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Sunday, April 26, 2015

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UPDATED: Everest Climbers Reported Safe After Kathmandu Earthquake
Saturday, April 25, 2015 (14568 reads)

Everest climbers Brandy Van Gelder and Kelly Webster Hammond are reported to be safe after a huge earthquake ripped through Kathmandu earlier today.  Ed Hammond said that the Dream Mountain Foundation Team were affected by the earthquake and "everyone seems ok with a few minor injuries."
Ed said that its not know at this time how or if the climb will go from here, but will keep updating the information as it becomes available.
Van Gelder and Hammond were to climb to the base camp on Mount Everest to raise funds for charity. 

They have been evacuated from the hotel into the garden area. They have food, water, sleeping bags and canopies. There is another aftershock expected between 7-9. It is almost seven there now and it is currently getting dark as they have no power.
Our thoughts are with them, and we will continue to give you updates as they become available.

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Re-Introduced Connecting Links Program Good for Burks Falls - Miller
Friday, April 24, 2015 (1259 reads)

Ontario’s newly introduced budget has a focus on transit infrastructure with $11.9 billion being promised towards various projects by the end of the year.

One such program is the previously cancelled Connecting Links program, which will improve municipal roads connecting to provincial highways. This is of particular note, says Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, to Burk’s Falls.

Burk’s falls sits adjacent to the recently improved and expanded Highway 11 and without the aid of the Connecting Links program would be saddled with covering costs associated with the maintenance and repairs of the bridge and connecting roads that lead into the provincial highway.

“They’ve announced that they’re re-establishing the Connecting Links program,” Miller said. “I’m happy about that, because Burk’s Falls can’t afford to cover those costs.”

The budget also included funding for improving highways in northern Ontario with stretches of highway between Parry Sound and Sudbury being widened and improved.

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Miller Skeptical About Liberals Ability to Balance the Budget
Friday, April 24, 2015 (2341 reads)

Ontario’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced the Liberal governments new $131.9 billion budget yesterday and there’s less hacking and slashing that initially expected with a beer bottle tax the only new tax the Wynne government will be introducing.

The budget aims to do away with Ontario’s $10.9 billion deficit through targeted savings and a reliance on economic growth in the province, which is expected to grow by 2.7 per cent this year.

The budget includes $120 million over three years in capital funding to create 4,000 childcare spaces in schools and savings from $100 million in cuts to business tax credits and $500 million in program review savings.

Conservative MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka, Norm Miller, said that his party has been asking for a detailed plan to balance the budget, something the liberals have promised to do by 2017, but says he has yet to see one.

“I’m certainly skeptical about that, I don’t see a detailed, balanced plan,” Miller said. “We’ve had a series of deficits and they’re predicting another deficit but plan to balance the budget by 2017-18? I’m skeptical of that because they’re leaving the hardest decisions to the last years.”

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"What You Need to Know" Theme of Watershed Stewardship Conference
Friday, April 24, 2015 (190 reads)

Muskoka Watershed Council’s popular new handbook “Living in Cottage Country: What You Need to Know” is the theme of the 2015 Muskoka Stewardship Conference, being held on Saturday, May 2nd at Nipissing University in Bracebridge.

Organizers say that with over 500 copies of the handbook sold since its release earlier this spring, there is a desire to learn how to sustain the water, forests, wetlands and wildlife in Muskoka for future generations.  Rebecca Willison says the Stewardship Conference will build on the information in the handbook and provide more tools for participants to learn how to do just that.

Experts will be speaking on topics like dealing with erosion, living with wildlife, obtaining permits and approvals, planning your construction project, becoming dark sky friendly, restoring your buffer, maintaining your septic system and testing your drinking water.

Registration for the event is $50 or $40 for members of Friends of the Muskoka Watershed and includes lunch, refreshments and a copy of the handbook. Visit or call 705-646-0111to register.

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Local Brewer Says Beer In Stores Will Have a Positive Impact for Craft Brewers
Friday, April 24, 2015 (583 reads)

The Lake of Bays Brewing Company is applauding the announcement that was made by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne that provided details of a plan to increase retail access for local Ontario Craft Brewers and giving the public the opportunity to purchase beer and wine in local grocery stores.

Darren Smith, of Lake of Bays Brewing said that “Improved retail access will have a major positive impact on our business. With the ability to get our product in front of more customers across the province, we'll be able to grow our sales and invest more in our business, which will have significant spinoff benefits for our suppliers, our customers and our local community," he added. "We currently employ 45 people, and with the right retail environment, we could easily double or triple that number over the coming years," he said.

The availability of beer grocery store outlets is scheduled to begin rolling out later this year with about 150 outlets open by the summer of 2017.


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Lake Testing Results Available
Friday, April 24, 2015 (1108 reads)

The District Muskoka has released the latest results of its Lake System Health Water Quality Monitoring Program yesterday. In all, information on more than 80 lakes is available.

The program monitors several paremeters including phosphorus concentration, water clarity, and bugs in the mud.

Bugs in the mud, or benthic monitoring, is a volunteer-based program that uses the critters found in the muck at the bottom of our lakes and rivers as an indication of water quality, since some critters need cleaner water to survive than others. If these sensitive critters are missing from your lake, then you know that something might be wrong.

To view the results visit their website at

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Sport Hall of Fame to Induct New Members
Friday, April 24, 2015 (633 reads)

Huntsville’s Sports Hall of Fame will be honouring some of Huntsville's best this Saturday in an induction ceremony joining other local sports icons.

Stan Rimmington will be recognized for Men’s Fastball

Andy Cooke for Hockey and Lacrosse

Dr. Derek Mackesy for Hockey

& The Huntsville Oldtimers hockey team who won the World Championship in 1976 will all be recognized.

The Jan Glenn Memorial Award for female sports person of the year will be given out to Jane Wolfe and Sharon Wallace.

The Mike Greaves Memorial Award for the male sports person of the year will be given posthumously to Winston Watson.

The annual induction night celebrations to be held on at the Active Living Centre.

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Public Information Session to Be Held Tomorrow in Huntsville.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 (12823 reads)

A community information session will be held tomorrow evening regarding a Rogers Communications Inc. proposal to build a wireless communication tower on Ravenscliffe Road in Huntsville. 
The proposed site for the 105-metre-tall tower is 2606 Ravenscliffe Rd. The tower would include an equipment shelter and be surrounded by a 2.4 metre high chain link fence. The towers purpose is to improve coverage for the Fox Lake and Lake Vernon areas. 
The idea has stirred some animosity from concerned residents including Robert Zank who feels the tower would infringe on the area’s natural beauty. 
“We are convinced that another huge tower would be very disturbing, not only to Huntsvillers [sic] but to tourists as well,” Zank said. “Technical monuments do not exactly enhance cottage country nor Muskoka.”
Zank told Hunters Bay Radio that he had written Huntsville town council on the matter but is worried that the proposal is not widely known throughout the community. 
Two information sessions will be held the first of which will take place tomorrow, Friday, April 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the second of which will take place on Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Both will take place at the Active Living Centre in Huntsville. 
Comments regarding the proposal are also encouraged to be submitted in written form by April 27 to: 
Cathy Bilotta 
Standard Land Company Inc
Agents for Rogers Communications Inc. 
366 Bay Street, Suite 600, Toronto
ON M5H 4B2
Tel: 1(877)598-1116
Fax: (416)598-1139

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Townships Want MAHC to Change Rules Regarding Elected Officials
Thursday, April 23, 2015 (1857 reads)

Townships throughout Muskoka and Almaguin are taking Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) to task over rules against elected officials sitting on its board of directors.

Armour township passed a motion at an April 14 council meeting to support a request to the MAHC by Perry Township that asks that MAHC amend its bylaws to allow for elected officials to represent taxpayers as a member of the board of directors or as a community representative.

Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison had previously shown interest in sitting on the board but was ineligible due to the MAHC's bylaw.

The motion has been forwarded to other municipalities in Muskoka-Parry Sound for their support as well as MPP for the region, Norm Miller.

Recently the motion was brought before the District of Parry Sound by Les Rowley of Perry Township and was endorsed and supported by the district.

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Two Huntsville Women On Their Way to Climb Everest
Thursday, April 23, 2015 (4705 reads)

Two Huntsville women are winging their way to Kathmandu today to climb Mount Everest for charity.

