This month, General Committee heard from Town Staff and community deputations on key issues including Rotary Park Memorial Gardens and Fairy Vista Trail Benches, Florence Street Micro-Community, Year-Round Ice at the Canada Summit Centre, MSCLE Project, Muskoka Heritage Place. Here’s what happened:

 

  • Deputations and Invited Presentations:
    • Adrian Musters of Rotary Club of Huntsville presented on proposed improvements at the Rotary Pavilion and Rotary Memorial Gardens near Avery Beach on Hunter’s Bay Trail, as well as the proposed benches, donated by community members, on Fairy Vista Trail.
      • OUTCOME: Council received, with thanks, the donation of the Rotary Memorial Gardens and directed staff to work with the Rotary Club on the placement, installation and maintenance of this garden. Council also gratefully received the donation of eight (8) benches along Fairy Vista Trail and directed staff to work with the Rotary Club on their placement.
  • Ben Jardine of the Muskoka Community Land Trust, made a presentation on the Florence Street Micro-Community proposed housing development. The primary objective for this development is to provide sustainably affordable long-term rentals within this community. The planned development would provide up to 179 housing units, with three (3) 3-storey 36 unit apartment buildings with one and two-bedroom units, 11 stacked townhouse buildings with 4 units in each, nine (9) single family bungalows, and three (3) six-plex cooperative buildings.  Staff will continue to work with the MCLT on furthering this development. 
  • Town Staff will report the results of exploration into the proposed Year-Round Ice at the Canada Summit Centre, including feedback from consultation with the Huntsville Minor Lacrosse Association regarding tournament dates for the 2024 season and HMATA consultation update.
    • OUTCOME: Council has reconfirmed their approval for the installation of ice in mid-June or beginning of July, with the intention of year-round ice moving forward. Council acknowledged the new date requested by the HDMLA for the Lacrosse tournament, however, as the decision to have ice in by July was already made, alternate solutions were provided. Council requested that staff assist the organizers in securing alternate locations to support the Tournament.
  • Staff will present on Phase 1 (Indoor CSC) Movement, Strength, Conditioning, & Active Lifestyles for Everyone (MSCLE) Project update regarding the proposed installations inside the Canada Summit Centre (CSC) including risk management, accessibility, fire code and building code and impacts on the facility that include staffing and monitoring the equipment.
    • OUTCOME: Council approved staff’s recommendation that the Canada Summit Centre not move forward with fitness equipment at this time due to staffing and safety concerns, since it would not be part of a supervised gym setting.
  • The Muskoka Heritage Place 2023 Annual Report will be presented at this meeting. This report is to provide information on the activities of Muskoka Heritage Place (MHP) in 2023. Included is an Activity Report and a Collections Report.
    • Highlights of the report include: total visitors 22,168, highest in the history of MHP and an increase of 22% from 2022; three (3) new programs introduced; ran special trains on Father's Day, Labour Day Sunday, Thanksgiving Sunday; increased gift shop sales by 258%; just under 650 school students enjoyed our village and train experience; overall revenues increased by 28%.
    • A report will also be presented on a bequest of $162,962 that Muskoka Heritage Place received from the Estate of Katherine Anne Hartley in 2023 and 2024, outlining the plan to advance MHP's mission and mandate.
      • OUTCOME: Council has accepted this bequest for MHP and a reserve fund will be created in the name of the donor, the late Katherine Anne Hartley.
  • General Committee will consider an application for grant funding through the Downtown Community Improvement Plan (CIP) to support the Façade Improvement at 72 Main Street East (Cedar Canoe Books).
    • Town Staff are further recommending that the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) Grants By-law be repealed and replaced, to delegate approval authority to staff and avoid any delay dues to committee cycles, in order to provide timely support to businesses for their downtown improvement projects.
      • OUTCOME: Council has approved the funding grant to support the Façade Improvement at 72 Main Street East (Cedar Canoe Books) and to delegate approval authority to staff for future grant application decisions, with the request that staff report back to Council regularly with the results of work being done through the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) grant program.
  • General Committee will be provided with an update on the Financial Indicator Review received in 2023 (based on the 2022 Financial Information Return data). Each year, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing provides the Financial Indicator Review which outlines certain indicators for each municipality.
    • OUTCOME: Town Staff provided the Financial Indicator Review report. The only ratio of concern was the “closing amortization balance as a percentage of total capital cost of assets.” This ratio is increasing unfavorably as a result of the Town's capital assets losing their value at a faster rate than the Town is making investments in new capital. Huntsville has deferred many capital projects over the past year due to contractor availability or pricing, and therefore it is expected this may worsen in the next couple of cycles.
  • New Business / General Information:
    • Town Staff provided a Procurement Overview presentation to Council regarding the Town’s Procurement policies and procedures to ensure that it’s an open, fair and transparent process, providing the best value for taxpayer dollars – highest quality for the least cost, fostering competition and sustainability, and being accountable to the public, council and vendors. Town staff outlined the various procurement methods used for various values and for different types of goods and services.
    • The retirement of Lisa Smith, Manager of Human Resources, was announced, and her replacement by Keith Duncan, who was previously serving as Human Resources Specialist for the Town of Huntsville. Council thanked Lisa Smith for her dedicated service to the Town.

 

Want to dig deeper? Watch the full discussion through the livestream.