By ANDREW WAREING
It really takes an outside perspective to appreciate the changes that have happened in Parry Sound, says Parry Sound Mayor Ted Knight. “You hear people in town say that nothing seems to happen in Parry Sound,” he says. “But I’ve had people from the area who’ve been away a while remark to me about the changes they’ve seen.”
It is a community that is working toward a prosperous future, despite a few struggles like the aging of the general population mixed with the outflow of youth from the community, says Knight.
One of the efforts currently underway is to create places for industry to locate. The town recently put water and sewer services in part of its industrial area at the end of North Tudhope Street.
“With that completed, we’ve had about three of four inquiries in just the last few weeks from
companies interested in how they could make use of the land,” he says.
A lot of effort is also underway at Parry Sound’s waterfront, says Knight.
Recently completed are two of Parry Sound’s major attractions - the Charles W. Stockey Centre for
the Performing Arts and the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame museum. A ribbon cutting is planned for July 18.
Constructed at the heart of Parry Sound’s waterfront, the performance centre over looks Georgian Bay. It incorporates an outdoor performance area, as well as an indoor 470-seat multi-purpose theatre whose prime function is to house the performance of chamber music.
The theatre can be configured for raked seating or flat floor for receptions and conferences. The building features heavy-timber framing on a concrete foundation and cladding is architectural metal panels.
A common lobby is shared with the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame entertainment centre. The entire complex comprises 27,000 square feet of performance and entertainment space.
“Along with that, we are working with the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) to have the MNR and OPP facilities removed from the waterfront,” says Knight. “The Stockey Centre is going to be a big draw to the waterfront so, across the water from it, we want to build a resort and conference centre.”
A company is interested in developing the centre as soon as arrangements can be made between the municipality and the ORC for the town to acquire the land, Knight says.
“We’re trying to arrange the development of an 80- to 90-room resort complex on the site. It’s going to look great,” he says.
Work is also underway to develop a residential development on the waterfront, he says.
In order for Parry Sound to attract more residents, housing issues need to be addressed. Among the
residential developments under construction is a 30-unit apartment complex called Trinity Place, a planned retirement condominium complex for seniors 60-plus. Trinity Place, a non-profit, charitable corporation will introduce health and personal care to residents on a as needed basis, ensuring that residents are able to remain in their new home as long as possible.
Also underway is a 47-lot subdivision planned for land behind Parry Sound High School at the corner of Winnifred Street and Isabella Street.
“When I was at the (Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities) conference a couple weeks back, I mentioned to a couple people that we had this development going in,” says Knight. “They said that wasn’t a very large subdivision, but then I said it was for Northern Ontario, considering the outflow of people we have happening.”
Knight says the emphasis of marketing to entice people to Parry Sound is on the lifestyle offered by a Northern Ontario community located on Georgian Bay.
“Of the things that I’m looking forward, I’m really looking forward to the report of the SmartGrowth
panel and the tax incentive zone for Northern Ontario,” he says. “If the provincial government follows through on the recommendations of the Smart Growth panel, that will help all of Northern Ontario.