Special Council Meeting Update

By John Swartz

The agenda for Thursday’s 9 a.m. special council meeting was issued late in the day Wednesday, and there are two items up for discussion. The one most residents are are concerned about of late is the second item.

The report from the emergency management committee outlines some options council may take to deal with the influx of people from outside the community packing waterfront parks.

The first option is to make all parking spaces in the waterfront area (including the two lots across from the liquor store) and in Tudhope Park restricted to resident use only.

This will be accomplished by issuing parking permits to residents.

“The pass will be provided upon proof of residency (i.e. driver’s licence/tax bill) and will be linked to a vehicle licence plate. Residents will be able to pick up their passes at convenient locations,” the report states.

In addition non-residents parking in the rest of the downtown parking lots will be restricted to 2 hours (the parking fee waiver have just been extended to July 31). Also, parking on streets around the waterfront will be restricted to residents only.

If the option is taken by council the boat launch at Couchiching Beach Park and at Collins Drive will be closed to residents only from Thursday to Sundays all summer, and on the Civic Holiday. The City will have staff on hand at those areas from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and a resident  parking pass will be needed to use the launches.

The report also notes those who allow parking on their properties will run into difficulties because they will have to get a zoning change to do that.

The options also require hiring one more by-law enforcement officer and states tickets will be issued to those gathering in numbers greater than 10 and those parking in defiance of parking restrictions will be ticketed or towed.

The second option is virtually the same, except non-residents can pay a $50 fee to park.

A third option is too close parks to all.

Under Option 1, it is estimated the cost will be $24,000, offset by fine revenue. Option 2 will be $27,000, offset by parking fees and fine revenue.

Downtown Opening Part 2

The report expected for the second phase of providing assistance to the downtown’s partial re-opening for business is the first agenda item.

The report from the emergency recovery task force outlines a plan to close Mississaga and Peter Streets to vehicles on weekends.

The recommended option is to close the streets on Friday and/or Saturdays every weekend through to Labour Day from 4 to 11 p.m.. Mississaga would be closed from Front to Andrew Streets, except at cross-street intersections.

It also recommends $30,000 be used form the emergency fund to cover expenses.

Included in the $30,000 is $12,500 for a new bureaucratic term, ‘street animation.” It means hiring entertainers. This portion cannot be used until later because the province has prohibited music and dancing in outdoor dining areas and effectively, closing the street will create a large outdoor dining area.

The City will also provide sanitizing stations at 5 locations in the downtown.

Council Chambers are closed to the public, but proceedings can be watched on RogersTV.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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