Local Media

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The State of Our Watershed: Less ice cover in Muskoka impacts winter sports and could mean ‘more dried up wetlands and streams’

Saturday Feb 3, 2024 – Peter Sale – MuskokaRegion.com

The 2023 Muskoka Watershed Report Card says climate change is lengthening the open water season in Muskoka lakes. Ice covers lakes later in winter (sometimes not until January, as we have seen this winter) and disappears earlier in spring than in the mid-1970s. These changes mean we now get about 20 days more open water than we did back then.

But what are the implications of these changes?


Open letter to MPP Graydon Smith | Letters

January 24,2024 – by Doppler submitted

Thank you for the newsletter you sent out regarding provincial funding for our riding’s organizations. Positive news is good news! I especially appreciate the funding for Georgian Bay Biosphere and local Wetlands.

I am curious about the lack of any mention of funding for mitigation, and adaptation to what will be this century’s largest impact on people, infrastructure, wildlife, forests and lakes…that is the Climate Crisis.

Read the complete letter from Kim deLagran, Utterson, Ontario.


District hears proposal for dozens of new EV stations

December 22, 2023 – Thomas Goyer – The Doppler online

More EV chargers will soon be coming to Muskoka.

Two different companies made presentations to the District of Muskoka Finance and Corporate Services Committee relating to electric vehicle charging stations in the District. 

The first presentation was by Peter Ewald representing Lakeland Solutions. This company currently has five sites with 12 chargers and is in the development of a further 12 sites in 2024.


Resident asks Muskoka to invest more effort in mitigating climate change

‘I am frustrated with the lack of climate action at every level of government’

Friday Dec 8, 2023 – Julian Orlando Chaves, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Huntsville Forester

Is the District of Muskoka investing enough to fight climate change? A Muskoka resident said more needs to be done.

Here is what you need to know
The District of Muskoka’s council heard some concerns from Muskoka resident and district employee Christian McEachran Morin at its Dec. 7 committee of the whole meeting, regarding the district’s efforts to tackle climate change.

“I am frustrated with the lack of climate action at every level of government, not just this municipality; it’s provincial, it’s federal, it’s everywhere.


Now’s the time: Port Carling resident says air source heat pump is the way to go these days

Friday Nov 3,2023 – Brent Cooper – Muskokaregion,com

Steven Inniss stands next to the Mitsubishi air source heat pump system he had installed at his Port Carling home, which was built more than 100 years ago. 

…Innis said his research shows that between 50 to 60 per cent of European homes use this type of heat source, while in Ontario it is below the six per cent mark of all homes.

He said the newer heat pumps, like the one he has installed, can continue operating with outdoor winter temperatures of -35 Celsius, as opposed to -25 for some models.


Combatting the Climate Crisis | Letters

Sept 19, 2023 – Doppler online

80 Muskokans and Almaguins marched to River Mill Park in the rain to tell our leaders, and world leaders, that we must act now, joining global climate actions in 65 countries, over 500 cities ahead of the world leaders’ gathering at the UN in New York to discuss Climate Ambitions.

And we have support at home. 75% of Canadians worry about Climate change. 21% are having fewer or NO children as a result.

Read the letter


Council releases update on area watershed health

Sept 18, 2023 – media release – the Doppler

Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC) is pleased to release the latest edition of the Muskoka Watershed Report Card, a comprehensive scientific assessment of the health of Muskoka’s watersheds. Produced every five years, this report card provides critical insights into the state of our watershed, offering valuable information to both residents and decision-makers. The Muskoka Watershed Report Card serves as an essential tool to guide sustainable practices to preserve our remarkable natural environment, supporting both our way of life and economy.


Local Climate Action Groups Organize Climate March And Climate Strikes In Solidarity With Global Action

September 9, 2023 – Muskoka 411

Text: Join the Global March to End Fossil Fuels

By: Climate Action Muskoka

Climate Action MuskokaClimate Action Parry Sound and Almaguin Climate Action invite you to join us in Huntsville on Sunday, September 17 at 1:30 pm for a Global March to End Fossil Fuels. We will meet at Flag Park (West Rd., & Centre. St. N.) and together we will march down to River Mill Park. There will be group chants before we set out and some brief speeches at River Mill Park. Bring your End Fossil Fuels signage. more


Government doesn’t get Greenbelt implications, says Muskoka resident

August 18, 2023 – Letter to the editor – MuskokaRegion.com

I am among the millions of Ontarians who are outraged by the dishonest and backroom tactics used by the Ford government to reward a handful of developers. This land grab for profit lacks integrity and transparency. It may also be illegal.

But what is even more frightening is what it demonstrates about the Ford government’s failure to understand the urgency of a deliberate and reasoned approach to protecting farmlands that feed Ontario and wetlands that provide our drinking water and protect us from flooding as climate extremes escalate. The critical role of these natural spaces cannot be understated.

In a time of climate boiling, the term now used by the Secretary General of the United Nations, this Ontario government clearly doesn’t get it. Let’s hope our MPP Graydon Smith does get it and has the courage to speak up and urge Ford to do the right thing. Put that land back into the Greenbelt.

