The Engineering and Public Works Department also holds many water related responsibilities.
When Donald M. Paterson undertook his study in 1969 that recommended the formation of the District of Muskoka he identified the importance of Muskoka as an area that needed to be protected for its significant heritage and recreational values.
The District Municipality of Muskoka encompasses an area of approximately 10,451 km² and is comprised of six Area Municipalities. The 23 member district council is made up of representatives from each of the Area Municipalities.
Muskoka gathers its responsibilities and authority directly from Provincial legislation. The Council's main purpose is to establish policies to serve, protect and enhance the people and the environment of Muskoka. District staff carry out these policies. Standing Committees review issues, hear input from the public and other organizations and formulate recommendations to be considered by the whole of Council. Council's decisions are then implemented through by-laws.
Important decisions about our water are discussed through meetings and are then finalized and carried out through by-laws and program initiatives.
The Engineering and Public Works Department is responsible for:
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All water sampling, testing and reporting is carried out in compliance with the requirements of Ontario's Drinking Water Protection Regulation 459/00. This legislation ensures clean drinking water with tightened standards, controls, and reporting requirements for distribution systems and water treatment.
Learn more about municipal drinking water systems
They are responsible for:
Development Services is responsible for developing and implementing policies for the growth and development of the District Municipality of Muskoka.
Strategic (Long Range) Planning establishes strategic policies and plans for the anticipated future needs of the District Municipality of Muskoka.
Geographic Information Systems produces maps and manages Muskoka GIS data with the help of the participating Area Municipalities. They ensure correct and accurate data.
The Muskoka Water Strategy is a framework of integrated and strategic initiatives to protect Muskoka's water resources.
The District Municipality of Muskoka aims to ensure long term integrity of Muskoka by:
The District Official Plan addresses many issues that have an impact on our water resources. Key topics include:
A steep slope is classified as a slope greater than 20% and is considered a building hazard area. The District Municipality of Muskoka requires that the existing vegetation be sustained in these areas. By maintaining the vegetation along these steep slopes it will reduce erosion and provide a safer and more ecologically balanced shoreline.
Under section F.70 of the Offical Plan, a narrow waterbody is defined as being less than 150 m wide for a lake or 30 m wide for a river.
Shorelines are a link between the water and the land. Shorelines are sometimes called " the ribbon of life " or buffer. Buffers are forested or vegetated strips of land that border creeks, rivers and lakes. This buffer zone is important and essential in a healthy lake's line of defense.
Buffers are important and are essential to a lake because a naturally vegetated shoreline will:
Learn more about shoreline vegetative buffers
The Lake System Health program is a comprehensive program to protect our water resources. It has evolved from the review of the Muskoka recreational water quality model, which was first implemented by Muskoka District Council in the early 1980s.