By John Swartz
Monday’s 4 p.m. council committee meeting has a light agenda with only 5 items for discussion. There isn’t even consent agenda items, which is the tool used to pass at once a collection of items considered to be straight-forward and not requiring discussion.
First is a report to council stemming from a September 2019 enquiry motion to outline the feasibility and costs to create pollinator gardens. The motion ask for direction for staff to complete the review “AND THAT staff be directed to consider the establishment of new pollinator gardens or pollinator habitat in naturalized areas for any of the identified candidate locations when those areas are scheduled for refurbishment/refreshment,” which means include pollinator garden creation in future park improvement plans.
The City has 70 gardens at present and only 3 are pollinator gardens, and a new one is being created in Tudhope Park.
An alternative option is to make a budget request for 2022 and create a 10-year capital forecast to actually start converting existing gardens to pollinator gardens.
Welcome to the 21st Century
Council will be getting the final report form consultants The Perry Group Consulting Ltd. for “Electronic Content Management Review and Business Process Optimization.” The City got a $150,000 grant from the province for the study.
There are 28 functions, from public uses like dog licensing to internal uses like work orders, identified as being ripe for digitization/automation. Many operations are still carried out on paper and someone has to enter data in to the current system of record keeping.
The consultant recommend getting rid of the current record management application and using other software, like Microsoft 365, the City already owns or licenses. There is no recommended action at this time because some processes can be implemented with a bit of training, and any additional expense required can be brought to the 2022 budget.
34 Market Street
The developer of a renovation/conversion at 34 Market Street asked for a development charge late payment agreement from council and the report from staff recommends a two year plan to pay $39,926.26 at prime plus 2% interest.
The developer, Market West Inc., asked charges be applied consistent with fees and rates at the time work was done in 2000 and 2007 ($29,973.88) – before they bought the property in 2011, but staff are sticking to current rates ($67,837.18).
The work was done without building permits by the previous owner. Staff are allowing for the delay of development charges at current rates, but permit and parkland fees and the education portion of development charges totaling $27,910.24 be paid immediately as retroactive permits are issued.
Last, Counicllor Jay Fallis has an enquiry motion asking staff make a report on establishing a climate change reserve for the 2022 budget.
The regular 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)