markets, and more economic opportunity forour kids and grandkids.”

Liberal candidate Trisha Cowie believes there’s much to applaud about TPP although she questions how it was achieved.

“I think the Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it,” said Cowie.

“Liberals will take a responsible approach to thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” she continued. “But I also think the Harper Conservatives have failed to be transparent through the entirety of the negotiations – especially in regards to what Canada is conceding in order to be accepted into this partnership.”

She said the federal government must keep its word and defend Canadian interests during the TPP’s ratification process – which includes defending supply management, the auto sector, and Canadian manufacturers across the country.

“If the Liberal Party of Canada earns the honour of forming a government after October 19th, we will hold a full and open public debate in Parliament to ensure Canadians are consulted on this historic trade agreement,” said Cowie.

Green Party Glen Hodgson also expressed his dismay about the secrecy of the negotiations and the fact the deal was signed during the Canadian federal election campaign. He says the TPP is a bad deal and would be blocked by Green MPs in its current form.

“We must protect farmers and our manufacturing sector from the potential impacts,” he said.

The Green Party has been opposed to the TPP negotiations all along because it believes they aimed to safeguard corporate profits at the expense of Canadians and their environment. Like the Liberal party, the Greens would demand an open and transparent debate before any vote takes place.

There was no response from the NDP at press time, but NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has said his party would not be bound by the deal. He says negotiations have been carried out without transparency.

The 12-country TPP agreement must be ratified by parliaments in each country (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam). The deal is said to represent a combined market of nearly 800 million people and an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of $28.5 trillion.

Federal election updates:

Advance polls are open October 9 through to October 12 from noon to 8pm. Check your voters card or visit Elections Canada to know where to vote in advance. You can also call Elections Canada directly at 1 866 583 5153 to verify your voting station is correct.

Added Candidate Meet and Greet for East Parry Sound – October 15, Burk’s Falls Legion, 7pm

Featured photo: Last man standing: a voter asks candidates a final question at Gravenhurst All Candidates meeting in September

 

 

 

Muskoka Authors Association offers two events in October

(October 10, 2015 BRACEBRIDGE) On Thursday, October 15 from 7 to 9 pm, Muskoka Authors Association welcomes Author and Workshop Leader, Julie Hartley. speaking at the Anglican Church in Bracebridge. Hartley will discuss the process of researching and writing about international adoption for her new children’s novel and will read excerpts. The Finding Place moves between Toronto and Yangshuo, China, and is one of only two novels for children published in Canada that have a Chinese adoptee as the protagonist.

Julie Hartley is a writer, storyteller, public speaker, writing teacher and the director of Centauri Summer Arts Camp. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as CV2, The Antigonish Review and The Toronto Quarterly, and her play for young people has toured across Canada and to the UK. Hartley’s novel for middle grade readers, The Finding Place, was recently published by Red Deer Press.

October 15 is the regular monthly meeting of the Muskoka Authors Association which is free to members and $20 to non-members. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

Then on Saturday, October 17, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, Muskoka Authors Association presents the workshop, Spit and Polish: Self-Editing, with Editor, Allyson Latta. This event is also in Bracebridge. More than ever in today’s competitive publishing world, errors and inconsistencies in submitted work may diminish a writer’s credibility and result in rejection. Fine-tuning through editing can take writing from good to great. The workshop will stress the importance of ensuring a manuscript is the best it can be. Through discussion, exercises, and checklists, this workshop explores and demystifies the process. What do professional editors know that you don’t (but will)? What five fixes can make the biggest difference to your work? How can you untangle and organize editing tasks?

Allyson Latta has edited bestselling adult and young-adult fiction and creative nonfiction books by many of Canada’s most respected authors. A number have earned national awards, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and Governor General’s Literary Awards, and outside Canada, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Jamaican National Book Awards. She holds degrees in Psychology and Journalism, has been an editor and staff writer for newspapers and magazines, a freelance writer in Canada and Japan, and a media relations coordinator for Queen’s University and University of Toronto. She teaches creative writing for University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies and and has led workshops on writing and editing in Canada as well as abroad, mostly recently in Mexico, Costa Rica, and England. In 2012, The Writer magazine named Latta’s website, Memories into Story, one of its sixteen favourite sites for writers.

