Parry Sound North Star
PARRY SOUND - Close to 60 members of the community attended the Town of Parry Sound’s annual new year’s levee.
Mayor Jamie McGarvey welcomed two dignitaries present, McKellar Reeve Peter Hopkins and former Parry Sound Mayor Nancy Cunningham.
“This is council’s opportunity to recap 2013 and look forward. I imagine that one thing we will remember from this winter will be the amount of snow that we have had, and how it was more like winters that we used to get many years ago,” said McGarvey. “Something that we have also seen from this community, not just in this part year, but for many years is the generous giving spirit that helps those in need. We make sure that the Salvation Army and Harvest Share has food for those in need and at Christmas, there are presents under the tree. On behalf of council, a very heartfelt thank you to all.”
Although the country has faced an economic crunch, McGarvey said Parry Sound held its own and continued to move forward in 2013 with the opening of new businesses, condominium developments and film productions in the area.
“Jobs and housing will be a priority. We will not just be sitting back and waiting for something to come to us, we will be going out and working on bringing things in. All of this enhances and makes our community stronger, with opportunity, and a better place to life. We are a vibrant, prosperous community,”
- Mayor Jamie McGarvey
“There is a now a new building at the corner of Seguin and Johnson Streets. This is certainly a welcome improvement and it has incorporated an existing business with a new one for our town,” said McGarvey. “The third condominium was completed in the Silver Birch Condominium Project.”
The value of building permits for 2013 was just over $12 million.
“This investment in our community adds to our continuing growth,” the mayor said. “There were a couple of movies filmed here last year and Pete’s Christmas certainly seemed to get a considerable amount of air time. There are applications in the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund for some more movies in 2014. These movies really help support local businesses. They’re usually done in the off-season which really help support the continued employment of their staff as well.”
McGarvey said he looks at the recent opening of Boston Pizza as a Parry Sound moving up a rung on the ladder in terms of development.
“I remember when McDonald’s first came in they said, ‘oh it’ll never survive,’ well McDonald’s is here and alive and well and proceeding along. There’s been more rezoning for commercial at the south end and we look forward to see what will be coming at us in the future.
“This means more jobs,” he said. “The infrastructure upgrades have been started for the new school on Beatty Street, the library got a new roof and the skateboard park was re-equipped.”
McGarvey congratulated the Festival of the Sound on its 35th anniversary and its new home inside the CP Station.
“This has allowed the festival to do more in the community. During the Holiday Train visit in 2013, they opened their doors so people could get warm and gave out 500 cups of hot chocolate and candy canes to the crowd,” he said. “There was the redevelopment of Mission Park. This was primarily led by Howard Wesley and Rob Mens. There was a great giving by the community and the Canadian National Railway so that the improvements could be made. Council worked with Parry Sound Power and Lakeland Energy on a merger opportunity. We are waiting on the final nod from the Ontario Energy Board. This merger will see the development of a new generating station at the Cascade Street Dam at no cost to the town, solidify our investment in a larger company that shares many of the consumer values that we appreciate, provide a considerable annual dividend and it will inject $3.9 million into the town for further investment in the town’s future. We also saw the very first Habitat for Humanity home built in Parry Sound, something that we all should be proud of.”
As for 2014, McGarvey said the community will see the redevelopment of Forest Street with $2 million in funds the town received from the province.
“This will replace the almost 100-year-old infrastructure under that street, make the exit from George Street safer and allow more water flow into the harbour area,” he said. “There has been some housing development interest in that area and these improvements will allow these developments to happen, should they proceed. This would mean more housing and construction jobs.”
This year the fourth building in the Silver Birch Condominium Project will be complete, as well as construction on the retirement residence near Canadore College will begin.
“Jobs and housing will be a priority. We will not just be sitting back and waiting for something to come to us, we will be going out and working on bringing things in. All of this enhances and makes our community stronger, with opportunity, and a better place to life. We are a vibrant, prosperous community,” he said.
Finally, McGarvey thanked council and staff as well as the town’s roads crews for all of their hard work during the recent storm.
“I really have to commend our roads crew for everything that they’ve been through. Thank you for all of your hard work and to our director of public works, Peter Brown, for coordinating us through the snow events,” he said.