Linda Mathers,


Gravenhurst resident pens open letter to MPP Graydon Smith

Aug 12, 2023 – Doppler Online

Dear Minister Smith,

I am most alarmed at the troubling implications arising out of the Auditor General’s Report released yesterday.  I had expected that some shenanigans had occurred (political favours), but had no idea that developers actually submitted the lands THEY wanted removed from The Greenbelt. Then to have both the Premier and Minister Clark deny any knowledge of these corrupt practices occurring under their watch, blaming a staffer instead,

I am so disappointed in you throwing in your lot with these fellows; I had always respected you as a politician in Muskoka. Here’s how you can rectify the fallout before you, too, are dragged down by their actions…
Read the whole letter


Think of your body as an ecosystem: Muskoka Watershed Council

Sunday, July 16, 2023 – By Geoff Ross former chair, Muskoka Watershed Council – MuskokaRegion.com

Our bodies are incredibly complex assemblies of hundreds of systems, all interconnected and all essential to survival…

It’s the same with an ecosystem, all parts are connected, and they all must function if the ecosystem is to survive. Yes, we can remove a few turtles, swamps and pieces of shoreline. But if we remove too much, push the system beyond its limits, it will die.
Read the opinion piece By Geoff Ross


Air quality and climate change are public health issues | Commentary

JULY 21, 2023 – doppler online – by Dr. Charles Gardner

Air quality in Ontario had improved after coal-fired electricity plants were decommissioned, but human activity continues to produce greenhouse gases and pollution that affect the air we breathe. Air pollution from a variety of sources, including vehicle emissions, energy production and usage, and wildfires contribute to climate change.


Reader: Forest fire severity due to climate change

June 11, 2023 Doppler 0nline – LETTERS

OPEN LETTER TO MPP GRAYDON SMITH

Dear Minister Smith,
I want to comment on your statement in the Legislature this week that we have always had forest fires and that what is happening right now is nothing unusual.

With all due respect I strongly disagree. We have more forest fires than ever, they are stronger, longer, out of control, and much more serious. They affect many communities near and far. Will you acknowledge that the fires we are experiencing right now are so severe because of the climate change crisis?

The air is drier and hotter; we are getting less gentle rain. If we get torrential downpours after long periods of drought conditions, the dry earth cannot soak up the water, which leads to flooding. We have clear cut old growth forests and replaced them with “monoculture” forests which do not have the same capability of storing rain water and keeping the earth moist. We have destroyed wetlands and are still in the process of destroying more, i.e. in the Greenbelt which your government has partially opened to development.

I am urging you to reconsider your position and take active steps to prevent further destruction of and warming up of the earth.

Sincerely, but also deeply concerned,

Christine Lauffer
Burk’s Falls, ON
Member of Almaguin Climate Action (ACA) and
Climate Action Muskoka (CAM)


Wake up and stop the climate heating reader tells Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP

Letter to the editor
June 8, 2023 – MuskokaRegion.com

Our MPP and the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry came dangerously close to sounding like a climate deniers inside and outside the legislature on Tuesday of this week.

When asked by opposition party leader Marit Stiles to make the link between climate change and the raging forest fires across Ontario, and the entire country, Smith dodged the question. He actually said, “We’ve always had forest fires.”

In contrast, Mike Norton, director general of the Northern Forestry Centre at the Department of Natural Resources, said on Monday, “So far this season, 2,214 fires have consumed more than three million hectares in Canada. The 10-year average over the same time frame was 1,624 fires and 254,429 hectares”.

This is not normal, he went on to say.

With the province blanketed in smoke, people urged to stay indoors with air quality reaching dangerously high alert levels, Graydon Smith told the legislature his ministry is investing in firefighting equipment and resources. It’s a little like applying a Band-Aid to a gushing wound instead of stopping the bleeding.

Minister Smith, you and your Ford government, need to wake up and stop the climate heating. Failure to do so is unthinkable.

Linda Mathers,

Port Carling


First electrical vehicle show draws a good crowd

May 30, 2023 – DOPPLER ONLINE 

There were many people out to see the electric vehicles on display at the first-ever Muskoka EV Show on Saturday in Bracebridge.

The event was held at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds and hosted by Muskoka Conservancy in conjunction with Climate Action Muskoka.

Those is attendance were able to get information and have a good discussion about the pros and cons of EVs.


Lakeland to install 40 electric vehicle charging stations in Parry Sound-Muskoka

‘Introducing these stations in community-centric spaces makes them more accessible to those that need them’

Friday, May 26, 2023 – Submitted By Lakelands Holding Ltd. Muskokaregion.com

“The goal of this EV installation program is to install and maintain the most reliable and fastest network of electric vehicle charging stations under our Lakeland Take Charge marketing banner,” said Vince Kulchycki, COO of Lakeland Holding Ltd.


Gravenhurst council encouraged to create a Bee City

April 21, 2023 – DOPPLER ONLINE 

Laura Thomas of Hidden Habitat, a native plant nursery in Kilworthy, spoke to council on April 18  about the need to do more than ‘No Mow May’ to support pollinators. She encouraged residents to stop spraying their lawns, mow grass gradually and to focus on planting native plants around properties, including shorelines. 


Heat pumps are the future of home power in Parry Sound-Muskoka

Feb 4, 2023 – MuskokaRegion.com – letter

Consider your options. The lowest cost options over 15 years are electric cold climate Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) even after including capital costs of installation. Calculate your savings from switching from fossil fuels at CleanAirAlliance.org/calculate. And because the carbon taxes on all fossil fuels will increase from the current $65 tax per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions to $170 by 2030, your annual savings from switching to electric heat pumps will rise in the future…


Baysville’s Tooketree sees sustainability as the future of building in Muskoka

February 13, 2023 – Huntsville Forester

A family-run business is trying to make cottage country more sustainable by helping home builders go green and reduce their cost of living.

