Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Sunday Nov 20th - 2011

Annual State of the City explores themes of collaboration, innovation

GUELPH, ON, November 10, 2011 – In her annual State of the City address this morning, Mayor Karen Farbridge asserted that Guelph is a "charismatic city" because of its capacity for collaboration and innovation.
The mayor told two stories to illustrate this capacity. The first involves a local company called Enpar, which is developing new technologies to treat water and waste water. The projects, which the Ontario government has said "have the potential to transform water treatment around the world," will be tested at the City's Waste Water Treatment Plant and a City-owned well, leveraging the City's significant expertise in this area. A number of local organizations, including Innovation Guelph, the Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Guelph, have been involved as well.
As the mayor noted, the Enpar projects illustrate how Guelph is creating a more diversified and resilient economy through collaboration and innovation - key directions of the City's economic development strategy, Prosperity 2020.
The second story involves the re-development of the former WC Wood plant in the St. Patrick's Ward neighbourhood. The mayor noted the re-development of brownfield sites in established neighbourhoods are always challenging for municipalities, with concerns about whether the neighbourhood's character will be maintained. In this case, thanks to an engaged Residents' Association, owners who are committed to respecting the local culture, and the leadership of City staff, the planning process to date has been highly collaborative.  
The mayor said, "We must replicate this new approach to meet the goals of our growth strategy and the downtown secondary plan...As Guelph continues to grow, some worry that our community will lose its character. The Woods project is an example of people determined to make sure that doesn't happen."
In her conclusion, the mayor stated that "the days of municipal government acting alone to drive the city's future from inside the walls of City Hall are long over - if they ever existed. In today's complex, interlinked and fast-changing world, municipalities need to work collaboratively across the public, private and non-profit sectors to jointly produce public value. At City Hall we are redesigning our structures and processes to do just that."
Noting that this is a fundamental change to the way governments have traditionally done business, the mayor remarked that this is not an easy or comfortable process, but it is one worth undertaking in order to position Guelph for continued success.
As part of her remarks, Mayor Farbridge also referenced the City's Making a Difference Community and Financial Report, which contains more details of the City’s progress and financial position. Some of the highlights include:
•    A growth management strategy to accommodate 50,000 more people and 30,000 more jobs by 2031
•    $50 million in federal and provincial funding to repair core infrastructure and establish a commuter hub downtown
•    Land sales in the Hanlon Creek Business Park that are growing the industrial assessment base and jobs
•    A Memorandum of Understanding with the Province of Ontario for the development of the Guelph Innovation District. Conestoga College has proposed a new Guelph campus on these lands.
•    The first sustainable 10-year capital budget presented for Council’s consideration, and a proposed capital financial plan that reduces debt servicing over the next 10 years to accelerate contributions to reserves.

Kate Sullivan
Communications Assistant
Office of the Mayor
T 519-822-1260  x 2558
E kate.sullivan@guelph.ca

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Sunday Nov 20th - 2011

Good afternoon,

This e-mail is to advise you of the status of the Family fountain and Blacksmith fountain, as well as to let you know about a possible story that may run in the Guelph Tribune.  Staff from Corporate Communications will send out a public information bulletin within the next day with an update on the two fountains.

Yesterday, we had an art conservator onsite to assess the damage to the Family fountain in St. George’s Square.  While he was here, he also visited the Blacksmith Fountain (on MacDonnell by the Co-operators) to begin work on replacing the missing hand.  While examining that fountain, he discovered a significant crack in the foot of the Blacksmith that has compromised the structural integrity of that piece, and we have determined that it is unsafe at the present time should anyone try to climb it.

As a result, staff will be hoarding off the Blacksmith Fountain in order to protect the fountain from further damage, and to prevent anyone from climbing on it.  Jessica Lovell from the Guelph Tribune was onsite while the conservator was examining the Blacksmith Fountain, so we expect that she may run a story in tomorrow’s paper.  

The conservator has advised us that repairs to both fountains should wait until the spring, after the last frost of the winter season.  The work on both fountains will be scheduled for April, including repair of the structural cracks and replacing of the Blacksmith’s missing hand.  It is expected that the work will take one to two weeks, and that repairs will be able to be done onsite.    Both fountains will remain hoarded until that time.

