divdfk · 2021-11-10

Daycare plea rejected by council

Council has rejected a last-ditch attempt to have the city waive development fees on a new building planned for a soon-to-be displaced daycare.

A week after council committee turned down a request to waive development fees on a facility planned for west Orillia, Treasure Island Daycare Centre director Lucille Desjardins appeared before council to plead for reconsideration.

Desjardins stressed that the non-profit operation was being forced from its long-time home at OPP General Headquarters due to security concerns.

“This request is in response to a unique situation,” she said. “Had we not had to move from GHQ, we would not be here asking.”

The agency is seeking $1.7 million in provincial funding to assist with the relocation, and has launched fundraising initiative that has garnered more than $5,000.

Development charges and other fees would amount to about $120,000, a portion of which – about $50,000 – is already covered by the municipality.

As an alternative, Desjardins suggested that council consider paying for an elevator that will allow children with disabilities to access a gymnasium in the basement of the new daycare.

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Defending a significant planning decision before the Ontario Municipal Board cost the city more than $113,000 in fees, council heard this week.

Residents of a waterfront neighbourhood cheered when council rejected a triple tower condominium complex proposed for Orchard Point.

The decision was challenged and defeated at the OMB, allowing the developer to proceed with the project.

Fees shouldered by taxpayers during the hearing include $55,000 for planning consultants, $47,000 in legal costs and $10,000 for archeological experts.

Councillors Ralph Cipolla and Wayne Gardy said the figures fail to reflect the time spent by staff involved in the hearing.

“It was a cost to the city because it took them away from their normal duties,” Gardy added.

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Ensuring ample parking is available for vendors and customers alike is crucial to the success of Orillia’s historic farmers’ market, council heard this week.

Farmers’ Market Vendors’ Association chair Kevin Scott warned that losing 37 parking spaces when a new library is erected would lead to frustration among shoppers and sellers of produce and other goods.

“Good vendors will disappear if they don’t have an opportunity to make money,” Scott said.

Mayor Ron Stevens in a letter to market representatives said council is “actively pursuing” options to address the parking problem.

Stevens was not present at council this week.

“We have to be united and work together to make it happen,” added Coun. Ralph Cipolla, who was raised near the market. “Every Saturday morning, it was the place to go and the thing to do.”

Council has additionally agreed to include a room within the new library for use by the market, Stevens added.

Scott wants an answer on the group’s parking concerns sooner than later.

“The bottom line is, parking has been taken away due to the expansion of the library,” he said.

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Out of order.

That was Coun. Michael Fogarty’s blunt assessment of a committee motion last week, when members affirmed a decision to build a new library on the site of the existing facility.

According to parliamentary procedure, “council cannot reaffirm a position taken,” said Fogarty, who chaired this week’s meeting.

The motion to affirm was deleted.

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City staff will investigate the cost of adding fluoride to Orillia’s drinking water, following a report by the health unit on the poor state of dental health in Simcoe County.

Coun. Joe Fecht requested information on fluoridation after reading “alarming statistics” about oral health in the region.

Early childhood tooth decay is more prevalent in Simcoe County and Muskoka than in most parts of Ontario, the report said.

“I think this would be a first step in looking at this issue,” Fecht said.