Tooketree Passive Homes, founded in 2019 by Melinda and Rick Zytaruk, operates a factory in Baysville that prefabricates environmentally sustainable building products. The 14-person, 7,000-square-foot operation creates what are known as SEED panels — which stands for sustainable, ecological, efficient and durable. Tooketree designs, builds and installs the prefabricated walls, roofs and floors using all-natural materials and methods.


IN QUOTES: Mike Schreiner talks Bill 23 for Parry Sound, Muskoka

Wed, February 8, 2023 – Sarah Cooke – Parry Sound North Star

“If you look around the world and you look at our own backyard, the climate crisis is here … the severity and frequency of climate fueled extreme weather events are already hitting us and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t start reducing climate pollution.” — more


Green Leader Schreiner meets with municipal leaders in Huntsville

Wed Feb. 8th, 2023 – Mathew Reisler – MyMuskokaNow

Mike Schreiner, the Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, was in Huntsville Tuesday for a town hall at the Active Living Centre to talk about his opposition to Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act.

As part of the meeting, Schreiner was part of two meetings with municipal leaders in Parry Sound and Muskoka. That includes mayors and councillors from Gravenhurst, Georgian Bay, Muskoka Lakes, Burks Falls, Perry, Armour, Sundridge, Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Lake of Bays. An informal working group was formed as a result of the meetings.

“The concerns and needs of rural municipalities are very different than (Greater Toronto Area) municipalities,” says Schreiner. – more


Sprawl agenda’: Green Party leader talks Bill-23 impact for Almaguin

Wed, February 8, 2023 – Sarah Cooke – Almaguin News

Ontario’s Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner hosted a town hall in Huntsville on the controversial Bill-23 which saw Almaguin residents and council members in attendance.

During a meeting that took place prior to the town hall, Schreiner said the biggest issue he heard from Almaguin council members was the loss of site plan control.

…The needs for the Parry Sound, Almaguin and Muskoka region are much different than those of central Ontario and the GTA, Schreiner said, and while development of the greenbelt is a huge concern, the concerns for the region included wetland and watershed management.


We are Mother Earth’s guests, says Parry Sound-Muskoka columnist

Feb 1, 2023- Muskoka Region.com

The earth, the environment and the land we live on has never been ours. We are here as guests. We must understand and respect how precious and sacred our relationship to Mother Earth is and has always been. Our lives and the future of our children depends upon it.

Mother Earth gives life to human beings. We need her and she needs us. This should not be a complicated relationship, but we have made it so. We are nearing the point of disastrous no return. Mother Earth is letting her guests know.


Climate group in Almaguin makes case for electric vehicles at public meeting

One of the owners, Pam Dunlop of Baysville, near Huntsville, showcased her KIA Soul.

Feb 1, 2023 – Rocco Frangione – Almaguin News

About 45 people attended a presentation in Burk’s Falls explaining why electric vehicles are a healthy alternative to fossil-fuelled vehicles.

The Sundridge-based group Almaguin Climate Action organized the meeting, which included nine owners of electric cars displaying their vehicles outside the Burk’s Falls, Armour and Ryerson Memorial Arena where the presentation took place…

Dunlop, who is retired, said she charges her vehicle at home about 95 per cent of the time during off-peak hours so the electricity costs are minimal. The remaining times she uses public charging stations.


RIDING CLIMATE ACTIVISTS HAVE ‘CORDIAL’ SIT-DOWN WITH MINISTER SMITH ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING

Jan 27, 2023 – Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

BRACEBRIDGE — Months of protests and requests for a sit-down with MPP Graydon Smith finally paid off for climate activists in Parry Sound-Muskoka last week…

They were there to confront and press the government over their concerns on climate change and re-enforce their weekly messages on its impacts on the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.


How can anyone support this government?: Muskoka reader

January 23, 2023 – MuskokaRegion.com – Letter to the editor

Hugh Mackenzie, a former mayor of Huntsville, recently stated:
”Doug Ford earned a solid majority … (was) … handed a strong mandate to make tough decisions.”

As Mr. Mackenzie surely knows, only 18 per cent of eligible voters in Ontario voted for Doug Ford. He did not earn a “solid majority.” The first-past-the-post system handed it to him as a gift.

Doug Ford was not what most voters wanted, and most of them are arguably aghast at the damage he is doing.


City of Orillia calls on province to repeal Bill 23: Orillia Matters

Coun. Jay Fallis speaking at a protest against Bill 23 on Dec. 2. Greg McGrath-Goudie/OrilliaMatters

Jan 9, 2023 – Orillia Matters

Orillia’s city council has joined a growing number of Ontario municipalities speaking out against Bill 23.

Council agreed in December to send a letter to Premier Doug Ford, several provincial cabinet ministers, Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop and MP Adam Chambers, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and all Ontario municipalities, calling for the bill to be overturned while highlighting its fiscal, environmental, democratic, and quality of life impacts. In addition, council voted to invite Dunlop to a future meeting to explain the “logic and rationale” behind the bill.

“Orillia has a significant loss of wetlands here; this is not an ecologically sound bill, and it burdens us with dubious results and significant risks for marginal gain,” said Mayor Don McIsaac.

The city joins the towns of Aurora, Collingwood, and Georgina, Prince Edward County, and more in speaking out against Bill 23 since its passage in November. Read story.


Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP, government will do whatever taskmasters ask

Dec 27, 2022 – MuskokaRegion.com – letter

Re: Carbon Capture a business-friendly answer to meeting emission targets: MPP

Too bad we never read a headline like “… a nurse-friendly answer to health care” or “… a teacher-friendly answer to education,” but I digress.

It is no surprise that the PC government would support a business-friendly answer to addressing the changing climate…


Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP will regret supporting Bill 23

Dec 27, 2022 – Parry Sound North Star – letter

Editor’s note: This letter was sent to MPP Graydon Smith and copied to this newspaper:

Thank you for taking the time for such a comprehensive reply regarding Bill 23. Unfortunately, your party has misinformed you…


Electorate will not forget Parry Sound—Muskoka MPP’s disrespect

Dec 22, 2022 – Muskoka Region

Editor’s note: This is an open letter to Parry Sound—Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith:

Dear Graydon Smith,

Contrary to your own government’s advisors, and against the researched condemnation of scientists everywhere, you are totally ignoring the fact that developing the Greenbelt is completely unnecessary for, and counterproductive to providing more affordable housing in the GTA…


‘Disgusted, disheartened’ by Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP’s actions

Dec 22, 2022 – MuskokaRegion.com – letter

I read the Dec. 15 Forester letters concerning various climate action groups and our MPP Graydon Smith.

Mr. Smith’s stonewalling tactics and the calling in of police to prevent those protesters from entering his constituency office is despicable. As our representative at Queen’s Park, his duty is to listen to our concerns. Either he is afraid to hear opposing views or he is afraid his boss will not tolerate any show of empathy…


MPP for all Parry Sound—Muskoka people, not just those of his party

Dec 19, 2022 – Almaguin News – letter

December 9, 2022 BURK’S FALLS Post Office 10:15 to 10:40

I was among those who participated in a travelling rally on Friday morning, Dec. 9.

The momentum began in Sundridge, stopping in Burk’s Falls, then Huntsville, then arriving in Bracebridge, hoping to meet our MPP, Graydon Smith…


Budgetary decision or political game with Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP?

Dec 16, 2022 – Bracebridge Examiner – letter

… Having an office, paid for by taxpayers, that is not regularly staffed, is more like window dressing than public service. Yet, when a photo-op arises, like the turkey dinner at Ryde Community Centre, Smith is there with bells on.


Failures of the democratic process: Muskoka reader critical of MPP over protest

Bracebrdge Dec 9, 2022 – Travelling Climate Rally – photo, CAM

Dec 14, 2022 – MuskokaRegion. com – letter

Friday, Dec. 9, I joined concerned citizens gathered in Memorial Park to peacefully demonstrate against Bill 23. From there we walked, letters in hand, gathering in front of your constituency office to deliver them two at a time…


Local voices must be heard by Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP

Dec 13, 2022 – NorthBayNipissing.com – letter

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be sworn at and told to “get the hell out” by the owner of the building where our MPP Graydon Smith‘s second floor constituency office is located in Bracebridge…


Muskoka letter writer calls for MPP Smith to resign over lack of access to office during Bill 23 protest

December 12, 2022 – MuskokaRegion.com

Recently, on Friday, Dec. 9, quite a large group of citizens gathered at Graydon Smith’s constituency office in Bracebridge. Our group represented people from all over our riding of Parry Sound—Muskoka.

We were there to protest the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario’s Bill 23 and 29, which is an all-out attack on our democracy, farmland, conservation authorities and ultimately green spaces and wetlands. – more


Bill 23 protesters from across Parry Sound-Muskoka fail in attempt to deliver opposition letters to MPP

Friday, December 9, 2022 – Mary Beth Hartill – Bracebridge Examiner

Upwards of 100 protesters from Parry Sound-Muskoka arrived at MPP Graydon Smith’s Bracebridge office intending to deliver letters opposing the More Homes Built Faster Act that received royal assent on Nov. 28.

,,,The message of the protesters was clear and was one that travelled from Sundridgeƒ to Burk’s Falls and then Huntsville before landing in Bracebridge, drawing others as far afield as North Bay airing their displeasure – ordering the bill’s repeal.


Using notwithstanding clause just a smokescreen, says Muskoka reader

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – Letter to the editor – Huntsville Forester

With the Doug Ford government lurching from crisis to crisis, many of their own making, it is difficult to remember each cynical step along the way. But what follows is a brief timeline of the events leading up to the latest crisis the Ford government has created. read the complete letter


Voter apathy will get us nowhere, says Muskoka reader

Wednesday, November 23, 2022 – Letter to the editor – MuskokaRegion.com

Well, here we are again, and Doug Ford and his government are at it again.

Instead of looking after our failing health care and our education problems, which would benefit all of us, he is busy dismantling the Greenbelt and building highways that we don’t need. more


Your generation is not alone’: Climate Action Muskoka addresses youth during global strike

Monday, September 26, 2022 – Sarah Law- Bracebridge Examiner

They have been striking for 157 consecutive weeks now, but their message remains the same: climate change must be addressed before it’s too late. Read the whole story. Watch the YouTube video below

September 23, 2022 – Bracebridge –Video by Sarah Law –The speech McKenzie read during the strike was shared among several organizations: Climate Action for Lifelong Learners; Climate Legacy; Congress of Union Retirees of Canada, Toronto and York Regional Council; Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet; the Suzuki Elders; and Seniors for Climate Action Now.