Brandy Van Gelder and Kelly Webster Hammond have joined the Dream Mountains Foundation as part of a team that will be climbing to the base camp in the Himalayas to an altitude of 17,598 ft for 7 charities.  Van Gelder is climbing to support SOS Childrens Charities.  Hammond will be raising funds for Dreams Taking Flight.

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Road Closure Updates
Thursday, April 23, 2015 (11668 reads)

Due to flooding, the Town of Huntsville has closed Bottings Rd from Civic #70-98 and Old North Rd from Civic @137-500.  The town has issued a warning for residents in the Rivercove, Old North Road, Bridgeview and Glen Acres to take precautionary measures to protect property as water levels continue to increase.

 The District reports that Ravenscliffe Rd remains closed at the Buck Lake Bridge and sections of Aspdin Rd remain underwater.

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District Waste Management Guide Available Online
Thursday, April 23, 2015 (725 reads)

The District of Muskoka is preparing to make its 2015/2016 waste management reference tool available to all residents.

The Guide is designed to provide customized collection schedules for each area municipality and important waste management information including special dates, acceptable set-out, locations of landfill and transfer stations.

For those who prefer to view content online, the Guide can be downloaded electronically on the District of Muskoka’s waste management website This year, residents prefer a physical copy can request one by filling out an online request form online or can pick up copies at any landfill, transfer station, municipal office or library in Muskoka.

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High School Students to Participate in Mental Health Symposium
Thursday, April 23, 2015 (1535 reads)

Bracebridge Muskoka Lakes Secondary School will be hosting the "1 in 5: A Mental Health Symposium" on May 1st. All grade 10 students from the 3 Muskoka High Schools will be participating in this full-day event. Students will listen to a key note speaker and then participate in a series of workshops that range from Yoga to Nutrition to Mindfulness to Coping Strategies - all in an effort to reduce the stigma around mental health and promote positive mental well being. This is the second year for this event - it was held in Huntsville in 2014.

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Two Local Musicians Make Searchlight Regional Finals
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 (54552 reads)

Two local artists have made it into round 3 of the CBC Searchlight contest for best new artist in Canada.  Paul Lagendyk, whose debut album was released last month, along with Bet Smith and the Currie Brothers out of Gravenhurst are in the regional finals and if they succeed will go on to compete with artists from all over Canada.

Lagendyk, who hosted his CD release party last week said that he was surprised & thrilled to be one of 225 acts left of 3,333 that entered the contest.

You can vote for both local bands at

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Hydro Electric Project Proposed for Baysville
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 (2936 reads)

GreenBug Energy Inc., the company that was before Huntsville’s town council last month with the hopes of building a small hydro-electric facility on the banks of the Mary Lake Dam have set their sights on a different site: Baysville. 

Mike Bouk, president of GreenBug Energy Inc. was before Lake of Bays council yesterday to seek support from council prior to public consultation. Mayor Bob Young said that while council is supportive of green energy, no resolution would be supported by council until public consultations had taken place. Young noted that the plans presented to council were complete enough to be shown to the public.

GreenBug was interested in building a four-screw Archimedes style micro hydro facility along the east or west bank of the Muskoka River. The proposed facility would be built on land leased beside the Baysville dam.

Lake of Bays encouraged GreenBug Energy to hold a information session, to be organized in conjunction with town staff, but it is not yet known whether GreenBug will choose to pursue the proposed hydro facility any further.

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Lake of Bays Prefers Two Site Hospital Option
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 (2014 reads)

Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young said council should withhold discussion on the future of healthcare in Muskoka pending a decision from Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare. 

Mayor Young said at a council meeting yesterday that the public debate around the future of healthcare in Muskoka had, to an extent, become a debate between the towns of Huntsville and Bracebridge. Young asserted that the Lake of Bays Township would be best served by a two-site model given that Baysville is located closer to Bracebridge while Dorset and Dwight are closer to Huntsville.

A decision on the future format has yet to be made but is expected to be delivered by Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare sometime in May.

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Lake of Bays to Fly Pride Flag
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 (1365 reads)

Lake of Bays will be installing a new, six-foot flag pole, on its municipal office and will be flying the rainbow flag in support of the LGBT community later this summer.

The Township office does not currently have a flag pole and after repeated requests to raise flags by community members, town staff proposed one of three options for council’s consideration. Staff proposed a six foot flagpole to hang over the peak of the roof at a cost of $50 plus an installation fee, a 20 foot flagpole at a cost of $150 plus installation fees or a 35 foot flagpole at a cost of $1850 plus installation fees. 

Council approved the $50 option noting that if it wasn’t sufficient, they could also upgrade to a more elaborate option in the future.  Later in the meeting a request from Heather Hay of the Muskoka Pride community to raise the Pride flag during Muskoka Pride week July 20-27 was approved by council.

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Federal Budget Comes In With $1.4 Billion Surplus, Critics Call It 'Backloaded'
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (2427 reads)

The Conservative government’s Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, announced the 2015-2016 budget this afternoon and it came in as a balanced budget with a surplus of 1.4 billion. 
The budget totaled 288.9 billion to be spent in the 2015 year and included raising tax free saving account limits to $10,000, a decline in small business taxes, $18 million to be used for parliamentary security over the next two years and $360 million towards Canada’s fight against ISIS as well as $11.8 billion in defense over the next 10 years. The budget also included $193 million for military veterans over the next five years. 
Conservative’s have touted the budget as cutting taxes for hard-working individuals and families as well as supporting jobs and growth by making Canada more competitive. Conservatives have also said that the new budget ensures security for Canadians through support of the military and investments in combating terrorism. 
Critics of the new budget have called it a highly political move that is more about the upcoming election than the state of the economy. Pundits and opposition party members alike have said that the budget is back-loaded and focuses on future spending on the eve of a federal election.  
Critics have also noted that the budget contains no mention of climate change and very little environmental mention. 

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Huntsville Warns Residents of Rising Waters
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (2802 reads)

The Town of Huntsville is warning residents in flood prone areas including Rivercove, Old North Road, Bridgeview and Glen Acres to take precautionary measures to protect property as water levels continue to increase.
The river course through the downtown core has seen a sustained high water flow for several days and with the restriction caused by the Town Bridge, the levels in this area will continue to rise. The town is advising businesses and residents located in this area to take action to protect their property.
Residents living towards the lower end of Glen Acres Road as well as residents on Vernon Shores may also be impacted as water levels increase over the next 72 hours.
Parents and guardians are advised to remind children to stay clear of open water, creeks and rivers.

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Flooding Closes Ravenscliffe in Huntsville.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (7239 reads)

Flooding has caused the District of Muskoka to shut down access to Ravenscliffe Road in Huntsville.

Flood waters have rendered the road inoperable and it is to be closed from the Buck Lake Bridge and further west.

Houses in the area of 4074 to 4204 on Ravenscliffe will be affected by the closure.

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Bank Loan, $600,000 in Donations Secure Land for Nature Preserve.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (4368 reads)

Over $600,000 in private donations and a bank loan has allowed the Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation to purchase 80 acres of land and 3,400 feet of shoreline to be designated as a nature preserve.

Lake of Bays Heritage Foundation announced at a Lake of Bays council meeting that they had secured the land which they have dubbed the Oxtongue River Protection Area. 

Due to the diversity and beauty of this area it has been deemed to be a one of the most significant areas in Lake of Bays from an environmental perspective.  The land was purchased with the support of over $600,000 in private donations as well as a bank loan in the form of a mortgage of $175,000.  

According to Bruce MacLellan, chair of the L.O.B. Heritage Foundation, the next step in the development of the land as a nature preserve is to provide public access and education regarding the Oxtongue River Protection Area.

A motion was put forward and approved by council to explore means by which Lake of Bays Township can work together with the Heritage Foundation to accomplish these two goals.

Mayor Bob Young noted that the land on the opposite river bank was now for sale at what Mayor Young called “a rather ridiculous price.” Young also asked if the foundation has considered purchasing the property to add to the Protection Area. Mr. MacLellan responded that the foundation funds were “all tapped out” at this point in time but noted that due to the high asking price that the property in question was likely to be available for some time to come.

