Council Preview

By John Swartz

Council has a rare Thursday evening meeting this week. It follows the committee meeting Monday, and deemed a regular council meeting it is the formal part of the process. Normally a regular meeting would be a week after a committee meeting, but with the holidays approaching council in recent years adopted a version of the summer schedule where both types of meetings occur in the same week.

Part of the process involves ratifying decisions made in committee. Monday night council adopted 17 items. Five of those came from the closed session when a number of people were appointed to various committees.

Those appointed to 3 year terms are Rick Ball to accessibility advisory, Camille Kosokowsky to active transportation, Gilles Depratto to commemorative awards, Luke Hewitt as vendor representative to Farmers’ Market, and Karen Wood to municipally heritage.

Mark Rousseau and Hazel O’Brien served out their terms on committees; Adam Abdullah and Tshweu Moleme resigned from their committee appointments. Councillor Ted Emond was re-appointed as an alternate member of the committee of adjustment for a one year term.

The city routinely makes mid-term appointments to fill vacancies which occur. Anyone wishing to apply for a committee can find the info online.

Another item from the closed session being ratified relates to the Orillia Professional Fire Fighters Association and there are no details regarding what was in the report about a mandate for negotiations.

Council received a report Monday to be ratified Thursday from the environmental advisory committee regarding a new tree by-law. The new by-law will take into account recent provincial regulations, and will contain provision for a permit system for property owners to remove trees, healthy, diseased, dead, or dying. Of the latter three, committee chair Michael Williams told SUNonline/Orillia in most cases there won’t be any issues removing unhealthy trees.

Council wanted more information regarding a permit system and directed staff to report back on costs and staffing implications before approving a new by-law.

Council received without action final reports on the strategic plan study and a companion municipal core service review. SUNonline will have a more in-depth article on this matter soon.

The operation of the Orillia Farmers’ Market is going to change. If council ratifies their committee decision, market staff will change reporting to the facilities manager to the manger of tourism and the market committee will change from being an actively involved management role to an advisory role.

Council also received a report detailing a new multi-modal transportation master plan. Councillor Mason Ainsworth observed Monday night the 175 page report contained too much information to properly digest or debate at a committee meeting and urged council consider having a special meeting for this subject alone. However, council in receiving the report, included language to adopt the report in in principal.

New Business

All those items will be presented all at once and likely adopted. New items for council to consider include a report for the grants committee outlining a number of small grants to various organizations. They also have a number of motions being presented.

Development services have two motions. One is to approve a zoning  amendment for 45 Westmount Drive South. The other contains a number of zoning by-law changes presented to council several weeks ago, which clean up language and interpretations already contained in the by-law.

Another motion gives Sustainable Orillia the weight of council’s intention to utilize SO’s ideas and actions.

Notice of Motions are reserved for new business which usually have not been to committee, or are time sensitive. Councillor Jay Fallis is asking council to allow staff to report in April on initiating a pilot project for traffic calming measures on Emperor, Collegiate and Skyline Drives and Alexander Street, but in order to this council must waive some guidelines and procedures in the policy manual.

The consent agenda has a couple letters to council of interest. Mark Bailey wants council to adopt measures similar to Newmarket and Barrie restricting the driver testing route and prohibit its use by driver education companies. His concern if those companies are using his neighbourhood more frequently in the past and safety is becoming an issue.

“Students should learn how to drive in real conditions, not simply practice the exact test route,” Bailey writes.

Wayne Scanlon wrote asking council to remove the heavy truck ban on West Street between Coldwater and Fittons Roads because trucks are bypassing the restriction and using Peter Street. The ban on West has been in place for several decades. Both letters are slated to be referred to the departments involved for reports.

When council gets to by-laws, on the list are several related to budget decisions dealing with user fee changes resulting from budget decisions, correct a date in the sign by-law which created a loophole for sandwich board signs in the downtown, implement the new municipal accommodation tax, and codify requirements under site plan applications and zoning amendments for condominiums requiring developers to consult with the City before making any formal applications.

All that takes place at the 7 p.m. meeting. They also have a 6 p.m. public planning meeting to discuss a zoning by-law amendment for property at 70 Nottawasaga Street, which will allow 6 living units instead of 5.


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