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Gravenhurst Council Highlights - Feb. 13, 2024

Meetings return to the council chambers

Mayor Heidi Lorenz opened the meeting by welcoming everyone back to the council chambers following a renovation of the space.

Part of the work included the installation of a new audio/visual system, allowing for an improved in-person and online meeting experience.

Mayor Lorenz thanked everyone who played a role in the project.

Watch the mayor’s remarks.

See our related news release.

Report removed from agenda but will return in the near future

Council passed a resolution to remove a hybrid council meeting policy report from the agenda and directed staff to put the report back on the agenda after a few Committee of the Whole meeting cycles.

Councillor Erin Strength, who put forward the resolution, which was seconded by Councillor Randy Jorgensen, spoke to the matter.

Strength said because the council chambers audio/visual system is new, it’s premature to discuss the hybrid council meeting policy report until council has a few meetings under its belt using the technology.

The purpose of the report is to present a policy for adoption that will allow members (council, committee of the whole, planning council and sub-committees) at meetings to participate electronically under certain conditions. Participation would be strictly through the new audio/visual system.

Watch the discussion.

Gravenhurst Winter Carnival presentation

Jennifer Harris-Lowe, community recreation coordinator for the Town of Gravenhurst, presented council with information about the upcoming Gravenhurst Winter Carnival, which takes place Feb. 15-18.

She began her remarks by recognizing the efforts of Gravenhurst Winter Carnival Working Group members.

She also recognized carnival volunteers for the important role they play in making the annual event possible.

Harris-Lowe also thanked carnival sponsors for their involvement.

Additionally, she highlighted carnival activities that will be taking place.

As well, Harris-Lowe introduced Oaklynn Shell, 7, winner of this year’s Gravenhurst Winter Carnival button contest.

Shell created the winning design for the front of this year’s carnival button.

Prior to the meeting, council members and Winter Carnival Working Group members presented Shell with a certificate in recognition of her winning design, which includes carnival mascot Skokie.

A Gravenhurst Winter Carnival button is required to access all carnival events.

See our related news release to learn more about the carnival, including details about where carnival buttons can be purchased.

Watch the presentation.

Request for recognition of the Sloan family’s contributions to Gravenhurst

Rusty Draper was the second delegate to speak at the meeting.

He asked council to consider formal recognition of the Sloan family’s contributions to Gravenhurst over the years.

Specifically, he’d like to see “[the Sloan family name] put at the property at First and Harvie streets,” where the Gravenhurst Fire Department is now based. The site is close to where the family was active in community life for many years.

Mayor Lorenz thanked Draper for the presentation and noted recognition of the Sloan family has been discussed at the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.

The mayor asked Councillor Jorgensen, council’s representative on the committee, to speak about the matter.

Jorgensen said the committee would like to see some form of recognition for the Sloan family.

He said the matter is part of the committee’s work plan, which will be presented to council for approval.

Jorgensen said through the work plan process he thinks the committee can make a recommendation to council to formally recognize the Sloan family in some capacity.

Watch the presentation.

Dog licensing bylaw amended

Council received a report about proposed amendments to the town’s dog licensing bylaw and approved the amendments.

The amendments are housekeeping in nature and deal with where licensing fee information can be found.

See the related staff report to learn more.

Review the bylaw.

Amendments approved for ‘Schedule A’ of Administrative Monetary Penalty Bylaw

Council received a report about proposed amendments to ‘Schedule A’ of the Administrative Monetary Penalty Bylaw and approved the amendments.

Read the report.

Review the bylaw.

The updates to the schedule include penalties for the recently approved Fouling of Municipal Highways and Property Bylaw

Groups will assist with implementation of climate change adaptation plan

Council authorized staff to enter the town into an agreement with ICLEI Canada and the Ontario Resource Centre for Climate Adaptation.

They will provide support towards the implementation of the town’s climate change adaptation plan, which council approved in January 2023.

There is no financial impact as resources are provided in-kind.

Read the staff report to learn more.

Review the climate change adaptation plan.

Learn about 2023 plan-related accomplishments.

Watch the related discussion.

Drainage improvements coming to Musquash Road area in the years ahead

Council received the Musquash Road – Major Drainage Improvements Report for information.

They also selected methods to deal with nuisance flooding in the area, as detailed in the report, once the related environmental assessment is complete.

“The improvements…are intended to address documented occurrences of nuisance flooding impacting residents along Musquash Road, Private Street and McPherson Street during various storm events,” infrastructure services director Andrew Stacey said in the report.

See page 7 of the report to learn about the improvements, which involve the construction of storm sewers.

Review the staff report.

Watch the related discussion.

In order to design, construct, and obtain the necessary drainage easements, the cost is estimated at $3 million.

To date, through the 2023 and 2024 capital budgets, council has allocated $2 million, leaving the balance to be considered during future budget deliberations.

Stacey noted that despite not having all the funding allocated at this time, the scope of this project is substantive and will need to occur over several years.

This will provide the necessary time to advance the project with adequate time for council to consider the remaining cost as part of the 2025 capital budget.

Council awards contract for tiered seating at Gull Lake Rotary Park

A project that will result in tiered granite block seating at Gull Lake Rotary Park is going ahead.

Council authorized staff to award a contract to Powcon Inc. for the construction of tiered seating at the park, at a cost of $499,947, excluding provisional items and HST.

Seating will be along the slope facing the lake, adjacent to the barge.

People will be able to use the seating to watch performances on the barge and other activities at the waterfront.

Rotary Rocks the Barge, a Rotary Club of Gravenhurst campaign, is funding the project as part of the club’s 85th anniversary. Funding is possible thanks to generous donations.

Learn more about Rotary Rocks the Barge.

The club, the town, and the town’s consulting engineers worked together to design the seating.

Read the related staff report.

Watch the related discussion.

Watch a related YourTV video about the project.

Staff to research change of use for parking lot

Council members passed a resolution, introduced by Councillor Penny Varney, directing staff to research and report on options for the conversion of designated bus parking to general parking at the First and Harvie Streets Parking Lot.

Councillor Varney said buses no longer require the parking.

Watch the related discussion.

Councillor Jorgensen attends Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference

Councillor Randy Jorgensen attended the recent Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference.

The conference took place in Toronto at the end of January.

Watch Councillor Jorgensen’s report on the conference.

Learn more about the Rural Ontario Municipal Association.

Councillor Robinson shares overview of recent Muskoka Watershed Council conference

Councillor Michelle Robinson provided a report on the recent Muskoka Watershed Council conference.

The one-day conference took place in Bracebridge on February 9.

Watch Councillor Robinson’s report.

Learn more about the Muskoka Watershed Council.

Monthly update: Mayor Heidi Lorenz

Mayor Heidi Lorenz provided her monthly update.

The mayor reminded the community about the upcoming Gravenhurst Winter Carnival, Feb. 15-18.

She also thanked everyone who helps make the carnival possible.

As well, Mayor Lorenz wished everyone a happy Family Day.

The mayor noted she attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference and while there met with Kinga Surma, minister of infrastructure for the province.

Lorenz said the meeting was positive. They discussed two properties in town: the Muskoka Regional Centre site and the Ontario Fire College site. 

Mayor Lorenz said the hope is Minister Surma will visit the two sites so she can understand their importance to the community.

The mayor also shared her thoughts about the future of local hospital services.

Watch the update to learn more.


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 

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