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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hydro One Deal Dominates Orillia City Council Meeting

Orillia | by Ken Hashizume  

Several residents spoke out against Hydro One deal that was rejected by the OEB.

The talk of the Orillia Council meeting was something that was not on the agenda.

Everyone in attendance on Monday wanted to discuss the hydro deal.

During the open public forum, seven people spoke to Council on the decision by the Ontario Energy Board back on April 13th to reject the sale of the distribution arm of Orillia Power to Hydro One. 

Some who spoke included former City Councillors Frank Kehoe, Patrick Kehoe, and Linda Murray.

A majority who took advantage of the public forum spoke against the hydro deal.

Almost all believe the deal should have been put to a referendum vote.

Councillor Mason Ainsworth -- one of three on Council who opposed the deal -- says the public wanted to be able to come to the table and vote on it.

He says it should be up to the citizens of Orillia to decide whether or not they want to sell the utility.

Mayor Steve Clarke -- who was in favour of the deal -- says there was plenty of public input on the matter but it is up to Council to make these difficult decisions.

He says there will be another public meeting next month.

Ainsworth says there has been a lot of speculation on what will be discussed at the public meeting.

He says there could be information that is not available to them.

Clarke says the majority of Council believes the deal was a win-win for the City and its residents.

He says he is still happy that decision and is looking forward to the appeal process.

In 2015, Hydro One approached the City on a plan to have an advanced technology hub be built in the Horne Business Park.

Part of that development would see Hydro One acquire control of Orillia Power Distribution for $26 Million.

A deal between the City and Hydro One was reached in August of 2016.

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