GRAVENHURST - Although some debate will continue over its main recommendations to sell land to the Snowcrest Riders Club, a municipal Snowmobile Task force work plan has been released, noting seven areas that need to be addressed to make Gravenhurst the destination of choice for winter tourism traffic.
First and foremost, the task force has identified the need to establish a proper club house for storage and maintenance along the local trail network, but a debate over purchase of land versus lease of town-owned land and how that lot’s servicing will be paid for needs to be waged (please see story this page 1 of this section).
Snowcrest Riders president and task force chair Bob Clarke said with the exception of the club house debate, he was very happy to see the recommendations after working with the town, chamber of commerce, BIA and other tourism organizations the past year to develop a snowmobile tourism strategic plan.
“There are some very positive recommendations and items that are listed in the report; I’m happy to see that and as a task force we were happy to see,” he said.
The draft plan identifies several areas that need improvement or addressing. One was for Muldrew Lake Road, where through the process, the town and club found a suitable location in the road’s right of way, but its condition will need to be improved during the next few years. The club and staff are trying to come up with an agreement with the District of Muskoka to continue a trail from North Muldrew Lake Road along Blueberry Lane to the wharf. The sides are debating a location to cross Muskoka Road 169 to continue the trail.
The plan also identifies a need to co-market better with other community partners, like the Chamber of Commerce while it also addresses sanding and ploughing standards, of snowmobile routes in the town core and specifically on Winhara, Graham, Muldrew Lake and Peninsula roads in an attempt to ensure they are snow packed and not exposing concrete.
District roads (such as Muskoka Road 169 and Muskoka Road 18) tend to be ploughed to a wet or more bare standard, so the town and task force are hoping to find a compromise to keep those routes snow-packed in the winter months to allow for better snowmobile access to the town’s main core and surrounding parking lots.
The final course of action for the task force’s plan is to find clear south-end access for snowmobilers to come into town through privately owned property through negotiations.
Town council decided to defer the plan for the time being, allowing staff and the club more time to negotiate a land deal for a town-owned site located at the northeast intersection of Bethune and Industrial drives for a new club house.