By John Swartz
Monday’s council committee meeting at 4 p.m. is preceded by a closed session at 2:45. There are two items on that agenda. One is under the title Wastewater Treatment Centre Process Optimization and Tertiary Treatment – Statement of Claim. Someone is suing someone.
Who and why anyone would be suing the City over the operation of the wastewater treatment operation is not evident, unless it’s related to complaints by nearby residents and businesses of noxious odors a couple years ago. On the other hand, the City recently completed construction of a tertiary (third stage) treatment building and maybe the contractor is under the gun. The other item is related to a staff retirement.
The public session agenda is light with only two items. One has far reaching effect on water bills. Hemson Consulting reports on a 74 page study. The bottom line is the City has been doing the right things managing the systems, rates are in line with other communities and the philosophy in determining rates will leave systems in good fiscal standing for the next 10 years.
The staff recommendation is to approve the financial plan, which also recommends periodic reviews. A key recommendation is to continue to transfer fees to a base rate, rather than the usage portion of the water bill. The theory is a system still needs to operate properly regardless of how much water is processed. This assumes the capital side (bricks, mortar, pipes) of the system has to be maintained in order to meet operational costs which depend on how much or how little water is processed.
The other item was generated by a letter to council from Mark Bailey. He complained driving schools are using a residential area around the Laclie Street Drive Test office (owned by Serco Canada Inc.) for practice runs and there is a safety issue because of school age children present. He would like learn to drive companies be banned from using the area.
People who live in the area, or pass through regularly, may have observed there are many GTA driving schools operating in Orillia. License testing centers are not restricted by geography regarding who can book a test.
Staff say there has only been one other complaint received, and during the last 5 years the have been no accidents recorded involving student drivers. Staff recommends receiving the report, which means no action. If council does decide to put in restrictions like banning student driving, staff recommend creating and area noted in the map where only actual driving tests can occur.
If council make restrictions it’s obvious the neighbourhoods north of the licensing office would then become training grounds because of the location of the office. This suggests a restriction area adjusted northward would be logical to make.
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)