Bracebridge Town council has asked staff to take a look at combining a new arena and library into one facility.
Council made building a new arena and library top priority capital projects, but Mayor Graydon Smith told the general committee that the cost of the projects might be getting out of hand.
With a new $3.7 million fire hall currently under construction and no foreseeable help from upper tier government on the way, Smith said adding on an estimated $37 million for a new arena and library was likely too big of a pill for taxpayers to swallow.
Smith said he had recently paid a visit to the community of Beamsville, and was impressed by their new joint library/arena complex.
“They put the needs of the community into one basket,” said Smith.
Coun. Steve Clement said despite some initial concerns he was satisfied that the proposed new library would not be downgraded in priority and size.
Staff was asked to investigate the possibility of constructing such a facility.
Bracebridge lakes get clean bill of health
There was good news in the annual report from the Muskoka Watershed Council tempered with a note of caution.
Rebecca Willison, a watershed planning technician with the Watershed Council, paid a visit to the town’s general committee to discuss the health of the water systems across Muskoka and in Bracebridge in particular.
Willison said the Watershed Council monitors 164 lakes across Muskoka, nine of which are in Bracebridge.
She reported that monitoring from 2015 indicates nothing alarming and no trends that are a specific concern. On the whole, she said the water quality of lakes in Muskoka is exceptional.
The Watershed Council also conducted shoreline monitoring throughout Muskoka last year, and along the Muskoka River and Pine Lake in Bracebridge. The survey measured changes along the shoreline over the past 10 years.
While shorelines remain 90-95 per cent unchanged, said Willison, backlot areas are seeing increased development, with up to 20 per cent more development than in 2005.
She said the Watershed’s goal is to keep those backlots as natural as possible, and they will work on trying to get the word out.
Town contemplates paying for water damage
The town of Bracebridge is considering whether they should pay for water damage done to a tenant in one of their buildings.
Mayor Graydon Smith brought the issue up at general committee, explaining that a pipe had burst at the Town-owned Bird Mills Mews due to cold weather. Smith said the closure of the business for repairs, as well as “non-insurance related repair costs” had a significant financial impact on the business and the Town should look into some “temporary relief” for the tenant.
While council agreed to let staff investigate the issue, several expressed reservations about handing over any money.
“Why did these pipes burst? I want to know what happened,” asked Coun. Lori-Lynn Giaschi-Pacini. “What’s the scope of the repair work? Why doesn’t the tenant have that type of insurance?”
The committee will determine their course of action when the report is returned.
No hollering after 11
The Bracebridge general committee updated the Town’s noise by-law earlier this week.
Chief by-law officer Scott Stakiw said the section of the bylaw that pertained to “hooting and hollering” would now limit such activities to 9 p.m.
After some discussion council agreed that the time should be pushed back to 11 p.m. to allow for sporting events at lit venues like Peake Fields and Gostick Park.
Coun. Rick Maloney said he had a problem with the 11 p.m. rule, as he was already getting complaints from residents about the amount of amplified and vehicular noise coming from local summer camps.
Stakiw said most of the complaints regarding summer camps come during the day, and amplified sound is already prohibited without a special exemption.
Coun. Lori-Lynn Giaschi-Pacini said the bigger issue is that the bylaw officers are only on call until 9:30 p.m.
“Why are we doing it if there’s no one to enforce the rules?” she asked.
The bylaw must now be ratified by council.
Paddling club gets new home
The Muskoka Paddling Club will soon have a new home base at Kelvin Grove Park in Bracebridge.
The Town’s general committee recently gave approval for the club to make use of an old stone building in the park, and to construct a fenced in storage area attached to a boathouse currently used by the Muskoka Rowing Club.
“The goal of the paddling club is to recruit members who wish to paddle recreationally and race in marathon races, Olympic style sprint races or Olympic style white water races,” said Sandy Schofield of the Paddling Club in his request to the committee.
The group says they hope to host their first rowing regatta for other canoe clubs in 2017.