Where is the leadership in Muskoka on climate and the environment?

August 22, 2022 – opinion – MuskokaRegion.com

I have a nostalgic longing for Muskoka as an icon of environmental conservation. I think it once was, but that may be a delusion based on childhood memories.

I’m starting to see the region as the sacrificial lamb of Northern Ontario. When I find myself east or north of Muskoka, I am relieved and grateful at the presence of wilderness.

Bet Smith, Bracebridgeread Bet’s whole letter


Company’s promise for pipeline in Huntsville, Burk’s Falls is ridiculous

 September 13, 2022 – Letter to the editor – Muskoka Region

To say … “Enbridge says pipelines support net zero” and to have the Ontario government supporting this pipeline expansion to the tune of $3.1 million is ridiculous.

Paul Kuebler, Port SydneyRead Paul’s whole letter


Huntsville doesn’t need more gas, it needs new thinking

September 2, 2022 – Letter to the editor – Huntsville Forester

In the face of an accelerating climate crisis, is expanding gas service a good idea? Enbridge thinks so, but it gets paid for every meter of pipe it puts in the ground. And at first glance, homeowners stuck with costly fuel oil and propane for heating may think so too.

Angela Bischoff, Director, Ontario Clean Air Alliance Read the whole letter


Company’s letter to Huntsville, Burk’s Falls residents ‘ a fairy tale’

September 2, 2022 – Letter to the editor – MuskokaRegion.com

I just had to respond to the so-called opinion piece from Enbridge’s vice-president, Malini Giridhar, of Aug. 8. This reads more like it should be a paid ad. There’s some mighty wild logic in the idea that more gas pipelines will get Muskoka to net zero.

Sue Mckenzie, Gravenhurst Read the whole letter


Heat pump project has its advantages for Huntsville residents

August 31, 2022 – Letter to the editor – MuskokaRegion.com

There are now several options for households to switch away from fossil fuels. One is to take out a federal zero-interest loan under the Canada Greener Homes Loan plan.

Lesley Hastie, Huntsville Read the whole letter


‘Sham’ letter was ‘toeing the corporate line,’ says Port Sydney reader

August 26, 2022 – Brent Cooper – MuskokaRegion.com

RE: Enbridge argues to Muskoka residents that pipelines are critical to achieving net zero, reliably and affordably

This letter to the editor is a sham and you allowed it. This is not an opinion, it is clearly an employee toeing the corporate line.

Paul Kuebler, Port SydneyRead the whole letter


Is company offering Burk’s Falls/Huntsville customers an informed choice?

August 25, 2022 – Letter to the editor – MuskokaRegion.com

Enbridge says pipelines support net-zero emissions, but not if they are attached to new hookups like the natural gas expansion in Burk’s Falls and Huntsville’s Hidden Valley.

Joanne Tanaka, UttersonRead the whole letter


‘Gas pipeline is obsolete technology’: Huntsville to join list of proposed sites for provincial natural gas expansion program

July 25, 2022 – Huntsville Forester – Talha Hashmani

Huntsville Climate Action

… But for some, there are concerns the project could be too expensive and environmentally damaging. It’s these concerns that Climate Action Muskoka member Lesley Hastie said would cost residents a lot of money — from supporting provincial funding through taxes to expenses related to using gas. According to Enbridge Gas, each customer would have to pay an additional expansion fee of 23 cents per cubic metre over 40 years.

“Once those pipelines are in, I don’t know how many homes are going to want to hook up and how much of a total waste of money this is,” said Hastie. “Gas pipeline is obsolete technology. We have to stop using fossil fuels … it’s costing us — (the) taxpayers.”

According to Hastie, there are alternatives to natural gas like cold air heat pumps and solar panels that cost less and are less damaging to the environment.

Read the full article in MuskokaRegion.com


Feds don’t trust Ford to spend money properly, says Muskoka reader

July 18, 2022 – letter to the editor – MuskokaRegion.com

The Ontario government wants more money from the Federal government for health care. Perhaps Doug Ford should have thought of that before he:

• cancelled a cap-and-trade program resulting in $3 billion in lost revenue;

• in 2020 spent $2.8 billion to buy three natural gas plants (erasing one-third of the emissions reductions Ontario achieved by phasing out coal);

• gave drivers $1 billion by cancelling licence plate renewal fees;

• spent over $230 million to cancel 758 renewable energy contracts;

• gave Enbridge $234 million to install gas pipelines which when hooked up would cost homeowners and taxpayers over $36,000 per home. (Clean electric air source heat pumps, which also provide air conditioning, would cost half that, with no emissions);

• committed to building Hwy. 413 at an estimated cost of $8.2 billion and adding to the loss of an estimated 319 acres of farmland every day, equal to one average family farm;

• spent $4 million on anti-carbon tax stickers and associated advertising campaign;

• promised to spend $30 million to fight the price on carbon.

All this money could have been spent on Ontario’s inadequate and underfunded public health system. No surprise then that the federal government cannot trust Doug Ford’s improvident government to spend extra money where it’s so sorely needed.

Lesley Hastie,

Huntsville

Clark Lake residents seek a ban on gas-powered motorboats

Image of the north end of Clark Lake. (Photo: Teri Souter).

July 8, 2022 – Tamara De La Vega – Huntsville Doppler

Gas-powered motorboats could officially be prohibited on Clark Lake if an application to the Federal government is successful.

The small lake has no public access and is only about five metres deep, explained Clarke Lake resident Teri Souter.

