CBC Radio journalist and author Carol Off signs copies of her books at the Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library gala at Pinestone Resort on Oct. 28. /SUE TIFFIN Staff

Severance application has Wenona Lake residents concerned

By Angelica Ingram

June 28 2016

An application coming to the Haliburton County Land Division Committee has residents of Wenona Lake upset about what it might mean for their area.

A notice that applicant Mumtaz Sunderji wishes to sever her property located on one end of Wenona Lake into three new additional lots has resulted in a petition being circulated and has caught the attention of the Miskwabi Area Community Association (MACA).

A notice about the proposal has been sent out by the county with the item coming up at the Dysart et al council meeting in November.

Director of planning and development Patricia Martin recommended Dysart council approve the application subject to certain conditions being met. Those included an environmental impact assessment of the wetland including the impact of road construction the submission of a site development plan and more.

Martin told the Echo the municipality does a preliminary review on an application however the land division committee is the approval authority.

“When it comes to zoning site plan and minor variances those decisions are made in Dysart” said Martin. “But when it comes to subdivisions condominiums and severances those decisions are made at the county with input from Dysart.”

According to Martin’s November report the owner wishes to sever the property into four parcels for waterfront residential purposes.

It is that plan to develop that has area resident Phyllis McCulloch concerned to the point where she has begun circulating a petition to stop the application from proceeding.

A cottager on the lake for almost 20 years McCulloch was first made aware of this development plan from nearby lake residents.

McCulloch says there is a beaver dam at the end of the lake where the proposal is situated as well as a loon nest. She also points out the water at the south end of the lake where the property is is shallow.

“Down at that end of the lake the only way that you can get anywhere where they might be land … is to have a kayak or canoe” she said. “You can’t go in there with boats of any kind because it’s so shallow.”

She is concerned about the impact construction will have on the environment and ecosystem and says she’s not alone.

“There hasn’t been even one person that has thought it would be OK” she said.

McCulloch said things around the lake have changed over the years including the size of lots being developed and the number of yearround residents.

She believes these factors need to be considered with respect to future development.

“There’s a lot more people and a lot more boats and a lot more activity” she said.

McCulloch has been collecting signatures from residents concerned about the proposal and says the lake association has been preparing a statement for the land division committee which will be hosting a public meeting regarding the application on Monday July 11 at 7 p.m. in Minden.

On her petition alone she has about 40 signatures she says however there are three other petitions being circulated as well.

MACA president Andy Mosher said the association is concerned about any new development on the four lakes represented by MACA which include Wenona Miskwabi Long and Negaunee particularly if it results in additional pressures on the lakes.

“By that I mean additional boat traffic more phosphorus loading from additional septic systems more fishing pressure all of that” said Mosher. “This particular severance application to create three additional lots at the south end of Wenona Lake is also of particular concern to us because that is a wetland area there’s a beaver dam down there … it’s an environmentally sensitive area as well.”

Mosher said the association intends to raise all of these concerns at the upcoming land division committee meeting.

Mosher said MACA has been recommending to the municipality that it consider recreational carrying capacity when making decisions about future development as Wenona is already at capacity in terms of boat carrying capacity.

“That’s a concern to going forward” he said.

The applicant has hired local surveyor and consultant Greg Bishop who said the intention of the severance is to develop single residential dwellings on the parcels of land.

Bishop said the lots are all vacant at this point.

He said the recommendations laid out by Dysart have been followed including the required environmental reports which has been peer reviewed.

In addition to the property being severed the applicant also wishes to create a right-of-way according to the notice sent out by the land division committee.

The property is located close to Highway 118 and Trappers Trail Road.

“There are so many things that aren’t good about this” said McCulloch. “When you think of everything that gets redeveloped and it’s not there anymore I mean what kind of harm are we doing?”

The public meeting will be held at the Haliburton County office located at 11 Newcastle St.