Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Town of Bracebridge could be one of the most indebted municipalities in Ontario in just a few years, according to a Jan. 4 staff report.
StrategyCorp Inc., says the town will face “significant debt” in the next few years, partly because of the construction of the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre (MLCC).
The cost of the MLCC has climbed and staff is working with contractor Aquicon Construction to cut $8 million off the cost.
Bracebridge is facing significant debt in the few years due to the community centre construction – and will become one of top indebted municipalities in Ontario.
The town’s financial situation may also be impacted by:
- loss of revenues (DCs/CBCs/parkland) due to Bill 23.
- rising inflation and interest rates and the looming economic recession are also signals of challenges ahead in terms of the capital and operating budgets.
- several master plans (TMP, Downtown Master Plan, Climate Action Plan, Fire Master Plan) and other major initiatives that have big dollars attached.
- long-term financial planning is key to being able to plan and prioritize these projects to support the Town’s financial sustainability and management of risk.
The town’s CAO says staff will being quick to take on funding opportunities to alleviate pressure on the town’s existing debt. “There are lights at the end of those tunnels,” he said. “It’s not necessarily all going be dire and we’re going to be indebted forever.”
Bracebridge received $16 million from the province in June 2021 to support the MLCC build and $500,000 from the federal government in July 2022.
Bill 23 is also a concern for the town and StrategyCorp’s report noted the town’s financial situation will continue to be impacted by rising inflation and interest rates and a “looming economic recession.”
“Long-term financial planning is key to being able to plan and prioritize these projects to support the town’s financial sustainability and management of risk,” the report says. “It is also key to be able to demonstrate value for money for taxpayers.”