By John Swartz
It seems the bureaucratic class can, and will. focus attention on a perception, however remotely held, where danger could lurk, and there is money for budgets at stake. Representatives from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will be at Orillias’ regular council meeting Monday night at 7 p.m. to make a pitch for additional funding beyond what the City passed in February’s budget to fund new activity the SMDHU has decided it needs to do regarding the legalization of marijuana.
A significant portion of the plans involve increased activity on their part relating to enforcement (you can’t smoke marijuana in public in the same places cigarette smoking is banned). They also want money for education. The City has already budgeted using provincial money for both activities – funding a by-law officer specifically for writing tickets to smokers, and education.
Reading through the submission documents could lead one to think that decades of experience a large portion of Canadians have already had changed when marijuana was legalized and a brand new crop of risks and hazards has to be planned for and dealt with.
Of the seven activities the SMDHU identified it wants to do, including surveys, collecting data from hospitals, and policy development, making work appears to be the objective. Council is already on record not to spend an additional $15,647.
Prior to the SMDHU deputation, Shelly Candel, director of Bee City Canada, will make a presentation to the City conferring Orillia as a Bee City, and Dave Beckett will present council with a painting, A New Day.
Mayor Steve Clarke and councillor Tim Lauer have a report from the Champlain Monument Working Group recommending council approve they be allowed to work with the Chippewas of Rama and the Huron-Wendat nation to create an “accompanying narrative” for the history and context of the monument. Most important in the motion to be presented is a statement the City “supports the re-installation of the monument in its original form.”
During a months-long public consultation, 1,080 responses to a questionnaire were received (685 from Orillia and area residents), and held three workshops which 100 people attended. Another workshop in Rama was attended by 85 people. They also note there were 58 articles from media to be included a submission to Parks Canada, one petition to restore the monument as is, six papers and presentations received from experts and various other correspondence received.
Of information received, 70% was in favour of restoring the monument to Couchiching Beach Park and to have some kind of additional explanatory information (which could be plaques or other art). A small group, 7 %, was opposed to putting the monument back at all, while 11% thought reconfiguring the monument pieces was acceptable.
The final report to Parks Canada, who owns the monument, has not been written and this motion will allow that to happen. Parks Canada has the final decision of the fate of the monument.
Under the by-law enactment portion of the meeting a series of four by-laws will bring into force for the first time regulations regarding dumping and removing topsoil, and set out fees for permits. The City is also creating an affordable housing committee of council, which will put various parts of the City’s numerous housing initiatives and regulations in the hands of one body, which could lead to more coordinate action on the subject.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)