GRAVENHURST – The $32-million Muskoka Wharf, just about seven years old now, is a true jewel and attraction for the Town of Gravenhurst.
In order to make sure it stays that way as the years tick by, the waves lap and massive boats like the RMS Segwun and Wenonah ply Lake Muskoka’s waters and come to port, town council has approved a comprehensive long-term capital plan for the wharf.
Manager of public works and operations Geoff Carleton explained that the document allows the town to create reserve funds year over year, building a cache for any future wharf area repairs.
“The wharf itself is starting to show signs of wear and tear…there’s some docking members that are starting to rot and so on,” he said.
He said the policy allows council to now take revenues generated from fees gained at the wharf through rentals or events and set them aside for capital improvements, “using that long-term plan so that we can develop the necessary fiscal responsibility for maintaining that property and the assets that are down there.” He added that revenues from the wharf generally run around $24,000 each year while elements, such as the boardwalk alone cost upwards of $500,000 to build and will eventually need repair, maintenance or even replacement.
“I like the approach; it’s certainly a step in the right direction,” Mayor Paisley Donaldson said. “We all know the wharf is one of the facilities we have the most need for capital repair.”
Carleton added it opens the doors to greater rentals on docks A, B and C as well as allowing council to re-evaluate its fees in the future to ensure maintenance costs are being met.
He did explain it may cause some changes to how the next annual budget is presented, in that funds generated from the wharf will now be sent to a reserve fund and will not appear as revenues on the next ledger.