Dark Sky in Muskoka

On June 14, 2023, the Council updated the Dark Sky By-law originally introduced in 2014 in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. The revised legislation aims to enhance the municipality’s objective of mitigating light pollution and conserving a dark sky environment by regulating outdoor lighting practices. The by-law particularly focuses on properties zoned as Waterfront Residential, Community Residential (R4 only), and Waterbody Open Space under the Township of Muskoka Lakes Comprehensive Zoning By-law.

The update also extends the ‘grandfathering’ or ‘sunset date’ deadline to June 1, 2027. This implies that outdoor lighting fixtures installed prior to the initial Dark Sky By-law of April 17, 2014, must be in compliance with the revised by-law by the new deadline. However, the update specifies certain conditions under which the grandfathering status of a luminaire may be forfeited. These conditions include any replacements, modifications, or relocations of light fixtures, instances where a fixture is deemed to create unnecessary glare or public safety concerns, and when a property obtains a building permit for a new building, an addition, enlargement, or exterior renovation.

As part of the by-law, the council also pledged to continue offering educational resources to residents, visitors, and businesses to promote awareness and understanding of the importance of a pollution-free night sky. The council encourages individuals unsure about lighting compliance to consult the by-law or contact their office for assistance.  You can read more about Dark Sky in Muskoka Lakes on the Township of Muskoka Lakes website.