Recreation centre, Front Street construction continues in Orillia, other projects halted

Transit system and Rotary Aqua Theatre improvements among the halted projects

The province’s new list of essential services that kicked in on Saturday has meant many construction projects in the City of Orillia have been halted.

This will not impact work on the Orillia Recreation Centre, Front Street Reconstruction, and the Horne Business Park Expansion, along with critical water/wastewater projects, and facility and sidewalk maintenance projects deemed essential at this time. The City made the determination after a review of the revised essential service list and in consultation with the province.

“The City is committed to the health and safety of staff and the community, while also enabling the continuation of essential projects as approved by the Province in a safe manner. The construction projects proceeding are required to meet the critical needs of the city and will help jump-start our local economy when we come out on the other side of this,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “I want to commend staff for the work they have put into initiating these projects on behalf of Council, then having to evaluate and prioritize them twice based on the essential and non-essential restrictions laid out by the Province.”

The Orillia Recreation Centre, which is 90 per cent complete, will be the City’s designated emergency evacuation centre and essential to continue. Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital is investigating a number of sites as potential locations for an alternative patient care site, should it be required in the future, and they have identified the new recreation centre as one of those locations. Currently, the City’s emergency evacuation centre is Rotary Place Arena.

Many construction projects planned for 2020 were put on hold because of COVID-19 and the new provincial essential services list including, but not limited to, the reconstruction of Bleeker Street, municipal parking lot upgrades, transit system improvements, Rotary Aqua Theatre improvements, the annual road resurfacing and non-essential building improvements at City-owned facilities.

City operations, such as spring clean-up and road maintenance, will also continue with appropriate physical distancing and health and safety measures in place.

The City will continue to work closely with all of its contractors to help ensure adherence to physical distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures.