This lake plan is the second edition prepared by the Lake Waseosa Ratepayers' Association,
which is facilitates social and communal activities of area residents, and which contributes to
the well-being of Lakes Waseosa, Ripple, Palette, and Jessop and the communities that
surround these lakes. The original Lake Plan was first adopted in August of 2006 and
presented to the Town of Huntsville in September of that year. Since then there have been a
number of regulatory changes. Most significantly, the District of Muskoka adopted OPA 32,
(the Lake System Health Program) as a measure of recreational water quality, the Town of
Huntsville enacted a completely new Official Plan, Comprehensive Zoning By-Law and
most recently developed the Unity Plan.
Implementation of the Huntsville Official Plan is now guided by the Unity Plan. The Unity
Plan has 12 goals, of which 3 are specifically addressed through this Lake Plan, and
3 are indirectly addressed. One of the guiding principles of the Official Plan is that "The
quality of life throughout Huntsville will be enhanced through the adoption and support of
stewardship ethics". The Official Plan contains numerous provisions to safeguard this
principle, including recognition and guidance for Lake-specific plans such as this one.
The hierarchy of these plans is from Muskoka down to Huntsville down to the Lake Plan.
No policy can be more permissive than those above it in the hierarchy. In other words, the
Huntsville Official Plan must conform to the requirements of the Muskoka Official Plan,
but may add additional restrictions and requirements unique to Huntsville, and the Lake Plan
must conform to the Huntsville Official Plan but may add additional restrictions and
requirements unique to the needs of this particular sub-watershed. To quote from the
Huntsville Official Plan:
"8.13.1 Lake Plans provide more detailed land use policy direction for specific lakes in the
Town, and are intended to go beyond the more general policy framework of both the Town
of Huntsville Official Plan and District Municipality of Muskoka Official Plan. Such plans
are intended to identify, reflect and respond to the character and physical capabilities of
8.13.2 Each lake possesses its own character that is a result of its location, size, physical
attributes, access and historic development. The mix of uses, extent of natural features and
constraints, and individual historic lot standards all combine to generate the uniqueness of a
given lake. Lake Plans may be developed for specific lakes in Huntsville that address
different minimum lot standards for new lot creation, regulate redevelopment activities,
support improved public access to the lake, or recognize special needs (e.g. for waterfront
landings where there are extensive "water access only areas")."
In addition to the regulatory changes, the data contained in the original Lake Plan has
gradually grown out of date. New information is now available and new patterns have
emerged. To maintain relevance, it was necessary to update all the available information and
reevaluate any conclusions based on that information.
The recommendations contained in this lake plan are the result of information gathered
from a variety of sources, including a community-based questionnaire and survey of
residents. Residents expressed their views and accepted the original through a series of
public meetings sponsored by the LWRA. Prior to the preparation of the original plan, the
Association engaged the services of Dr. Karl Schiefer, a noted water quality expert and
limnologist to conduct a study of the water quality of Lake Waseosa (see attachment). The
LWRA participates in the Province's Lake Partner program and the District's Benthos
program to acquire additional information.
This revised edition has been prepared by the LWRA through the Board of Directors, the
Lake Plan Committee and subjected to public scrutiny at the public meeting where the
changes were adopted by a vote of the affected area residents.
Purpose of the Lake Plan
1. To determine the present and future needs and desires of the residents of the lakes
2. To describe current use of the lakes
3. To identify any future plans of the residents
4. To determine the capacity of the lakes with respect to future development
5. To recommend a series of actions geared toward the preservation of the lakes and
the local environment.
The members of the Lake Waseosa Ratepayers' Association wish to protect and
preserve the sub-watershed and surrounding natural environment of Waseosa, Ripple,
Palette and Jessop Lakes, for future generations to come.
An Overview of the Concerns that Led to the Development of this Lake Plan
For many years the Muskoka area has attracted people because of its natural environment,
which provided for a great number of recreational and social activities. Once this natural
environment was opened to residential and commercial development, increased
development threatened to adversely affect the long-term viability of the use of the lakes.