The majority of Clarke Lake residents have had an informal agreement to keep gas-powered boats off the lake since the 1970s, but they’d like to make it official.


Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP, Town of Bracebridge face charges of destruction of endangered species habitat

Also reported by CBC – Ontario’s new minister of natural resources faces environmental charges

Wednesday, June 29, 2022 – Mary Beth Hartill – Bracebridge Examiner

Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP and newly named Minister of Natural Resources Graydon Smith, as well as the Town of Bracebridge senior members of staff and the town itself, are facing private endangered species charges.

Each of the individuals are facing charges of directing, authorizing, assenting to, acquiescing in or participating in the commission of an offence to kill, harm or harass Blanding’s turtles, a species at risk in Ontario; as well as directing, authorizing, assenting to, acquiescing in or participating in the commission of the offence of being a danger to or destroying the habitat of a Blanding’s turtle. The town itself is facing two charges to kill, harm or harass a Blanding’s turtle; and causing danger to or destroying its habitat.


Elizabeth May joins climate strikers, Parry Sound-Muskoka’s provincial Green candidate

May 27, 2022 – Sarah Law – Muskoka Region.com

It’s week 140 of the climate strike in Bracebridge, and this time the activists were joined by well-known environmental advocate Elizabeth May.

May, the former Green Party of Canada leader and current MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands in British Columbia, showed her support for Parry Sound-Muskoka’s provincial Green candidate, Matt Richter.

More than 50 people attended the strike, led by Climate Action Muskoka, at Bracebridge Memorial Park on May 27.


Provincial highway plan is reckless, says Gravenhurst reader

May 18, 2022 – MuskokaRegion.com – Opinion

… We must stop Ford’s plan to build Hwy. 413, the Bradford bypass and other highway plans alluded to, during the recent all candidates’ debate. Our future and our children’s futures depend on us doing the right thing for people and the planet, now.

Len Ring


Reflections on Earth Day and Muskoka

Peter Sale

April 18, 2022 – MuskokaRegion.com – Opinion

April 22 will be the 52nd Earth Day. Starting in 1970 with teach-ins across U.S. campuses, Earth Day became global in 1990. It is a day to pause and reflect, a day to inspire and to strive to do better as we struggle to remedy the many wrongs we have inflicted on this planet. But what does Earth Day mean for a beautiful place like Muskoka? We also can do better; Muskoka suffers environmental degradation too.


Could blue-green algae on Muskoka’s lakes be tied to climate change?

Dr. Neil Hutchinson

April 18, 2022 – Mary Beth Hartill – Bracebridge Examiner

The cause of blue-green algal blooms on Muskoka’s lakes may be linked to more than human habitation — climate change may be taking its toll.

Phosphorous levels in lakes are a known cause of blue-green algae; however, when pristine lakes with no human habitation begin to bloom, environmental experts raise the red flag — climate change is affecting Muskoka’s lakes.


‘Everything is connected’: Muskoka activists call for climate to be top of mind this election

March 8, 2022 – Sarah Law – Bracebridge Examiner

Climate strikers
Members of Climate Action Muskoka protest weekly to raise awareness about climate change. Feb. 25, 2022. — Sarah Law/Metroland

COVID-19 has shown global crises can be tackled quickly, say climate strikers.

Every Friday for more than two years, Muskoka residents have been protesting for climate action.

The protestors are members of Climate Action Muskoka (CAM), a grassroots group that has gained much momentum during this time. The group pushed Muskoka municipalities to declare climate emergencies, it launched a community carbon challenge to help people half emissions by 2030, and it is working to further educate the community on environmentalism.


What will Highway 413 offer Muskoka ratepayers?

February 1, 2022 – MuskokaRegion.com – letters

What will $10 billion buy you? Apparently, a highway.

And what will Highway 413 offer all Ontarians? Well, a very limited number of people and a few truckers will enjoy a few less minutes on the road. Not more than five minutes, some analysts have predicted.


Muskoka councils must take climate action

Jan 25, 2022 -South Muskoka Doppler – letters

Muskoka councillors and residents, we need climate action now!

In December 2009 The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) published  Act Locally: The Municipal Role in Fighting Climate Change.

“Municipalities can play a key role in helping Canada meet commitments for both significant and long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.” The report stated. – more


We need adaptation and mitigation in Muskoka to deal with climate change

Jan 12, 2022 – Muskoka Region – Opinion

If your bathtub is overflowing, what would you do first? Grab a towel to mop up the mess? Or turn off the tap?


We must ensure a decent living wage for everyone in Muskoka

December 30, 2021 – MuskokaRegion.com – opinion

Re: Parry Sound — Muskoka MP votes against Bill C-2, pandemic aid for workers, businesses

Scott Aitchison, our MP, has just voted against pandemic aid for workers and businesses as it would be “incentivizing people to stay at home.”


Working group launched to tackle climate change in Muskoka

Nov 30, 2021 – MuskokaRegion.com – issued by the District of Muskoka.

The working group will look at the impacts of climate change across Muskoka’s communities, identify future risks and draft a regional plan to adapt to these changes.


‘Forget gas prices we are all going to die’ Muskoka climate change warriors take to streets of Huntsville

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 – John McFadden –Huntsville Forester

Kismet Tillson Hunter
Kismet Tillson Hunter, 16, was among those taking part

Climate activists from across Muskoka met on Saturday, Nov. 6 in Huntsville for a lunchtime rally at the G8 Flag Park organized by Climate Action Muskoka.