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District Council Creates Committee to Look Into Policing Costs
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (4111 reads)

Muskoka’s district council wants more insight into the best way to distribute the policing costs for each municipality in the district. 
District council voted to delay adopting their tax-rate bylaw associated with the 2015 budget, so that a secondary legal opinion can be given on the best way to distribute the costs. 
The OPP introduced a new billing model on Jan. 1 of 2015 that changed the way they billed municipalities for police services. The new system was touted by the Ontario government as a way to “work toward the recovery of policing costs in a way that is equitable for all municipalities.” However, the change in billing model has seen costs for the Muskoka region skyrocket by 47 per cent. 
District did have advice on the best way to distribute the costs from Toronto law firm Aird&Berlis, but council felt a second opinion was needed before moving forward in order to achieve a more balanced approach to billing the respective municipalities. To achieve this, council voted to establish an ad hoc committee to deal with reviewing the methodology of OPP billing distribution. The newly minted committee will be comprised of district chair John Klinck and members of the Corporate and Emergency Services committee. 
Councilor and Muskoka Lakes Mayor Don Furniss spoke to a number of different methods for billing including one employed by the greater Hamilton area which divides costs on a rural and urban level. 
The new committee will be before council in May to address the issue. 

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MNR Issue Flood Watch
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (10450 reads)

The Ministry of Natural Resources is advising area residents that a Flood Watch is in effect for all watersheds in the District.

The Ministry is warning that water levels and flows in lakes and rivers continue to increase as a result of the rainfall received over the past 12 hours and continued melting of the snow pack at higher elevations in the watersheds.

Vulnerable, low-lying roads and properties along the Big East River in Huntsville may begin to be impacted as river flows again increase. High water levels in the Huntsville Lakes typical during the spring, are expected to build and remain high as runoff from recent rain makes its way through the watercourse.

The MNR says that flows in the North Branch Muskoka River in Bracebridge have surpassed early flood-watch levels and flows are expected to continue to rise over the next few days. Flows in the South Branch Muskoka River is also expected to climb above early watch levels within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Flows out of Lake Muskoka into the Bala Reach are expected to climb to early watch levels of 200cms within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Water levels in lakes are expected to continue to rise to typical spring levels over the next week.

The MNR is warning residents affected by high water conditions in the past should take necessary action to secure any vulnerable property in close proximity to rivers and lakes and closely monitor developing conditions.

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Peak Hydro Rates Going Up May 1st
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (10350 reads)

You will soon be paying more than double for electricity during peak times than what is being charged for off peak periods when the price increases on May 1st.  The Ontario Energy Board announced that the rate will be increased to 16.1 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity used between 11am and 5pm.

That's more than double the off peak price of 8 cents per kilowatt hour from 7pm to 7am.  Mid peak rates will cost you 12.2 cents per kilowatt hour.

The Ontario Energy Board estimates the change to a 2:1 ratio between peak and off-peak rates will add $5.71 to the average household electricity bill. 

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District Passes Budget Despite Outcry
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (2474 reads)

The District of Muskoka voted to adopt their 2015 budget in a nearly unanimous vote last night at district’s council meeting.

Despite a majority vote in favour of the budget there was comment opposing the adoption.

Councilor and Mayor of Lake of Bays Bob Young raised his concerns with the newly adopted budget addressing council to say,

“I’m conflicted with the passing of this budget. It is far bigger than it should or needs to be,” Young said. “I have to state my personal view and I think this budget is too high,” he said.

Councilor Shane Baker shared Young’s sentiments saying,

“...We gave staff guidelines of a 3.4 per cent increase and we’re now at 4.54 per cent.” Baker added that he would not be supporting the budget.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith was quick to defend the proposed budget saying,

“I don’t think we need to feel bad about this, I think we need to feel that we’re doing our due diligence in planning for the future.” Smith said. “The single driver for this, excluding the OPP is the decision to put money into roads and infrastructure and plan for the future on an asset we know will degrade over time.”

The budget was voted for and adopted by a majority of district council.

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Muskoka Shines at Boston Marathon
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (6166 reads)

Three local women placed 5th yesterday in the Boston Marathon. Jessica Sheppard, Katherine Ahokas, and Martina Morton were racing as Muskoka Algonquin Runners.

Troy Cox placed 507th in a field of over 30,000 athletes.

Congratulations to all our Muskoka participants, including Dr. Pierre Mikhail, Dave Johnstone, Dr. Lowell Greib.

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Power Should Come Back On Before Lunch - Hydro One
Monday, April 20, 2015 (4375 reads)

Hydro One is currently dealing with dozens of scattered outages this morning.  Crews have been dispatched and are reporting that most customers should see their service restored at 11.30am this morning.

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Organization Offers Grants to Help Students Start Their Own Business
Monday, April 20, 2015 (406 reads)

Running your own business can be one of the most rewarding ways to earn money, and for students with an entrepreneurial spirit, and The Muskoka Small Business Centre says the Summer Company is a wonderful opportunity. 

The Summer Company is entering its 15th year, and each year features an interesting variety of businesses.  According to Dave Connell, Managing Business Consultant at MSBC, “we’ve had everything from magicians to woodworkers, and hot dog stands to theatre companies.  Students’ creativity knows no bounds, but what seems to be common to all is the personal growth and self-confidence they develop along with the business skills.”  Nicole Fraser, Small Business Consultant at MSBC added: “most summer businesses don’t require a huge investment, and the Summer Company initial grant is often enough to cover all startup costs.”

The program is for students 15-29 years of age, and Summer Company offers awards of up to $3000.00 to qualified applicants who wish to run a business for the summer.  Successful student applicants will also receive training, guidance and support from Muskoka Small Business Centre to help ensure that each business is a success.

An added incentive is that students may be eligible to be considered for the Daniel Keane Entrepreneurial Legacy award.  This award was created by the Keane family in memory of their son Daniel, a former Summer Company participant who died tragically in 2009, and comes with a $1000.00 prize.

For more information visit their website at

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Residents Gather to Raise Awareness of Climate Change
Monday, April 20, 2015 (197 reads)

A group of Bracebridge area residents gathered yesterday to participate in a nationwide event called the Blue Dot Movement to bring awareness to climate change.  The event included a dip in the Muskoka River to draw attention to the need for fresh food, clean air and clean water.

The Blue Dot Movement was started by The David Suzuki Foundation with the aim of changing the charter of rights and freedoms to include the right to a healthy environment.

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Fire Levels Cottage
Monday, April 20, 2015 (3307 reads)

Muskoka Lakes Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire on Windermere Road on Saturday night. Fire crews responded from Station 7 (Windermere/Raymond) and Station 9 (Milford Bay) and found a fully involved 1000 square foot cottage. Firefighters quickly got the fire under control. There were no persons present and no injuries. Crews will be on scene for further investigation.  There is no estimate of damage.

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Fire Levels Garage and Starts Bush Fire
Monday, April 20, 2015 (6533 reads)

Lake of Bays fire crews responded to a reported structure fire on Highway 60 at approximately 9 pm on Sunday. Upon arrival crews encountered a 20 x 40 fully involved garage fire and high winds. A crew from Huntsville Station 1 was called in to assist with a bush fire which had spread from the garage due to high winds. The cause is currently under investigation. Damage is estimated at $60,000.

Read More (Rating-2.50)
Weatherman Calls for Significant Rainfall Today
Monday, April 20, 2015 (3129 reads)

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement warning of significant rainfall for today.

The Weatherman says periods of rain will continue to affect areas east of Georgian Bay to Algonquin before becoming more intermittent later this morning. It appears this area may receive 15 to 30 mm of rain by the time it ends this evening.

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Suzuki Foundation Project Coming to Bracebridge This Weekend.
Friday, April 17, 2015 (831 reads)

The blue dot movement is coming to Bracebridge this weekend to help “connect the dots” towards a healthier environment.

On Sunday, April 19 environmentally inclined citizens are invited to make their way to Annie Williams Park to take part in what the Blue Dot movement is calling a national day of action.

The event starts at 11 a.m. and includes mural painting, games, educational information about environmental concerns facing the region and a “blue dot splash” which involves a dip in the Muskoka River. A lunch will also be included.

The blue dot movement is a David Suzuki Foundation project with thousands of members across Canada.

