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Orillia councillors 'disappointed' after colleagues vote against HRC monument funding

Motion was expected to pass after being approved during operating budget talks; 'That was a really meaningful investment from the city,' councillor says
2019-08-24 HRC Cemetery monument 3
The Survivors Memorial Monument at the Huronia Regional Centre Cemetery. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters file photo

Orillia city council has reversed its plan to provide funding to help make the Huronia Regional Centre survivors monument more accessible.

A motion to approve $25,000 for the project was passed during operating budget talks two weeks ago, but during the budget ratification meeting Monday, council changed course.

Councillors David Campbell, Jay Fallis and Tim Lauer were the only ones who voted in favour of the funding, which could have gone toward a walkway from the cemetery to the monument, a plaque, benches and sodding.

Lauer was visibly upset when the motion was defeated Monday.

“Man, when I think of some of the money we spend, I just don’t get this one,” he said.

Fallis, too, was “disappointed” with the decision.

“That was a really meaningful investment from the city,” he said. “I really hope this comes back up in future budget discussions. For a lot of people, that monument is very meaningful.”

Lauer said in an interview he was “surprised but also disappointed” at the outcome.

“It’s an accessibility issue,” he said, adding that’s why it should have been treated as a priority. “We have hundreds of items before us and a lot of them could be put off. It just struck me as odd that this one was the target for those who thought it would be a great savings.”

Staff did not recommend council approve the funding because the property on which the monument sits is not owned or maintained by the city.


Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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