Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Wednesday Dec 21st - 2011

Ward 4 has a great commercial node that's been waiting and waiting and waiting for the right anchor tenant to spur on the rest of the development for sometime.

I'm honoured to announce that Armel Corporation, who owns the land, has brought forward a complete application and request for re-zoning of the lands at the corner of Paisley & Elmira Rd so that COSTCO and other commercial opportunities can build there.

This is a very good thing for the West end of Guelph, and all of Guelph.

The article in the Guelph Mercury today speaks to the 7 year old decision of removing the old Mitchell Farm house. That was two council terms ago. What's done is done. We need to move on and embrace this development as it has many great opportunities for jobs, reduction of tax burden on home-owners and presents more shopping convienence to Guelph.

I hope council sees this the same way and moves this development opportunity forward.

It's all around GOOD!



Here's the Mercury article:

Costco eyes Mitchell farmhouse property for Guelph store

GUELPH — Costco is interested in setting up shop on the site of the former lands of the Mitchell farmhouse.

An application is before the city’s planning and building, engineering and environment department to set up the 143,000-square-foot membership warehouse store on a 13-hectare site on the northwest corner of Paisley Road West and Elmira Road North.

In 2005, city council approved the demolition permit for the 1912 farmhouse, which sat on top of the Paisley Road hill, despite public opposition. The granite fieldstone house sat on land operated by the Mitchell family since 1834.

Now, six years later, Armel Corp., which owns the land, has found an interested big-box store to locate on that property.

“Once this site is built, there won’t be a reminder that there once was a pioneering farming family in the community,” said city councillor Leanne Piper, who was chair of Heritage Guelph when the demolition permit was approved.

The 13-hectare site Armel is seeking to develop is bounded by Paisley Road to the south, Elmira Road to the east, the Canadian National Railway tracks to the north and the city boundary to the west. The plan would see the store located on the old Mitchell farm property but not directly over the site of the old farm house.

Piper said that although a link to the past is now lost, there is not much point lamenting over buildings we have lost. She added at least now there is a proposed development in place, which was what was sorely lacking in 2005.

There was verbal discussion of a shopping centre, but no rezoning application put forward, she said.

Al Hearne, the city’s senior development planner, said apart from Costco, further plans for the site have not been discussed with the city.

“Their focus right now is the one client (Costco),” he said, adding Costco representatives were present at preliminary meetings between Armel and the city, held in the fall.

The application requests rezoning approval from the existing urban reserve, service commercial and agricultural zone to the community shopping centre zone, which will allow for retail, office and service uses, including restaurants.

City Coun. Cam Guthrie, who represents Ward 4, said Costco is exactly the type of development Guelph needs. He said he’s received several favourable community responses from people happy they no longer need to drive to other cities.

Guthrie said the development will bring in more taxes, jobs and shopping convenience.

“This is really exciting for the west end of Guelph,” he said. “A store like Costco is what you would consider an anchor development. That type of development would spur on other development in that area.”

Guthrie added that he wants jobs to come to the city and money to be spent in Guelph.

Piper said standalone box stores, surrounded by mid-sized stores and parking, is not pedestrian-friendly, but the west end is in need of commercial opportunities. She hoped the east end will also see further commercial development.

City staff is still awaiting public comment from the neighbourhood, boards and agencies before the matter heads to city council. The notice of application was recently mailed out.


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Tuesday Dec 20th - 2011

Dec 29th, 2011

As I promised during the election, I will not accept any pay increase to the salary of being on council. I refused the raise last term, that many councillours voted in for themselves, and this year I am refusing the agreed yearly rate increase. This is the form I've signed, and will continue to sign, declining increases.


The people of Guelph elected me to look for savings, if it starts with me - so be it.

2011 Salary Increase decline form.pdf


Thank you,


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Friday Dec 9th - 2011



The Above link will take you to a draft report that has been sent out to all media outlets within Guelph by an employee that resigned late last night. Along with his letter of resignation, he forwarded this draft copy of an operational review.


First, as your councillor, I was not in reciept of this, nor did I know I was to be expecting this report. I'm gald that this type of review was being done. Judging by the content within the report, the residents of this city should be glad as well.


This is a bombshell and it needs to be public. I have been saying most of what is contained in this document for many years. Other's have also been saying these things for a long time.


There is change that is desperatley needed and I'm glad that I'm at the city during this time so I can help as best I can, to steer this organization back onto it's right course.


Enjoy the read.


Cam Guthrie

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Thursday Dec 1st - 2011

Please click on this link below and go to page 114 for the report coming before council on Dec 5th. Feel free to leave me comments regarding this issue as well.

Thank you,




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

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