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Gravenhurst Council Highlights - May 16, 2023

Council receives two deputations

Council received two deputations on Tuesday.

One was regarding residents’ concerns about the Starboard proposal.

The other presentation was about blasting concerns near Lookout Park. The blasting took place last year.

Watch the presentations.

First quarter financial update received for information

Council received for information the 2023 First Quarter Financial Update Report.

“The purpose of the 2023 First Quarter Financial Update Report is to lay out a quarterly reporting schedule for the year and to provide committee with an update on 2023 first quarter financial performance against budget,” treasurer Ross Jeffery said in the related staff report.

He noted the net budget for the town to the end of the first quarter is 21 per cent expended and overall operating departments are in line with quarterly spending.

“It is anticipated the town will continue to track within budget to year-end,” Jeffery said.

Read the related staff report.

Tax levy bylaw for 2023 approved

Council received for information a staff report on the 2023 Final Tax Levy Bylaw and approved the related bylaw.

Each year, as per provincial regulations, council adopts a tax bylaw that sets tax rates for the year.

Tax rates are set for each property class: residential, multi-residential, commercial, industrial, landfills, pipelines, farm, and managed forest.

The tax rate is established based on the tax levy approved by council in the 2023 operating budget.

Read the related report for full details.

Review the bylaw.

Learn about the 2023 budget.

What Gravenhurst residents should expect to see on their “all-in” 2023 property tax bill is an average increase of 3.4 per cent for both urban and rural property owners.

These increases align with the estimates projected when the budget was approved of 3.3 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.

This translates to an average increase of $44 per $100,000 of assessment on an urban property and $34 per $100,000 on a rural property from 2022 to 2023.

The due date for payment of taxes is Aug. 31, 2023.

Council passes bylaw appointing municipal law enforcement officers

Council members passed a bylaw officially appointing two new staffers as municipal law enforcement officers.

Brandon Young and Kirsten Marchewa are Summer Student Level II municipal law enforcement officers.

The town welcomes Young and Marchewa to their roles.

Read the related staff report.

Work continues to upgrade council chamber

Council received for information a report providing a high-level update on improvements planned for the council chamber.

They also approved using the balance of the Municipal Modernization Fund grant – roughly $60,000 – to fund the project.

“Council Chambers is one the most publicly visible spaces of town hall, and until recently, has seen very little in the way of improvements since moving into the building,” facilities manager Rob Funston and economic development manager Amy Taylor noted in a joint report. “In addition to new paint and the removal of the room divider, the space will see a complete audio video upgrade and a new council table. For the audio-video upgrades, there will be new TV display units, microphones, speakers, and racking system.”

A new council table will allow better lines of sight between council, staff, and the public.

Town staff are working to ensure the project stays on track.

A challenge has been a shortage of materials for the project.

A project schedule, including completion date, is expected shortly.

Watch our website for project updates.

Read the staff report for full details.

Council approves Parks, Recreation, and Trails Master Plan

The Town of Gravenhurst now has a Parks, Recreation, and Trails Master Plan.

Tuesday, Gravenhurst council members approved the plan, which includes short, medium, and long-term recommendations to meet the needs of the community over the next decade.

“Planning for our future is important and this document will help guide us as we go forward,” Mayor Heidi Lorenz said. “I want to thank our residents, community organizations, council members, and town staff for their input into creating the plan.”

Council, during the 2022 capital budget process, earmarked funding for the development of the plan.

Review the slide deck from the presentation.

Watch the presentation.

Read the related staff report.

Review the master plan.

Town finances in good shape: report

Council received for information the 2022 Annual Reserves and Reserve Funds Report.

They also allocated funding to the Parkland Dedication Reserve Fund.

“The purpose of the 2022 Annual Reserves and Reserve Funds Report is to share the continuity of reserve and reserve fund balances for the year ended 2022 and to provide projected balances for the year ended 2023,” treasurer Ross Jeffery said in the related staff report.

