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Waterfront development implementation update provided to Council

Posted on Tuesday March 06, 2018

A timeline analysis and key considerations for bringing Orillia’s Waterfront Development vision to reality was received as information by Council at its meeting on March 5, 2018. 

The Waterfront Development Concept for 70 Front St. N. and surrounding municipally owned lands (see concept rendering), which was supported in principle by Council in December, would intensify the number of people living and working in the downtown core and includes residential and commercial units along Mississaga St. E. and the extension of Coldwater St. to Centennial Dr.

Since December, the City’s Waterfront Working Group (WWG), consisting of four members of Council and City staff from various departments, has met regularly to review key development considerations and provided their first implementation update on Feb. 21, 2018, at a special Council Committee meeting.

“While complex, this project is very exciting and will be transformative for our community,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “The ultimate goal of this project is to facilitate development and to connect the downtown to the waterfront, encouraging new opportunities.”

Briefing notes were provided regarding lease and tenant matters, environmental, parking, planning approvals, financial incentives, parkland, hydro relocation and construction and staging plans. A timeline analysis provided a timeframe range based on key decision points that will be required, which highlighted a Request for Proposal for the development could be issued between 2019 and 2020 with development proposed three to five years later.

“Implementation of project of this magnitude is complex and will include a variety of key decisions which may impact the project timeline and/or budget,” said Coun. Tim Lauer, Chair of the WWG. “Based on the information presented, our next steps will include further due diligence for the lands. Once this is completed, we will have more information to make key decisions to move the project forward.”

In addition to receiving the briefing notes as information, Council authorized $30,000 for legal work for the project. The WWG is expected to report back to Council later this spring to provide the required environmental information. At this time, it is expected Council will have the necessary information to make key decisions that will better define the timeframe of the project.

The development concept sets out a master plan that takes into consideration a number of studies of the downtown and waterfront area that included extensive public consultation including the Port of Orillia Area Public Realm Plan, the Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan and the Downtown Tomorrow Plan. In accordance with this plan, the City purchased 70 Front St. N. (Metro Plaza) in 2016 to facilitate the extension of Coldwater St. to Centennial Dr. The City could have sold the surplus lands through a land sale, however, as the property was strategically located in the downtown core, Council decided to undertake a development analysis to better control the future development.

As Council does not intend for the City to be the developer of this site but would like to ensure the spirit of the concept is kept, a Request for Proposals process is likely to be utilized to find a qualified developer. 

For updates on the project, visit

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at


Mayor Steve Clarke
City of Orillia

Coun. Tim Lauer
Ward 4 Councillor