Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Sunday Feb 27th - 2011

Recieved this email from STAFF today:


We have been hit with another surprise winter snow fall, that is…we didn’t expect this much snow to fall last night.
This snowfall appears on the radar that it will end by later this morning.   We have realized about 10cm of accumulation since the start of snow fall last night. Due to the amount of snow already on the ground a city wide plow out has been initiated. This operation will also help with the possibility of flooding due to forecasted milder temperatures along with rain fall.
Cleanup of the snow has begun and will continue through the night.

The following is a summary of our activities and planned activities;

ROADS;

Roads crews are working on the main arterials (Salt Routes) and collector roads, (Secondary Salt Routes).  A city wide plow-out of residential streets will begin today at 10:00am and should be complete by early tomorrow morning.  Road crews will transition into the residential roads once the mains and arterials are complete to apply traction materials behind the contractor plows.  

SIDEWALKS, CITY OWNED STEPS AND BUS STOPS, including DOWNTOWN

Sidewalk crews were mobilize this morning at 7:00am on the high pedestrian traffic arterial, collector and bus routes.  Residential sidewalk plowing will follow and operations will continue through the night until completed.  
The downtown sidewalks will continue to be plowed and sanded throughout the day today.  
 

City wide storm cleanup will continue Monday with clearing and sanding of all pedestrian cross walks and PXO's once sidewalk plowing activity is complete.
 

FACILITIES;

All city owned facility parking lots, access roads and entrance ways were worked on through the night and are in good shape for the day. Final cleanup service to these areas will be provided tomorrow morning beginning at 5:00am when parking lots are vacant to allow ease of mobility.

Updates will be provided to you as conditions warrant or if current information changes.

As always, your patience, co-operation and understanding is very much appreciated.

Regards,

STAFF

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Friday Feb 25th - 2011

Feb 25th, 2010

Thought this was interesting and so I'd thought I'd share it with you:

Here is a count of properties with only residential assessment (i.e. RT assessment only)
Ward 1             8741
Ward 2             6526
Ward 3             5644
Ward 4             8362
Ward 5             6843
Ward 6             8850
Ward 7             8281
Ward 8             5483
Ward 9             6611
Ward 10           6876
 Total              72,217

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Friday Feb 25th - 2011

Feb 25th, 2011
Guelph residents to be surveyed in early March - Survey marks first step in update to City's Strategic Plan

Starting in early March, phones will ring in hundreds of Guelph households as the City of Guelph surveys residents on their priorities and aspirations for their community over the next four years.
The survey results will be used to update the City's Strategic Plan, The City that Makes a Difference, a document that guides the City's goals, objectives, and priorities. They will also provide Council and staff with statistically-valid information about the community's views.
Environics Research Group, one of Canada's leading public research firms, will conduct the survey. President and CEO of Environics Barry Watson provided Council with an overview of the survey's process and content at a meeting February 23rd. He explained to Council, “A scientific survey is the only way to get an accurate, representative picture of what the public thinks.”
Other steps in the updating of the strategic plan will include workshops with Council and the City's executive team to revise the mission statement, set priorities, review services and agree upon strategic initiatives for this term of Council. Workshops will be led by Chris Bart, Principal, Lead Professor and Founder of The Director's College and Professor of Strategy and Governance at McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business.  
“A key focus of this process will be revising and refining the City of Guelph’s mission statement to more clearly define the City’s core business,” said Bart. At the February 23rd meeting, Council and the City’s Executive Team agreed to conduct a complete review of services and programs in the context of the City’s core business.
In June, the City will seek the community's input on the draft revised strategic plan through a series of public meetings.
About the Survey
The 10-minute survey will be conducted in English and three other languages among a representative sample of 600 residents aged 18 and older. The sample will yield an overall margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.  Questions on age, gender, education, income, ethnicity, and ward will help ensure the demographics of the sample mirror Guelph's population as a whole.
The City of Guelph last conducted a public opinion survey of this size in 2008. That survey led to new customer service standards, a corporate communications plan, and reviews of sidewalk snow clearing and building services, among other initiatives.

City of Guelph

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Friday Feb 25th - 2011

Updated: Feb 25th, 2011

I have responded to L.H with the following email:

Hi L.!
Thank you so much for taking the time to email me about the situation with the train. In fact, both my wife and I sang on the train for 3 of the Santa rides just last year! Unfortunately, I have a conflict of interest regarding the train and I can't comment any further. However, you can discuss these issues with any other councilor and especially Gloria Kovach okay!
Take care and have a good weekend!
Cam Guthrie!

Sent: February 25, 2011 2:08 PM

Hello,
I have recently heard the Guelph Junction Express will no longer be running and that the city is selling the train.

  I am deeply disheartened as this was a wonderful part of Guelph. It offered amazing local trips at great rates. The children's Christmas train has become part of many,many family traditions. Their Santa Claus was the best I ever saw. I was looking forward to taking my children on this for many years to come! The dinner trains were amazing and I have seen alot of seniors really enjoy the trip. A lot cannot travel but this gives them something to look forward to every year. These train excursions sell out and fast. It something this city definitly uses and wants. There are not many things to do in Guelph for the family that is really entertaining and affordable for the entire family.And let's face it it is something different and fun. Alot of kids love going on trains and this makes it available to them locally. I have seen what it would cost to keep this going and let's face it it is a drop in the bucket compared to what the new city hall and it's problems cost this community. I am asking you to save the Santa, Easter , Dinner trains  for the residents of this city.
Thank you for your time
Sincerely,
L.H

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Friday Feb 25th - 2011

Feb 25th, 2011

I just recieved this media release today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Explore Grand River Country from your iPhone Grand River Country launches iPhone App for travelers to discover the best this region has to offer while traveling
 
Now there’s an easy way to discover Grand River Country right at your fingertips. And best of all, it’s free.