The four lakes covered by this lake plan are all relatively small. For the past 50 years, because
of better roads and transportation facilities, these lakes have seen substantial residential
development both on a seasonal and permanent basis by people seeking recreational
enjoyment in the beautiful Muskoka setting. The absence of any commercial development
(other than a summer camp for diabetic children) and of any marinas or hotels enhances the
quiet and undisturbed natural beauty of the lakes and contributes to the overall enjoyment by
the residents of the lakes.
Residents are concerned about the extent and nature of shoreline development, because it
could have negative impacts on the natural ecosystems and the water quality of the lakes and
as a result reduce the future enjoyment of the environment by all residents. We believe that it
is our responsibility to protect the quality of life on the lakes for future generations and to
protect the lakes from unnecessary and unwarranted lakeshore development, which would
negatively affect the lakes and their watershed as well as the natural environment more
Because of concerns about relatively high levels of phosphorus, Lake Waseosa was closed to
further residential development (except for legally registered pre-existing lots) from 1980
until 2009. At that time, the District of Muskoka modified the methodology they use to
evaluate water quality and Lake Waseosa was deemed "Under Threshold" when high sample
results from 2000 were discarded. A pattern of high phosphorus readings from Palette and
Jessop Lakes do not seem to be recognized by municipal officials and Ripple Lake has never
been part of the testing program.
Large toxic algae blooms on Sturgeon Bay (in the Township of the Archipelago) and Three
Mile Lake (in the Township of Muskoka Lakes) prevented the use of those water bodies for
any domestic or recreational purpose, highlighting the critical need to heed important
warning indicators like phosphorus. We believe it is better to err on the side of caution, and
act in a prudent manner in the absence of proof of acceptable water quality rather than
assume everything is fine until it is too late to save the lakes.
Principles of Lake Plan
The need for a Lake Plan is outlined in the Huntsville Official Plan:
"8.13.5 The following matters should be addressed where appropriate through a specific
a) definition of the characteristics and character of the Lake;
b) place in the watershed, drainage basin and related waterways;
c) topography, landscape, shoreline features and hazards;
d) areas of constraint to development such as steep slopes, narrow waterbodies and
e) allocation of water quality capacity;
f) cultural heritage and historic development;
g) identification of current land use on lake with distinct areas and neighbourhoods shown
and type of vegetation cover around lake;
h) sensitive boating issues/areas;
i) public and private open space, recreation areas or trails;
j) public access points;
k) development potential and capacity;
I) natural areas or landscape features to be preserved; and
m) specific policies and standards for development."
This lake plan covers four lakes: Waseosa, Palette, Ripple and Jessop. Residents of all four
lakes are represented in the Lake Waseosa Ratepayers' Association. These four lakes are
physically interconnected: Jessop Lake drains into Lake Waseosa through a marsh while Lake
Waseosa drains into Ripple Lake through a small non-navigable stream, regulated by a
manual dam. Palette Lake also drains separately into Ripple Lake, which then drains through
Jessop Creek into the Little East River and on to Arrowhead Lake. A fifth lake, Clark Lake
drains into Lake Waseosa through a marsh, but as the residents of Clark Lake have not
chosen to be represented by the Lake Wasoesa Ratepayers' Association, Clark Lake is not
included in this plan.
In order to protect the environment, the residents of these lakes have undertaken an
approach that would identify and protect the surrounding ecosystems in an attempt to
ensure the long-term health of the lakes. The principles and goals guiding this exercise
include the following:
1. To protect the quality of life on our lakes
2. To preserve the unique characteristics of the lakes
3. To protect the natural and physical beauty of the lakes and their surrounding areas
4. To enhance the recreational and social value of the lakes and their surrounding areas
5. To make recommendations to the appropriate government authorities both local and
regional to ensure that the health of the lakes will be preserved and maintained over
the long term
6. To educate the residents on how to protect water quality.
7. To maintain an ongoing stewardship program of a voluntary nature in order to
monitor the water quality of the lakes and to organize a testing and reporting
procedure to support this monitoring program
8. To submit this Plan to the Town of Huntsville in order that it become part of the
Official Plan of the Town of Huntsville for the purpose of ensuring that its zoning
and building by-laws and land use regulations will be applied in such a manner that
will protect the quality of the lakes and their surrounding areas.