Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding says Muskoka Has Triple Number of Ventilators vs Provincial Average

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

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Agatha Farmer

In a number of private messages sent to us by a Muskoka resident who chose to remain anonymous it seems that the Mayor of Muskoka Lakes Phil Harding has offered some good news information which many local reporters have been asking of the Simcoe Muskoka Public Health Unit regarding the amount of ventilators Muskoka hospitals have on hand. In his private message to the resident Harding states that even though his remarks aren't "for public comment but between Bracebridge and Huntsville we actually have almost triple the number of ventilators vs. Provincial average."

In the same message thread Harding is questioned about the messaging he sent yesterday, Saturday, March 28, to the public regarding inviting cottagers to Muskoka following the Premier's request not to visit the region. He answered by saying the "locals don't own Muskoka or Muskoka Lakes."

"And do you know who actually pays for the hospitals and donates the most money? Kind of a slap in the face don't you think? and Food supply btw is ok."

The below pictures are messages we received from our source.

On Friday March 27 at the ask of some Muskoka mayors as well residents Ontario Premier Doug Ford urged cottagers and seasonal owners to not visit the region during the COVID-19 pandemic as cottage country does not have the resources to support such an influx.

“If you have a cottage please don’t come up to the cottage. If a bunch head up there the retail stores don’t have the vital essentials and also the hospitals, they don’t have the vital capacity that we do in urban settings,” said Ford.

Collingwood's mayor made a similar plea and encouraged visitors to stay away from the tourist area during Covid-19.

On Saturday March 28, however, Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding sent out a tweet which garnered much negative attention from Muskoka residents when he tweeted the following message;

Muskoka Post asked Mayor Harding if that is not a mixed message he is sending to the public since the Premier a mere 12 hours before hand had issued a request for people to stay in their primary residence. It seems that the mayor and the premier are on different pages. Harding said he is on the same page for social distancing.

"Isolate same page. Stay home same page. Muskoka Lakes is different than other areas of cottage country. If people bring food and understand health care choices, no issues," he answered.

Harding's comments, however, seemed to have infuriated some local residents and as a result presented the divide between seasonal and local once again. The frustration is evident in social media comments on yesterday's Muskoka Posts article regarding Ford's cottage country plea. The following are screenshots illustrating the issue of the mixed messaging.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mayor Harding for the positive news regarding Muskoka's ventilator supply.

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