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Clement Announces $2 million in Funding for Muskoka Futures.
Friday, April 17, 2015 (1643 reads)

Muskoka Futures, the community futures development corporation for Muskoka, is $2 million richer today after an announcement that FedNor would give the group five years of financing. 
The announcement came from Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement at Muskoka Party Rentals in Bracebridge. 
FedNor, northern Ontario’s economic development initiative, will be giving the $2 million to Muskoka Futures to assist with bolstering small business development in the Muskoka and Parry Sound regions. $1.5 million will be used by Muskoka Futures to offer business counseling and access to capital services as well as supporting planning initiatives for the next five years. The remaining $500,000 will be used to finance small business start-ups and expansions. 
Over the last three years, Muskoka Futures has given out $3.1 million in loans to businesses in the area including Muskoka Party Rentals. 
Don Mitchell, Chair of Muskoka Futures, said, 
“Today’s announcement will ensure that we can continue to support entrepreneurs who are helping to diversify the regional economy and create jobs.” 

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Clement Meets With Indian Prime Minister
Friday, April 17, 2015 (518 reads)

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement joined with Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday to meet Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, and to welcome 16 commercial agreements and announcements by Canadian and Indian companies and organizations.

Clement said "It was exciting to meet with Prime Minister Modi and business leaders to discuss trade and investment opportunities. These agreements will help create jobs in both countries, and have a combined value of over $1.6 billion.  The untapped trade potential between Canada and India is enormous," he said.

The announcements cover a wide range of sectors, including aerospace and defence, education, energy, mining, infrastructure, sustainable technologies, and information and communications technology.

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Muskoka Businesses Helps Fund Bracebridge Youth Ambassadors Trip
Friday, April 17, 2015 (174 reads)

Members of the Town of Bracebridge-Gol Norway Friendship Committee and the Gol Norway Youth Ambassadors announced that they have received two significant donations in support of the Bracebridge Youth Ambassadors Trip to Gol, Norway.

Fowler Construction and Progressive Waste Solutions have each provided $2500.00 in support of the Youth Ambassadors trip to Gol, Norway.

Mayor Smith congratulated the two companies “It is the generosity of companies like Fowler Construction and Progressive Waste Solutions that make an incredibly positive difference in our community” he said.

The Town of Bracebridge-Gol, Norway Friendship Committee is sending a delegation of ten Youth Ambassadors and two adult leaders to Gol, Norway in August, 2015. The Youth Ambassadors and the adult leaders will be in Gol for ten days to further the relationship between the two communities and to gain knowledge and insight into the culture and history of both Gol and Norway.

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Winston Watson Honoured by Huntsville Council
Friday, April 17, 2015 (905 reads)

The late Winston Watson is being honoured by the Town of Huntsville.  It was announced last night at a special council meeting that the referee's room at the Don Lough area in the Canada Summit Centre will be renamed the Winston Watson Room.

Earlier this week, Watson was inducted into the Heroes of Play Hall of Fame when Hockey Canada's Century Tour stopped in town on Monday.

Watson will also be recognized at the upcoming Huntsville Sports Hall of Fame dinner in April.  Watson will receive the Mike Greaves Award.

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Clement to Make Funding Announcement
Friday, April 17, 2015 (1103 reads)

MP Tony Clement will be making an announcement this morning in Bracebridge at 10am.  The announcement is being held at Muskoka Party Rentals in Bracebridge and the funding will be used to support business development and growth in the region.

We'll have more details as they become available.

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FitzGerald Appointed to Huntsville Council
Friday, April 17, 2015 (2103 reads)

After a series of straw votes and questions, Huntsville Councilors voted to appoint Port Sydney resident Jason FitzGerald to seat vacated by Chris Zanetti last night.

Each of the nine candidates were required to make presentations explaining why they should be appointed to the position and answer questions posed by council.

The meeting which was held in a nearly empty Active Living Centre, saw the list of nine short listed down to a contest between FitzGerald, Gordon Haig & Wanda Lumley.

Staff then prepared motions to be read, each indicating that a candidate had been appointed.  The first motion for Wanda Lumley was defeated.  The second motion for FitzGerald was carried, and he was sworn in minutes later.

FitzGerald came in 5th in Stisted, Stephenson and Port Sydney Wards in the 2014 election.

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MAHC Announces Changes to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (23780 reads)

Changes are coming to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge. 
The hospital’s Complex Continuing Care (CCC) unit will be undergoing changes in an effort by Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) to balance the Budget for 2015 – 2016.  
“We have completed a detailed assessment of our bed utilization and operations as the organization continues to look for savings opportunities that maintain existing services and help the organization achieve a balanced budget,” MAHC CEO Natalie Bubela said in a press release today. “Based on lower utilization rates in CCC across the region and at MAHC, effective this fall we will maintain 16 CCC beds of the existing 24 beds.”
Bubela added that by changing the size of the CCC bed base, MAHC will be able to be more efficient in the service it provides by matching resources to the current needs of the community. Bubela also said that the change will improve the quality of the service through reduction of patients in each room and infection control. 
There is no change planned for the number of acute care beds at the Bracebridge site, which currently holds 43 beds. However, MAHC has said that they will be adding an additional 5 acute care beds to the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital, up from the 32 previously in use at the Huntsville site. 

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Celebrate Ontario Funds Craft Beer Festival, What's Cooking Bracebridge and Fire and Ice Festival
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (202 reads)

Bracebridge, the Bracebridge Business Improvement Area (BIA) and The Griffin Pub are the recipients of some government funding to help promote tourism. 
The three have been given money from the government of Ontario via their Celebrate Ontario grants. Grants under Celebrate Ontario provide project-based funding to events in Ontario that will lead to long term improvements and an increase in tourism. 
The Griffin Pub received the largest amount totaling $45,000 in funding which will be used for a craft beer and music festival called the Griffin Session Muskoka which is slated to be held on Aug. 1
The Town of Bracebridge received around $30,000 to be used for the second installment of the town’s culinary festival What’s Cooking Bracebridge.  The funding will be used to help attract celebrity chefs to the event. 
$5,500 was awarded to the Bracebridge BIA which will be used to fund a newly introduced winter event that the BIA is calling Fire and Ice. The event will feature a tube run on Manitoba Street, family activities and live music. The event is slated for Jan. 30, 2016. 

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Fire Danger Rating Set to Moderate
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (372 reads)

The Fire Chiefs of Muskoka are warning that the Fire Danger Rating is now set to MODERATE. With the quick melting of our substantial snow pack, conditions will change rapidly and with the lower humidity levels observed, the drying out of the uncovered brush will quickly accelerate.

We are asking residents to adhere to the “No Daytime Burning” rules.

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Sundridge Councilor Loses Seat After Failing To File Expenses.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (4365 reads)

Huntsville town council aren’t the only ones with an empty seat at the table, the Village of Sundridge recently lost a councilor as well. 
Don Richardson, who was elected to Sundridge Council for the 2014-2018 term, was removed from his position as councilor after he failed to file his election expense report before the provincially mandated March 27 deadline. 
Richardson was notified that he had lost his position on March 31 and an announcement was made that Richardson had been removed at a council meeting on April 8. 
Sundridge’s municipal office sent reminder letters to all members of council on March 19, but Richardson stated that he was unaware that failing to file on time would result in losing his seat. 
Richardson is currently in the process of deciding whether or not he will pursue being re-instated given the financial cost of bringing the issue to court. 
Council has yet to decide whether they will run a by-election, which is estimated to cost around $13,000, or whether they will appoint a new councilor. 

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Bracebridge Fosters Friendship in Norway with 10-day Trip to Gol, Norway.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (1814 reads)

Bracebridge is preparing to send ten of its youth all the way to Gol, Norway for ten days. 
On Aug. 5, Bracebridge will send what it’s calling “youth ambassadors” to Gol to celebrate the long-standing relationship between the two towns. 
The ten youth selected are Megan Bird, Aleasha DeWeerdt, Megan Golden, Kaelyn Gillan, Kiersten Hillman, Ben King, Daniel Neilsen, Quinn Scarlett, Sarah Simmons and Keegan Tannahill. 
Bracebridge and Gol trace their relationship back to World War II, when the Muskoka airport served as a Royal Norwegian Air Force training facility. This earned the Muskoka airport the nickname, “Little Norway.” 
In 2010 Gol and Bracebridge signed a formal friendship agreement that commits to the continued relationship between the two towns and looks to foster their friendship. 
In 2013, 10 youth ambassadors from Gol visited Bracebridge, staying with families from the area. As a result of that visit, the Mayor of Gol invited Bracebridge youth to come and visit Norway. The Mayor of Bracebridge, Graydon Smith, supported the idea and the town will be financing part of the trip, which is estimated at $20,000. To help with the costs, the youths selected have been tasked raising funds from the community as well. 
A number of events are scheduled to help raise money for the trip. They are as follows: 
Coffee house/improv Night – April 28
Spaghetti dinner and silent auction – May 8
BBQ – May 16
Boston Pizza server night – May 26
Sports tournament – May 30 
Car wash and BBQ – June 13 
Scrap metal drive – Ongoing
Bottle drive – Ongoing  

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Meet the Applicants for Stephenson, Stisted And Port Sydney.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (9379 reads)

Tonight Huntsville’s councilors will hear deputations from applicants looking to fill the seat left vacant earlier this year by Stisted, Stephenson & Port Sydney councilor Chris Zanetti. 
Each of the nine applicants will present their reasons for applying for the position and their qualifications. Current councilors will decide on who will take the vacant seat via a process of elimination resulting in a majority decision. 

