Council Preview

By John Swartz

Monday afternoon’s regular council meeting begins at 4 p.m., however they will meet earlier for a special council meeting for tax appeals at 3:45.

Other than the report from last week’s committee meeting, there is little else on the agenda except for a motion and a notice of motion.

Following from last week’s meeting, there may still be an issue relating to one item, the Forest Avenue road allowance. The motion passing then included repeal of policy relating to the Grape Island dock and staff direction to amend the zoning by-law regarding lot line setbacks, dock lengths and encroachments. Also included is authorization to spend $60,000 for a new municipally owned dock, and have annual installation and maintenance costs included in annual operating budgets.

Grape Island residents are suing the City for $3.1 million stemming from actions, or lack of actions, taken regarding historical use of the road allowance and water lot in Lake Simcoe and the City’s attempts to regulate the use. The City admits some of the historical facts presented, but insists it has the right to make rules.

The policy the City wants to repeal was made in 1956. In recent years landside neighbours have objected to use of the dock and a pier the City installed by companies barging supplies and maintenance equipment to the island. Also during that time it was discovered the property owner adjacent to the road allowance had erected docks and other things which encroached on the right of way.

The City created a temporary use by-law in 2018 while negotiations with islanders, neighbours and the City continued to find a permanent solution. The by-law expires in March.

Several long-term island residents claim a different set of circumstances lead to the City acquiring the water lot extending into Lake Simcoe in line with the road allowance, the construction of the pier and permissions for the dock than staff (who were not around at the time) relying on current interpretations of old documents which do not contain enough detail.

Council passed the motion as presented by staff. The motion from last week’s closed session regarding the suit was simply to receive as information.

Last Monday’s meeting had the first public forum since March anyone took advantage of and seven island residents addressed council by video conference. Each objected to council adopting the item, as could happen today, and bought from 50 to 69 years of historical perspective and experience to light.

Other Motions
Front Street Reconstruction

Councillor Tim Lauer is bringing a motion to have the City resurface Mississaga Street from Matchedash to Front Streets. He would like the $30,000 cost approved and allocated from the roads reserve account. There is no accompanying documentation, but presumably this would occur to match new road surface on Front Street scheduled to be completed this fall.

The other new item is a zoning amendment for 396-400 Memorial Avenue to allow construction of a new hotel.

On the consent agenda, a letter from Information Orillia asks for permission to submit a budget request of $25,000 and permission to continue to occupy space it currently has in the Orillia Public Library. Information Orillia ran out of money early in 2020 and temporarily closed. It has resumed operation with a new volunteer board, volunteer staff, and one part-time paid staff. The letter states there are a few fundraisers planned for 2021.

This council meeting is a video conference and the chamber is closed to the public. The public can watch it live, on Rogers TV.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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