Council Preview

By John Swartz

Orillia council starts its day early at 1 p.m. with a public meeting on planning matters. This meeting will be live streamed on the City’s Youtube channel as it happens.

There are two development projects to be discussed. One is at 48 Peter Street South and David Robb is applying for a zoning amendment in order to convert the former Lighthouse Soup Kitchen into three living units and one commercial unit. The property is currently zoned institutional and Robb wants to change it to commercial intensification.

In the Official Plan the property is part of the Downtown Area – Central Core Intensification Area, which allows for multiple living units and commercial units, but the specific property in the Zoning By-Law designation needs to change. Staff recommend the change.

The other application is from Brian Rupke, Alexis Ray and Kyle Parker regarding property at 4387 Huronia Road, which is at the corner of Wilson Point Road. They want a zoning change from rural to residential. The applicants intend to make another application in order to split the property into 3 lots for single family homes and this zoning change is the first step. There is currently a 2 unit residential building on the lot. Interestingly the property is within 395 meters of Highway 11, so MTO gets a say in the matter. Staff recommend the change.

Regular Council Meeting

When the regular council meeting starts at 4 p.m. ( a different live stream here) the first order of business is to announce who is Orillia’s 2021 Citizen of the Year. The name cannot be announced until then, and when that occurs, you can read about it here.

There are two deputations scheduled. The first is by Stan Mathewson of Sustainable Orillia and Paula Coulson of the Orillia and District Rotary Club to discuss the Orillia Recreation Center green house project.

They have a proposal to construct a greenhouse, which will serve as an education and training vehicle for youth, on the south side of the rec center, or on the corner of West and Queen Streets where the electrical transformers used to be.

They outline a number of training opportunities like horticulture and greenhouse operations, food science and nutrition, and propose youth will have the ability to participate during the construction and gain skills there.

They propose to sell what is grown in the green house with area restaurants being potential clients. The plan also aims to be carbon neutral in construction and operation.

Artists Concept

The project has a committee with councillor Ralph Cipolla, Marilyn Hanson and Peggy Onlock of the Rotary club, and David VanAlstyne, Kirk McLean and Danny Epstein as members.

The group has identified a number of provincial programs for funding, along with applications for partial funding to the Casino Rama Community Wellness Program and Hydro One. They have also identified other corporate programs to be petitioned for funds, and some other higher level government funding programs. In order to proceed with applying for funding they need approval in principal from council to add weight to applications.

The second deputation will be by Valerie Powell and Louise Cohen of the Age Friendly Orillia Advisory Committee and Jodi Ball of the J Consulting Group, who will be giving an update on a community action plan.

Since March 2021 the committee has been gathering and analyzing information in order to create a plan to help seniors in the community. They conducted phone and online surveys, held interviews and focus groups and had two workshops with a combined attendance of 62 people. In total 460 people participated in creating the plan.

There are a wide range of areas and recommendations (27 short and long term) the committee hopes will allow seniors to remain part of and participate in the community. More information can be found on the committee’s website.


Emerging from last week’s committee meeting are some details, but not much, of what happened in closed session. The first item in the report is direction to pay Metro Ontario Real Estate Ltd. $206,000 under the Expropriations Act, which will come from the land acquisition reserve account. Council also approved $75,000 for legal expenses related to the Centennial Drive reconstruction project.

Council made some appointments to various committees:

  • Linda Rodenburg, to the Commemorative Awards Committee for the remainder of the term to expire November 14, 2022.
  • Dennis Woodman, to the Active Transportation Committee for the remainder of the term to expire November 14, 2023.
  • M. Nowick-Rigelhof, as a Vendor representative to the Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee for a three-year term to expire November 24, 2024.
  • Dawn Nita, as a citizen representative with experience in food sustainability on the Orillia Food Committee for the remainder of the trial.
  • Jacob Kearey-Moreland, as a citizen representative with experience in food sustainability on the Orillia Food Committee for the remainder of the trial.

Council last week also approved temporary warming centers be established at the Orillia Recreation Centre on Saturdays and Sundays from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Orillia Public Library on Saturdays from approximately 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Consent Agenda and By-Laws

There is not much on this agenda. However, The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 34 is requesting a $5,000 grant as part of an estimated $10,000 cost to create and install a monument to honour the death of Air Cadet Stan Peacock in the 1943 explosion at Hunter Boats and commemorate the quick action of two Orillia fire fighters who prevented a worse disaster from happening. Hunter Boats was located at the foot of Mississaga Street in what is now Veteran’s Park.

And the Rotary Club of Orillia is asking for $1,500 grant to put toward a $5,900 budget to paint the train shed, the interior of the train station and make some track repairs.

The City has a new clerk. When the by-law is enacted and the meeting concludes Andrea D. Fay will hold that title, which is one of two positions (the other is treasurer) municipalities are required to have under the Municipal Act. Previously The City’s CAO, Gayle Jackson held the role of clerk. Fay was the deputy clerk of the County of Simcoe and previous to that the clerk in Midland. She will start the new job February 28.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Supplied)


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