Mark Clairmont |

MUSKOKA — What services and models of care will go in to the two new hospitals being built in Muskoka?

Following January’s public consultations on the hospital site selection for south Muskoka, a survey seeking more public input includes an opportunity “for people to volunteer to participate in a user group,” says Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare president and CEO Cheryl Harrison.

A release Friday says the online survey at provides a mechanism for community input on the land options and the evaluation criteria that will be used to evaluate the different land/property options in Bracebridge before making a recommendation to the MAHC Board of Directors.

“User groups will be an essential part of developing our Functional Program for the Ministry where MAHC team members, patients, family members, caregivers, community partners and stakeholders will help describe the future services, ensure models of care are up to date, innovative and sustainable, and assist in the detailed physical planning as the design process evolves.”

MAHC says it wants to hear from residents what is important to them as the organization works through Stage 1.3 of the Ministry of Health’s capital planning process to build two new hospitals in five to 10 years.

The timeline building the new hospitals sees MACH still in the early, but critical, stages of its plans to rebuild South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and Huntsville District Memorial Hospital.

Last month MAHC hosted six in-person and two virtual community open houses to update progress on the capital redevelopment plans to build a new hospital in Huntsville on the existing land, and another in on new land elsewhere in town for South Muskoka Memorial Hospital.

The latter included land options in Bracebridge and establishing preliminary criteria for choosing the best location for all south Muskokans.

“It was great to spend time in so many parts of our community to talk about the future, answer questions and get feedback,” says MAHC board chair Moreen Miller, of the 430-plus people who attended.

“We hope to hear from more members of our community through our online survey as we continue through the site selection piece of our planning work to identify preferred land for a new hospital in Bracebridge.”

She said that more than a dozen initial properties were identified in line with the Ministry of Health’s Site Search Capital Planning Bulletin Guidelines, including the size, shape and topography of the land, located within Bracebridge’s urban centre boundary, and access to a major road or highway and municipal services.

Three sites have been determined to meet the minimum criteria: the Fowler Construction Property at 300 Pine Street, the Muskoka Royale Lands at 1975 Muskoka Beach Road, and a property located between 580 and 690 Highway 118 West.

All materials from the open houses, including a video of the open house presentation, are available on the MAHC website at

The survey remains open until Feb. 20.

In late March, a further round of community open houses will provide an update on the site selection process and progress on MAHC’s Stage 1.3 deliverables.

Hospitals CEO and president Cheryl Harrison wants community members to volunteer to participate in a user group looking at where and what services and levels of care will be in the two new hospitals in the early 2030s.


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