Upbeat, sign-waving folks gathered under the flags and judging by the car horn cacophony — they had a lot of support from drivers as well.


Climate Action Muskoka to demonstrate in Huntsville during COP26

Tuesday Nov. 2nd, 2021 – Martin Halek – My Muskoka Now

G8 Park Huntsville
G8 Flag Park in Huntsville (Photo taken by Martin Halek)

As world leaders head to Glasgow this week to discuss climate change, local activists are making their voices heard in Muskoka.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) runs from October 31st to November 12th, and Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) will stage a demonstration on November 6th in Huntsville’s G8 Flag Park.


Should Gravenhurst implement climate-aware building fees?
Advocate promotes greener building solutions with new builds

October 22, 2021 – Sarah Law – Gravenhurst Banner

Rick Zytaruk graphic

…  the Town of Gravenhurst declared a climate emergency and committed to a climate action strategy plan.

Zytaruk encouraged council to have staff develop a sustainable development program within six months, and to implement a new climate-aware building fee structure which will incentivize the use of low or negative carbon building materials in all new builds.


Climate Action Muskoka continues Friday demonstrations

Thursday Oct. 14th, 2021 – My Muskoka Now- Martin Halek

“We want people to see that there is an issue” The weekly “climate strikes” are organized by Climate Action Muskoka (CAM), and take place every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Huntsville’s Riverside Park and Bracebridge’s Memorial Park.


Muskoka group calling for collaborative effort with Community Climate Challenge
Climate Action Muskoka

July 19, 2021 – Mary Beth Hartill – Bracebridge Examiner

“When we are all working together, it really inspires us and it gives us the strength to co-ordinate and collaborate,” said the Bracebridge resident and member of Climate Action Muskoka. “It’s actually given me so much hope because, for decades, many of us have been so fearful…

RETIRED TEACHERS HELP CLIMATE ACTION MUSKOKA EDUCATE KIDS AND PUBLIC
july 5 rto two

JULY 9, 2021 – MuskokaToday.com – Mark Clairmont

BRACEBRIDGE — Who better than teachers to help educate kids and the public to take more action on the climate crisis in Muskoka?

At noon today a new initiative was launched at the weekly Friday Climate Strike in Memorial Park.

Town of Huntsville declares a climate emergency, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050

July 1, 2021 – by Doppler On-line

… Spurred on by Climate Action Muskoka—a local not-for-profit group concerned about climate change and its impacts—Huntsville councilors unanimously agreed to join the Town of Gravenhurst and District of Muskoka and declare a climate emergency.


Natural gas expansion fuels climate crisis, says Muskoka advocate
Letter to the editor

June 23, 2021 – Muskoka Region.com

Imagine what could have been done for Burk’s Falls and the Huntsville area with a different investment, an investment that is energy-efficient, affordable and grows the local economy.

Climate Action Muskoka calls out government for fossil fuel subsidies
Open letter to MPP Norm Miller, Premier Doug Ford

June 15, 2021 – Muskoka Region.com

— Climate Action Muskoka believes that affordable heating is a laudable goal, but new gas lines are indefensible. Any and all subsidies should be applied to converting to non-fossil fuel, non-greenhouse gas-producing, renewable forms of heating and energy.

LETTER: LOCAL NATURAL GAS LINES ‘INDEFENSIBLE’, SAYS CAM

JUNE 15, 2021 – Muskoka Today

Ed. note: This letter from Climate Action Muskoka was copied to MuskokaTODAY.com

Surely the Ontario government is aware of the international call to reduce the use of fossil fuels, writes Climate Action Muskoka in their letter the MPP and premier.


Will the Town of Huntsville also pass a climate emergency resolution?

May 18,2021 – Huntsville Doppler – BY TAMARA DE LA VEGA

With the District of Muskoka and the Town of Gravenhurst each having passed a climate emergency resolution promising to lead by example to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), Climate Action Muskoka plans to ask the Town of Huntsville to do the same at its May council meeting.


Gravenhurst Declares Climate Emergency

April 21, 2021 — MuskokaToday

earth day 2021 best - Copy

Muskoka’s ‘Gateway’ community is the first large local municipality to officially declare a climate emergency and to align its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals with the District of Muskoka’s targets.

Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) is calling it a significant event during Earth Week and ahead of Earth Day tomorrow, Thursday April 22.
By Mark Clairmont


10 Things to Know about Gravenhurst’s Climate Action Strategy

April 21, 2021 — Gravenhurst Banner

Climate Action Muskoka GH

Gravenhurst has become the first municipality in Muskoka to align with the district by committing to a climate action strategy plan.

The decision was made at the Tuesday, April 20 council meeting — during Earth Week — following a presentation by Sue McKenzie of Climate Action Muskoka.
By Sarah Law.


District Celebrates Earth Day With Launch Of Community-Wide Greenhouse Gas Initiative

April 22, 2021 — Muskoka 411

Muskoka 411

The District of Muskoka is excited to celebrate Earth Day 2021 with the launch of an extensive community-wide greenhouse gas initiative that will engage community groups, businesses, area municipalities, utility companies, and schools to raise awareness of climate change causes and impacts, and explore ways that we can work together across sectors and communities in Muskoka to reduce emissions.  Learn more about the District’s New Leaf Strategy and other climate initiatives on their website:  www.muskoka.on.ca/climatechange. By Kelly Hart.


