Council Preview

By John Swartz

Orillia council meets in committee Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. and has a short agenda. They will have a closed session beforehand to discuss a municipal services agreement.

A report from the CAO’s office lays out the considerations if council decides to apply to host the 2021 Ontario Small Urban Municipalities (OSUM) conference.  The primary consideration is cost and staff say other host municipalities have on average spent $5,000 and the new accommodation tax could be the source of funds. Other municipalities have also used sponsorship money. The costs relate to 2 dinners and 2 receptions.

There are on average 300 attendees, and staff say Rotary Place would be the venue and that two new hotels in the West Ridge should be open by then. Council will have an option to apply for the conference in 2022 if they don’t want to make 2021 the target date.

70 Front Street North

Another item from the facilities and special projects department is asking for approval to increase the budget for replacement of the roof of the Metro store from $600,000 to $660,000 from the land acquisition reserve account because tenders came in over budget.

The bulk of the increase is for contingency, $52,000 and may not actually be spent. The reserve is currently overdrawn by $21 million. The lowest bidder is LaFleche Roofing.

Parking Supply

Parking for Rotary Place and Lakehead University events could be at a premium soon. City staff have authority to permit on street parking for special events, but staff are recommending that portion of the by-law be repealed. Traffic counts have gone up from 1,199 in 2012 to 2,879 in March 2018. There are no parking alternatives offered by staff other than some events will be able to be held at the Orillia Recreation Centre on West Street.

Another parking issue is also on the agenda. Northern Shield Development is soon going to be applying for site plan approval for a new housing development at 74 Elgin Street (between Matchedash and Peter). They are proposing two 3-story buildings (27 units), which the current by-law requires 41 parking spaces (includes 10 for visitors), but because it’s downtown the zoning by-law gives a 50 percent reduction.

Staff note the site plan application only shows 17 parking spaces (6 are for visitors). The developer has applied for a minor variance for the 4 spot reduction. Normally the committee of adjustment would deal with this but they are limited to only reduce by 2 parking spots, so council has to authorize the ability. Staff recommends this allowance. They also gave council the option to create a parking agreement with the developer and require payment as cash in lieu. Because the project is for affordable housing staff say:

“This option is not recommended from an affordable housing perspective since it would result in additional cost to the developer, both in the form of cash-in-lieu of parking and legal fees, which would ultimately need to be recovered through rents.”

Last, Councillor Tim Lauer has an enquiry motion asking for a report from staff about options to increase the level of service to enforce the property standards and clean and clear by-laws.

(Image Supplied)


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