The Spit and Polish: Self-Editing workshop fee is $30 for members of Muskoka Authors Association, $45 for non-members. Doors open at 9:00 am for registration and coffee.

Both events will be held at St Thomas Anglican Church, 4 Mary Street, Bracebridge. To register for these events, or for more information, contact Wendie at 705-646-3663 or Cindy at 705-646-5595. Payment may be made in advance via cheque to Muskoka Authors Association, 3 Manitoba Street, Bracebridge, ON P1L 1S4 or payment by cheque or cash at the door.

Small fire above Twig in Bala

(October 10, 2015 BALA) Muskoka Lakes fire crews were still mopping up this morning around 11am after a small early morning apartment fire in Bala above the Twig gift store.

Muskoka Lakes Fire Department were called to the smoke filled apartment at 3137 Muskoka Road 169 just before 7am. On arrival fire crews gained entry to the store area and found a small fire in the crawl space. The fire was caused by an electric heater malfunction. The residents of the apartment noted the smoke and called 911. All residents evacuated the building to a safe location. There were no injuries. The fire and smoke damage is estimated at $50,000.

Muskoka Lakes Fire Chief Richard Hayes would like to remind all that as the season changes and heating device begin to be used that they should be checked.

Muskokan Resort chooses online auction for remaining cottages

(October 8, 2015 MUSKOKA LAKES via Release) The Muskokan Resort Club has opted to sell out the balance of its remaining developer owned units by online auction.

Walter Prychidny, the developer, says that there are 210 1/10th fractions situated on 42 acres with a pristine deep and natural sandy shoreline built out in 21 cottages. Available in the auction will be the last 12 developer owned fractions to round out this phase of the resort in Glen Orchard.

Manson Slik, Broker/Partner with Gordon’s Estate Services managing the auction, says “more and more fractional ownership resorts are turning to and investigating auction as the way to finish off fractional developments. They are expensive for developers to carry indefinitely and by unting their resources allows them to do what developers do – develop new projects in market segments that work.”

Prychidny admits that sales have slowed in the past 24 to 30 months at the resort and Slik confirms that he has proposals out to several other high end fractional projects in Canada experiencing the same sales slump in the luxury segment of the fractional resort industry.

Slik says the fractional world has moved in the past decade away from the model that was intended (simple shared cottage ownership with a dock and a horseshoe pit) into the space of luxury resort developments with amenities like 5 star accommodation, swimming pools, spa services, valet parking, club houses, movie theatres, restaurants and bars, etc. Developers tend to try building different models in a multi-phase development to see where the market is. Once they figure this out, they complete the development with what they know will seep deepest into the marketplace.  The units that typically turn out to be the most difficult to sell are the units that are at the top end and size of the luxury scale. The developer however never knows where this top end is, until he/she hits it.

Slik says the developer has found the top end at The Muskokan Resort Club and this is largely what will be available in the auction, at opening bid prices ranging from $35,000 to $70,000 compared to pricing in January of $99,000 to $199,000. Minimum bid prices are universally 65% off of the advertised prices at the beginning of 2015.

About Gordon’s Estate Services
Gordon’s Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage has sold over 2,000 properties by auction across Canada. Recent resort auctions include Touchstone on Lake Muskoka, Wolfe Springs Resort near Westport, Ontario and Opinicon Resort on Lake Opinicon. Gordon’s Estate Services is respected throughout Canada and the United States for conducting fully transparent real estate auctions with aggressive published minimum bids and with full disclosure of all details.

About Muskokan Resort Club
The Muskokan on Lake Joseph, offers affordable and carefree Muskoka vacation living where club owners purchase a 1/10 share of a luxury Muskoka cottage that is theirs to enjoy for five weeks every year. With magnificent lakeside villas and extensive recreational amenities on 42 scenic acres with a sandy beach and massive waterfront pier, the Muskokan Resort Club is Muskoka’s premier fractional ownership resort club.

Closing up the cottage tips from the OPP

(October 5, 2015, MUSKOKA) It’s autumn and the time has arrived for all property owners to start considering the closure and winterizing of their cottages.

Cottages and summer homes are most vulnerable to thieves from the week following Thanksgiving to the weeks prior to Victoria Day, especially if the owners are not using them for fall, winter or spring getaways.

