The Community of Honey Harbour is home to 15,900 seasonal residents (the largest seasonal to permanent ratio in Muskoka), a premiere resort, takes in 30 per cent of its GDP from its marina sector and is nestled along the beautiful Georgian Bay shoreline. The only drawback? Honey Harbour’s waterfront community can’t access the water.
Residing on a peninsula of sorts, Honey Harbour is one of the few communities in Muskoka that has no access to a public beach or waterfront area, forcing residents and visitors to rely primarily on privately owned waterfronts. That issue is something that the Georgian Bay government wants to change. Cue the Honey Harbour Waterfront Development Plan.
Presented at a Muskoka District council meeting by Georgian Bay CAO Laurie Kennard and EDO Jennifer Schnier, the $5 million project is intended to open up the waterfront area to the public through the development of a visitor’s centre, parkette, floating pier and small vessel dock and pedestrian promenade.
It’s something that Kennard and Schnier feel would bolster economic growth in the area saying that the project would allow further access to Honey Harbour via local waters ways (in addition to highway access) and would encourage and facilitate larger vessels coming to, and spending money in, Honey Harbour.
With a $5 million price tag, Kennard said that the project would receive funding for up to 90 per cent of its cost from grant applications through FedNor, the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and others with the township covering the additional 10 per cent of the costs.
Other groups have gotten behind the project as well, with both the SegBay Chamber of Commerce and the Delawana Resort showing their support for the project. Paul Herriott, president of the SegBay chamber of commerce said, “It’s important to the chamber because we represent business and we want to see growth and jobs created.”
Additionally, Georgian Bay Township Mayor Larry Braid said that the project has found considerable support from the community as well adding that a public committee has been created to facilitate the development plans.
Kennard said that the actual date when shovels will be in the ground is still up in the air and is highly dependent upon approval of the townships grant applications. She did say that if approval comes quickly, they hope to begin the process in the fall and if not then they’re looking towards spring of 2016.