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Gravenhurst Council Highlights - April 18, 2023

Town should consider additional initiatives to ‘No Mow May’

Laura Thomas of Hidden Habitat, a native plant nursery in Kilworthy, spoke to council about the need to do more than ‘No Mow May’ to support pollinators.

Mayor Heidi Lorenz thanked Thomas for an informative presentation.

The mayor said the town will get Thomas on the agenda for an upcoming Sustainability Advisory Committee meeting so that Thomas can share her ideas with committee members.

MPAC updates council on assessment matters

Kaitlyn Potts of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation provided council with an overview of the organization.

MPAC is an independent, not-for-profit corporation funded by Ontario municipalities.

MPAC decides property assessment for all properties in the province.

Watch the presentation.

Council OKs new building bylaw

Council members approved a new building bylaw.

In 2021, council approved an e-permitting program for the town’s Building Division.

The program allows residents, contractors, and designers to apply for building permits and book inspections electronically.

Implementing the new program has changed procedures used by applicants and staff.

This led to the need to update the building bylaw.

See the related staff report to learn about the changes.

Building Services Annual Report

Council received for information the Building Services Annual Report.

The Building Code Act requires municipalities to prepare an annual report on the total permit fees collected.

This includes direct and indirect costs of delivering services related to the administration and enforcement of the Building Code Act, and the balance in any building reserve funds.

See the report for full details.

Watch the discussion.

Update to town’s sign bylaw

Council members approved a series of updates to the town’s sign bylaw.

The updates are minor in nature.

See the staff report to learn more.

Watch the discussion.

Road gets new name

A private road known as Fire Route 1C will now be named Firefly Lane PVT.

Council approved the name change Tuesday following a public consultation process.

The name change is in response to a letter from a resident, asking that the road be renamed to be more in line with other roads in the area such as Deerfly Drive.

The road is in the southeastern part of the municipality and supplies access to cottages on Riley Lake.

Read the related staff report.

2022 Capital Year End Report

Council received for information the 2022 Capital Year End Report.

The purpose of the report is to provide an update on the status of the town’s capital program, as of Dec. 21, 2022.

Every year council approves a capital budget and multi-year plan.

A mid-year capital update and a year-end capital update are brought forward each year to keep council informed.

The report notes the town’s capital spending program is proactively managed, and all completed and on-going capital projects are fully funded within the budget.

Read the related staff report to learn more.

Review the 2022 Year End Summary of Capital Projects.

Watch the discussion.

2022 Operations Year End Report

Council members also received for information the 2022 Operations Year End Report and approved transferring an operating surplus of $975,801 to the Community Reinvestment Reserve.

The purpose of the report is to provide an overview of financial performance for the year.

The operating budget funds the town’s day-to-day activities and initiatives in the community.

The report notes several factors contributed to the operating surplus, including:

  • The ongoing pandemic
  • Development activity
  • Staff cost savings
  • Corporate administration revenues
  • Inflationary pressures

Read the related staff report for full details.

Watch the discussion.

Development Charges report received for information

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

As well, they approved allocating $250,000 in the reserve fund for budget year 2025 for highway-related services.

Development charges are collected from new development to pay for growth-related infrastructure.

The report notes the town collected $514,320 in development charges in 2022.

As well, the report highlights that $1.1 million was withdrawn from the Development Charges Reserve Fund in 2022 to fund a variety of projects, including a new aerial truck for the fire department.

The reserve fund balance at the end of 2022 was $1.2 million.

See the staff report for full details.

Watch the discussion.

Municipal Heritage Committee Work Plan

Council received the Municipal Heritage Committee Work Plan for 2023.

A related staff report notes that much of this year’s focus will be on preparing the town to host the 2024 Ontario Heritage Conference.

The committee will also continue reviewing potential heritage properties.

See the related staff report.

Review the work plan.

Watch the discussion.

Use of Firearms Report

Council received the Use of Firearms Report for information.

The report provides recommendations regarding the discharge of firearms within the town.

Council directed staff to proceed with Option 1 in the report.

The option involves updating the town’s Noise Control Bylaw to include provisions for regulating the noise caused by the discharge of a firearm, or sound caused by the detonation of an explosive devise within the urban and residential zones of the town.

See the staff report to learn more.

Watch the discussion.

New business plan for Opera House

The Gravenhurst Opera House, a gem in the downtown core, has a new strategic business plan that will guide operations for the next five years.

Council approved the plan Tuesday.

The plan contains a series of objectives that council and staff will work towards achieving.

Read the related staff report.

Review the strategic plan.

Review the executive summary.

Read the related news release.

Watch the presentation.

Town purchasing two new vehicles

Town council approved the purchase of two new vehicles, identified through a tendering process.

  1. A single axle plow from Lewis Motor Sales Inc. at a cost of $395,730, excluding HST.
  2. A tandem axle plow from Lewis Motor Sales Inc., at a cost of $412,321, excluding HST.

See the staff report to learn more.

Council held off on the delay of purchasing a hybrid pick-up truck, directing staff to consider purchase options and report back.

Watch the discussion.

Town continues with electrical maintenance service provider

Council awarded a single-source five-year contract to Neviss Electrical Systems Inc. for electrical equipment repair and maintenances services.

Neviss has been the town’s primary electrical maintenance contractor since 2013.

During this time, the company has become well acquainted with the town’s various electrical components and has built a solid understanding of the town’s maintenance needs.

Such single-source relationships are not uncommon when they relate to certain municipal operations.

Read the related staff report to learn more.

Watch the discussion.

Mayor’s update

Mayor Heidi Lorenz shared information about three different items.

She noted the town is now accepting applications for its annual Gravenhurst High School Bursary.

Learn more about the bursary.

The mayor also said the town has various summer employment opportunities for students.

Learn more about summer jobs.

She also highlighted the upcoming Mayor’s Tea on May 24.   

Learn more about the tea.

Watch the mayor’s update.


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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