Colleen Clack | Interim Executive Director
Community & Social Services | City of Guelph

T 519-822-1260 ext 2588 | F 519-763-9240

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Sunday Nov 20th - 2011

Thought this might be of interest to you:

Hello Mayor Farbridge and Members of Guelph City Council;

There is general background information on the program including details on new home water efficiency standards, current participating home builders/demo homes, as well as the home certification and incentive process employed through the program.   

For more information on the Blue Built Home Program please visit www.bluebuilthome.ca.

Best Regards,
Wayne Galliher | Water Conservation Project Manager
Water Services Division | Planning, Engineering & Environmental Services
City of Guelph
T 519-822-1260 x 2106  | F  519-822-8837
E wayne.galliher@guelph.ca

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Sunday Nov 20th - 2011

City of Guelph raises more than $50,000 for United Way City employees use creativity to help support the community

GUELPH, ON, November 14, 2011 – On October 31, the City of Guelph wrapped up its annual United Way fundraising campaign, successfully exceeding its goal of $50,000 in donations.

In just four weeks, City employees organized over 35 fundraising events, each of which featured its own unique theme with the common goal of raising money to support the community. Employees also made contributions by using traditional methods of donating, including pledge forms and payroll deductions.

"Thank you to all City of Guelph employees who contributed to us exceeding our $50,000 goal," said this year's City of Guelph workplace campaign chair, Mayor Karen Farbridge. "What set this campaign apart were the many terrific employee-organized events which raised significant dollars in addition to demonstrating great spirit and creativity. From garage sales to pancake breakfasts, staff went above and beyond for United Way."

United Way of Guelph and Wellington is a volunteer-driven, charitable foundation focused on meeting the pressing social needs in Guelph and Wellington County.  Through its annual campaign, United Way raises funds for local social service and voluntary sector programs.

"I am thrilled with the generosity that City employees have shown during this campaign," said Marva Wisdom, 2011 United Way Guelph & Wellington campaign chair. "It is thanks to City staff and all United Way donors that we are able to fund over 80 vital social service programs."

For more information about the City's 2011 United Way campaign, view the 2011 City of Guelph United Way Campaign web page.

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Sunday Nov 20th - 2011

City reaches five-year agreement with Guelph Royals Agreement meets Council-approved criteria

GUELPH, ON, November17, 2011 – The City has reached a mutually acceptable agreement with the Guelph Royals after a series of meetings.

“We were brought together by a community partner who was very interested in seeing the Royals back in Guelph,” said Colleen Clack, Interim Executive Director, Community & Social Services. “The new agreement meets all the criteria set by City Council for a five-year lease of Hastings Stadium and the concession booth.”

"This agreement is a new beginning for Guelph fans, players and sponsors" said Jim Rooney, the Royals' managing partner. "We look forward to working with the community and to its commitment to support the Royals as they take to the field for the 2012 season and beyond."

A key requirement—registration as a not-for-profit organization—was one of the stumbling blocks when discussions between the City and the Guelph Royals concluded in the summer. The City presented a draft contract in early June after extended negotiations with the team. At the time however, the Guelph Royals couldn't reach agreement with the City on a number of clauses in the proposed agreement.

City Council established criteria for an agreement with the Guelph Royals in May for the use of Hastings Stadium and the concession booth. The new five-year agreement will see the team use Hastings Stadium, run the concession booth and sell advertising in the stadium. The Guelph Royals have also agreed with the City on the amount owing from the 2010 season and will pay the City all outstanding fees as part of the agreement.

Colleen Clack
Interim Executive Director
Community & Social Services
Community & Social Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2588
E colleen.clack@guelph.ca

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Sunday Nov 20th - 2011

Hi folks,


One of the things, minor I know, that jumped out at me when I first started attending the council meetings, was the "track" of O'Canada that we had to sing along to at the beginning of our meetings. Not that there was anything terribly wrong with it, but I got to thinking - "Guelph has so much talent musically, why can't we have Guelphite's do this instead?" And so, at one of our Community & Social Services meetings I floated the idea to my council mates and our mayor. It recived some good feedback and since that time we've had a local singer Danielle Todd and the RCMP artists from the upcoming White Christmas production come on out to sing our anthem.


