The District of Muskoka is taking the next step to finance Bracebridge’s future Muskoka Lumber Community Centre (MLCC).
At its April meeting, District Council unanimously gave staff the thumbs up to prepare a debenture application to Infrastructure Ontario. The loan would be up to $24,790,000, to be repaid by the Town of Bracebridge at a fixed rate over 30 years.
Bracbridge’s town council requested the district make the application on Bracebridge’s behalf earlier this month. According to Suzanne Olimer, Muskoka’s Commissioner of Finance and Corporate Services, that is because provincial regulations do not allow lower-tier municipalities to issue their own debentures.
Olimer added that even in a worst-case scenario, both the district and the town will still be under their annual repayment limit, with room left to borrow money for other projects.
Olimer said the final application would come back to District Council in May, and if approved, the debenture would be issued on June 1.
Graydon Smith, Mayor of Bracebridge and District Deputy Chair, told his fellow councillors that this project goes beyond just the town, noting that the local private sector has already committed almost $3-million towards the centre.
“The business and philanthropic community has really gotten behind what is, I think, a project that’s bigger than certainly just our community,” said Smith. “We’ve always said it’s going to serve everyone in Muskoka and visitors to our area. So we’ll look forward to welcoming people from all parts of the communities we represent.”
The MLCC is planned to include an arena, library, auditorium, indoor fieldhouse, outdoor play spaces, trails, and parking. Construction is expected to start by the end of April.