The general manager for Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area, Andrew Rusynyk, was before Huntsville’s planning committee meeting held remotely on September 16, looking for a zoning amendment to add an educational component as a permitted use to the resort’s existing facilities.
“The school that is interested in coming in here is something that is a fantastic fit. They spend about 80 per cent of their time outside, teaching students in outdoor activities and outdoor learning space and it’ll allow us to utilize our property in such a way that these kids can have a fantastic setting to learn and to grow, very similar to the school that was at Tawingo that has shut down now,” Rusynyk told the committee. “And so we’re just trying to allow these same students that would attend Tawingo College to continue on with the same sort of atmosphere.”
With the proper zoning approvals in place, The Muskoka Academy could launch at Hidden Valley as early as this fall. Rusynyk said access to the school would be straight off of Hwy. 60. He said everyone he’s spoken to in the area is “excited about the opportunity and having the kids out here… using the property to learn.”
News of the school being launched in that location comes on the heels of multi-use trails also being organized in that location thanks to joint efforts between Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area Inc., the Huntsville Mountain Bike Association, and the Town of Huntsville.
The zoning amendment would allow the school to enroll up to 130 students, although right now the plan is for 100 students, according to Rusynyk. The school would start by teaching Junior Kindergarten to Grade 4. “If it did expand it would be Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8,” he told committee.
Committee approved the zoning amendment. All decisions approved by the planning committee must be ratified by Huntsville Council, which is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 28.
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