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Boat launch repair, greenhouse gas audit coming in 2022

Budget committee also approves equipment request from library and design work for potential new skateboard facility at Foundry Park
2021-09-28 Collins Drive boat launch 1
The Collins Drive boat launch, shown in this file photo, will be repaired.
The city is set to hike its tax levy by 2.94 per cent. Here is a look at some of the projects included in the 2022 budget.

Collins Drive boat launch

The boat launch at the end of Collins Drive will be rehabilitated.

Budget committee has approved $100,000 for the project.

Coun. Rob Kloostra raised the issue in June and council recommended in September that it be referred to budget committee.

“The west side concrete ramp has deteriorated significantly over the years and has become a hazard for unloading boats,” staff explained in a report.

The word “hazard” was enough to convince Coun. David Campbell to support the project.

“As soon as I see that word, I become very concerned, so I think we need to move forward with this and get this fixed up,” he said.

Dredging will also take place in the ramp area to allow for larger boats to use the launch.

Foundry Park design

A skateboard park and a playground are being considered for Foundry Park on the Orillia Recreation Centre grounds.

Budget committee has approved a staff request for $150,000. That will go toward completing the design, followed by community consultation.

Staff have applied for a Trillium grant to help with the project but haven’t received a response yet.

Coun. Jay Fallis noted local skateboarders who are advocating for a new skate park have indicated they want whoever the consultant will be to have experience in this type of design.

He was told specific criteria will be included in a request for proposals and that skateboarders can get involved through the public consultation process.

Sorter for library

The city and the Orillia Public Library will split the cost of a new material sorter.

The library had asked budget committee to approve the entire cost — $142,000 — as a one-time investment for the sorter, which is expected to last for 10 years. Mayor Steve Clarke suggested the city and library each contribute $71,000, and that was approved by budget committee.

The existing sorter was installed when the library opened in 2012 and it is nearing the end of its life.

The machine handled 189,366 transactions in 2020, which saved more than 6,000 hours of staff time, said library CEO Bessie Sullivan.

Greenhouse gas auditing

An energy and greenhouse gas audit at some city facilities will take place next year.

The goal of the project, according to a staff report, is to “identify GHG saving opportunities and asset replacement strategies for energy-consuming and GHG-emitting equipment.”

Facilities that will be subject to the audit are the Orillia City Centre, Fire Station 2, the Orillia Public Library, Rotary Place and the Wastewater Treatment Centre.

The audits align with the city’s climate change action plan.

The project will cost $125,000 in 2022, with the expectation of ongoing costs in subsequent years.

Staff said having audit results could help the city’s chances of securing grants for further projects related to the climate change action plan.

Water bottle filling stations

Five water bottle filling stations will be installed at three city buildings.

Budget committee approved a staff request for $25,000 to have one station put in at the Orillia City Centre, two at Rotary Place and two at the Orillia Opera House.

The opera house doesn’t currently have a filling station or fountain, so staff see this as a way to curb plastic waste there.

The two stations going in at Rotary Place will serve as a replacement to the fountain system.

“This is another step down the ‘get rid of the plastic bottle’ strategy,” said Coun. Tim Lauer.

Clarke noted there has been lots of talk around the council table about ways to tackle plastic waste.

“It would be incumbent upon us to put our actions where our mouths are,” he said.

Wi-Fi at Barnfield Point

There is no public Wi-Fi at the Barnfield Point Recreation Centre, but that could change.

City staff have applied for a grant to cover the $61,000 cost. It will only go forward if the grant is received.

However, operating costs are anticipated for subsequent years, starting in 2023, which will have an effect on the tax levy.

Staff said they would look at potential partnership or sponsorship opportunities.

Having public Wi-Fi in place, they said, would be beneficial when the facility hosts curling bonspiels, trade shows and other events.

All of budget committee’s decisions are subject to ratification during a special council meeting Dec. 6.