BRACEBRIDGE, Ont. — The Town of Bracebridge should put the brakes on a proposal to rezone our wetlands to allow the building of an international boarding school in Bracebridge.

Muskoka Royale College is the project of a Toronto developer who bought environmentally sensitive wetlands and wants to rezone them for his purposes. The development is proposed to be built on 443 acres of wetlands — lush forests, vital marshes and majestic rock barrens — in Bracebridge. This project will destroy what is currently an important interconnected wetland that supports at-risk species, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

The wetland is an ecologically significant, interconnected property. Fish spawn and birds and turtles nest here. Further, the marshes help protect our community from flooding. We should be protecting lands like this, not devastating them.

Muskoka Royale College would be a sprawling complex home to 2,000 students and staff that includes elementary and secondary schools, office buildings, housing and dormitories, a sports complex, maintenance facilities, parking lots and access roads. Built on a ridge overlooking the lake, the four-storey buildings will reach higher than any other building in Muskoka, erasing the vista from the lake.

There is a groundswell of public support behind the Protect Muskoka effort. In less than two weeks, more than 2,500 people have signed the petition at, as it moves towards a town planning meeting on October 27th.

Pristine wilderness like this should not be rezoned for a project that will do nothing for Bracebridge, but make millions for a Toronto developer. Besides being a threat to the natural environment, this project will increase the population of Bracebridge by 12 per cent and put undue stress on the town’s infrastructure, taxing capacity at our local hospitals, stressing water and wastewater networks, overcrowding beaches and parks and adding more trash to our landfill.

Members of Protect Muskoka will be attending the Bracebridge Planning and Development Committee meeting on October 27th at 2:00pm to formally request the Town vote against this destruction of our natural lands.

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