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Building a Dock in Muskoka / Parry Sound Ontario

Building a Dock in Muskoka & Parry Sound

Here are a few points to keep in mind before you start building a dock at the cottage. The rules have got a little tougher since a court ruling in the Kawarthas so it’s good to do some homework before you start. It’s always a good idea to check with the local township before construction starts, rules can change!

Horn Lake, Burk's falls

You can generally do minor repairs ( ie. replacing a rotten board ) without a permit but every municipality has their own rules so check with your local building official to be sure.

2. According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources website the following rules apply;

Dock projects that generally DO NOT require a work permit:

   – Docks and boathouses supported by posts, stilts, poles or floats
   – Boathouses not located on shore lands
   – Docks and/or boathouses where the total footprint of the crib(s) or other supporting structures to be constructed or placed on the bed of the      water body does not exceed 15 sq. metres
   – Any combination of the above (i.e. a post dock and a crib dock occupying 15 sq. metres or less of the bed)
   – Boat lifts and marine railways where the occupied area of the bed of the water body is less than 15 sq. metres

   – Removal of an old dock or boathouse, except where rock filled cribs are to be removed and would be considered dredging

Dock and boathouse projects that DO require a work permit:

– Any docks and/or boathouses where the total footprint of cribs or other supporting structures to be constructed or placed on the bed of the water body exceeds 15 square meters

3. Ministry of Natural Resources approval is now required from anyone wanting to build, replace or expand a dock on or above more than 15      square metres of shoreline (161 square feet). The same new rules also apply for single-storey boathouses.

4. New dock construction can also require, depending on the township, an approved building permit.

5. If the area you want to place the dock is Environmentally Protected or is a fish habitat area restrictions may be in place. Contact the Departrment of Fisheries and Oceans for current guidelines.

We highly recommend finding a competent local contractor who is well versed in all the new rules and regulations related to new dock construction. Some townships such as Magnetawan do not require a building permit for many dock builds but others do so it’s always safer to check. There can be heavy fines for non-compliance from several levels of government! We know Muskoka and Parry Sound cottage country and would be happy to give you a list of our approved builders, just give us a call.

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