Accelerate Muskoka (AM) and Muskoka Language International (MLI) enlisted NetGain to help them articulate over two years of planning, collaboration and research into a comprehensive proposal. AM/MLI were responding to the Town of Huntsville’s RFP for the future use of the Waterloo Summit Centre, a building that has seen its share of controversy since its foundations were laid.
In 2010, Harper’s Conservative Government allocated $9.8 million in G8 funds to build the Centre. Since then, Huntsville has struggled to find long-term occupants for the Centre in order to cover its annual operating costs of approximately $250,000, which would otherwise be left to the taxpayer. When Waterloo University announced that their lease of the Centre would end in 2017, the Town was, again, left to find a tenant.
On June 26 2017, Council voted to issue an RFP, giving all interested parties the chance to compete for use of the building. The successful proponent would not only satisfy the annual operating costs (either by lease or purchase), but also unlock the asset’s potential for local benefit by creating new economic growth opportunities for the Town.
When NetGain was introduced to AM/MLI, the Town’s September 28th deadline for proposals was less than two weeks away. After some preliminary research, it was clear that AM had already been in discussions with the Town prior to the decision to issue an RFP. Aspects of the AM/MLI plan for the Centre were already known to the public, and local media reported that councillors were divided as to the plan and some wanted to hear from other interested parties. Accordingly, the AM/MLI proposal would have to convince detractors in addition to competing with other proponents.
In order to help AM/MLI address potential objections and enhance the appeal of their proposal, NetGain adopted the perspective of the skeptic, whether in municipal or regional government, the media, or the general public. Through iterative cycles of drafting, feedback, and refinement, NetGain worked closely with AM/MLI to refocus the content of their proposal in such a way as to articulate the plan clearly, demonstrating how they would benefit the local economy while shielding the municipality from risk.
By submission day, AM/MLI was equipped with a complete proposal package, which presented their unique plan for the Waterloo Summit Centre.