District Municipality of Muskoka

05/17/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/17/2023 08:55

Ontario Public Works Association Honours “Diggin' Downtown” with Project of the Year Award

Wednesday, May 17, 2023 - The District of Muskoka and the Town of Huntsville's Diggin' Downtown project, has been awarded the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) Public Works, Project of the Year Award (Transportation). The OPWA Project of the Year Award has a legacy of honouring exceptional public works projects throughout Ontario and celebrating the exceptional management, administration, collaboration, and partnerships that contributed to their success.

The OPWA Project of the Year Award is a reminder of the important role that public works projects play in improving the quality of life in our communities; the Diggin' Downtown project is a shining example of what can be achieved through collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to excellence.

The Diggin' Downtown project involved upgrading streetscapes in Huntsville's downtown core with new sidewalks, streetlights, improved accessibility for pedestrians, and a new, smooth driving surface - all while replacing the underground water and sewer infrastructure that delivers critical services to our community. This project will have significant positive impacts on many residents, businesses, and visitors, enhancing the livability and attractiveness of downtown Huntsville.

"The Diggin' Downtown project exemplifies what can be achieved through effective collaboration, partnerships and strong relationships," said James Steele, Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works with the District of Muskoka. "We are honoured to receive this prestigious award - it is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team. It will inspire us to continue pushing boundaries and delivering innovative solutions for our community."

The Town of Huntsville's Director of Operations and Protective Services, Tarmo Uukkivi, echoed Steele's sentiments,

"It is an incredible honour for the Diggin' Downtown team to receive industry recognition from the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA). This project highlights what can be achieved when collaboration between upper and lower tier is emphasized. From strategic communications to strong relationships, both the Town and District staff had a role to play in making this project such a success."

The OPWA award is an inspiration for future projects and serves as a reminder of the importance of efficiency, dedication, and commitment to excellence in serving our community. It is also a timely reminder of how public works services play into the daily lives of the people who enjoy being in Muskoka, also aligning with the start of National Public Works Week, taking place next week.

This summer, District Council will be presented with this prestigious OPWA Award during a regularly scheduled meeting, where the hard work and dedication of the entire team will be celebrated from both the Town of Huntsville and District.


The District of Muskoka is made up of six area municipalities and is responsible for delivering critical public services and programs to residents in our community. Visit our website at

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