Council Preview

By John Swartz

Orillia council will deal with 7 items on the committee agenda Monday at 6 p.m. SUNonline/Orillia previously analyzed the financial impact study of Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital on the community as things are now, and how things might change with a new location. You can read it here.

Garbage Over A Barrel

Another key item on the agenda is the contract for solid waste collection. Council learned on its second day of budget deliberations in November a new contract to begin in June would be $2,064,875, which was $1 million more than staff had estimated the usual 10 to 20% increase would be. A second bid for the contract by GFL Environmental was for $2,797,582.

Council authorized staff to try to negotiate down some of the costs and the opportunity was given to both companies. GFL declined to amend their contract offer.

Staff investigated joining with surrounding communities or start its own in-house collection operation. On the latter, staff said the City would have to buy equipment and trucks, construct a transfer station for recycled materials and hiring staff in too short an order. Furthermore any investment in recycling facilities could likely be short term as the province moves the responsibility for recycling from a 50/50 cost between municipalities and commercial/industrial producers to 100% producer funded and managed.

Staff is presenting an option to accept the contract with Mid Ontario Disposal (who have the current contract) for a new price of $1,724,720. The City is giving up its 50% share of revenue from selling recycled material to Mid Ontario (who manages sales of recycled material). People can expect changes to which types of plastics will be taken as recycling since the City now takes virtually all plastic, but only certain types have markets to sell to. Mid Ontario agreed to extend its fleet replacement schedule from 10 years to 14, to lower costs. Both sides gave up an early termination clause (except for cause).

The contract term is for 8 years and staff said once the change in blue box responsibility happens by 2025 there will be an annual savings of $1.2 million. Over 8 years, the new terms amount to $2.5 million less expenditure by the City than the original tendered amount.

Food For Thought

The City and Metro Ontario Real Estate Ltd. have been locked in a battle over the lease for the grocery store at the 70 Front Street North shopping plaza. Metro said their lease was good to 2039, the City 2029. Metro won that battle. Metro said the City was responsible for repaving the parking lot and replacing the roof, the City said it had made repairs to the lot and there is no responsibility to replace the roof. The City won that issue.

There is also an issue over a triangular piece of land the City owns, but is included in the lease,  at this point on a year to year renewal basis. The City took back the land, which is where the driveway is on Neywash Street, effectively removing it from the lease. J Conlon, of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, ruled the City breached its obligation in the original lease, but that Metro had no standing to request a permanent injunction against the City because it did not ask for any contract performance or monetary damages, mainly because the City has not yet determined what will happen to that specific parcel of land in the grander scheme of redevelopment. The issue from Metro’s perspective is the ability of trucks to get to its loading docks.

In the report from the Waterfront Working Group, there is an obligation in City policy to appeal the part of the ruling against it. Even if council decides not to appeal, the City is still heading back to court because Metro has chosen to appeal the parts it did not win. Staff is estimating council allocate an additional $195,000 for legal expenses beyond the $390,000 approved in January 2019.

Needless to say, this issue has a bearing on the City’s redevelopment plan for 70 Front Street North.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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