The applicants are as follows:


Morgan Earl, Stephenson Ward.

Earl has lived year round in the area for the last 10 years saying that he “understands the day-to-day challenges we face.” Earl is a member of the Mary Lake Association, Muskoka Conservancy, and the Huntsville Art Society and was a director of Nature Canada for eight years. Earl also has experience in marketing and corporate branding and served as the volunteer vice president of communications for the Muskoka-Parry Sound Liberal association.  “I am unafraid to stand up and speak out on vital issues while offering creative solutions,” Earl said. 


Jason FitzGerald, Port Sydney Ward


Jason FitzGerald has 30 years of construction and building experience and five years of project management and facility management experience. FitzGerald is the owner of his own construction company and says he wishes to serve the community that he calls home. “I will work with every effort to improve our quality of life and sense of community for years to come,” FitzGerald said. He has been involved in numerous volunteer organizations including being the president of a GTA men’s hockey league, vice president of the Huntsville Old-timers. FitzGerald is a member of the Huntsville Lions Club, Friends of the Hall and volunteers with the Port Sydney Turkey Dinner. 


Gorgon Haig, Port Sydney Ward


Gordon Haig is a member of the Port Sydney/Utterson chamber of commerce, served on the board of directors from 2005 to 2015 and served as president of the board from 2008 to 2015. Haig says he is committed to ensuring economic growth in the town and wants to bring concerns of the residents to council. He has been involved in Port Sydney’s winter carnival, Canada Day celebrations and is involved in local business community workshops. Haig also mentioned his commitment hospital services in Huntsville and addressing seniors concerns. “Due to the aging of the population it is imperative that the town continues to be proactive in its quest to ensure acute care hospital services in our community,” Haig said. 


Wanda Lumley, Stisted Ward. 


Wanda Lumley is a lifelong resident of Huntsville and has decades of managerial experience. She has served as a part of the Huntsville Agricultural Society since she was 18 years old. She is currently the president of the agricultural society and is a member of the Ontario Board of Association of Agricultural Societies. Lumley has been involved in numerous groups in Port Sydney that work with youth and the elderly including the Utterson livewires and was the activity coordinator at Rowanwood retirement community. “I am confident that I will be an asset to council, both with my expertise in a number of applicable fields, but also with the support of my fellow compatriots and colleagues,” Lumley said. 


Ken Passmore, Stephenson Ward


Ken Passmore has lived in Huntsville since 1998 and been a resident of Port Sydney for the last 10 years. Due to a busy work schedule, Passmore was restricted from the level of community involvement he wished to have but said that now he has the time to give more back to the community he feels has been so good to him. Passmore was the president of International Mining Procurement Management Inc, an adjudicator with Yves Landry Foundation and was the executive director of Trade Northern Ontario. Passmore also sat on the Rosseau Lake College board of directors and was a member of the parks and recreation committee for 10 years. “I feel my diverse interests, volunteer work and business experience provide the basis for me to make a positive contribution at the council level,” Passmore said.


Terry Douglas Sararas, Brunel Ward. 


Terry Sararas has lived in rural communities for the majority of his life. He had a career in public service that he says is similar to council. Sararas has a degree in planning for municipal government and has 30 years of experience working in government. “I am familiar and have a working experience with issues facing council including budgets, long-term corporate strategies, staffing, public involvement, government relations and council functions,” Sararas said. Sararas has also been a community organizer with the Huntsville Lions Club, slow-pitch baseball and the boy scouts.


James Solecki, Stephenson Ward


James Solecki has lived in the Stisted, Stephenson and Port Sydney ward for 16 years and operates three small businesses that employee local residents. Solecki has served in community and volunteer groups such as the Stephenson’s Lions Club, the Port Sydney chamber of commerce, Port Sydney Winter Carnival and the V.K. Greer Public School parents’ council. Solecki has received numerous awards including the Muskoka Heritage Environmental Stewardship award and the Huntsville Business of the Year award. “I welcome the opportunity to represent the residents of the ward. I would like to contribute more of my time to the betterment of our community,” Solecki said. 


Beth Ward, Stephenson Ward. 


Beth ward has spent nearly 40 years in the area and has been a member of the Huntsville UNITY PLAN, the Huntsville Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Muskoka Healthy Communities working group and others. Ward has also served as the director of Muskoka-Algonquin Healthcare, the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital and the Algonquin Park Residents Association. Ward worked as the senior planner of long-term care for the District of Muskoka Health Council and has a Master of Public Administration from Dalhousie University. Ward said that she wants to serve on council because “community matters” saying “I believe we are in this together… by stepping forward for those issues I care about, by working with others on the issues they know and care about we have the opportunity to create the community that we want to see.” 


George Young, Brunel Ward


George Young has served on three council terms in Huntsville as the representative for Brunel Ward, which borders on the Stisted, Stephenson and Port Sydney ward. Young has also served one term as a Muskoka District councilor. He has been a member of the Canadian Tourism Commission, the Muskoka Tourism Board, and the Huntsville Millennium Committee and is a member of the Muskoka Community Network. Young worked for 33 years at the CBC as a broadcaster and covered 7 Olympic Games. Young chaired the Huntsville Economic development committee for eight years where he helped to bring the Ontario Paralympics championships, the Ontario Winter Games and ½ Ironman to the area.  He was also chair of the Rotary District Foundation for four years. “I feel I have the experience, motivation and vision to serve the residents of Stephenson, Stisted,” Young said adding.  


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MNR Ends Flood Watch
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (1062 reads)

The Ministry of Natural Resources is advising area residents that the Flood Watch is no longer in effect.

Flooding is not anticipated based on current weather forecasts and watershed conditions. It is advised that caution be used when around water bodies as water levels continue to rise with typical spring flows continuing throughout the remainder of April. Residents and those visiting the area are advised to be aware of current watershed conditions, exercise caution while around waterbodies and maintain close supervision of children and pets.

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Special Council Meeting Tonight to Replace Chris Zanetti
Thursday, April 16, 2015 (788 reads)

Tonight Huntsville’s town council will hear presentations from the nine applicants looking to fill the council seat abandoned by Chris Zanetti earlier this year.

Council will hear why the applicants want to serve as a councilor and why they should be considered for the position. The special council meeting will be held at the Active Living Centre.

Of the nine applicants, two of them reside outside the Stisted, Stephenson and Port Sydney ward in the Brunel Ward, one is a former Huntsville town councilor and one is a former municipal government employee.

The majority of the applicants live in the Stephenson section of the ward.

Councilors will decide on who to appoint through a system of majority rule. Councilors will hear deputations and through a process of elimination will come to a majority decision on which of the prospective nine will replace Zanetti.

The special council meeting will be held at the Active Living Centre - behind the Canada Summit Centre at 6pm.

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Radio Veteran Who Started Career in Huntsville Retires After 44 Years
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (983 reads)

A radio veteran who got his start in Huntsville retired last week after 44 years on the airwaves.

George Brooks, 64, of Chatham, Ont. spun his last record, so to speak, on Friday, April 10.

Brooks began his radio career in 1971 as a nighttime country music host for the original incarnation of CKAR, call letter now used by Hunters Bay Radio.

Brooks also met his wife, Debbie, in Huntsville before moving to Peterborough and then returning to CKAR in Huntsville shortly thereafter to host a morning show.

Brooks eventually moved back to his hometown of Chatham where he spent the last 39 years of his career.

