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Gravenhurst Council Highlights - July 18, 2023

Presentation on Community Risk Assessment and Fire Master Plan

Council received a presentation on the Community Risk Assessment and Fire Master Plan exercise the Gravenhurst Fire Department is conducting.

The town has retained The Loomex Group as consultants for the project.

As per provincial regulations, all municipalities are required to conduct a Community Risk Assessment (CRA) by July 1, 2024.

A CRA identifies risks and hazards from a fire services perspective.

The assessment helps municipalities make decisions about fire protection services.

In tandem with the CRA, the town is developing a new Fire Master Plan.

The plan ensures the town is compliant with the Fire Protection Act and other relevant legislation.

The plan also provides recommendations about the delivery of fire department services within the town.

In creating the plan, the town is looking for public input regarding the department. Visit to participate in the related survey.

Work on the CRA and the master plan will conclude in the fall and staff will report back to council on both at that time.

Watch the presentation to learn more.

Review the presentation slide deck.

Muskoka Watershed Council presentation

Council received a deputation from Pete LeMoine, a director with the Muskoka Watershed Council.

LeMoine provided an update on the watershed council’s activities.

Watch the presentation.

Review the related slide deck.

Presentation on the impact of road salt on watershed

Council members received a deputation from Joanne Smith of the Gull and Silver Lake Residents’ Association.

The presentation focused on the impact of road salt on the Muskoka watershed.

Watch the presentation.

Following the presentation, council passed a resolution stating it is committed to reducing the use of road salt.

Presentation from Christine’s Place

Jenn Armishaw-Adair and Cathy Birnie of Christine’s Place appeared before council.

The Huntsville-based organization “offers a safe space where a person can receive information, assistance, and hope related to an unexpected pregnancy or after-abortive care.”

The organization wants to establish a space in Gravenhurst and is looking for support.

Mayor Heidi Lorenz said that during 2024 budget deliberations, council and staff could consider how the town can assist.

Watch the presentation.

OPP thankful for town support

Sgt. Dave Moffatt of the Ontario Provincial Police made a presentation to council.

He thanked the town and key members of staff for supporting the OPP’s marine unit training program.

The OPP use Muskoka Wharf, specifically the town’s marina amenities, each spring while training officers for the upcoming boating season.

Moffatt presented the town with a plaque for its support. Joining him for the presentation was Insp. Jason Nickle, detachment commander for Bracebridge OPP and Supt. Todd Proulx, provincial director for traffic and marine for the OPP.

Watch the presentation.

Caroline Kirkpatrick, operations manager for the Town of Gravenhurst, accepted the plaque on behalf of the town. Joining her were town staff members Rob Gloger, fleet and yard coordinator, and Ron Wood, inventory clerk.

Council awards 2023 GHS Bursary

Council presented the 2023 Gravenhurst High School Bursary to Paige LaHay.

The local student received $2,000 that she can use towards post-secondary studies.

Each spring, the town invites graduating students at GHS to apply for the bursary.

A review task force, comprised of three council members, considers applications.

Watch for 2024 bursary application details on our website next spring.

Staff appointed as lottery license officers

Council passed a bylaw appointing two Legislative Services staff members as lottery license officers.

The staff are responsible for administering the town’s lottery license program.

In a related staff report, director of legislative services Kayla Thibeault said the town is authorized by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to provide licenses to charity and non-profit organizations for lottery events conducted in the municipality to raise funds.

While provincial legislation doesn’t specifically require a bylaw appointing lottery license officers, Thibeault said in her staff report it’s deemed a best practice to do so.

Read the related staff report.

The bylaw names administrative clerks Hailey Lehman and Bessie Steele as lottery license officers for the Town of Gravenhurst.

Lottery licensing details are available on the town website.

Report on banking changes

Council received for information the Change in Banking Services Report.

The report updates council on further changes to banking arrangements for the municipality due to the closure of the National Bank of Canada branch in Gravenhurst.

The town currently uses the National Bank of Canada for electronic banking services and Scotiabank for counter services.

The town has used both banks since August 2022 due to the closure of the Gravenhurst branch of National Bank.

The report notes the town will be transitioning all its banking to Scotiabank.

Town officials met with Scotiabank in late June to discuss a complete transition to the bank.

“Scotiabank provided a proposal shortly after our meeting that waives all banking fees and offers an attractive rate of interest on all deposits that exceeds what we are currently getting from the NBC and is on par with our neighbours,” deputy treasurer Theresa Trott said in the report.

She added the transition of all banking services will ensure the town continues to receive local access to cashier services and continued excellent service for investment and electronic banking.

The town’s agreement with National Bank expires at the end of July 2023, but will be renewed for up to another year to allow the town to work through the transition to full service with Scotiabank.

Read the related staff report.

New franchise agreement with Enbridge Gas in the works

Council received for information a staff report regarding a new franchise agreement between the town and Enbridge Gas.

