Muskoka government review: Province seeks public input by April 23

Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA —  In 1970, when John Robarts was rounding out his 10-year term as Ontario premier, he began amalgamating small towns with their surrounding townships.

Bracebridge grew with the addition of Oakley, McCauley and Draper townships, among others.

Similar towns grew into great metropolisis across Muskoka.

The next year, when Bill Davis began a 14-year reign, he figured why stop there, and he got his municipal affairs minister Darcy McKeough to enact it after the Patterson report recommendation.

So began Muskoka’s newest government.

And what to call it?

They decided on the District of Muskoka — even though  in most other parts of the province such other community collectives are called counties.

Not everyone was happy then — nor now — with the results.

Fast forward to 2019, and the legacy of those two Progressive Conservative governments remains.

Only today, it’s Doug Ford’s PCs who may again redraw the political map.

And now, the Ford government’s plans for the future of Muskoka are now being discussed.

If you want in on the conversation, now’s the time to speak out — until April 23.

Muskoka’s political map could be redrawn. Have your say by April 23.

The Ontario government is seeking local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery for regional governments and member municipalities.

All people who live or work in the District of Muskoka are invited to share their thoughts through the online consultation at

The deadline to submit comments is April 23, 2019.

That’s the word from Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller and his government in a release Wednesday.

“We promised the people of Ontario that all levels of government would work harder, smarter and more efficiently,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Our government is putting people first by seeking local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery for regional governments and their member municipalities.”

In addition to meeting with municipalities and stakeholder groups, special government advisers Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling will assess the feedback received through the online consultation. They will provide their advice and recommendations to Minister Clark this summer.

“I look forward to receiving the recommendations and hearing what is working in the regions and Simcoe County, and what can be improved,” said Minister Clark.

The government is committed to working with municipalities to help ensure that they have effective local governance and decision-making, and are providing services quickly and efficiently.

“This is a great opportunity for residents of Muskoka to share their thoughts about how regional government is working for them,” said Miller. “I encourage anyone who is interested in this review to share their ideas and concerns.”