‘I Think I Can …’: Thomas the Northlander Faces Doubting Thomas Tories

APRIL 25, 2021 – MuskokaTODAY.com

ontario northlander photo front

Dreams of the Northlander’s return face the reality of COVID passenger service — as even it sister bus routes were decimated the past year by customers fearful of any form of transportation road or rail. by Mark Clairmont

‘It just makes so much sense’: Muskoka advocates confident in passenger rail’s return

April 19, 2021 — Gravenhurst Banner

Passenger Rail in Muskoka
Education, health care, tourism, environment, among benefits of rail: advocates

The Ontario Northlander made its last trip in 2012, and since then, there has been much advocacy in Muskoka and the north about bringing it back. Premier Doug Ford made a campaign pledge in 2018 to restore the Northlander. By Sarah Law.


Councillor Wiebe gets Council Support for Alternative Housing Idea

March 24, 2021 — Huntsville Doppler

Home ownership, particularly for those entering the market, has become next to impossible for many people in the community. Read the whole story here. By Tamara de la Vega.


Conservatives’ denial of climate change must be challenged | Letters

March 26, 2021 – Huntsville Doppler

It is incomprehensible that the Conservative Party of Canada has denied the climate reality with one simple, downed motion. At their convention last week, a majority voted against a motion to declare Climate Change is real and needs action. How did this fact-denying voice raise its ugly head in a mainstream Canadian institution? By Linda Mathers


Supporting Passenger Rail Service in the North is in the 2021 Ontario Budget

March 24, 2021 —

It took 8½ years of advocating for the return of the Northlander.  Today the Northeastern Ontario Rail Network (NEORN) is excited to announce the Ontario government has committed to funding the next step to moving forward on the project with $5M and hopefully then to the final stage: putting ‘bums in seats’ on the train between Toronto and Timmins/Cochrane.

Picture of VIA Rail Train in train station.

Re-Imagining the Future: Climate Action Muskoka launches vision

March 11, 2021 – MuskokaRegion.com

Editor’s note: This is the first submission in the Reimagining Series from Climate Action Muskoka

Imagine a future where we are no longer staring down a climate crisis but are experiencing a drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere, where the health and well-being of people in an equitable and resilient Muskoka are reflected in communities around the world…

By Linda Mathers


Huntsville council lobbies for the return of passenger rail

March 3, 2021 – Huntsville Doppler

At its February 22 council meeting, the Town of Huntsville joined the City of North Bay in urging Ontario Premier Doug Ford to stick to his campaign promise made during the 2018 provincial election and bring back the Ontario Northlander passenger rail between Toronto and Cochrane, which was discontinued in 2012.

 By TAMARA DE LA VEGA 

Texas freeze and Muskoka flooding: What we can learn from recent events down south

– our changing climate is increasing this flood risk and many in our community expect “the government” will take steps to “fix” these risks to our properties and our lives.

Peter Sale – MuskokaRegion.com – opinion, Thursday, February 25, 2021

Current planning not doing enough to protect Muskoka River Watershed

Effective management will utilize, sustain and grow that natural infrastructure while allowing the development required to house our population and sustain our economy.

Kevin Trimble – MuskokaRegion.com – opinion, Thursday, February 18, 2021

IN QUOTES: Gravenhurst council supports saving Ontario Fire College from closure

The college is set to close on March 31

Gravenhurst Banner Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Gravenhurst council passed a motion for the province to reconsider the closure of the Ontario Fire College. To date, the townships of Augusta, Baldwin, Lake of Bays, Machar, Magnetawan, Parry Sound, Seguin, Terrace Bay and now Gravenhurst have all passed motions in support of keeping the college open, according to Save the Ontario Fire College.

by Sarah Law

Gravenhurst considers active transportation lanes connecting to Muskoka Lakes

Trail connection would go from Gull Lake Rotary Park to Bala. Some councilors expressed concerns

Sarah Law Gravenhurst Banner Thursday, January 21, 2021

‘Action gives hope’: What’s in store for Climate Action Muskoka in 2021?


In the past year, it has created a website, a steering committee, a podcast called Muskoka Drawdown on Hunters Bay Radio, launched a Community Carbon Challenge and put forward a motion for the District of Muskoka to declare a climate emergency, which has been passed…

Sarah Law Bracebridge Examiner Tuesday, January 5, 2021

District introduces new weekly east-west bus routes

Huntsville Doppler


Through funding provided by the Government of Ontario, and in partnership with Hammond Transportation Ltd., the District Municipality of Muskoka (the District) is excited to announce a new transportation service for Muskoka. READ MORE.
Why can’t we just lower the Muskoka lakes?

Pressure is mounting in Muskoka to push water levels lower. The Muskoka River Water Management Plan currently includes some protection for spawning fish. But after recent spring floods, some say it’s worth losing some fish to protect shoreline structures… If we don’t understand all of the risks, it’s like throwing a dart at a dart board while blindfolded.

Kevin Trimble – MuskokaRegion.com – opinion Friday, January 1, 2021

Muskoka officially approves climate strategy called ‘A New Leaf’ in 2020

Muskoka is set to turn over a new leaf for the environment in 2021.

A NEW LEAF

Christy Doyle, director of environment and watershed programs for the District of Muskoka, and Kevin Boyle, climate change co-ordinator, offered a well-received overview of A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy to district council on Dec. 21.

Alison Brownlee – MuskokaRegion.com Wednesday, December 23, 2020



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