The municipalities in Muskoka are set to receive a combined $11,289,877 from the province as part of 2022’s Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF).
The fund targets vital infrastructure in small, rural, or northern municipalities. Gravenhurst will get more than nine times 2021’s amount of $110,245, while the other lower-tier municipalities, as well as the District of Muskoka, each saw funding about doubled:
- District of Muskoka: $6,001,856
- Gravenhurst: $998,054
- Huntsville: $747,894
- Bracebridge: $576,308
- Muskoka Lakes: $520,194
- Lake of Bays: $205,854
- Georgian Bay: $165,033
Julie Stevens, the district’s Chief Administrative Officer, says the province calculates the funding based on a municipality’s infrastructure costs, property values, and median household income.
She says the district’s portion will go where it usually does.
“We’ve tended to always apply it to support our water and wastewater infrastructure,” says Stevens. “Water and wastewater for us is really expensive for a number of reasons.”
The biggest factors, Stevens says, are Muskoka’s topography, as well as where communities are located.
“We have a lot of different municipalities that are spread out, which means we’ve got a lot of plants,” says Stevens. “Just to give some comparison, District operates 18 plants, whereas the City of Windsor operates two.”
Stevens says they haven’t earmarked any particular project yet, but expects to have specifics in the new year.
In Gravenhurst, which saw the biggest proportional increase, Mayor Paul Kelly says the bump was a welcome surprise.
“It was great news– we had already done our budget and didn’t anticipate the additional money,” says Kelly. “The various projects we have to do infrastructure-wise, a number of them we were able to move forward but several of them we had to basically postpone or move back for a little bit of time. So that money will come in handy.”
Kelly says the funds will likely go towards maintaining or improving the 756 kilometres of roads and bridges under the town’s care.