Phil Harding has made the transition from a councillor into the mayor’s chair in 2018.
MyMuskokaNow.com got the mayor to share his plans for what looks to be a busy 2019.
MMN: It’s your first year as mayor. What are some of the goals in terms of what is ahead?
I think the first thing I am looking forward to as a council is working together with one common goal.
That has a respect for the environment, number one, has a respect for the taxpayers, number two, and a respect for each other, number three, as we sit around that council table.
MMN: What are some of the issues that are going to be addressed by council in 2019?
Obviously, number one we still have a big issue with the Clevelands House Minett property. There is a steering committee at the District to determine what the appropriate zoning is on that property.
So that recommendation should be coming down early spring.
There is a new owner of the Clevelands House property right now. So we’ll obviously be working with them to determine an appropriate development is for the lake.
MMN: The retail sale of marijuana is a hot topic in many municipalities. How do you see it playing out in Muskoka Lakes?
At Township of Muskoka Lakes in our last meeting of a whole meeting, we had a number of discussions around marijuana sales.
What the discussion at the time was we’re not sure the province has all the rules and regulations in place.
And we’ll be debating it our first council meeting in January ahead of the January 22nd deadline for the province.
But what we are looking at doing I think is possibly putting a bit of a pause to make sure the province gets it right and make sure we get it right.
If we opt in, as they say, there is never an opportunity to opt out. And right now there is not a lot of regulations around where those dispensaries can be.
Or how many within the local municipality.
But the general discussion around the committee of the whole was a bit of a pause right now for six months or a year and then re-evaluate.
And that hopefully the province has some greater regulations or giving us the tools to give us some greater regulations on the storefronts.