District of Muskoka enters into agreement with Ontario Northland for bus stop and rail site in Huntsville
The District of Muskoka approved an agreement with Ontario Northland Transportation Company (ONTC) for a bus and rail site in Huntsville, in the November 20, 2023, Council meeting.
The ONTC initially approached the District in June for approval to enter a contract with them to relocate the bus stop on Ravenscliffe Road in Huntsville to Muskoka Road 3, and to support the return of rail services at the same location.
The District’s approval allows their agreement with the ONTC to be finalized.
According to the staff report, the ONTC are wrapping up pre-engineering work at the rail site to prepare for the design and construction phases for the rail services.
Normally the parking By-law that regulates parking on District roads prohibits stopping at the improved area of the site, including bus stops, so an amendment was proposed by staff to allow it.
The Town of Huntsville also requested the District’s permission to replace the previous bus stop, given concerns expressed by the property owner adjacent to it.
The staff report indicated the property owners requested the bus stop be removed because of traffic disturbances it caused on their property.
Huntsville staff also requested that the District expedite the approval for the bus stop to maintain operations for the public with minimal disruption.
Town staff have visited the bus stop site “for safe lines of sight and have no concerns with the proposed location,” according to the report.
Huntsville also requested the District’s permission to install benches at the site.
The Town will be responsible for the costs associated with the bus stop, such as the signage required, and the installation and maintenance of it.
Council also agreed to delegate authority to District staff to make decisions for these types of matters moving forward, without the need for approval of Council.
Huntsville Mayor, Nancy Alcock, expressed support for the motion, and indicated that this was a good example of situations that staff should have the authority to make decisions for, allowing matters to progress faster.