Council Preview

By John Swartz

Orillia council has a 1 p.m. public planning meeting prior to its 4 p.m. regular council meeting today. The former is to discuss a zoning by-law amendment for property at 1080 Mississaga Street West. The property is at the corner of Barrie Road and Mississaga where the old OPP Detachment was located. Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital is the current owner where it operated the Diabetes Education and Children’s Therapy Services, which no longer operates from the location. Soldiers’ is selling the property to Dr. Peter Fahmy, a veterinarian, to operate a veterinarian clinic.

The property is not zoned to include a veterinarian clinic. Included in the application is a minor variance to allow a shortfall in the size of buffering zones with neighbouring properties that have existed for over 40 years.

The regular meeting has two deputations scheduled. The first is by Carmine Stumpo, Dr. Aaron Barnett and Tom Roberts of Soldiers’’ Memorial Hospital who will update council about plans for a new hospital. The presentation has a lot of pictures and stats regarding historical performance and projections about anticipated greater populations to serve. It also states the planning process is at the proposal stage pending approval (possibly by the province). What is missing from the documents supplied is a location for a new hospital and any details about what the proposal stage means or financial projections. The presentation documents are remarkably light on details about what is being planned.

Next Valerie Powell and Louis Cohen of Age-Friendly Orillia advisory committee and the group’s consultant Courtney Laurence of J Consulting Group are providing an update to the Age-Friendly Community Needs Assessment and an action plan.

The City got an Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility, Inclusive Communities Grant of $42,000 to hire the consultant. While the documents in the agenda do not specify what the action plan is, they include some of the findings of surveys and focus group inputs. They found most people really like the city’s parks and appreciate the sense of community and neighbourliness in Orillia. But, they also found there is a need to address housing, and getting information to seniors about transportation and community events. There also was feedback sidewalks and access to healthcare services need work.

The Next Election

In August council rejected a staff recommendation to change the voting system to voting by internet and telephone for elections next year. Council received the report as information, which means no action was taken, however they also put ratification of the matter over to tonight’s meeting so the public would have an opportunity to let their thinking be known to councillors. It is unlikely a change will occur since too many councillors are distrustful of various aspects of voting electronically.

The report of last week’s committee meeting includes council’s decision not to do anything this year regarding staff’s report regarding council’s request to prepare a report about creating a new small business property tax class. As outlined last week, staff said doing so may be more headache than its worth, and council may be able to achieve the same effect by creating a new tax band in the current structure. Council also directed staff report again to budget committee for the 2023 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)


Support Independent Journalism