Congratulations are in order

Congratulations to Access Orangeville. As a result of their commitment to making Orangeville a more accessible community, Orangeville was chosen to receive the David C. Onley award for leadership in Accessibility. Also congratulations to Westminster United Church who were recently honoured with the ‘Promoting a Barrier-Free Community’ Award for their dedication to accessibility.

All Fired Up…..

A local resident, Tony Reynolds along with his wife Susan arrived at council with major concerns about the wood burning pizza oven at Bluebird Cafe. “The smoke from their pizza oven threatens the health and safety of our home.” Mr. Reynolds said. “We are here today to ask the town to protect our right to breathe clean air.” Essentially, the Reynolds were asking that Town Council create a by-law preventing The Bluebird Cafe (and other restaurants) from using wood burning for their pizza ovens – he would like them to have to use natural gas to use that oven.

“There is no safe exposure level to wood smoke”, Mayor Williams said “If you smell it you are breathing it in.”

Councillor Bradley was concerned that they would have to look at more than just the burning of wood for industrial purposes, that it would have to be wider spread than that. “I would tend to think that what we would have to do is look at a wood burning ban in the Town of Orangeville.”

“I would like to see them (chimineas) banned everywhere in Orangeville, quite honestly.” said Councillor Kidd. He would also like to see no more wood burning fire permits handed out until this motion is taken care of.

While Councillor Wilson is not personally a fan of wood burning, he is concerned about the ramifications of banning legal products such as wood burning devices.

Deputy Mayor Maycock was concerned that this discussion and report would do little to help the Reynolds’ family with their concerns and suggested that a conversation be started with The Bluebird Cafe to attempt to reach a compromise “Once we start infringing on people’s property rights, we are going down the wrong lane.”

The motion for the report was passed by Council and Councillor Kidd put forward a 2nd motion asking that Orangeville stop allowing burn permits until after the report comes back to Council. His motion gained the support of Councillor Bradley and Mayor Williams, but did not have enough support to pass.

Now, for MY humble opinions on the matter…Well, for starters, what started as the concerns of a couple of residents about a specific issue spiralled quickly into what seemed to be tangents by some members of council about their personal opinions about wood fires. I, for one, don’t feel as though banning wood burning is the right solution. I am sympathetic to the Reynolds concerns, however I also don’t feel like forcing The Bluebird to stop using wood is right either. Is their no compromise? Perhaps there is a solution that doesn’t include creating yet another by-law.

I put the question out on social media on Monday: “Tonight at council they discussed the possibility of banning all wood burning in Orangeville…what are your thoughts?”….residents are NOT happy with this idea at all. Here are just a few of the comments….

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 10.06.28 AM – Lost as lost can be

So, what are your thoughts??

Humber College

Joe Andrews, Director of Humber Orangeville Campus spoke at Council about Humber’s plans for expansion and presented council with an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). “This new MOU was created to specifically support the expansion of the Orangeville campus at the Alder site.” Mr Andrews said “The objectives are very clear…it is our intent to expand the Orangeville campus.”

Within 6 months of signing the MOU, a feasibility study will be conducted to address the expansion at which time if both the Town and Humber are in agreement, Humber will be investing $10 million into the expansion project. The hope is that with the expansion will come the ability to host numerous other courses of study at the Orangeville campus.

As most are aware, the Town of Orangeville was let down a few years ago by Humber and their skepticism was made clear at Council. Councillor Campbell brought forward a number of concerns “I was on Council in 2005 when we went into debt to borrow $3 million dollars to buy land for Humber and we were told that the campus would be up and running in 2009 with capacity for 2000 students…we all know what happened.”

Councillor Wilson was also reluctant to support the MOU not because of what happened in the past, but due to the mention in the MOU of costs to the Town. “I don’t think there should be any costs to the Town to permit construction on our property. It would seem to me that that should be our sole contribution, if any, to this undertaking.”

“The MOU is really the first step in the process” explained Ed Brennan.

“We’re here, we’re committed and we would love to see this work as well” said Laurie Rancourt, Humber’s Vice President of Academics.

The motion to sign the MOU was passed with only Councillors Wilson and Campbell voting against it.

I am excited to hear that Humber has plans to expand….again. I am excited for the prospect of some new courses of study coming to Orangeville. I am excited for the potential of jobs coming to Orangeville. However, I am cautiously optimistic this time around…and I do have some questions that I hope Joe Andrews can perhaps answer for me.

1. It was stated that the Orangeville campus is currently home to 220 students. What makes you confident that an expansion at this point is the right thing to do when currently the Orangeville campus is only at 50% capacity?

2. Has there been thoughts of which programs would be offered in addition to the current programs? Is the hope that some of these programs will draw people to our community?

3. Rather than utilizing $10 million to expand at its current location at Alder, is building a separate facility an option?

Mr. Andrews, if you could help the citizens understand what will be different this time around…I know I’m not the only one who would love to see this happen…it would be great for our town!!

What would you like to see happen with Humber??

Next Council Meeting

Summer is quickly upon us and so is the summer schedule for Council. The next regular meeting of council is scheduled for Monday, July 13th, 2015

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