By John Swartz
After Monday’s regular council meeting the summer schedule begins with one set of council meetings per month on July 18 / 21 and Aug 22 / 25. First up are deputations and there will be two of them.
Myles Odlozinski will present a proposal to have a refrigerator, freezer and pantry installed at the Orillia Public Library. He proposes they would be in an outdoor winterized shed and be open 24 hours a day. Accompanying notes say it would be a give/take what you can kind of operation and food would be donated by restaurants, businesses and anyone who wants to contribute. He proposes library staff would clean it daily and volunteers would give it a weekly cleaning.
He states it would depend on several partnerships to work; The City for support, library staff for daily upkeep, a contractor to build the shed, an artist to paint it, restaurants and grocery stores to promote and “get food recovery of excess food and pre-made meal (s),” The Sharing Place to provide excess donations and volunteers for promotion and weekly deep cleaning.
He’s calling it the Community Fridge and cites similar projects in Hamilton, Innisfil and Newmarket as examples. Odlozinski’s presentation notes say library staff support the idea and have a location on Market Street where it could go, The Brick will donate a fridge/freezer and also has a cost estimate for the shed of $5,100, but does not indicate who or how much other partners will be involved.
The other deputation is from Dr. Matthew Miller (chair) and Pat Thor of the Orillia and Area Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee and Dr. Nancy Merrow, chief of staff and vice-president of medical affairs at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital who hope to have council increase committee funding by $16,000 for this fiscal year.
The current amount the City has budgeted for the committee is $18,000. They say there are 12 retirements pending which will leave 12,000 people without a doctor and burnout from workloads here are no different than in other areas of the province.
The committee does fundraise other than by City grant, but their efforts were disrupted the last two years and are short $40,000.
Over the 20 years since the committee was created, they have brought 30 family doctors and 60 specialists to practice in Orillia. Last year despite revenue shortfall and other considerations they still got 6 family doctors to come to Orillia and say there are still 2,000 people without a doctor.
Committee members have been making their own donations to keep the work happening. They are also concerned inflation will make it harder to reach graduates and doctors who want to relocate. They are also concerned because of the high burnout rate in Ontario any sudden decision by a doctor to retire, or quit will cause a ripple of problems.
All together it’s a sad illustration of the state of healthcare in Ontario that communities are pitted against each other in order to have the needed amount of doctors and specialists and those municipalities and other donors have to fund these kinds of efforts.
Council has a motion to approve the Orillia Power Generation Corporation’s board of directors decision to award a dividend of $1,000,000 for the 2021 fiscal year, which will be paid to the City June 30.
A motion originally put forward by councillor Pat Hehn to paint the crosswalks at Mississaga and West Streets different colours to represent different social movements – and to have a Maple Leaf painted in the center of the intersection in time for Canada Day, or the Civic Holiday weekend is back before council. It was presented in April and postponed pending a report, which still is not done. The earlier council decision was to defer a decision to this meeting and a staff note recommends postponing again to the July 18 committee meeting, so council will have to move to defer again.
There are no consent agenda items and by-laws on the agenda all refer to and formalize previous council decisions.
The meeting can be watched live on Youtube beginning at 4 p.m.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied)