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Gravenhurst Council Highlights - Aug. 15, 2023

YWCA asks for in-kind use of Terry Fox auditorium and access to Internet

Hannah Lin, executive director of YWCA Muskoka, made a presentation to council.

Lin provided an overview of the organization and the services it provides.

The YWCA mission is to champion “positive change for girls, women and gender diverse people through education, leadership and advocacy.”

Lin also made a request on behalf of the organization.

She asked the town to consider a three-day in-kind donation of various rooms and facilities at the Centennial Centre, including the Terry Fox Auditorium.

Next year, YWCA Muskoka is hosting the 153rd annual members’ meeting of the YWCAs of Canada and plans to use the auditorium space.

Lin noted 150 to 170 delegates are expected to attend.

She also asked the town to make sure Internet access is available in the auditorium.

Mayor Heidi Lorenz thanked Lin for her presentation.

Watch the presentation to learn more.

Learn more about YWCA Muskoka.

Thursday Night Old Timers discuss ice time

Duncan Sanderson, representing the Thursday Night Old Timers Hockey League, made a presentation to council about available ice time for their group.

The league plays at the Centennial Centre and is comprised of six teams.

Staff said the change in the group’s ice time is to meet overall demand for ice time – a demand that is growing.

Mayor Heidi Lorenz thanked Sanderson for the presentation and said the conversation about ice time allocation will continue.

Watch the discussion to learn more.

Council takes a pass on parking ticket motion

Councillor Penny Varney put forward a motion that called on staff to research and report back to council on alternatives to issuing parking tickets at special events.

Council discussed the pros and cons of the motion.

In the end, the motion was defeated.

Watch the discussion to learn more.

Council directs staff to look at creation of Event Waste Strategy Plan

Council passed a motion, introduced by Mayor Heidi Lorenz, which directs staff to investigate and report back on the requirements of an Event Waste Strategy Plan.

The plan would contain waste reduction-related stipulations that event facilitators must meet when holding an event in Gravenhurst.

Watch the discussion to learn more.

Gravenhurst investing $1 million for new hospital sites

The Town of Gravenhurst will provide $1 million as its contribution towards two new hospital sites in Muskoka, helping to ensure continued high-quality health care for residents and visitors.

The funding will support Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s construction of new hospital sites in Huntsville and Bracebridge.

On Tuesday, council approved the town’s investment in health care on the advice of chief administrative officer Scott Lucas.

Watch the related discussion.

Read the related news release to learn more.

Dates set for 2024 budget process

Council approved a schedule for the review of the town’s 2024 draft budget.

They also authorized staff to bring forward, for consideration, the draft budget as outlined in a related staff report.

As well, they directed staff to prepare cost estimates for additional items in the related staff report that are outside of the budget, but merit consideration.

Budget documents will be available for review on the town website on Nov. 10.

A public meeting on the draft budget is set for Nov. 29.

Council will consider approving the budget on Dec. 12.

Review the related staff report to learn more.

Watch the related discussion.

Report on user fees received for information

Council received for information a report on proposed user fees for 2024.

“The Town of Gravenhurst has several fees and charges for town services or use of town facilities,” deputy treasurer Rob Rosilius said in the report. “The purpose of these fees and charges is to attribute some or all of the costs associated with the service, or the enforcement activity, to the user/consumer of the service. By doing so, the revenue required from taxation to balance the budget is reduced.”

He noted that if the fees are approved, they would come into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

The proposed fees can be reviewed on the town website.

The public is welcome to provide feedback on the fees.

Feedback can be provided through the town’s community engagement website, Engage Gravenhurst. A feedback page will be available on the site soon.

Council will consider approving the fees for 2024 on Sept. 19.

Review the related staff report.

Review the proposed fees.

Review a summary of the recommended increases and new charges.

Watch the related discussion.

Municipal Accommodation Tax report received for information, related task force created

Council received for information an update on the town’s Municipal Accommodation Tax.

As well, council directed staff to set up an internal task force to review how MAT revenue can be invested to support the enhancement and development of tourism in Gravenhurst.

Recommendations will come forward as part of the annual budget process.

Read the related staff report.

Watch the discussion.

The town implemented the tax in February. It applies to all transient accommodations and licensed short-term rentals.

Grant program adjustments OK’d

Council received for information a report outlining adjustments to the Community Grant Program.

They also approved amending the application deadline to Dec. 15 each year for the Terence Haight grant program and the Community Improvement Program.

In addition, they approved a revised Community Improvement Program with a greater scope.

Watch the related discussion.

Review the related staff report.

Review the revised Community Improvement Plan.

Town moving ahead with North Morrison Landing parking improvements

Gravenhurst council received for information a report on parking improvements at North Morrison Landing.

Following the completion of an Environmental Assessment, council approved ‘Alternative C’ as the preferred improvement.

Under Alternative C, the expanded parking lot at the landing will include provisions for 25 public parking spaces, complete with 14 deeded spaces and five trailer spaces.

Council also directed staff to include in the 2024 draft budget, for consideration, the required funds to implement the improvement.

North Morrison Landing services the north side of Morrison Lake.

Watch the related discussion.

Review the related staff report.

Integrity Commissioner report

Council members received for information the annual report from the town’s integrity commissioner, Suzanne Craig.

Watch the related discussion.

Review the related report.

Council awards tender for South Kahshe Lake Road Culvert Rehabilitation project

Fowler Construction Company Ltd. will handle the South Kahshe Lake Road Culvert Rehabilitation project.

Council approved awarding a tender for the work at a cost of $244,230, excluding HST.

Fowler was the lowest compliant bidder for the project.

The existing culvert, roughly 80 meters east of Tryon Drive, is at the end of its lifespan.

Watch the discussion to learn more.

Read the related staff report.

Town finances in good shape: mid-year report

Council received for information the 2023 Mid-Year Financial Update report.

"The purpose of the 2023 Mid-Year Financial Update Report is to provide [council] with an update on mid-year financial performance versus budget, as well as a status update on some of the planned initiatives that were articulated in the budget,” deputy treasurer Theresa Trott said in the report.

She noted that: “Administration concludes that the 2023 Mid-Year Financial Update Report demonstrates sound financial accountability and good progress on council approved initiatives. We project the town will end the year with a 1-3% operating surplus.”

Read the related report.

Municipality contemplates changing road name

Council received for information a report about potentially changing the name of a local road from Severn River Shore to Lantern Trail PVT.

They also authorized staff to place a notice on the town website, and in the Gravenhurst Banner for two weeks, advising the public of the proposed road renaming, and asking for comments on the idea.

“A formal letter has been received by the town from one of the area residents requesting consideration be given for the renaming of the road to be more in line with other road names in the area such as Lantern Bay Riverside,” infrastructure clerk Jennifer Kyle noted in the related staff report.

Following the public consultation, staff are to report back to council with recommendations for next steps.

The District of Muskoka has already indicated it has no objections to the name change, saying it does not conflict with other names in the region.

Severn River Shore is in the southwestern area of the municipality and is a privately maintained cottage road, which provides access to 13 properties on the north shore of the Severn River.

Read the related staff report to learn more.

Mayor Lorenz monthly update

Mayor Heidi Lorenz provided her monthly update, including notice that she and CAO Scott Lucas will be in London next week to attend the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference.

She touched on a variety of other topics as well, including the awarding of the town’s Daisy Awards, which recognize exemplary gardens in the community.

Watch the update to learn more.

Muskoka Watershed Council update

Councillor Peter Johnston, the town’s representative on the Muskoka Watershed Council, provided his monthly update on the council.

His comments focused on a watershed report card that will be coming out shortly.

Watch the 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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