Council Preview

By John Swartz

Orillia council’s Monday afternoon regular meeting looks on paper like it will be one the less exciting ones in a long time, and maybe one of the shortest.

There are no deputations, no presentations, no notice of motions, only 2 items on the consent agenda and a number of routine by-laws.

There is one item of correspondence councillor Tim Lauer pulled from a council information package, a letter from the City of Sarnia petitioning the government to address what they call the catch and release practice of the criminal justice system.

The letter from Sarnia states, “the City of Sarnia send a letter to the Federal and Provincial Governments requesting meaningful improvements to the current state of “catch and release” justice in the Ontario legal system. Police Services across Ontario are exhausting precious time and resources having to manage the repeated arrests of the same offenders, which in turn, is impacting their morale, and ultimately law abiding citizens who are paying the often significant financial and emotional toll of this broken system. This resolution should also be sent to other Municipalities throughout Ontario for their endorsement consideration.” And presumably Lauer wants the City of Orillia to endorse the letter.

From last week’s committee meeting the report reveals nothing surprising, except council expanded the recommendation about issues from the Orillia Public Library. There have been a number of security problems the board would like addressed, and council during budget meetings asked for a report from staff how to include the downtown, other municipal buildings into the plan to hire a social worker. The additional points adopted relate to the information the committee council authorized to look into the matter includes direction to:

– Evaluate current situations in the downtown, as well as the Library, the Orillia Recreation Centre and the Orillia City Centre;

– Evaluate the current services being provided by the various community agencies and any partnership opportunities;

– Evaluate and recommend options and opportunities for Council to consider that would assist in dealing with mental health, provision of outreach services, and socioeconomic challenges observed and experienced in municipal facilities and the Business Improvement Area; and

– Prepare a report for Council’s consideration no later than the April 11, 2022 Council Committee meeting.

Consent Agenda

A letter from the Association of Municipalities (AMO) about the Local Authority Services program informs the City of a $4,065.74 rebate from the natural gas buying pool.

Also in the agenda is a motion to support a petition from AMO regarding action on  joint and several liability insurance. This is a concept where when a lawsuits are brought and an award is made, according to a previous court decision the losing parties essentially pay according to their ability not their portion of responsibility. This means the party with the deepest pockets ends up paying more than their fair share and guess who usually has the deepest pockets? Municipalities. Even if a municipality shares as little as 1% liability. This is causing insurance premiums to rise dramatically. The Ontario government said they would do something about it in 2018, did a review in 2019 and has yet to release findings or action plans.

In by-laws one needs to be passed in order to receive $543,912 as its share of the Ontario Dedicated Gas Tax Funds for the Public Transportation Program.

Council meetings are done by video conference and the chamber is closed to the public. The public can watch it live on Youtube.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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