Council Preview, Part Two

By John Swartz

Orillia Council’s 2 p.m. meeting Monday starts with two deputations. The first is by Mina Fayez-Bahgat, who is general manager of social and community services for the County of Simcoe. She will have information about a homelessness prevention strategy.

The second is by Marci Csumrik, Tracy Wood, and Krista Storey who will present a proposal for youth transitional housing. They are saying after 20 years of study and data collecting, their group, The Elizabeth Fry Society is ready to move on creating temporary housing for youth. Their presentation includes a request for $40,000 from the City to begin design on a facility.  This group already has projects running in Bracebridge and Barrie.

Next, if the public forum. There are no closed session items, so council will move to reports.

The Lighthouse, lead partner, for the City’s emergency overnight warming
centre shelter reports it was open for 30 days this past winter. They provided 345 beds to. They are reporting on how the City’s $16,000 contribution was spent, and they are developing a 60 event day plan for this winter. The City has already approved an increase of funding to $31,000.

A report on the municipal accommodation tax shows the revenue ($536,144) almost doubled over budget projections in 2022. The City shares revenue with Ontario’s Lake Country Tourism on a 50/50 basis. Staff want permission to negotiate an extension to the agreement with Lake County for a 5 year term.

A report from staff about encampment sites will surely draw some discussion. Staff are proposing council amend the municipal code and allocate $9,000 to buy personal protection equipment. The City already has provision prohibiting tents on City land.

This is a growing problem and staff encountered 11 such sites in 2022. There were two in 2021. This cost $17,000 for staff to investigate and deal with. When these encampments are found on private property, staff give notice to the property owner they are contravening zoning by-laws. Staff are asking for amendments to be made to the municipal code to prohibit encampments specifically and to facilitate removal of encampments.

Staff are reporting the developer of the residential portion of the Inch Farm is getting closer to beginning and the developer (LIV Communities) wants to build the road through the farm.

The City owns 15 acres for use as industrial development. The City’s share is $5.4 million dollars.

Councillor Tim Lauer pulled a report from the council information package for discussion. The recommended motion is to report on an alternative site for the Sunday evening concerts which can’t be held at the Aqua Theater this year. Staff cancelled the series a couple weeks ago. Considering council won’t meet until July 17 the only realistic hope is to have some concerts sometime in August, assuming the performing groups haven’t already made alternate engagements elsewhere.

Councillor Lauer also has a notice of motion to reconsider a previous decision regarding the strategic corporate plan adopted in May. It appears there is objection to spending $80,000 to hire a consultant to develop a new plan

You can watch the budget meeting live on the City’s Youtube channel.

Read part one of council’s June 19 preview here.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


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