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Gravenhurst Council Highlights - April 16, 2024

Request for road maintenance agreement

Tony Romanelli made a presentation to council expressing an interest in entering into a road maintenance agreement with the town.

Mayor Heidi Lorenz thanked Romanelli for the presentation and said the matter would be referred to staff for review.

Watch the presentation.

Town finances on track for first quarter: report

Council received the 2024 First Quarter Financial Update Report for information.

“The purpose of the 2024 First Quarter Financial Update Report is to lay out a quarterly reporting schedule for the year and to provide Committee with an update on 2024 First Quarter financial performance against budget,” deputy treasurer Theresa Trott said in the report.

She later noted that “Administration concludes that the 2024 First Quarter Financial Update is in line with expectations at the end of Q1 2024 and early projections for year-end.”

Read the report.

Building Services Annual Report

Council received the Building Services Annual Report for information.

The report, a stipulation of the Building Code Act, outlines total building permit fees collected in 2023.

The report also includes the direct and indirect costs of delivering services related to the administration of the Building Code.

Review the report.

Council approves purchase of three vehicles

Council members approved the purchase of three vehicles for the Infrastructure Services Department.

The vehicles were budgeted for through the 2024 capital budget.

One vehicle is a single axle plow from Lewis Motor Sales at a cost of $400,568.31, excluding HST.

The two other vehicles are hybrid model half-ton pickups from Bourgeois Motors at a cost of $130,858.88, excluding HST.

Read the related staff report.

Council Oks purchase of new fire truck

Council approved the purchase of a new pumper truck for the Gravenhurst Fire Department.

City View Specialty Vehicles will provide the truck at a cost of $762,320, excluding HST.

The vehicle will replace an existing vehicle at Fire Station 3 in Barkway.

Council authorized staff to place a 10 per cent down payment for the vehicle with the remainder to be paid from the 2025 capital budget.

See the related staff report to learn more.

Staff to review town signage accessibility

At the request of the Accessibility Advisory Committee, as represented by Councillor Penny Varney, council directed staff to review the accessibility of town signs and what improvements could be made.

Watch the discussion to learn more.

Integrity Commissioner finds councillor had pecuniary interests

Suzanne Craig, the town’s integrity commissioner, ruled that Councillor Sandy Cairns had pecuniary interests at two earlier council meetings.

Craig presented council with a report on her investigation into the matter, triggered by a January 2024 complaint about Councillor Cairns.

Craig determined that Cairns committed “an error in judgement in good faith. As a result, I will not be referring the matter to a judge. I make no recommendation of penalty under the MCIA (Municipal Conflict of Interest Act) to the Town of Gravenhurst Council.”

Additionally, the commissioner considered whether Cairns had violated council’s code of conduct.

“For the same reasons set out above, I conclude that this was not a breach of the Code for which I will make a recommendation of penalty,” she said.

Craig reminded council that it is their duty to check with the integrity commissioner about potential conflicts before attending a meeting.

Watch the presentation.

Read the related report for full details.

Council approves communications strategy

Council approved a corporate communications plan for the municipality.

The plan will be used as a guiding document for the development of external and internal communications.

The aim of the plan is to ensure the public has accurate and engaging information about municipal matters.

Council earmarked funds for the creation of the plan as part of the 2023 capital budget.

The town hired Interkom as the consulting firm to conduct the project. Interkom has worked with several municipalities, including the Town of Caledon, Town of Cambridge, Town of Collingwood, City of Barrie, and the County of Bruce.

As part of the exercise for Gravenhurst, an extensive consultation took place. This involved council, staff, and various community groups and businesses.

A survey took place through the town’s Engage Gravenhurst platform.

The consultation helped identify what communications tactics are working well and how the town can enhance its efforts.

Read the related staff report.

Review the plan.

Watch the presentation.

Fire Master Plan and Community Risk Assessment approved

Council members gave thumbs up to the town’s new Fire Master Plan and Community Risk Assessment.

