By John Swartz
Orillia council meets this week in committee Monday and in regular session Thursday. It marks a return to the schedule council set last December for 2020. Both public meetings will begin at 6 p.m.
The last item on the committee agenda addresses some things council may adopt as procedure emanating from the way they were doing business the last few months, chiefly, being able to choose to meet by way of video conference. Some councillors may not feel comfortable, or depending on circumstances related to the pandemic not be able to meet in person. One of the measures they can choose is to allow attending by video.
However, currently a councillor has to be present in order for the quorum rules to be satisfied. The Municipal Act was changed (Bill 197) to allow meeting virtually, but the council procedure does not allow it, other than because of the emergency declaration. Staff say there are some technical issues accommodating some being present in the room and some online (currently even though the mayor and some staff have been in the council chamber for meetings in recent months, they participated by way of the video conferencing application the City uses)., so council may opt to continue having everyone online for the remainder of the year.
Two minor issues may be changed as well. The last few months the chairing of committee meetings has been in the hands of the mayor, rather than a councillor as is the practice. If council chooses to stay online, staff recommend continuing with the mayor chairing meetings. Another aspect of the emergency mode for meetings was the start time was changed to 4 p.m. and its possible council may keep it that way if they decide to meet online.
Staff combined two council enquiries into one report regarding permit parking. One was to create additional monthly parking permit spaces, and the other to address parking needs of downtown residents.
The permit space request was specific to lot 1 (Colborne Street opposite Tim Hortons) and staff recommend there is room in that lot to designate tenant parking too. Each would take up ten spaces along the western row of parking spaces.
Landlords and the DOMB have asked for this. On one hand some people who work downtown aren’t able to find places to park during their working hours because there aren’t enough designated spaces. Landlords are saying they aren’t able to rent apartments because there isn’t space. The latter is exacerbated because over the last couple years more living space has been created in some commercial buildings.
The City has a winter by-law preventing overnight parking in municipal lots. If council chooses to adopt the report there is an option to also allow overnight parking for those ten spaces, provided cars are moved between 7 and 9 a.m. daily for snow removal. Permits for residents would be issued to the landlords and business owners so they are transferable to tenants and employees because those may change over the timeframe a permit is issued for. Permits would cost $1,250 annually.
A report outlines the details of a memorandum of understanding between the City and Sustainable Orillia. The move would create a level of cooperation between the City and the group to achieve environment goals both have, but would not make the group a committee of council. Sustainable Orillia is a registered non-for-profit corporation.
Currently there is a staff member and councillor Dave Campbell attached to the group for liaison purposes, this would be a requirement of further partnership. Sustainable Orillia does have initially municipal funding for some of its operation, and the MOU would formalize budget requests to the annual budget and not permit additional requests. The first term corresponds to calendar year end with an option to renew annually, with the last term expiring with the end of council’s term of office (which would presumably be taken up by the next council).
Council tendered its annual road repavement program and they all came back too high, so they retendered with some roads removed from this year’s list. The result was a low bid of $769,752 by Georgian Paving. The roads on the list for 2020 are:
o Andrew Street – Market Street to Colborne Street West
o Barrie Road – Lakeview Avenue to Jameson Street
o Bay Street – Drinkwater Drive to Maple Drive
o Brammer Drive – Huronia Road to the End
o Cedarmere Road – Forest Avenue North to End
o Collins Drive – MacIssac Drive to 289m north
o Fittons Road East – Laclie Street to Tallwood Drive
The total cost including inspection and administration is $822,000, which is $102,000 over budget, so council is being asked to increase the budget from the roads reserve.
Council spending ending June 30 is being reported by treasury. Councillors Emond, Fallis, and Lauer did not submit expenses. The rest of council submitted for these amounts; Mayor Steve Clarke $1,097, Councillors Mason Ainsworth, Dave Campbell and Pat Hehn $127 each, Councillor Ralph Cipolla $628, and Councilor Rob Kloostra $1,924.
And staff are asking council to establish an interview panel consisting of the CAO, the new general manager of corporate services (Amanpreet Singh Sidhu), the director of human resources, and 2 council members to fill the position of City Treasurer vacate by the retirement of Jim Lang. They plan to have a hiring recommendation in time for the November 2 council meeting.
Both meetings can be watched on RogersTV.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)