Submitted by the District of Muskoka
The District of Muskoka’s Economic Recovery Task Force (MERTF) conducted a survey of seasonal residents asking if their plans have changed for the upcoming winter months due to COVID-19. Results suggest that seasonal residents plan to spend more time in Muskoka during the week and weekends this winter. The survey was completed earlier this fall to help understand the impact of COVID-19 on typical seasonal occupancy levels and explore the potential local economic impacts.
“We are not surprised that more of our residents plan to spend time in Muskoka this winter with travel restrictions in place this year,” said District Chair and MERTF Chair John Klinck. “Our local businesses will enjoy the additional support over the winter, and I am confident we can all continue to stay healthy and safe by continuing to follow the advice of our public health officials.”
Survey Results and Potential Economic Impacts
• Seventeen per cent of respondents are hoping to be in Muskoka more often during the weekends in the winter months (estimated to be roughly a 5,000 to 7,000 increase in population).
• Twelve per cent of respondents planning to be in Muskoka more often during the week in the winter season (estimated to be roughly a 3,500 to 5,000 increase in population).
“The MERTF estimates that the increased time spent by seasonal residents will have an economic impact of roughly $1- $2.5 million/week in additional revenues in Muskoka,” said David Sword, MERTF Team Lead.
The survey results do not include:
• full-time residents who are staying in Muskoka for the winter;
• guests that may be joining seasonal residents at their dwellings; and
• any general potential increase in visitors.
Broadband Identified as a Key Priority
The survey also asked what barriers are preventing seasonal residents from spending more time in Muskoka this winter. The two main issues identified were winterization of seasonal dwellings and broadband reliability.
Broadband reliability was already identified as a key priority by members of the Task Force. A sub-committee has been struck to focus on the topic and a survey will launch shortly asking all residents of Muskoka to test the speeds of their current service provider. The speed test data will be used to support future funding applications to expand broadband services in the region. It is expected that several federal and or provincial funding programs will open in the coming months.
Connect with MERTF for updates
For more information and to get involved, please visit the MERTF project page on the District’s online engagement platform: www.engagemuskoka.ca/mertf
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!