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Where do we go now?

The government is nixing the OMB. But the way forward is anything but clear

Cottage Watch


After decades of living in the city and then fulltime at their cottage on Stony Lake, near Peterborough, since 2001, Jeremy Carver and Heather Brooks-Hill have seen their fair share of Ontario Municipal Board dustups, both urban and rural, at least one of which left them with a bad aftertaste.

But the couple has a different view of their latest OMB encounter: the epic showdown over a proposed condo-marina development within the Fraser Wetlands, on the lake’s north shore. “An amazingly positive experience,” Carver, a 78-yearold retired University of Toronto biophysicist, said last October, a few days after the OMB—a quasi-judicial tribunal overseen by provincial appointees—handed down a long-awaited decision blocking the project, which was opposed by several local First Nations and a 350-member coalition of environmentalists and cottagers called Friends of the Fraser Wetlands (FFW).

Between 2002 and 2016, Burleigh Bay, a Vancouver developer, pushed for a plan to build 60 condos on a 273-hectare swath of lakefront on Stony. The developer pitched the project as recreational and included a 72-slip marina. But FFW argued that the plan was to effectively build a new year-round village in an area that wasn’t zoned for anything of the sort, didn’t have the necessary water resources, and impinged on a significant Indigenous cultural landscape. “It would have been one of the largest settlements in North Kawartha Township,” says David Donnelly, the lawyer who represented FFW and the Curve Lake First Nation, adding that the company was looking to take advantage of “a vexatious loophole” that afflicts cottage-country land-use planning—the definition of what, precisely, constitutes “seasonal” and “recreational” use.

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About Cottage Life

Love is in the air—and in the pages of the Early Summer issue of Cottage Life. Our readers’ sweetest (and silliest) romance stories from the lake Inspiring design ideas from three cozy little love shacks Tips for getting along with your neighbours The inside scoop on the (surprisingly frisky!) cottage critter dating scene Our essential guide to keeping the cottage in the family An easy, casual tostada feast to feed all your loved ones—even the ones with dietary restrictions Summer projects to show your love: a bee box for troubled pollinators, a nature-inspired centrepiece for a cottage wedding, and a dock staircase that’s good for Grandpa, kids, and pets The inspiring story of a cottager who, at 22, brought the struggling lakeside store of her childhood back to life Intel on the new tribunal that’s replacing the OMB and how cottagers can help steer their lake’s development Pick up the Early Summer 2018 of issue of Cottage Life for tips and ideas to make this your best season yet.