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LETTER: Questions to ponder before voting in Orillia

From the rec centre and Cedar Island to downtown development and the port, reader urges people to ask important questions before casting a ballot
orillia recreation centre stock
The Orillia Recreation Centre is shown in this file photo.

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The City of Orillia municipal elections are upon us, and we are about to elect another council.

Current council members are taking kudos for all the fine work they have done over the last four years. Let us give them the credit they deserve for all of their accomplishments.

The multi-use recreation facility was finally opened, years late and over budget. Could someone please explain what is going on with the landscaping? How many dead or dying trees will the taxpayers need to pony up for before someone explains why all the planted material keeps dying?

Who designed the paved pathway leading up to the parking lot on Queen Street? Is this a handicap wheelchair-accessible pathway? Look, see what your tax dollars paid for. The pathway is poorly designed, has too steep of an incline and ends at a curb — not very wheelchair accessible at all.

Who is taking credit for the weeds that are growing wild everywhere? Where are the baseball fields? Kitchener Park was intended and advertised as the premier soccer facility in Orillia. The park was to be reconfigured and the baseball fields were going to go to the rec centre. The plan changed. Who is taking the credit for that?

Who is taking the credit for the fiasco at Cedar Island? Who is paying for the hundreds of thousands and more dollars that are being wasted while nothing gets done? Who is taking credit for the disruption caused to the residents? Years have passed, and nothing is completed. Who did that?

The Port of Orillia now sports a tiki bar at our town dock. This is the dock with the ticket booth for the boat tours and the pump-out station for the boat that is supposed to be touring our waterways and bringing tourist dollars to our community. Who did that? Who decided that it was OK for the staff of the boat to park their vehicles on the boardwalk? Was that the same people that closed the parking lots before they considered where the tiki bar patrons and staff would park?

What council member wants to take the credit for allowing the chamber of commerce to be handed the contract for the Port of Orillia administration without it ever being made open to the public?

Who gave the harbour master a 24-hour private reserved parking space seven days a week for the entire summer? Who gets the credit for that?

If you are a member of the chamber of commerce and you are the mayor or an elected council member, do you have a conflict of interest and should you absolve yourself from the vote or should you choose to award the contract to the chamber of commerce without ever considering the possibility that this might not be in the best interests of the people who live in Orillia?

The park and the public spaces at the park might be better served if they were not considered as a potential revenue source but were in fact treated as common space, and instead of maximizing their potential for revenue, they might in fact be used as intended to enrich the lives of the people of Orillia and allow them access to their lake.

Who designed the bike trail that crosses directly into the pathway of the boat ramp? Who did that? Who gets the credit for that decision and more credit for not fixing the problem during their administration?

Who gets the credit for selling our public lands at the waterfront to a private development company? These lands were to be developed to create better access to the waterfront and allow the people of Orillia to enjoy and use the public space that was going to be reconfigured to maximize its potential.

Who decided that condos and eight-storey apartment buildings only affordable to the wealthy were what the people of Orillia needed? Who gets the credit for taking all of that public property and reducing the land that is available down to a tiny area called the public square located in what was the public parking lot?

During the term of our next council many important decisions will need to be made that will ultimately shape the future of what life is like when you live in Orillia. Please consider the accomplishments of this council when you elect the next council and cast your vote accordingly.

Steve Scoular