Council Preview Part Two

By John Swartz

Orillia council will start it’s public meeting on planning matters at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, with the regular meeting to follow. It’s interesting to note as it pertains to a report about council meeting schedules earlier in the day’s committee meeting. They budgeted 4 hours (presumably including a lunch break), and kind of defeats staff’s case for having all meetings in one day to make it easier for the public to participate since the planning meeting and regular meeting likely won’t conclude until 6 p.m.

The only planning item is regarding Official Plan and zoning amendments to allow a 12 storey and a 14 storey apartment buildings (282 units) as the next two phases of development at 600 Sundial Drive.

It’s interesting the consultant, Morgan Planning states water, sewer and storm water services are adequate to include this development. However it does not address transportation.

600 Sundial Drive Proposal

If one considers the intended residents are seniors, one would think access to public transit would be a concern. The only bus stop close by is still a good walk (300 meters) either by way of Sundial or Laclie Street, is a cross the road from the development and is transitioning from a highway exit to a city street there, the development is on top of a hill and there currently are no sidewalks. It’s never been understood why municipalities allow seniors developments so far away from community facilities like hospitals, shopping and other quality of life destinations, instead of encouraging development closer to central cores.

Staff makes the argument for location considerations by recommending required parking of 1.5 spaces per unit be reduced to 1 for phase 2 and 1.25 for phase 3, which assumes not all residents will be driving and 25% of spaces will be for visitors. They also state the average of residents in phase one is 85 and do not own cars, so parking is basically for staff and visitors.

That said, if ever there was a property suitable for any high rise development without incurring the wrath of existing residents, this could be it. Any other existing residences are below the grade of this property so no view can be further obstructed. There were still a few objections made to height, traffic and water run-off issues at the public meeting held by the developer. Most of the complaints were addressed.

Regular Meeting

There are no deputations or presentations scheduled.  The Art in Public Places committee has results of a call for proposals to create 7 sculptures in various locations around town. One of the locations, a mural for the lake side of the water filtration plant was treated separately in the jury process. There were 20 submissions for that one, and 57 other proposals for the other sites.

They projects are awarded to:

Water filtration plant – Soon Cho

Wilson Point Road – Nate Nettleton

Fittons Road – Kyle Thomley

Orillia Recreation Centre – Camille Rajotte

Rotary Place Storm Water Pond – Stephen Cruise

James Street – no recommendation

Atherley Road Kotama Boubane

Water Plant by Soon Cho

Image 1 of 6

None of the artists are from Orillia with two being from Quebec, two from Toronto, one from British Columbia  and one undetermined residency other than Canada.

All the funding ($276,000) for this project comes from a source which has not been named. For more details about the project see our previous story here.

The next item of interest is appointments to boards and committees for the new council. The practice is they will serve two years and then get new assignments. Also councillors serve in pairs as liaisons with departments and the schedule changes annually.

Of note, but not on this agenda, councillors were informed by memo their pay is increasing. Previous councils authorized an automatic annual adjustment limited by pay increase percentages other City employees get, to the consumer price index. The December 1 increase is for 1.5%, so the mayor will receive $88,672 and councillors $41,339 annually.

Bill 23

Councillors Janet-Lynne Durnford, Jay Fallis and Whitney Smith have a notice of motion regarding the province’s Bill 23.

The shortcomings of this bill and the negative effect on property taxpayers, the environment, and democratic principles should be general knowledge by now, so we won’t reiterate them point by point.

The motion calls on council to petition the province to overturn Bill 23 and the motion be forwarded to various parties including all other Ontario municipalities.

Under by-laws, most relate to issues already discussed or are routine. Except, there is one to appoint two new by-law enforcement officers. Without going back over every agenda for the year, it seems there is a high turnover of personnel in this department because there have been several appointment by-laws on agendas this year.

You can attend council meetings now, or watch them live on Rogers TV.

A preview of Monday’s council committee meeting is in Part 1.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied)


Support Independent Journalism