The town retained The Loomex Group to develop the two documents.

Community consultation was a part of the exercise, including a survey through the town’s Engage Gravenhurst platform.

The Community Risk Assessment is a provincial requirement.

The assessment examines 12 public safety risks in Gravenhurst that are real and measurable threats to the community. The document also includes a series of recommendations.

The Fire Master Plan identifies and evaluates Gravenhurst’s current and anticipated fire protection needs.

The Fire Master Plan contains 25 recommendations, some of which can be implemented in the short-term without any impact to existing budgets.

Other recommendations would require more planning and budgetary commitments and are intended to be introduced over the long-term, subject to the approval of council.

Read the related staff report.

Review the Community Risk Assessment.

Review the Fire Master Plan.

Watch the presentation.

Hybrid council meeting policy

Council considered a hybrid meeting policy and after significant discussion referred the draft policy back to staff.

Council is asking for a series of amendments to the draft policy.

Staff will revise the policy as directed and bring the document back to council for consideration on May 14.

The intent of the policy is to identify when and how council members may participate in meetings remotely.

Electronic participation is now in place for members of the public for council and planning council meetings.

Watch the discussion.

Development Charges Reserve Fund Statutory Annual Report

Council received for information the Development Charges Reserve Fund Statutory Annual Report.

The provincial Development Charges Act requires staff to report annually on the opening and closing balances of the Development Charges Reserve Funds and related transactions.

The town collects development charges from new development to pay for growth-related infrastructure.

Read the related report.

Watch the presentation.

Gravenhurst Winter Carnival debrief

Staff provided council members with a debrief on the 2024 Gravenhurst Winter Carnival.

Additionally, staff highlighted some changes in the works for 2025.

Following the carnival this year, staff conducted a survey. Overall, there was positive feedback about the carnival.

The survey also provided input on how the event can be improved.

One of the changes planned for next year is a three-day carnival rather than a five-day event as took place this year.

Read the staff report to learn more.

Watch the discussion.

Council confirms order to rehabilitate Highway 11 property

Council members received correspondence from law firm Davies Howe LLP, which wrote to council on behalf of an Ontario numbered company that owns a property at 1183 Highway 11 South.

The firm requested that council review and revoke a town order to rehabilitate the subject property.

Council confirmed the order to rehabilitate the site, as issued earlier this year.

Review the correspondence.

Watch the discussion.

Council awards roads rehabilitation and resurfacing project to Fowler

The town is moving ahead with $2.9-million in road rehabilitation and resurfacing work.

Council awarded a tender for the work to Fowler Construction.

Funding for the work was earmarked as part of the 2024 capital budget.

Read the related staff report.

Watch the discussion.

Mayoral update

Mayor Heidi Lorenz provided her monthly update.

Mayor Lorenz noted that earlier in the day council celebrated ‘Be a Donor Month’ with a flag-raising.

The mayor also said that council will participate in a community clean-up on April 18.

In regard to recent fires in Gravenhurst, Mayor Lorenz thanked neighbouring fire services for their mutual aid assistance.

Mutual aid involves area fire departments providing support to each other when required.

She also noted that this summer the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market is relocating from Muskoka Wharf Sports Field to Gull Lake Rotary Park. This is due to the District of Muskoka’s Bay and Beyond project in the wharf area.

The infrastructure project is starting this spring. Mayor Lorenz reminded people about an upcoming community information session regarding the project. That meeting will take place May 1 at the Marriott, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In recognition of Volunteer Week (April 14-20), the mayor thanked local volunteers for all they do.

Watch the update.

Council passes bylaw ratifying collective agreement with Local 325

Council members passed a bylaw ratifying a collective agreement with Local 325.

The local, part of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, represents town employees in office, clerical, and technical worker roles.

Read the related bylaw.


Council Highlights

Council Highlights is prepared as an overview of the council meeting. For the official record, please refer to the agenda and minutes on the town website at

Watch the meeting: 

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