“The purpose of the Franchise Agreement - Enbridge Gas Report is to obtain approval to proceed with advancing the draft model franchise agreement as described in this report to the Ontario Energy Board for subsequent approval,” operations manager Caroline Kirkpatrick said in the report.

She noted that provincial legislation requires a franchise agreement between the municipality and the gas company serving it.

The agreement outlines specific terms and conditions and requires Ontario Energy Board approval.

A 20-year agreement between the town and Enbridge expired in May.

Read the related staff report.

Council OK’s changes to noise bylaw

Council received for information the Noise Control Bylaw Update Report and approved a new noise bylaw for the town.

“The purpose of the Noise Control By-law Update Report is to provide the committee with a new version of the town’s noise bylaw for review and consideration resulting from recent committee direction related to firearms usage,” manager of bylaw services Kristen Ford said in the related staff report. “In addition to the more detailed General Prohibitions … staff have also included provisions for noise created by firearms within the Urban Centre and a Section for General Exemptions, which allows for bylaw staff to provide clearer responses to those who have concerns about these types of noises.”

Read the related staff report.

Review the new bylaw.

Watch for a public education campaign about the new bylaw.

Staff to look at accessible docking at Muskoka Wharf

Council passed a resolution directing staff to review the feasibility of purchasing and installing an accessible docking structure at Muskoka Wharf.

Staff will look at the feasibility of purchasing a structure from Able Sale Toronto at the National Yacht Club.

The town’s Accessibility Advisory Committee recommended the town investigate the purchase of an accessible docking structure.

Staff will report back to committee and council on their findings.

Watch the related discussion.

Changes to town’s procurement policy

Council received for information a report about proposed changes to the town’s procurement policy and later passed a related bylaw implementing the changes.

The purchasing bylaw was last amended in October 2016.

“Over time, it’s important for these processes, bylaws and policies to be reviewed and updated to reflect current business practices, new legislation, and to provide clarity and rigor around rules, processes and limits. The goal is always to achieve the right balance between enabling an efficient operational procurement process, and mitigating risk, ensuring fairness, transparency and accountability to the public and to council,” purchasing and financial analyst Amanda Northey said in the related report.

For details on the changes to the policy, see the table in the report.

“Further amendments to the procurement policy are anticipated and the document will continue to evolve to comply with new legislation, new municipal best practices, and new strategic priorities set by council,” Northey said.

Watch the related discussion.

Rural transit study final report

Council received for information the final report on the town’s rural transit study.

“The options evaluation indicates that a town-wide transit service with two vehicles providing an urban flex route and rural on-demand is preferred for the Town of Gravenhurst, and will adequately meet the community’s needs,” the study states.

Read the related staff report.

Review the transit study.

Watch the related presentation.

Amy Taylor, manager of economic development, said in the staff report that should council wish to pursue implementation of the transit option, council will need to direct staff to include transit in future budget considerations.

“Administration will also continue to monitor transit projects happening in the region and continue to identify opportunities for collaborative transportation solutions,” she said.

Cash in-lieu of parking approved for downtown property

Council passed a site-specific bylaw allowing the new owners of 165 Muskoka Road North to pay cash in-lieu of having enough parking for the restaurant they plan to operate.

The owners are redeveloping the site, once home to The Brick, into a Chuck’s Roadhouse and based on the town’s zoning bylaw lack adequate parking.

“Staff have calculated that the proposed new restaurant use requires 31 parking spaces and have provided a credit of 13 spaces in accordance with Section 6.1.4 of the town’s zoning bylaw, based on the previous use. The property owner is able to provide 11 spaces based on their permit submissions, resulting in a deficiency of seven spaces (31 required less the 13 credited and the 11 provided). Given the deficient parking spaces, staff are recommending the owner provide cash in lieu of parking for the seven spaces,” manager of planning services Adam Ager said in the related staff report.

The $52,500 collected through the bylaw will be placed in a special fund for parking/transportation costs.

Read the related staff report.

Watch the related presentation.

Staff plan to bring forward an additional report to adopt a formal policy for collecting cash-in-lieu of parking.

Council approves Sustainability Advisory Committee work plan

Council received for information the Sustainability Advisory Committee’s 2023 work plan.

“The purpose of the Sustainability Advisory Committee 2023 Work Plan Report is to communicate the objectives, goals, and proposed activities of the Sustainability Advisory Committee for 2023 to Committee of the Whole,” town planner Cameron McDonald said in the related staff report.

Watch the related presentation.

Review the work plan.

Muskoka Watershed Council update

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

Watch the update.

Mayor Heidi Lorenz update

Mayor Heidi Lorenz provided council with her monthly update.

The mayor touched on a number of topics.

She noted that earlier in the afternoon she welcomed provincial officials to Gravenhurst, including associate minister of transportation Stan Cho, local MPP Graydon Smith, and Ontario Northland representatives.

They met at the Gravenhurst Train Station for a tour of the facility, which will serve as one of the stops for the Northlander when service resumes.

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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