The plan to build a new high school in Gravenhurst may be dead.
Town officials aren’t getting any help from provincial officials after hitting a roadblock in negotiations over the Muskoka Regional Centre property. The town has been negotiating with Infrastructure Ontario on behalf of Maple Leaf Education Systems with plans to turn the property into a campus for a Chinese-Canadian High School. But, IO wasn’t willing to let MLES and its investment partner Knightstone Management parcel off a piece of land to build and sell condos.
Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli had told the MyMuskokaNow newsroom he won’t cut the property price just to benefit a private corporation. CAO Glen Davies says the economic benefit of the high school project for both the town and province outweighs this argument. The project was estimated to bring over 300 full-time jobs to the community and boost Ontario’s GDP by $150 million.
Mayor Paisley Donaldson recently sent a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne asking for support, but Davies says that didn’t pan out. The town is now abandoning negotiations and pushing the province to put the property on the open market with the hope that MLES or another investor with an economically beneficial project can buy it.
But, town officials are concerned that IO will sell the property to a residential developer, which wouldn’t have any economic benefit. The town is looking into ways to block potential buyers from using the property as a residential lot. There are no details on when the province would put the property on the open market.