A large de-commissioned provincial property near Gravenhurst may have life yet.

The conversation has renewed with the new council for the town in place and a keen interest to see the 70 acre Muskoka Regional Centre be used for something. Formerly a tuberculosis sanitorium facility built in the late 1800s  the property became a mental health facility before it closed its doors in 1994.

“We had a very constructive conversation with the Ministers in which we stated our case and they revealed more insight into where the file currently rests,” said CAO of the town, Glen Davies. “What we’ve learned is that another interested party exists and that negotiations are ongoing exclusively with the Province.  No further detail was provided.

“However, we are very pleased to hear that the Province fully understands our desire to ensure that any potential development should become an economic/employment driver for the Town.”

The large set of buildings overlooks Lake Muskoka just north of the town.

According to Gravenhurst Mayor Paul Kelly, while there isn’t anything formally planned for the site, discussions with the provincial government are a sign that interest is there.

“The good news is we got (the province’s) attention,” says Kelly. I’m hopeful that in January we might get some insight as to where they are at with it and what we as a community might be faced with.”

Kelly says it appears when the property was abandoned the water systems were not drained properly resulting in burst pipes and extensive interior damage, rendering the buildings useless.

“What we do know is that anyone who would want to be purchasing that property they would have to do the demolition,” confirms Kelly.

That could add as much as $ 4 million to the final purchase, pushing the value of such a deal to potentially over $10 million.

As recently as two years ago the town had acted as a go-between for a Chinese Canadian school and the province, but ultimately a deal could not be reached.

“I believe this to be a positive step forward none the less,” said Kelly. “We’ve reaffirmed our position, helped to keep the Maple Leaf School proposal on the radar and strengthened our relationship with the Province and will continue to do so in an effort to bring a mutually beneficial outcome.”