Remember, if there is no one living at it or checking it regularly, the cost of owning a cottage or summer property includes the frustration and irritation of repairing damage and replacing stolen property.

Tips to Consider

  • Pack up all food and alcohol.
  • Don’t leave firearms or weapons at the cottage.
  • If you are leaving vehicles, make sure they’re winterized, secure and disabled – for snow machines remove track and hide keys; ensure boats are covered and locked; outboard motors locked and slightly disassembled; ATVs disabled – leave nothing on trailers unless it is locked or disabled.
  • Leave no valuables at cottage – electronics, personal items, tools etc. unless you are prepared to lose them.
  • Who is your contact (key holder) for: alarms, thefts, weather damage or animal problems?  Do you have their contact information numbers?  Are they paid to check your cottage regularly or are they friends/neighbours?
  • Your insurance company may give you a deduction if you have one.
  • Secure your windows and doors – close window curtains or blinds and put up shutters to protect interior from marauders (both animals and human).
  • Record serial numbers of anything of value left behind.
  • Sporting goods – fishing rods & equipment, water skis, toys etc. – if they’re not secured, locked up, hidden or both, don’t expect them to be there next spring –

Lock them up or be prepared to lose them!

  • Make a list of  where everything is and make copies – store one copy on your home computer and put a copy with property that will go back up to the cottage on the first or next trip (use your phone to take pictures).
  • Know which police force patrols your cottage area (which OPP Detachment and the phone number).

Safe travels on this long weekend.

Dry fall helping lower water levels on Lake Muskoka: MNRF

(October 5, 2015 MUSKOKA) Last year on October 5, Muskoka News Watch was cautioning readers about high water flows due to large amounts of rainfall. This year, water levels appear a bit down — on Lake Muskoka at least.

What’s going on, asked some MNW readers? We turned to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) for an answer. Here it is, in brief:

Every year the annual fall drawdown begins to prepare for traditionally wetter conditions from October through December. Fall drawdown, say Ministry officials, is done to provide optimum conditions for lake trout spawning and egg survival, and continued dry weather through September has put the Ministry ahead of its typical drawdown target for Lake Muskoka. Ministry officials say they expect water levels on Lake Muskoka to remain close to where they are now through to mid-October. They have also been operating the Bala dam in a way to decrease flows out of Lake Muskoka.

Below is the full answer from the Ministry provided on October 1 on what we can expect for our lakes and the impact of dryer weather through September on water levels.

The operating range on Lake Muskoka for this time of year begins to trend downward as part of the annual fall drawdown. The drawdown is required to prepare for the traditionally wetter conditions in October, November and December. In addition, fall drawdown is scheduled to provide optimum conditions for lake trout spawning and egg survival. Lake of Bays, Rosseau/Joseph, Huntsville, Mary, Tasso, Camp and Kawagama have similar draw down schedules.

Current (October 1) Lake Muskoka water levels are 225.18 in Bala and 225.24 in Beaumaris. The levels on September 20, 2015 were 225.28 (Bala) and 225.35 (Beaumaris); and on September 28, 2015 the levels were 225.18 (Bala) and 225.24 (Beaumaris) – with the bottom of the operating range for this date being 225.25 (Beaumaris).

Unlike the last two autumns, we have received much drier weather this year. For the month of September our Bracebridge office recorded 53.4 mm of rain as compared to 123.8 mm received in September 2014. On the positive side, this has allowed us to more closely achieve our target draw down for most lakes whereas fall rains in 2013 and 2014 kept water levels across the watershed above the target through the fall. However, continued dry weather also means that we are slightly ahead of our drawdown target for this time of year on Lake Muskoka. In response we have operated the South Bala dam on September 28th and again October 1 to decrease flows from Lake Muskoka.

For reference, look at the copy of the Lake Muskoka Water Level Chart for 2015 including the data for the previous two years. Lake Muskoka Water LevelWater levels on Lake Muskoka are expected to remain close to what they currently are through to the middle of October. Water levels generally begin to rise on their own through November due to higher precipitation. You can see from the 2013 and 2014 observations that water levels in previous years began to build through October, which was the result of wet weather.

We then begin a larger winter drawdown beginning in early December through to late March in preparation for the spring freshet (which typically occurs in early April).

Featured photo shows an extra foot or so of beach showing at Sunset Beach Park, Torrance, Lake Muskoka. Photo by Norah Fountain October 5, 2015.

