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Gravenhurst Council Highlights - March 19, 2024

Statement of annual remuneration and expenses for council and appointed committees

Council received for information a report on the remuneration and expenses that council members and appointed committee members received in 2023.

Under the Municipal Act, the information must be shared with council each year. The statement is required before March 31.

See the report to learn more.

Council endorses ACO support motion

Council received for information correspondence from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO).

The ACO has concerns about an amendment to the Ontario Heritage Act.

The ACO says the province “without consultation and an understanding of its practical impacts, imposed an arbitrary, very tight deadline for Ontario municipalities to review their municipal heritage registers — and decide whether their listed (non-designated) properties should be designated, failing which they would be kicked off the register and lose all protection.”

The ACO goes on to say that “municipalities across Ontario have been scrambling, working hard to meet the deadline: January 1, 2025, now less than 11 months away. Almost all could use more time to comply. The government could easily accommodate them.”

The ACO is asking the province to extend the deadline to Jan. 1, 2030.

Council members passed a resolution endorsing an Architectural Conservancy of Ontario support motion.

Read the related correspondence.

Review an ACO letter to Premier Ford.

Review the support motion.

Watch the discussion.

Update from CAO Scott Lucas

The town’s chief administrative officer, Scott Lucas, provided council and the community with a first-quarter update on municipal activities.

Lucas touched on various topics, including staff recruitment and recognition, and technological investments the municipality has made to better deliver services to the community.

Watch the update.

Lean training means better service delivery, greater efficiency  

Council received the Lean Training Update Report for information.

The report gave an overview of the Lean training provided to staff and outlined related projects that have led to better municipal service delivery and improved efficiencies.

Elaine Harkiss-Laird, senior manager of human resources and co-author of the report, provided council with a presentation about the Lean training that staff received.

She said the training has provided staff with the knowledge and tools to seek out and start continuous improvement projects. Lean is about reducing waste and inefficiency in an organization.

A company called Leading Edge Group has provided the training for staff.

Harkiss-Laird noted that in September 2020 council authorized staff to participate in Lean training.

Grant money the town received from the Ontario Municipal Modernization Fund is used to pay for the training.

All staff are trained to a minimum of what is called Lean White Belt – an introduction to Lean that provides a basic understanding of the methodology.

Those completing white belt training can then take green belt training, a more advanced course.

See the related report to learn more.

Watch the discussion.

2024 Accessibility Advisory Committee Work Plan

Council received for information the Accessibility Advisory Committee’s work plan for 2024 and approved the document.

The work plan outlines the committee’s goals and objectives for the year.

Read the related staff report.

Review the work plan.

Watch the related presentation.

Council adopts revised Refreshment Vehicle Bylaw

Council members received for information a report outlining proposed changes to the town’s Refreshment Vehicle Bylaw.

They later approved the revised bylaw.

The town licenses refreshment vehicles – commonly known as food trucks – that operate in the municipality.

The purpose of licensing is to make certain the vehicles are operated in a safe manner and insured.

The revised bylaw includes updated terminology, modernized insurance requirements, an enhanced fire inspection process, and other changes.

To assist refreshment vehicle operators, the fee for the license has been reduced from $157 to $75.

Read the related staff report to learn more.

Review the revised bylaw.

Watch the related discussion.

2023 Annual Investment Report

Council received the 2023 Annual Investment Report for information.

Town finances continue to be in good shape.

Review the report to learn more.

Watch the related presentation.

Municipal Heritage Committee 2024 Work Plan

Council received for information the Municipal Heritage Committee’s work plan for the year and approved the plan.

Read the related staff report.

Review the work plan.

Watch the related discussion.

Council approves Terence Haight grants, CIP grants

Council approved Terence Haight grants and Community Improvement Program grants for 2024.

The approved grants are based on recommendations from the Community Grants Committee.

Terence Haight grant recipients include Gravenhurst High School, the Gravenhurst branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Severn Bridge Agricultural Society, and the Muskoka Ringette Association.

Community Improvement Program grants are for several properties in town. Improvement projects include new signage, lighting, and façade.

Read the related staff report.

Learn more about the Terence Haight Financial Assistance Program.

Learn more about the CIP program.

Watch the related discussion.

Great special events happening in Gravenhurst

Council members received a report on future special events in town.

Council deemed eight events as municipally significant.

Event organizers applying to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) for a Special Occasion Permit to serve alcohol must provide proof that a municipality is aware of the event and supportive – hence the municipally significant designations.

Council also granted two events exemptions to the town’s noise bylaw (Toronto Outdoor Racing Club; Tall Pines Music and Arts Festival).

They also authorized a ‘Safe Cannabis Consumption Zone’ for Tall Pines.

The report included details about a new waste diversion guidelines document staff created.

The guidelines will help event organizers understand the importance and benefits of diverting waste.

The guidelines also require event organizers to have a solid waste management plan and a waste diversion plan.

Additionally, the guidelines require event organizers to manage their waste management costs by participating in District of Muskoka waste diversion programs.

Read the related staff report.

Review the Waste Diversion Guidelines.

Watch the related presentation.

Council supports ending gas pipeline subsidy

Council received for information correspondence from Clean Air Partnership and passed a related resolution stating the town supports the Ontario Energy Board’s (OEB) decision to end a gas pipeline subsidy.

The resolution also asks the province to let the OEB decision stand.

Gaby Kalapos, executive director for the Clean Air Partnership, writes that in December 2023 the OEB ended a subsidy for gas pipelines in new developments to reduce energy costs for Ontarians.

Kalapos said the OEB ended the subsidy because “it is bad for existing gas customers and bad for new homebuyers.”

The executive director said the “subsidy is bad for existing gas customers because they pay for the subsidy through higher energy bills. This is a major capital cost, amounting to over $250 million in costs to the rate base each year. The subsidy is also bad for new homebuyers because it incentivizes developers to install gas equipment, which is more expensive to operate than heat pumps now available.”

Read the related correspondence.

Watch the related discussion.

Muskoka Watershed Council update

Councillor Peter Johnston, a member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, provided an update on the organization.

Watch the update.

Learn more about the Muskoka Watershed Council.

Municipal Heritage Committee members appointed

The Municipal Heritage Committee has new members.

Council appointed Dave Bartlett, Paul Cook, and Richard Tatley to the committee for the balance of the 2022-2026 council term.

Watch the related discussion.

New member named to Community Awards Committee

Town council appointed Kathy Daoust to the Community Awards Committee.

The appointment is for the balance of the council term.

Watch the related discussion.

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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