LETTER TO EDITOR:
Dear Gravehurst mayor and council:
In Muskoka Bay next to the steamship docks there remains a small bit of natural habitat. The water there is shallow, the lake bottom is undisturbed and aquatic vegetation provides good fish habitat.
The land near the shoreline is low, subject to flooding, has been partially cleared, but maintained as green space.
A permanent cool water creek runs though the property. The area has been identified as habitat for several species of fish, snakes, turtles, and birds, including species at risk.
This is where the Starboard mixed-use” infill development project proposes to build.
The fact that half of the site is within the designated flood plain for Muskoka Bay should be enough to shut this project down.
The developer’s (The Rosseau Group) solution to this inconvenient fact is simply to confine the existing cold-water creek to a pipe and backfill the land until the elevation is above the static flood limit of 226.7m.
The static flood limit is based on recent historical levels and there is no guarantee that water levels will never exceed this limit in our climate change future.
Add a seven-storey building to accommodate up to 165 residential units and 16,000 sq ft of retail space above grade.
And add two levels of underground parking below grade, which could be more accurately be described as ‘underwater’ parking.
What could go wrong with that scenario?
Further, extend out over the water to accommodate a two-storey restaurant; add a two-storey boathouse with 10 private slips below and additional retail above; and add 15 new private-use boat slips next to the steamship docks.
The dredging to accommodate the additional boat traffic alone will seriously impact the aquatic habitat of the Bay.
At a time when we should be conserving every bit of wetland and green space, especially along shorelines, approval of this proposal in any form is unconscionable.
Regards, Len Ring