He noted the report includes a 10-year balance projection for information purposes.

“Overall, Town Reserve and Reserve Fund balances remain stable and are adequate to meet present needs, the most significant of which are the provisions for tax stabilization and for funding of capital projects,” he said.

Read the related report.

Watch the presentation.

Transit study update received for information

Council received an update on the transit study the town is doing with consultants Left Turn Right Turn.

“The purpose of the Rural Transit Feasibility Study Update Report is to provide an update to council on the rural transit study project and present the findings from the community consultation and survey results along with possible future implementation options,” economic development manager Amy Taylor said in a related staff report.

Following an extensive consultation period, officials have determined that a third-party contracted service, providing an urban “flex” route and a rural on-demand service, would be best for the community.

The service, which would be phased in, was identified as “most preferred” during a related survey.

Read the staff report.

Review the slide deck from the presentation.

Watch the presentation.

Community Improvement Program grants approved for 2023

Council approved $73,513 in Community Improvement Program (CIP) grants.

“The Community Improvement Program is a great way for the town to support people wanting to improve their property,” Mayor Heidi Lorenz said.

District Councillor Sandy Cairns said there has been a huge improvement in the community through the CIP program over the years.

The annual program makes financial assistance available to businesses and property owners in the Gravenhurst urban area. The town issues the grant money when projects are complete.

Read the related staff report.

Read the related news release.

Watch the presentation.

Town moves forward with new industrial subdivision project

Council authorized staff to proceed with a project to develop a 10-lot industrial subdivision.

The site is off Industrial Drive.

The intent is to develop the lots so they can be sold to businesses, creating employment and taxation benefits for the community.

Council also directed staff to research available grant funding, and apply, to assist with costs associated with the project.

In addition, council directed staff to develop a business plan and funding strategy for the project and then report to council.

“Administration concludes that given the low inventory of serviced industrial lands within Gravenhurst, that proceeding to the detailed design stage and researching grant opportunities would be an appropriate and proactive approach to meeting a demand that is anticipated to grow, especially as the community itself continues to grow,” infrastructure services director Andrew Stacey said in a related staff report.

Watch the related discussion.

Read the staff report.

Council awards tender for hybrid half-ton truck

Council approved the purchase of a hybrid half-ton truck from Blue Mountain Chrysler in Collingwood.

The cost of the vehicle is $67,976, excluding HST.

Council also approved a $56,818 increase to the fleet budget to facilitate the purchase, with the allocation funded through the Community Reinvestment Reserve Fund.

If the vehicle is not available, the purchase will be deferred to the 2024 capital budget year for council consideration.

Read the related staff report for full details.

Council supports Bill 5, Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act

Council received correspondence from Sault Ste. Marie city council, expressing support for Bill 5, the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act, and officially stated its support for the proposed legislation.

In doing so, council members adopted a motion of support for the bill and directed staff to send the motion to Premier Doug Ford.

Introduced by Liberal MPP Stephen Blais, the bill, which passed first reading last August, would amend the Municipal Act, 2001, and the City of Toronto Act, 2006.

The amendments would require, through codes of conduct, council members and board members to comply with workplace violence and harassment policies.

In addition, if found in contravention, council members and board members could lose their seats.

Watch the discussion.

OSUM conference update

District Councillor Sandy Cairns provided an update on the recent Ontario Small Urban Municipalities Conference.

The conference took place April 26-28 in Brantford.

Watch the update.

Muskoka Watershed Council update

District Councillor Peter Johnston provided an update on the Muskoka Watershed Council.

Watch the update.

Learn about the watershed council.

Mayor Lorenz monthly update

Mayor Heidi Lorenz provided council with her monthly update.

She noted the Mayor’s Tea is Wednesday, May 24.

She also reminded graduating students at Gravenhurst High School that the deadline to apply for the town’s bursary is May 31.

Watch the full 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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