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Council reprioritizes road projects to make downtown waterfront development a priority

Posted on Monday February 13, 2017
City of Orillia logo
City of Orillia logo

Orillia City Council is sending a clear message that downtown waterfront development is a main priority of their term.

At a Special Council meeting on Feb. 13, 2017, Council supported the relocation of the trunk sewer from its current location along the former rail lines on the Lake Couchiching waterfront to Front Street. As part of the relocation, Council authorized a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) of Front Street, involving detailed design work that would potentially enhance the streetscape and include more active transportation options.

“Accelerating the City’s investment in infrastructure in the downtown waterfront area sends a strong signal to potential investors that Orillia is committed to the development of its downtown waterfront and is making strategic decisions that will shape the long-term vision of the area,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “A revitalized downtown waterfront will transform the area; bringing in new residents to the downtown, creating jobs, boosting tourism and increasing the City’s tax base.”

“The reprioritization of road projects to enable the relocation of the trunk sewer and reconstruction of Front Street will set the stage for downtown waterfront development that will revitalize our waterfront and improve the overall quality of life in Orillia,” said Coun. Tim Lauer, Chair of the Waterfront Development Working Group.  

Council, with advice from the Waterfront Development Working Group, reviewed mid to long-term infrastructure needs in the downtown waterfront area and determined that it is advantageous to reprioritize certain road reconstruction projects and advance the reconstruction of Front Street, including underground infrastructure. This course of action furthers the recommendations and vision of the Downtown Tomorrow Plan and Orillia Port Area Public Realm Plan.

Water and sewer infrastructure on Front Street serving the area will potentially need replacement within 10 years. Moving the Front Street infrastructure replacement ahead to 2019-2021 creates an opportunity to relocate the waterfront trunk sewer to Front Street. This work will ensure the infrastructure required for many years of future development in the downtown waterfront area is put in place in a cohesive manner. Relocating the trunk sewer also opens up an additional 1.4 acres of developable land valued at $1.4 million adjacent to the City-owned Front Street Plaza. The additional developable land could accommodate up to another 4,000 square metres of development, with a potential construction value of approximately $12 million. 

There is no significant net cost impact to the City in moving up the timing of the trunk sewer replacement and Front Street reconstruction to 2019-2021. The only substantial impact would be the reprioritization of other road reconstruction projects for three years.

In addition to the Front Street MCEA Council approved today, the Centennial Drive MCEA and design currently underway will also be updated to examine the modified options presented with the additional developable land to be freed up with the relocation of the trunk sewer.

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


Steve Clarke
City of Orillia

Jennifer Ruff
Manager of Communications
705-238-9209 (cell)

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