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Local Musicians Make Regional Semi Finals in CBC Searchlight Contest
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (12628 reads)

A number of local musicians have moved into the second round of the CBC Searchlight contest.  The Canada wide contest is asking listeners to choose their favourite new musicians by voting online every day.  Locally, several HBR supported bands have made their way into the regional semi finals.  James Gray, Juan Barbosa, Ol’ Stampy’s Saloon & Doug Mclean along with new comers Mollie Maloney, Paul Lagendyk and Bet Smith & The Currie Brothers Band all made the cut.

Doug Mclean said “I am ecstatic and so grateful to Muskoka fans, HBR and all the great musical talent in Muskoka and Almaguin Highlands,” he said, urging listeners to Keep Voting.

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Huntsville Hosts Culture Days Networking Session Today
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (469 reads)

The Town of Huntsville is inviting the public to meet today and network with other Culture Days activity organizers and find out what is being planning in your community.

Teri Souter, Manager of Arts & Culture at the town says that Culture Days is a collaborative movement to encourage awareness, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and

cultural life of their community.

The information session will be held today at 2pm inside council chambers at Huntsville Town Hall.

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Gravenhurst to Hold Cultural Summit
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (275 reads)

The Town of Gravenhurst is inviting the general public to take part in their first ever  Gravenhurst Cultural Summit at the Gravenhurst Opera House which will take place on Wednesday, April 29 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. The evening will be a celebration and conversation in an effort to develop cultural priorities for the Town of Gravenhurst over the next few years.

Krista Storey, Gravenhurst manager of Arts & Culture said “This will allow us to start a community dialogue, gain a better perspective of our cultural fabric and develop strategies in which we can move these priorities forward.” 

Storey said that the town also hopes to gain a number of community champions from this process who will eventually form a Cultural Roundtable.

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Huntsville Fire Responds to Two Structure Fires Overnight
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (21672 reads)

Huntsville fire crews were kept busy last night with two different structure fires.

The first fire started out as a chimney fire which spread to an outside deck and caused minor fire & smoke damage to the residence. The cause of the fire was an improperly installed chimney pipe.

The occupants of the second fire were alerted to a problem in their home by a  smoke alarm.  When the home owner entered the laundry room to see what was causing the smoke he found his gas dryer on fire. The fire was contained to the dryer itself, however the smoke spread throughout the two story structure. 

Huntsville Fire department wants to remind everyone that not only is it law now to have a CO detector in every home with a gas appliances but you must also have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. 

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Huntsville Sports Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Inductees
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 (43378 reads)

Huntsville’s Sports Hall of Fame has announced the names of the 2015 inductees. The following people will be inducted in at the annual induction night celebrations to be held on Saturday, April 25 at the Active Living Centre. 

Stan Rimmington (Athlete/Builder) Men’s Fastball

Andy Cooke (Builder) Hockey and Lacrosse

Dr. Derek Mackesy (Builder) Hockey

The Huntsville Oldtimers hockey team – World Champions 1976.

The Jan Glenn Memorial Award for female sports person of the year will be given out to Jane Wolfe and Sharon Wallace. 

The Mike Greaves Memorial Award for the male sports person of the year will be given posthumously to Winston Watson. 

The induction ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are available at Treasures and Trophies for $20. 

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Rain Doesn't Dampen Mood at Hockey Canada's Century Tour Stop
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 (478 reads)

Last night’s rain didn’t stop people from paying their respects to the late Winston Watson and enjoying a little hockey history at Hockey Canada’s Century Tour stop in Huntsville. 
The Century Tour commemorates the 100 anniversary of Hockey Canada, Canada’s chief hockey authority. As part of the celebrations, Hockey Canada visited 100 communities throughout the country and in each community they honoured a “hero of play” who contributed to the sport behind the scenes. 
Winston Watson, a teacher and a hockey referee, was a well known figure in Huntsville hockey scene and died in March of 2015. He was inducted into the heroes of play hall of fame in recognition of his contributions to hockey in Muskoka. 
One visitor to the tour, Lori Johnson, said she came out to support Watson’s family. 
“I was on the executive with Winston Watson, so I came out to support his family and to check all of this out. My boys all play hockey so they’re loving it.” 

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Youth Entrepreneur Summit a Huge Success
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 (477 reads)

Muskoka’s first ever Youth Entrepreneurship Summit was held March 26 in Huntsville and by all accounts was a huge success. Hosted by Muskoka Small Business Centre in partnership with Muskoka Futures, Muskoka Community Network and the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure, the event attracted 90 high school students from across Muskoka, along with 10 youth-owned businesses.  The aim of the summit was to make young people in Muskoka aware of entrepreneurship as a career option and to give them a chance to meet and talk to other young people who have started successful businesses. 

Keynote speaker Graeme Murray had an important message for the audience about believing in yourself, and about the importance of not only setting goals, but of breaking those goals into manageable steps so they don’t become overwhelming.   A panel of 3 young entrepreneurs each shared their story and engaged in a discussion with the audience about what it takes to succeed in business as a young person. 

The audience had a chance to browse a tradeshow that included 10 businesses owned by local young people. 

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Karen Insley Chooses Not to Enter Council Appointment Race.
Monday, April 13, 2015 (5601 reads)

Huntsville has released a list of names of people wishing to replace former Stisted, Stephenson & Port Sydney ward councilor Chris Zanetti. Of the nine people who applied one person is markedly vacant from the list – Karen Insley. 
Insley ran in the 2014 election for the ward and came in third place with a total vote count of 494. 
Insley chose to not to throw her name into the hat saying that she understands the appointment process, but would like to have had the appointment based off the prior election results. 
“They had a choice of a by-election, which I would’ve agreed to be involved in, or by appointment,” Insley said. “The appointment would be the most expedient and save money, but I think it’s unfortunate that they didn’t look at the results [of the by-election] because that’s the people speaking.”  
Councilors debated whether or not to appoint Insley but decided that the runner-up vote counts were too close to appoint any one of the three remaining candidates. 

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Town Releases Names of Candidates For Empty Council Position
Monday, April 13, 2015 (17058 reads)

The Town of Huntsville has released the names of the applicants for the seat left vacant by Chris Zanetti in Port Sydney, Stisted and Stephenson Wards.

The applicants include:

Morgan Earl  - Port Sydney resident

Jason Fitzgerald - Port Sydney resident - ran in last election. Came in 5th of 5 candidates.

Gordon Haig - Port Sydney resident - ran in last election.  Came in 4th of 5 candidates.

Wanda Lumley - Huntsville resident - ran in Chaffey in last election. Came in 2nd or 2 candidates

Ken Passmore - Port Sydney resident.

Terry Sararas - Huntsville resident.  Former town employee

James Solecki - Port Sydney resident.

Beth Ward - Beth Ward - Port Sydney resident

George Young - former councilor.  Ran in Brunel. Came in 2nd of 3 candidates.

Karen Insley who came in 3rd in Port Sydney Stisted and Stephenson wards in the last election did not apply to replace Chris Zanetti.

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Earth Week Starts Thursday in Huntsville.
Monday, April 13, 2015 (1996 reads)

Huntsville will be going green this week as the Town prepares to gear up for Earth Week. 

Earth Week, which aims to increase awareness of environmental issues and promote conservation, leads up to Earth Day on April 22. 
Earth Week will run from April 16 to 22 and feature a slew of events including a street clean-up, a community celebration at the Waterloo Summit Centre on April 18 and environmentally themed films. 

The town has partnered with a number of community organizations including the Huntsville Public Library, who will be profiling some of their library programs, Transition Huntsville, Reel Alternatives, The Huntsville Rotary Club and EcoMuskoka Conservation. 

Sustainability coordinator for the Town of Huntsville, Rebecca Francis, said she hopes the events will draw a large crowd.

“We hope people of all ages will join us to celebrate and learn about the local Muskoka environment and how we can tread more lightly.” 

A full list of Earth Week events is available at the Town’s website,

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CARP Looking to Set Up Muskoka Chapter
Monday, April 13, 2015 (13598 reads)

President of CARP, Moses Znaimer, will be in Bracebridge later this month to announce the launch of a Muskoka CARP Chapter. 
CARP is a Canadian non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of those aged 45 and up for financial security, healthcare and an end to age discrimination. CARP boasts over 300,000 members in 60 chapters throughout Canada.
Znaimer, who previously worked with Citytv, Bravo and Much Music, will be at the Riverside Inn in Bracebridge on April 29 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will be offering CARP memberships at a discounted rate. Admission to the event is free. 

