October 22, 2019 marked the one-year anniversary of the Ontario Municipal Elections and comes on the heels of the conclusion of the federal election.
It is amazing how one year flies by with much accomplished and lots to still achieve. It is important to acknowledge those that took the risk in putting their name forward as an election candidate at any level. The investment in time and resources to meet with residents, businesses, etc. is incredible. Unfortunately, there are candidates who are unsuccessful in spite of all their time and energy devoted to an election. To all those who took the risk, regardless of the outcome, we should salute their contribution to our democratic process.
Gravenhurst looks forward to working with our new Member of Parliament, Scott Aitchison, as he supports the people of Parry Sound Muskoka.
In my previous article, I discussed the progress of some of my personal goals I had set for this term of Council and focused on Housing, Recognizing Community Leadership and the Youth Council.
Today I will discuss the status of three other initiatives.
Learning from previous personal and professional experience my belief is that so much more can be accomplished through collaboration versus confrontation. Thus another objective was to create an atmosphere of Collaboration. To that end during this first year, members of council have participated in many events, supported several official openings, attended Association meetings and served on a variety of Town and Community committees. This outreach has allowed for ongoing opportunities to dialogue and discuss a multitude of issues with residents. Although, not all conversations are easy, it is through the councillor’s willingness to participate and engage that an atmosphere of collaboration is fostered. One activity that I will highlight is the monthly Mayor’s Open Door. Started by previous Gravenhurst Mayors, these meetings, which have circulated around the town, have certainly provided a forum for discussing anything and everything. This month I had the pleasure of engaging with Gravenhurst High School students by visiting 3 classes and discussing our community and council initiatives.
Supporting Economic Development Initiatives was certainly high on our radar as Council began this new term. Under the leadership of Manager Jeff Loney, our Economic Development team has encouraged new businesses to come to Gravenhurst while at the same time providing ongoing support to existing commercial operations. The Town continues to see an influx of new initiatives and a variety of changes. To date Council have participated in 12 official business openings this year. In addition several businesses have relocated to and around town and we await the opportunity to welcome them in their new surroundings.
Over the past few years Gravenhurst staff and councillors have been working towards assisting the Muskoka Airport to become an economic driver not only for our community but also for the whole of Muskoka. We have supported the arrival of FLYGTA, Porter Airlines, and we look forward to working with the just announced arrival of Skyservice Business Aviation Inc. which will be bringing employment and business opportunities to our community.
The ongoing efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and BIA have been instrumental in supporting the ever-evolving economy of Gravenhurst.
One of the other initiatives we are striving towards is providing support for Poverty Action. Our community has worked extremely hard over the last few years to support and heighten the awareness of those in our community that require some form of assistance. In particular Gravenhurst Against Poverty (GAP), which has spearheaded, supported and coordinated regular monthly meetings of partners. Several fundraising events benefiting members of our community include, GAP’s Coldest Night of the Year, the Lions, Rotary and GHS Empty Bowls project, the Rotary Food Drive, to name a few. Our Council has played an active role in all these events, as members of these organizations or in their participation in the event. There is no doubt our community has developed a keen awareness and has demonstrated care for those in need. However, we continue to work to provide support wherever we can.
In the next edition I will review the status of a few other goals and specific issues the Gravenhurst Council is addressing.