The City of Orillia is looking to 2017 as a year focused on stimulating development in its downtown core by introducing $185,000 in financial incentives through the new Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan (DTCIP).
The plan was developed through significant public consultation and an extensive review of background materials and best practices across the province. The final plan was brought to council in June 2016 for approval. Since that time, staff have been working with community members on an implementation plan in anticipation of the program launch on Jan. 1, 2017.
While the program includes eight programs in total, the first five programs to be launched will include incentives to offset costs related to feasibility studies, application and permit fees, façade improvements, building improvements, and the creation of residential units. The remaining three programs, to be implemented at a later date, include a brownfields tax assistance program, a tax increment grant program, and a development charge grant program.
“This program will truly be a catalyst for development in the city’s core,” says Orillia mayor Steve Clarke. “Downtown Orillia is already referred to by visitors as a hidden gem. This program will ensure that the core continues to be revitalized so Orillia can strengthen our reputation as a destination for visitors and professionals.”
The Orillia Packet and Times said the program “will put Orillia at the leading edge of providing incentives to developers in an effort to stimulate development in the downtown core” and that “over time, the DTCIP is expected to increase tax assessment, employment opportunities and housing options in the city’s core as part of a longer term plan to revitalize the downtown and link it more closely to Orillia’s waterfront.”
“We’ve already received a number of inquiries about the program, from both existing businesses looking to expand, as well as new businesses looking to establish a presence in Orillia,” says Laura Thompson, manager of real estate and commercial development. “There’s an air of excitement in the community. There are a number of large projects coming down the pipe – people are excited about the future of downtown Orillia.”
For more information on the DTCIP, visit orillia.ca/downtowncip.