Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
MUSKOKA — High housing costs that have driven people out of Muskoka and its core communities are a hot topic on the federal election campaign.
If you’re lucky enough to have a job, getting to work can be a problem in a district that stretches an hour in any direction.
Shoppers know the challenge, too.
And while Huntsville and Bracebridge have growing urban bus services, getting to the three Hwy. 11 hubs, which includes Gravenhurst, is next to impossible without a car, truck or SUV.
But with local transportation funds fuelled by provincial gas subsidies, the bottom two tiers of government are gearing up to spend that cache of cash in ever-widening schemes to get riders onboard.
Huntsville, Muskoka’s largest metropolitan area at more than 20,000 including surrounding satellites, is in the midst of a transportation expansion needs study.
Now, the District of Muskoka is jumping on the bandwagon.
This after itS famously failed and overly subsidized Hwy. 11 Corridor Bus continues to run red ink and drive people out of Muskoka to Orillia and Barrie.
It says it wants to develop a five-year transportation needs assessment and growth and sustainability plan.
According to a release, it would provide a roadmap for moving forward with transportation initiatives in Muskoka over the next three to five years.
The goal of the Plan is to develop accessible and affordable transportation solutions for both urban and rural residents, including services that move residents east and west within Muskoka.
Again, this after dismal district attempts to bring in people from Port Carling , Port Sydney, Bala and Baysville to the Big 3 Towns.
The plan, they say, “will evaluate options for expanding the current Corridor 11 service to maximize ridership growth, and aim to create a seamless transportation network across Muskoka with connections to broader options to the south.”
The district has partnered with Transit Consulting Network and Dillon Consulting in order to develop a plan “that will achieve these goals.”
Over the next few weeks they say will be reaching out to the community via focus groups and surveys “to help us find solutions that suit our residents.”
“With your help we hope to create a robust, holistic, unified transportation network that effectively serves Muskoka, with a focus on vulnerable residents,” they say.
Better still, why not take a page out of Innisfil’s community playbook — and subsidize everyone’s Uber rides.
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