Bracebridge council is asking the province to give an extra $4 million to support the construction of the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre.
The motion, which was put forward by Coun. Don Smith, was unanimously approved during the March 29 council meeting.
In June 2021, Premier Doug Ford announced that the town will get up to just under $17 million, amounting to 73.33 percent of the estimated pre-tender cost of the library and fieldhouse. The money came through the province’s Strategic Priorities Infrastructure Fund. However, it’s noted by Smith in his motion that because of the “truly unique and severe” jump in construction costs, the price tag attached to the lowest submitted bid for the build was $22.2 million more than what town staff estimated.
The town was forced to shave around $8 million off of the construction bill.
Despite that, Smith wrote in his motion, which Paul Judson, director of finance and treasurer, helped him craft, the province’s commitment now covers about 60 percent of the cost of the library and fieldhouse.
He explained the extra money the town is asking for would bring the province back up to the 73.33 percent they originally committed to.
The resolution will be sent to six provincial officials, including Premier Ford, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy and Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith.
“If we don’t ask then we’re possibly leaving some funds on the table,” said Smith during Bracebridge’s General Committee meeting on March 21.
He said the province bumped up the construction funding subsidy for the long-term care sector in Nov. 2022.
Mayor Rick Maloney added that while they may not immediately get what they’re asking for, this is a way for them to get their foot in the door. “I hope to have some very direct conversations with both ministers on this,” he said, specifically mentioning Bethlenfalvy and Prabmeet Singh, president of the Treasury Board of Ontario.