Building activities continue to be one of the largest economic activities in the Township of Muskoka Lakes. In 2017 the value of all construction permits issued in the Township was over $129,000,000. That figure represents the amount of money that the applicants plan to spend on their construction projects. That’s a lot of money being invested locally! It would be even better if that money stayed invested in the Township. Unfortunately trade wages and contractor profits often go outside the Township since many tradesmen and contractors live elsewhere. Supplies for these projects are often purchased from businesses based outside our Township. We need to work on ways to keep those dollars here.

The following chart shows the number of permits issued by category

  Units20152016% chg.2017% chg.
  Single Family House2524-4%3963%
  Accessory Building92998%10910%
  Sewage / Septic19023423%207-12%


Next let’s look at the dollar value of those permits.

20152016% chg.2017% chg.
  Single Family House$8,594,000$7,940,640-8%$19,504,649146%
  Accessory Building5,777,4289,063,90057%8,365,506-8%
  Sewage / Septic3,634,9004,935,52036%4,799,300-3%

If we divide the dollar value by the number of permits issued we can see the average price of the projects.

20152016% chg.2017% chg.
  Single Family House$343,760$330,860-4%$500,11951%
  Accessory Building62,79891,55546%76,748-16%
  Sewage / Septic19,13121,09210%23,18510%

What can we learn from these numbers? Since the number and value of permits are both going up, it seems clear that the township is seen as a good place to invest, at least in recreational properties. The number of commercial projects has not advanced in the same way as houses and cottages but we know that the 2016 numbers were unusually high as camps made large investments in infastructure in that year. The MRA has some concerns about gentrification of Muskoka. More and more often, affordable cottages are being acquired, demolished, and replaced with expensive structures that are unaffordable to the majority of seasonal and local residents. If we want a vibrant well rounded community we need to have a balance in property availability so that all who want to live here can.

As was mentioned earlier, money being spent on wages and supplies to build our community are often ending up in other communities. If the tradesmen who work here live in Gravenhurst or Bracebridge for instance, that’s where they spend their money. If the supplies they buy to build in our community come from suppliers outside of the township, the dollars spent end up elsewhere.

What can we do as a community to help build our Township? We can ask our Councillors to help us create a place where people want to live and do business. We need to provide good schools so that families want to settle here. We need to provide recreational opportunities so that parents see that the township has a lot to offer their families. We need to make sure that our seniors see the township as a place that they would like to retire. We need to be sure that affordable housing is available in our community.

As the municipal elections approach (scheduled for this Fall), the MRA will be asking candidates to share their vision for a liveable community with the voters. We will also want to know what steps they will take to implement their vision. Stay tuned for more information to come on the municipal elections from the MRA.

If you would like to print this report, we suggest that you click on the following and print that document – Economic Shapshots – Spring 2018