City of Orillia changes waterfront parking rules

The City of Orillia has ended parking restrictions that were put in place the past two summers to deter out of towners from crowding its waterfront.

"Unfortunately, they came in overwhelming numbers, and some of the behaviour we saw - because of COVID was unacceptable," said Mayor Steve Clarke.

The change means residents and non-residents can park along the Sunshine City's waterfront free of charge.

"Other municipalities are loosening their parking measures. Certainly, the province has rolled back a number of the restrictions, and we've built up thankfully a bit of a wall of immunity," the mayor said.

A potentially busy waterfront won't be the only thing motorists will contend with; summer construction season will be underway.

Phase two of the reconstruction of Centennial Drive will begin in early summer.

"That includes the incorporation of active transportation facilities, on-street parking and the bearing of the overhead hydro to improve the view scape. Mississaga Street will have limited access, as well as Tecumseth and Canice," said the city's engineering manager Wesley Cyr.

The FRAM development project to connect the waterfront and downtown will also begin this year with an environmental assessment.

"It really is a wonderful mixed development with commercial and residential, some townhouses facing the water," said Mayor Clarke.

A parking study for the Centennial Drive project will head to council next month, while FRAM Development plans to begin construction next year after the assessment is approved.