Council Preview

By John Swartz

Orillia council has a long day in store Monday.  They begin at 4:45 with a planning meeting regarding draft plans of subdivision and common elements condominium, and zoning amendments for 144 Elgin Street.  This is the development by Paul Federico, Orillia Ventures Inc., to build 53 condominium townhomes on the former Schacter land.

Staff are proposing the developer split the project into two phases because of the intention to build homes over top of the existing sanitary sewer at the property’s western boundary. Staff say even though the line is going to be decommissioned resulting from Front street and Centennial Drive reconstruction, it won’t be for a few years.

144 Elgin Street Development

The City also plans to extend Colborne Street on the north side of the property through to Centennial (there is currently only a foot path) and the developer will be allowed to build a driveway into the property on what will eventually become Colborne Street.

Next is the annual Orillia Power Corporation shareholder meeting at 6 p.m. The only shareholder is The City of Orillia.

Working down through the financial statements, the first notable item to jump off the page is an entry for a $2 million dollar write off of investment to date because of the province had the Independent Electricity System Operator cancel the 40-year duration contract with the OPC’s majority owned Bawatik Power Corp. to supply electricity from a new generating station near Peterborough.

OPC General Revenue Breakdown

Overall revenues for 2018 were $53,144,000 down from 2017’s $54,909,000. Dividends and interest paid to the City in 2018 were $2,275,000. The decline in revenue and the write off account for most of the reduced comprehensive income of $488,000  – down from $4.9 million in 2017.

The dividend to the City for 2018 is $800,000, payable by June 30.

When council starts its regular meeting at 7 p.m. they will hear two deputations.  First up are Joyce Ward, Linda Goodall and Carrie Nixon of the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness, who will present an overview of the 2018 Simcoe County Homeless Enumeration Report.

The survey counted 97 of the 697 people considered homeless in the county are in the Orillia area. When combined with North Simcoe figures Orillia and area account for 41% of the people considered homeless. Of the County’s aggregate numbers, the reasons people said they were homeless was, 28% had nowhere to go after discharge from a hospital or jail. The report also breaks down findings according to a number of variables.

Next up is Jim Dowell of the design consulting firm WSP will present plans for replacement of the West Street bridge over Highway 11. There were 11 options considered and the one preferred will have a new bridge constructed northwest of the current bridge and West Street will deviate in the same direction. There is no indication in the report of when construction will start.

Proposed West Street Bridge

Following adoption of the report from last week’s committee meeting, councillor Tim Lauer has a notice of motion to reconsider a budget motion concerning Information Orillia. Part of the earlier motion made granting $20,00 to Info Orillia contingent on them getting a memorandum of understanding regarding services Info Orillia provides to the Orillia Community Action Network (OCAN). Lauer reports the OCAN group does not consider themselves to be an entity (they are composed of representatives of several social service and government agencies) and do not have the authority to issue an MOU.

This is holding up an installment from the City to Info Orillia of $10,000. If Lauer is successful, the previous direction will be modified and the payment released.

In the consent agenda, a letter from Doug Ford starts, “Our government was elected to clean up Ontario’s financial nightmare that was created by 15 years of mismanagement and irresponsible actions on the part of the Liberals,” and continues on to announce the province will be sticking with previous funding commitments for ambulance, public health and child care services because an announced cut came after municipalities set their 2019 budgets. He states this will give time for municipalities to, “to transform critical shared public services and find the efficiencies that will ensure their sustainability.”

(Images Supplied)


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