By John Swartz
Orillia council has a whopping 668 page agenda to deal with at Monday’s 4 p.m. meeting. 635 of those are for one report about the wastewater system master plan update. If one ever wondered how much can be said about dirty laundry – or, water from – there is your answer.
The plan covers the next 30 years to operate the system. The province requires reviews and updates ever 5 years. The plan indicates the current system is good enough to handle population projections through to 2049 without capacity upgrades.
However it also notes the system will need to be extended to Oro-Medonte Line 15 (City limit) for, “future institutional development in that area.” This raises the question, what institution? It could be expansion at Lakehead University, or maybe something else like moving Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital out of the downtown core. Either way, someone knows something the rest of us don’t. In the same section it also notes the system will need to be extended on Woodland Drive for the same reason. That’s the road west of the HRC land.
The report is also a forecast for expenses of $3.3 million for pumping station upgrades, $1.5 million for upgrades at the treatment center, and $13.9 million for a list of other expenses during the next 5 years.
Staff are recommending council change the concessions at Rotary Place, Brian Orser Arena, Couchiching Beach and Kitchener Parks from outsourcing just the operations to leasing the facilities to a third party. Three bids were received, one was disqualified and Global Brand Foods scored well enough for staff to recommend the company get the contract.
It cost the City $26,718 in 2019 to operate concessions, and combined with eliminating the supervisor position ($84,363 annually) it is expected $20,000 of revenue will be generated annually for the City.
The treasurer has a report on remuneration and expense to council and boards and committees for 2021. Council was paid a total of $401,476 (mayor = $85,925, council member = $40,058). In total $20,849 was paid to committee and board members.
Regarding expenses charged by council to the City, Councilors Campbell, Emond, Fallis, and Lauer did not charge anything. The highest amount charged to a councillor went to Councilor Ralph Cipolla, which is different because he often is on the list of councillors not charging expenses, however his cell phone was replaced in 2021 at a cost of $718.
The others had expenses as follows, Mayor Clarke $417, Councillor Ainsworth $8, Counicllor Hehn $113, Councilor Kloostra $312.
The Treasurer also has the annual development charge reserve statement on the agenda. The current balance is negative $9,812,465. The fund gained ground toward being in the black in 2021 as a result of $4.1 million revenue.
Development charges are levied on new residential, commercial and industrial construction and funds are to only be used for expansion of municipal services that can be attributed to growth. In other words, for example, the cost to fix normal wear and tear on Laclie Street cannot be taken from the development charge reserve, unless it started to fall apart faster because of say a new workplace or residential development that adds traffic to the road.
As it stands, with new development in the north end adjacent to Laclie having occurred and more proposed, traffic has increased and therefore a part of reconstruction costs can come from the reserve proportional to the increase use of the road.
This year a change in the use of Swanmore Hall started. The hall itself is going to be operated as a restaurant, by Fare Restaurant, full-time for the next 5 years. This means there will be no more bookings for use of the hall by community groups.
This only applies to Swanmore Hall and other catering can be arranged for uses of the grounds, the house and the boathouse. Staff are proposing a catering fee of 15% be charged based on historical income from bookings for those areas. The new charge will be flat fees ranging from $150 to $1,125 depending on the size of the group using the facilities. New fees will only apply to new bookings, not bookings already in place (weddings are big business for the museum and it’s likely most of the warm weather availability is already booked).
Counicllor Jay Fallis has a motion for staff to prepare a report on the feasibility and costs of installing remote solar light fixtures at Clayt French Dog Park and to string lights along the trail next to West Ridge Boulevard.
One of the most interesting enquiry motions to be on an agenda in years comes from Councillor Pat Hehn. She wants a report on the feasibility of painting crosswalks at the Mississaga/West Street intersection before Canada Day. Her proposal includes:
- Stripes of red, yellow, black and white to represent the colours of the four races
- Stripes of violet, indigo, green, yellow, orange and red to represent the Pride flag
- Stripes of orange to honour children who attended residential schools
- Stripes of red and white to represent all Canadians
- A maple leaf in the centre of the intersection
It seems like a small thing, but may have a great effect projecting what many in the community believe to visitors.
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)