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Council to tackle opioids, affordable housing, backyard chickens

City council will consider requests regarding two affordable housing projects, opening up its backyard chicken pilot to residents, and creating an opioid crisis working group
Orillia Mayor Don McIsaac and Orillia city councillors have a busy agenda of items to discuss at Monday's regular meeting, which starts at 2 p.m.

Affordable housing initiatives, the opioid crisis, and raising backyard chickens are among the items on a busy agenda for city councillors on Monday.

City council will consider two affordable housing items Monday, including developer Raising the Roof’s funding request for the project planned for the upper leves of the post office at 25 Peter St. N., as well as a request for a tax exemption from Hillcrest Lodge.

Raising the Roof will provide a deputation to council on its request, which includes $129,250 in funding, after council deferred making a decision on it at the Feb. 27 meeting of council.

The request was initially meant to support Raising the Roof’s grant application for federal funding, which also required funding from multiple levels of government to be successful, but the County of Simcoe recently voted down financially supporting the project.

Hillcrest Lodge, which provides affordable housing to seniors, has sought a retroactive tax exemption from the city with the aim of keeping its units affordable.

Council previously granted Hillcrest Lodge tax exempt status from 2009-2019.

The organization is currently in a financial bind, as the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s regulations prevent it from having tax exempt status because Hillcrest Lodge does not own the property.

Hillcrest Lodge is currently working to acquire the property from the owner, Toronto United Church, and it is seeking exemption for back taxes totalling more than $189,000 in the interim.

Council will consider forming an opioid crisis working group, an initiative spearheaded by Coun. Ralph Cipolla, who wants to see representatives from the OPP, city council, and numerous local organizations join the group.

The working group, if formed, will aim to develop strategies to address the opioid crisis locally and enhance public education on the issue.

Council will also consider a report on Orillia Secondary School student Myles Odlozinski’s request for a community fridge to bolster food security in the city.

City staff have recommended against the initiative, noting the city does not possess the capacity or expertise to manage the project, but noted the city could support the Sharing Place in such an initiative, who are currently considering the viability of a similar project.

Following a successful six-year pilot project on keeping backyard chickens for eggs, city staff have recommended opening the opportunity up to residents, to a limit of one licence and four hens per property, subject to a variety of regulations.

Council will also consider a cost-sharing agreement with the Ministry of Transportation to construct a multi-use trail on the north side of Coldwater Road, from Highway 11 to Murphy Road, as part of the planned Highway 11/Coldwater Road bridge replacement project. The cost for the trail is estimated at $182,328.

Monday’s meeting of council begins at 2 p.m. You can attend the meeting at the Orillia City Centre or watch live coverage by clicking here.

There is a planning meeting prior to the council meeting, at 1 p.m. There are three issues on the agenda, including a request for a zoning bylaw amendment that would pave the way for a new residential/commercial project on the former pool hall property at 1033 Mississaga St. W. Click here for a previous story on the developer's plans for this property.



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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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