About Muskoka News Watch – consider donating to keep your Muskoka info flowing: Muskoka News Watch exists primarily on donations. If you like being informed, please toss a few dollars our way using the Donate Button on the top right hand corner of our Home Page (you can use Credit Cards or Debit/etransfer). Your support is needed and appreciated. Thank you!

Main entrance to Bracebridge hospital closed Oct 6-8

(Friday, October 2, 2015, BRACEBRIDGE Release) – The main entrance to the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Site in Bracebridge will be temporarily closed during daytime hours over the course of three days October 6-8, 2015.

During the temporary closure, hospital patients and visitors will be re-routed to the Emergency Entrance.

The closure is necessary so that a new heat curtain can be installed between the two automatic doors at the main entrance to make the main lobby area and adjacent waiting room more comfortable for our visitors and Auxiliary volunteers by preventing cold drafts from entering the hospital.

Temporarily closing the main entrance may lead to increased vehicular traffic and congestion around the Emergency Entrance. MAHC asks that members of the public are mindful of ambulances and other emergency responders who must also use the Emergency Entrance.

Thank you for your co-operation and understanding as the hospital completes this project.

Muskoka Conservancy host “Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival” and “Gifts of the Forest Marketplace” in Huntsville this weekend

(October 1 MUSKOKA Release)  – As part of the Healthy Trees Program launched in 2014, Muskoka Conservancy and Westwind Forest Stewardship will host two public events in October – the Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival on Friday, October 2 and the Gifts of the Forest Marketplace on Saturday, October 3.

The Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival will provide a forum for discussion of current hot topics related to forest and tree health, and will offer opportunities for learning and sharing knowledge for practitioners and the general public.

This year’s day-long event will bring together local professionals and private landowners to hear about topics including: “The Future of Ontario’s Forests”, Emerald Ash Borer, Beech Bark Disease, Flying Squirrels, and Wolves and Coyotes. Peter Schleifenbaum, owner of Haliburton Forest, an 80,000-acre forest that was recognized as Canada’s first certified sustainable forest, will be the keynote speaker for the day.

The Healthy Trees Program, launched in April 2014, is a joint program of the Muskoka Conservancy and Westwind Forest Stewardship.

“This program is a resource for landowners who are looking for answers about tree and forest health on their own properties – whether it is a small lot on a lake in Muskoka, or a property in town,” said Jenn LeMesurier, Property Management Coordinator with Muskoka Conservancy. The theme for this year’s event is “Forests of the Future”.

“We are looking forward to hearing about the status of our forests in the Muskoka region, and also some of the threats we may soon face. We have some great speakers lined up to share their expertise,” said LeMesurier.

The Woodlands and Wildlife Forest Festival takes place on Friday, October 2 between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville, Ontario.

New this year, for Saturday is the “Gifts of the Forest Marketplace” event in conjunction to the Forest Festival.

“This event will host artisans and crafters from the Muskoka region who work with materials found in the forest”, says Becca Ferguson, Stewardship Technician. “We will feature paddle making, chainsaw carving, bowl turning, and bird carving to give you examples of the types of displays”.

This will be a fun and interactive day for families to browse, watch demonstrations, learn how to make their own gifts from the forest and purchase handcrafted items, and support Muskoka Conservancy. The Marketplace will take place on Saturday, October 3rd between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville, Ontario. Entrance to the event is by donation.

For more information and to register for the Forest Festival, please contact 705-645-7393 ext. 200 or email: info@muskokaconservancy.org

Muskoka Conservancy is a land trust that provides comprehensive environmental stewardship and community outreach programs. The first property was donated in 1990 and Muskoka Conservancy has been protecting the regions’ natural spaces ever since. Today, the organization protects a total of 36 properties totalling more than 2,400 acres of sensitive wetlands, forests, rock barrens, and shorelines.

With more than 200 active volunteers, the organization keeps its operation costs low and dedicates most resources to stewardship projects, land conservation, and community outreach. Muskoka Conservancy works with community members to build and support a vibrant Muskoka that continues to honour the natural environment and local traditions.
For more information on either of these upcoming events or to learn more about Muskoka Conservancy please visit www.muskokaconservancy.org or call 705-645-7393.