Council Preview

By John Swartz

Orillia council has a 9 a.m. special meeting Friday, August 12. It beings with a closed session to get the 5th update from staff regarding phase one of the Centennial Drive reconstruction project.

Construction of the section between Mississaga Street and Cedar Island Road (technically Lakeview Avenue, which the City keeps referring to as The Esplanade) also includes construction of a new sewage pumping station.

The project started in April 2021 and was to be completed by April 2022. However, a delay of about 2 months occurred late last summer relating to ground water issues. In a SUNonline/Orillia story about the delay, Ian Sugden, Orillia’s general manager of development services and engineering, said the roadwork should have been done months ahead of the completion of the pumping station, yet the whole area is still not open.

“The project was always slated for substantial completion being April of 2022. The roadworks and the buried infrastructure works would be done before that, but the actual construction of the pump station was always planned to be a winter project. The building, the electrical, mechanical, that’s all another subtrade that will come in and do that work. I think we are running a couple months behind at this point, so it will be sometime in the summer of 2022 before that building is done and operational,” said Sugden.

There have been a number of closed session items in recent months about this project and the webpage on the City of Orillia’s website about the project has this information:

“The City has experienced challenges with contract implementation and interpretation for the Centennial Drive Phase 1 Reconstruction Project. At its meeting on June 20, 2022, Council authorized staff to negotiate a contract amendment with the contractor to complete the remaining portions of the contract for Centennial Drive Reconstruction Project Phase 1. Staff will report back to Council regarding the outcome of the negotiations at a future meeting. Once the outcome of negotiations has been finalized, there will be a better understanding of the timeframe and requirements to move forward with this project. Updates will be posted on this project page as they become available.”

No details from previous closed meetings on this matter have been revealed at council meetings.

There are other items on the agenda. With municipal elections happening earlier than has been custom, the date for the new council’s first meeting defined in the procedural by-law needs to be changed from the first Monday in December to a more flexible first Monday following an election, which this election will be November 21.

Also, beginning August 19 council will be restricted from taking certain actions regarding appointments and spending authorizations. There is a $50,000 limit on spending.  If it happened that 7 councillors were running  restrictions would not apply, however with mayor Steve Clarke and councillors Emond, Hehn, and Kloostra not running that won’t be the case.

With restrictions being in effect, certain actions by the City need to have council delegate authority to the CAO and the City’s solicitor in order for things to function.

The only other item on the agenda is a by-law to appoint Kristine Preston as the deputy clerk

The public can watch this meeting live on Youtube.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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