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Sundridge Mayor Honoured As Canada's Fifth Longest Serving Mayor.
Monday, April 13, 2015 (21286 reads)

Ontario’s third longest serving mayor was honoured yesterday in a ceremony that included honours from MP Tony Clement, MPP Norm Miller and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper. 
Elgin Schneider served as Mayor of Sundridge for 44 years (1970 to 2014) making Schneider the third longest serving mayor in Ontario and the fifth longest serving mayor in all of Canada. 

Schneider was honoured at a ceremony held at the Sundridge Community Centre from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 12. The ceremony included a speech by MPP Norm Miller who presented Schneider with a certificate for his work in municipal politics. 

Sondra Read, a representative of Tony Clement's office also presented Schneider with a framed certificate of recognition on behalf Prime Minister Harper and Clement.  

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OPP, Province Ask Public to Practice Safety as Bears Come Out of Hibernation.
Monday, April 13, 2015 (7408 reads)

Spring has sprung and with it many animals are coming out of hibernation. OPP are reminding people to practice safety as bears awaken for the summer.

OPP and the province of Ontario are asking that people practice simple precautions to prevent attracting bears. OPP advise that human-bear conflict is more likely when there is a low amount of natural food available for bears. When food sources are low bears search for other food like garbage or bird feed and that can draw the animals into populated areas. 

OPP have released a series of instructions to help reduce bear encounters. These include storing garbage in tight-fitting waste containers, putting garbage out for pickup in the morning only, picking berries and fruits as they ripen and cleaning outdoor barbecues after each use. 

OPP are also reminding pet owners to keep their dogs on a leash as bears sometimes follow off leash dogs. 

OPP are also reminding people that bears entering populated areas are only dangerous if they pose and immediate threat to the safety of the public. 

For non-emergency bear sightings the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry operates a bear reporting line at 1-866-514-2327.

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Community Comes Together to Help Find Dogs
Monday, April 13, 2015 (9463 reads)

On Sunday, the community came together to help find two dogs that were missing since Saturday evening. Former animal rescue dog, Cade and his “sister” Lucy went missing when they slipped their leashes and ran into the woods in the Baysville area.  Once word got out that they were missing, a search party was organized and executed and the dogs were found safe and sound.

The dogs were found by a volunteer and his dog, who was adopted from Muskoka Animal Rescue.   Our own Michelle Ainsworth, an HBR Radio show host, and Founder of Muskoka Animal Rescue helped spearhead the search party.

Organizers report that the dogs were found stranded on an island, and that without the assistance of an amphibious vehicle, they probably would've been stuck out there for weeks.

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District Continues to be Under Flood Watch
Monday, April 13, 2015 (2043 reads)

The MNR reports that the District is still under a flood watch. Water levels and flows in lakes and rivers will increase as a result of rainfall and continued melting of the snow pack. The rate of rise in water levels and flows will increase over the next several days due to warmer air temperatures and forecasted rainfall.

It is anticipated that vulnerable, low-lying roads and properties along the Big East River within the Town of Huntsville may begin to be impacted as river flows increase.

Residents affected by high water conditions in the past should take necessary action in advance of rising water levels to secure any vulnerable property in close proximity to rivers and lakes and closely monitor developing conditions.

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Winston Watson To be Honoured at Hockey Canada Tour Stop in Huntsville
Monday, April 13, 2015 (2758 reads)

Winston Watson will be honoured today as the Hockey Canada’s Century Tour makes a stop at the Canada Summit Centre from 1:00pm – 7:00pm.  Watson is being honoured with the Canadian Tire Hero of Play Award as part of the Tour.  Community members are encouraged to attend the award ceremony being held at the Century Tour Caravan, outside the Canada Summit Centre today at 6:00pm.

Residents and fans can also participate in various hockey activities including Video Game Station, Shoot to Score Green Screen, Bubble Hockey and more.

Admission is free.

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Town to Release Names of Applicants for Vacant Council Seat
Monday, April 13, 2015 (2320 reads)

The Town of Huntsville is expected to release the list of names of those who have applied for the vacant seat at the Council Table.  The position of councilor for Stisted, Stephenson and Port Sydney Wards will be filled on April 16th at a special council meeting where councilors will hear from the applicants and be able to ask questions.  The council meeting will be open to the pubic.

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Mayors Meet With Ministry of Health Advisor.
Friday, April 10, 2015 (6865 reads)

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith and Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison participated in a conference call yesterday where the two politicians spoke to a senior policy advisor from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MHLTC).
The conversation came as a follow up to a Feb. 23 meeting between Mayors Smith, Aitchison and Don Furniss of Muskoka Lakes with Minister of Health Dr. Eric Hoskins in which they spoke about the challenges faced by Muskokans when it comes to healthcare services.
Yesterday’s conference call centered on indentifying a more sustainable funding model to support acute care service in both hospital sites. Both Mayor Smith and Aitchison said that they were grateful for the Ministry’s donation of $1.5 million to balance the budget, but remain committed to a more sustainable model of funding for the long term. 
“The senior policy advisory from the Minister’s Office, suggested that the Town’s stay in close contact with both MAHC and the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and we will be reaching out to the LHIN to schedule a meeting in the near future,” Aitchison said. 
Mayor Smith said that with the two towns working together their voices become more effective, 
“By working together, the two communities are able to clearly voice to MAHC, the LHIN and the Province how important our hospitals and their services are to Bracebridge, Huntsville and the entire Muskoka region.”

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April 15 Deadline for CO Alarms
Friday, April 10, 2015 (3418 reads)

Muskoka Fire Chiefs are reminding residents that they have just five days left to install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in their homes. 
As of April 15, all homes that have fuel-burning appliances, fireplaces or attached garages are required to install CO alarms. Owners of residential buildings with six or less residences must comply with the law by April 15. Residential owners with more than seven residences in their buildings have an additional deadline of October 15 to comply. 
Not installing a CO alarm can result in a $360 fine for building owners and tenants are also eligible to be fined if they do not report faulty CO alarms to their landlord or if they are found to be tampering with the CO alarm.

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Winston Watson To Be Honoured At Hockey Canada's Tour Stop In Huntsville
Friday, April 10, 2015 (5529 reads)

Huntsville will be welcoming Hockey Canada’s Century Tour at the Canada Summit Centre on Monday, April 13 from 1:00pm – 7:00pm. To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Hockey Canada, The Century Tour is visiting communities across Canada bringing with it a fully-interactive hockey experience. Residents and fans are invited to participate in various hockey activities including Video Game Station, Shoot to Score Green Screen, Bubble Hockey and more.

The Town of Huntsville and Hockey Canada announced that Winston Watson is being honoured with the Canadian Tire Hero of Play Award as part of the Hockey Canada’s Century Tour.  Community members are encouraged to attend the award ceremony being held at the Century Tour Caravan, outside the Canada Summit Centre on Monday, April 13 at 6:00pm.

For more information

Admission is free.

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Today is the Deadline to Apply For Vacant Council Position
Friday, April 10, 2015 (565 reads)

Today at 2pm is the deadline for anyone who is interested in applying for the vacant position on Huntsville Council.   Anyone who is an eligible voter may apply for  the seat left vacant by former Sitsted, Stephenson and Port Sydney councilor Chris Zanetti no matter what ward they reside in.

Councilors decided at their last meeting to appoint a person to the vacant position rather than spend $57,000 to run a by election and will be choosing Zanetti’s replacement from those who apply.

All applicants will be required to make a presentation to council and answer any questions that they may have at a special council meeting to be held on April 16th.

The application form is available at town hall or online at

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MNR Warn Residents in Low Lying Areas to Prepare for Flood Conditions
Friday, April 10, 2015 (1408 reads)

The Ministry of Natural Resources – Parry Sound District is advising area residents that a Flood Watch is in effect for all watersheds in the District which includes the District of Muskoka, the District of Parry Sound and a north-west portion in the County of Haliburton.

The MNR is advising that water levels and flows in lakes and rivers will increase as a result of rainfall and continued melting of the snow pack. The rate of rise in water levels and flows will increase over the next several days due to warmer air temperatures and forecasted rainfall.

