Gravenhurst is keeping the conversation going.
The Town of Gravenhurst used the recent Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference in Toronto to continue talks with the province about the Muskoka Regional Centre’s future.
Mayor Paul Kelly, District Councillor John Gordon and Director of Development Services Scott Lucas attended the conference that was held January 27th to 29th.
The MRC is a former mental health facility that was run by the province until it was closed in the 1990s. The buildings that remain on the sprawling property north of Gravenhurst on the shore of Lake Muskoka are severely water damaged from burst pipes and need to be torn down before any development takes place.
“We are proud to represent Gravenhurst’s best interests amongst the Premier of Ontario, the various Provincial Ministries and over 1200 municipal delegates in attendance,” said Kelly. “This gathering proved to be an important opportunity for the town to continue to engage with our provincial counterparts in regards to the Muskoka Regional Centre development.
“We were able to have frank conversations with the Honourable Bill Walker, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Stephen Lecce, Parliamentary Assistant to Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure and MPP Robert Bailey, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services to ensure our mandate is brought to fruition.”
At one point a private Chinese-Canadian company was interested in developing the property as a boarding school, but the idea lost traction as the price tag for the property increased.
Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller was also at the conference providing some assistance in terms of keeping the idea of getting the MRC turned back into an active piece of land within Gravenhurst.
“It really is refreshing to see a government focused on helping rural communities succeed and thrive,” said Miller. “The 20% of Ontarians who live in rural communities are a priority under our government instead of an afterthought as they were under the previous government.”
Kelly said the idea was to keep the conversation going to get the province to assist in freeing the asset up for development.
“We have left this conference feeling very confident that the province wants to make the town an inclusive stakeholder in this process and has every intention of reaching out to a potential property investor to work with the town to ensure our goals are met,” said Kelly. “This is a relationship building process; we are very pleased with what we have heard from those ministries involved thus far. Rest assured, Council and the community can be fully confident that we are making Gravenhurst’s intentions fully known. We’re making great strides here with real positive momentum, I look forward to next steps.”