Gravenhurst’s Mayor Paul Kelly will send a letter on behalf of council to Infrastructure Ontario formally requesting they be able to “actively participate” in the disposition of the property that formerly housed the Ontario Fire College.

The college was decommissioned by the province on March 31st of this year after being closed since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter being sent by the Mayor is to make sure council is kept in the loop on what the next steps are for the property. It’s something Kelly has been adamant happens since it was announced the college would be shuttered for good. 

Since the college was decommissioned, Chris McConnell, President of Ontario Public Service Employee Union Local 317 (which represented 20 people who worked at the facility) and Brad Bigrigg, Gravenhurst’s former Fire Chief, have both come out against the college being decommissioned. 

Gravenhurst council passed a motion in February 2021 that was aimed at saving the college. 

A staff report shares the 97.1-acre property currently houses 28 buildings ranging from a 30 square foot radio tower to the 26,000 square foot student residence. 

Councillor Sandy Cairns asked if anything has been mentioned in previous conversations about protecting certain buildings, notably the Ontario Firefighters’ Memorial. Kelly said he wrote a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford earlier this year about possibly preserving the memorial and some of the buildings, but hasn’t heard back as of the town’s October 19th council meeting.