Petition update

Class-Action Lawsuit - Why you should attend this very important meeting.

Martin Ford
Bala, Canada

Aug 19, 2016 — Class-Action Lawsuit
Why you should attend this very important meeting.

This week the Muskoka Lakes Association stated via a newsletter to its members that it does not support a class-action lawsuit. This is our response as to why you should be attending the informational meeting this Sunday, August 21st, at the Port Carling Community Centre at 10am.

“Some of you may have heard of a potential class action suit against MNRF.  The MLA does not support a Class Action lawsuit against MNRF relating to the 2016 flood.  

‎Our reasoning is that in order to find real solutions, if in fact there are solutions available, it is better to work co-operatively with MNRF, bringing all available data and expertise to the table, rather than to threaten or support Class Action lawsuits which: 1. Take years to resolve - we think we need to get this problem addressed in the short term (i.e. Spring 2017) if possible, for ALL waterfront property owners in Muskoka; and 2. Have the effect of closing the door on sharing of data and communications necessary to move forward to find sustaining solutions.”

Mr. Troy Lehmen, a partner at Oatley Vigmond, the law firm that is leading the class-action lawsuit meeting, responded to the above comment with this:

“We plan to address the issue of the effectiveness of a class-action lawsuit in driving positive change. I don't see that a class action would interfere with the MLA's efforts. The MLA's efforts to work with the MNR to gather information and promote change shouldn't be stopped by the existence of a lawsuit.”

Seven years ago, the MLA had a meeting with the MNRF on January 9th, 2009. They asked the following:
MLA Question 4:
If there is damage caused by high water levels that exceed the maximum levels in the Muskoka River Water Management Plan either by an Act of God, a man-made error, or equipment malfunction, who has the total and sole responsibility to compensate the affected cottagers and property owners?
MNRF Answer:
Periodic flooding is a natural event and happens occasionally on all watersheds. Coordinated and timely operations of all water control structures will reduce the severity and duration of flood events. Affected cottagers and property owners must ultimately rely on the courts to address any damage claims (either by individuals or class action claims).

The MNRF made it clear that the only recourse is a lawsuit. The MLA has known this fact since 2009, and the MLA was clearly concerned about flooding in 2009 based on the question asked by them. Since then they have seemed to do nothing about it nor did they make any real effort to make this information public as this document seems to be no long available on their website.

After seven years, a task force was just created to address a concern that they had back in 2009. In the meantime, to quote the MLA, there have been “hundreds of millions of dollars in uninsurable damage to structure and property,” and many of them would be MLA members.

The meeting this Sunday is an informational meeting about a class-action lawsuit. It is in your best interest to be fully informed. Coming to the meeting is not committing you to anything.



AUGUST 21ST, 2016
3 Bailey Street, Port Carling
Beside the Township of Muskoka Lakes Office



1) MLA/MNRF meeting notes 2009-01-09:
2) MLA comments to the press:
3) MLA members letter 2016-08-17:

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