However, like everything at the city, there has to be some policy around the idea. Therefore, a form was created for potential artists to fill out. This form and the background to this initative is provided here: http://guelph.ca/uploads/Council_and_Committees/Information/infor_items_111711.pdf


The two performances we've had have been great. There's a sense of community that's happened everytime we hear someone, or a group sing our anthem. In my humble opinion, it's been fabulous.


If you know of anyone that might meet the criteria to join us down at our meetings, tell them to fill out the form, or they can contact me!


Take care,


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Sunday Nov 20th - 2011

Good Afternoon,
The City has co-sponsored a photovoice project with the Research Shop at the University of Guelph involving residents from Brant,
Grange Hill, Onward Willow, Parkwood Gardens, Two- Rivers and Waverley communities. Their photos and descriptions on the theme “living healthy,  well and strong in our neighbourhoods” will be on display at the Quebec Street Mall from Nov 28th to Dec 1 . The launch will be on Nov 28th at 1 with Mayor Farbridge as a speaker at the event .
Please join us for this event, or drop in to view the photos.


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Monday Nov 7th - 2011

Nov 7th, 2011

At a recent meeting both Gloria Kovach and myself asked these questions. The answer arrived today:


Hello Madame Mayor/ Members of Council, at the October CAFE’s meeting, I was asked to provide information regarding the number of Short Term Disability Claims that have been denied since January 2011.

Of 77 total Short Term Disability Claims since January 2011, 11 claims have been denied, resulting in those employees being required to reimburse the 1 month advance payment provided by the City.

8 of the claims were from Transit (ATU), 2 from CUPE 973 and 1 in the NUME group.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

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Tuesday Nov 1st - 2011

Proposed 2012 Operating Budget emphasizes affordability for taxpayers and the need for new ways of doing business Budget proposes three per cent increase.

GUELPH, ON, November 1, 2011 – City of Guelph staff have released the proposed 2012 municipal Operating Budget. The proposed budget will be presented to City Council Wednesday evening.

The proposed budget meets a three per cent guideline Council prescribed in July as part of the budget process. In meeting that guideline, staff have built a budget that focuses on affordability, and is respectful of Council's desire to deliver public services at a cost that is affordable for taxpayers.

"Council gave staff a mandate to build a budget that does not exceed a three per cent increase over 2011," says Guelph's Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert. "Staff have spent months putting together a budget submission that endeavours to balance affordability with residents' expectations about quality service. To achieve that, we've had to explore new approaches to familiar questions and make some difficult decisions."

Pappert explains that part of doing business differently—a theme that surfaced in the City's 2012 Capital and Enterprise Budgets—means exploring shared funding arrangements, leveraging partnerships, and seeking opportunities to acquire additional support and funding from other sources where possible. As an example, this budget includes the sale of the City's street lights to Guelph Hydro, and an aggressive reduction in energy use in City-owned buildings.

Among the significant influences on the proposed budget is annualization costs associated with the many new facilities Guelph is about to bring on stream, including Market Square, a new civic museum, and the intermodal transit terminal, to name a few. Annualization accounts for a full one per cent of the proposed three per cent increase. Contractual obligations and external cost drivers for items such as fuel and electricity also bear a significant impact on the budget.

The proposed budget accounts for neither growth, nor new services. To meet the three per cent guideline, the City's Executive Team did not approve any new positions needed to address growth. Those positions have however been prioritized, should Council wish to consider and/or add them.

Council will consider the budget submission over the next few weeks before final deliberations on December 7, 2011. A meeting at which members of the public can address Council is scheduled to take place on November 23. Anyone who wishes to delegate at that meeting is invited to e-mail the City Clerk's Office at clerks@guelph.ca.

Tara Sprigg
Corporate Manager, Corporate Communications Office of the CAO T 519-822-1260  x 2610 E tara.sprigg@guelph.ca

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christine.billings@guelph.ca | 519-826-0567

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