The future of two key Bracebridge facilities remains up in the air.
There has been much discussion in the community about the recent closure of Nipissing University’s Muskoka campus on Wellington Street, the recently reconstructed Woodchester Villa, and exactly what function those facilities should now play.
In March the Town held a public meeting, along with officials from Nipissing to receive input on what the future of the building should be. The general consensus from the public was to maintain the campus as some sort of education facility. A Nipissing representative said all options are still on the table.
“Options for the facility are wide open,” says Bob Pipe, a Nipissing spokesperson. “It’s premature to talk about anything specific.”
Pipe said school officials continue to speak with the Town of Bracebridge, who have first right of refusal on the property.
“Yes, the facility is for sale and there has been interest, though I can’t get into any specifics at this point,” said Pipe.
He said there is no timeline in place for disposal of the property, and Town staff confirmed as much.
“I wish it was that easy. There is no fixed timeline but obviously tomorrow is not soon enough,” says Cheryl Kelly, the Town’s director of planning and development. “We’re in communication with Nipissing regularly.”
Kelly says the Town’s top priority is to return the property to institutional space.
The future use of the historic Woodchester Villa has also been a matter of some debate since it was opened last year following nearly $1 million in repairs.
There are currently five options being considered for the 134 year old building, ranging from converting the building into a rental property to turning it into a working museum.
Kelly said Town staff are currently working on a report regarding the options for council. They hope to have the report completed and ready for council by the end of the year.