It is expected that lower-lying portions of known flood-prone roads along river courses will be impacted to various degrees as river levels continue to rise. It is anticipated that vulnerable, low-lying roads and properties along the Big East River in Huntsville may begin to be impacted over the weekend as river flows increase.

The MNR is warning residents affected by high water conditions in the past to take necessary action in advance of rising water levels to secure any vulnerable property in close proximity to rivers and lakes and closely monitor developing conditions.

Residents and those visiting the area are advised to be aware of current watershed conditions, exercise caution while around waterbodies and maintain close supervision of children and pets.

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New Ticketable Regulations Come into Effect for Fire Safety
Friday, April 10, 2015 (1672 reads)

The rash of fires is one reason there are new fines and regulations that are coming into effect this month according to Huntsville Lake of Bays Fire Prevention officer Mike Vadlja.

Until now, only a few violations were ticketable by fire prevention inspection officers, no another 41 violations could be ticketable on the spot, Vadlja said. 

Tickets that can be handed out on the spot range from $200 to $400. That includes failing to tag your fire extinguisher, propping a fire door open and not having a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.

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Police Seek Help Locating Missing 16 Year Old Girl
Thursday, April 09, 2015 (15921 reads)

Police are asking for the assistance of the public in locating 16 year old Kyra Commanda. She was last seen yesterday at approximately 7:00 p.m., at King Street and Front Street in the City of Orillia.

Commanda is described as:

-       White female

-       5 feet 3 inches tall

-       Heavy build

-       Black shoulder length hair

-       Last seen wearing black stretch pants and a black top

If you have any information about her whereabouts please, contact the Orillia OPP

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District Budget Comes With 5% Increase
Thursday, April 09, 2015 (888 reads)

The District voted yesterday to approve a budget that would result in a 5% increase over last year.  The decision came after a lengthy meeting that created a new position of a Communications Manager.

The increase is higher than most municipal increases and a significant portion of your property tax bill.

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Aitchison Expresses Concern Over New Position at District
Thursday, April 09, 2015 (4542 reads)

Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison expressed his concern when the District approved spending $55,000 this year and $75,000 next year for a Communications Manager. Aitchison says the reason given by the supporters of motion is that the District needs a consistent message so people know what the District Government is doing.

Aitchison said that existing staff could be able to be trained to this without the added expense.

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Muskoka Brewery Introduces New Environmentally Friendly Beer Bottles.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 (2111 reads)

Bracebridge-based craft brewery Muskoka Brewery is changing up its style with a new, more environmentally friendly bottle designed to be reused up to 30 times. 
The new bottles will replace the bottles used for the brands staple beers: Detour, Cream Ale, Mad Tom, Twice as Mad Tom and Craft Lager.
While the bottles are designed to be reused up to 30 times, this is double the average of 15 reuses according to a Toronto Star report. However, a statement from the brewery said it is more likely they will be reused five to seven times.
The new bottles will be returned to the brewery after being returned to The Beer Store locations. Once back at Muskoka Brewery, they’ll be cleaned and refilled to be sold again.
Along with the new 341ml beer bottles, the staple beers will be getting a new look in their packaging with artwork sticking to the themes Muskoka Brewery has established but adding a new spin on the themes.  

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Near North School Board Announces M.A. Wittick Closure Date.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 (4922 reads)

Officials from the Near North District School Board (NNDSB) have announced that they will be closing an elementary school in Burk’s Falls in the coming years. 
The NNDSB, which serves the Parry Sound and Almaguin areas, announced yesterday that M.A. Wittick Junior Public School will close its doors after the 2017/2018 school year. 
The closure is part of a transition for elementary students to be moved to the Land of Lakes Senior Public School, also in Burk’s Falls.  Land of Lakes Public School will be renovated into a school that will serve kindergarten to Grade 8 students. It will replace M.A. Wittick Public School. 
At the end of the 2017/2018 year M.A. Wittick will shut down and students will move to the Land of Lakes Public School. 

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"Four People Lucky to be Alive" - Fire Chief Hernen
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 (16497 reads)

Four Huntsville residents are lucky to be alive this morning and can thank a working smoke alarm for saving their lives. Huntsville fire crews responded to a report of a structure fire shortly after 3 am  this morning and when crews arrived they found the four residents outside their house and a burning mattress in the front yard. The four occupants were tread by Muskoka Ambulance for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Fire Chief Hernen stated “ I am happy they had a working smoke alarm which woke them up, but what really concerns me is that this is the second serious near miss we have had in Huntsville in the past few days caused by careless smoking”

Hernen said that last night’s fire was caused by the occupant falling asleep while smoking in bed and Sunday afternoons fire at a 4 plex apartment building was also caused by one of the occupants improperly discarding a cigarette.

“Careless smoking is one of the leading cause of fire deaths in Ontario” stated Chief Hernen. If you must smoke please keep these safety tips in mind:

- Encourage smokers to smoke outside

- Do Not extinguish cigarettes in plant pots, which often contain a mixture of peat moss, shredded wood and bark that can easily ignite

- Never smoke in bed

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Cottage Burns to the Ground
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 (5663 reads)

At approximately 6:30 a.m. this morning, the Gravenhurst Fire Department received a call from a resident across Sparrow Lake who reported a fire visible in the area of Southwood Road and

Clipsham Road.

Firefighters from Stations 1 &2 responded and located a cottage at 1119 Waincko Road that had essentially burned to the foundation.

Firefighters are currently on the scene and will remain there for several hours. The cottage appears to be unoccupied. Damage estimates are unknown at this time.

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Bracebridge Hosts Information Sessions on New Building Code Requirements
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 (870 reads)

The Building Services Branch of the Town of Bracebridge will be hosting a Contractor’s Information Meeting on Thursday, April 9th at 8am that will focus on Building Code Changes, inspection requirements and will feature a presentation from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) about projects on land and water.

Tom Hookings, the Town’s Chief Building Official said, “This session will be technical in nature and is geared towards those in the building industry.” Hookings went on to say, “Inspection staff will share information about new life safety and energy efficiency requirements included in the 2012 Ontario Building Code. The MNR will be on hand to talk with contractors about docks and other projects that require MNR’s approval”.

According to Cheryl Kelley, the Town’s Director of Planning and Development, “This is the first of two sessions that will be held in 2015. The second event, in the form of an Open House, will be held in early July and will be targeted towards home owners and cottagers.  The goal of the second event is to assist residents and cottagers in planning their projects and to help them understand the various rules and regulations that go along with development.”

The Contractor’s Information Meeting takes place at 8:00 a.m. on April 9, 2015 at the Town of Bracebridge Council Chambers.

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Residents Cautioned on Door to Door Salespeople
Wednesday, April 08, 2015 (2526 reads)

The Town of Gravenhurst is warning area residents that the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) provides you with special rights when you buy something in your home that costs more than $50.00.  You need to know what those rights are before you open your door to salespeople.

Effective April 1st, 2015 the Consumer Protection Act requires that certain information and disclosure of specific information be made available to agreements with respect to Water Heater Contracts. A salesperson must be able to provide a Mandatory Provincial Disclosure Form.

Be sure to know and understand your rights before someone knocks on your door!  For more information on dealing with the various types of door-to-door salesperson, Visit:

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Muskoka Lakes to Hold One Meeting to Gain Feedback on Budget
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 (214 reads)

The Township of Muskoka Lakes will be introducing a draft budget on Friday morning. The following Monday, April 13th council will be holding a special council meeting to gain feedback on the budget from the public, before it is presented in its final state before the Committee of the Whole.

The Township plans to adopt the budget on April 24th.

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Bracebridge Mayor "Surprised" With Reaction to Hospital Announcement
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 (38289 reads)

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith says the feedback from last week’s announcement, in which Bracebridge offered a 44.5 acre plot of land to Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, free of charge, was surprising.

“I’ll admit that I was surprised,” Smith said of the heat he received after making the announcement. “The announcement was really about the difficulty at the Bracebridge site as it exists today.”

Mayor Smith said that the single site option was included as a worst case scenario circumstance.

“If the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care makes a decision, based on whatever the board may say, that there needs to be one site in Muskoka and it’s going to be in one of the two communities, well, we realized that we didn’t really have a chip to play in that scenario.”

Smith added that Bracebridge remains committed to two sites in Muskoka saying, “In the context of building two sites, the message is that Mayor Aitchison and I continue to work together and go down the path of trying to protect two sites in Muskoka.”

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