The outdoor adventures, scenery, accommodation and dining destinations of Guelph have never been more accessible to visitors planning their next trip. Launching today, and available for free from the Apple iTunes App Store is Grand River Country’s best new trip planning companion for the iPhone, an easy-to-use App featuring the best of attractions, dining, accommodation, festivals and recreation found throughout the Grand River watershed.

Travelers are increasingly relying on mobile devices to access destination information, and the App offers Grand River community partners in Guelph, Elora & Fergus, Wellington North, St. Jacobs & Woolwich, Brantford and County of Brant, Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, and Haldimand County a new way of reaching and engaging visitors.

“I am excited to pass this one-of-a-kind benefit on to our tourism partners,” says Sue Trerise, Senior Business Development Specialist-Tourism for Guelph Tourism Services. “We are working hard to keep up with the changing technologies available to the tourism sector.”

Visitors planning to visit Guelph can browse over 40 Guelph business listings with the iPhone App or search by activity and location, build a trip itinerary, save listings to a favorites list, send out a tweet to friends on Twitter, ‘like’ a location or activity on Facebook, and even book a reservation at a local inn or restaurant directly from within the App.

“It is one more way that Guelph is reaching out to the Ontario market. It will allow us to connect with a demographic that has been a challenge to access in the past.” says Trerise. “It’s thrilling to be leading the industry and interacting with our visitors through a new medium. It extends the reach we currently offer with the Guelph Tourism website.”

Travelers can download Grand River Country’s App from Apple’s iTunes store for free.

About Grand River Country
The Grand River is located just an hour west of Toronto. Grand River Country is a group of municipalities (DMO’s - Destination Marketing Organizations), including the Grand River Conservation Authority, promoting tourism in the Grand River Country region. We focus on the area’s heritage, arts and fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities, many of which led to the Grand’s designation as a Canadian Heritage River. grandrivercountry.com

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Friday Feb 25th - 2011

A few weeks ago during the Waste water - Water budget I questioned the Conservation department costs. And rightly so. Some in the community don't like it, but might I remind them that asking for reviews of services IS MY JOB. It's what I was elected on and I'm following through on my commitment to the people of ward 4 and Guelph. With that being said, someone wrote the following article today that highlights exactly why I was asking these questions.

Here's the article:

http://www.guelphmercury.com/opinion/columns/article/492384--turn-off-the-tap-on-water-conservation-rebates

 

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Wednesday Feb 23rd - 2011

Feb 23rd, 2011

City’s strategic plan to focus on affordability

GUELPH — What a difference four years make.

In 2007, when city councillors drew up Guelph’s existing strategic plan, the economy was booming, jobs were abundant and consumer confidence was soaring.

This year, councillors and staff face a different picture, said Brenda Boisvert, the city’s manager of strategic planning and corporate initiatives, at a strategic planning meeting at city hall on Wednesday evening.

“I think the major difference is that there’s been a recession,” she said, adding the revised plan will have to strike a balance between meeting demands for service and limiting costs.

In her opening remarks, Mayor Karen Farbridge said ideally, the priorities set forth in the strategic plan should inform the budget process. For the 2011 budget, however, “the reality is, that’s not going to be the case,” since the budget will already be in place by the time the strategic plan is in place.

Boisvert broke the ice on the revision process Wednesday by quizzing councillors and staff on demographic and statistical changes in the city since the 2006 census.

While voter turnout and the number of building permits issued in Guelph are in decline, the city’s population, unemployment and transit ridership are on the rise, she said.

Next, Boisvert introduced Barry Watson, president and chief executive officer of Toronto-based pollster Environics Research Group, the company that will conduct a telephone survey of Guelph residents on a range of subjects as part of the strategic planning process.

“It’s absolutely the case that a scientific survey is the only way to get a representative picture of what the public thinks,” Watson told the mayor, 12 councillors and handful of senior city staffers, adding despite new challenges, the accuracy of telephone surveys remains “as good as it’s always been.”

Councillors were shown a draft of a survey framework with focus areas such as service quality, quality of life and communication.

Asked if any focus areas were missing, several councillors weighed in. Ward 3 Coun. Maggie Laidlaw suggested it was “sinful” there was virtually no mention of the environment in the draft framework, while Ward 5 Coun. Leanne Piper said a “pulse check” on the public’s definition of “high-density” development is in order.

“We have a lot of angst in the community about highrise development,” Piper said.

Much of the meeting was devoted to a discussion led by Chris Bart, a professor of strategy and governance from McMaster University, who will facilitate the whole planning process.

Bart said the municipality’s current mission statement is “pretty deficient,” telling councillors: “it’s to your credit you’ve decided to take another look at it.”

When Bart outlined two exercises aimed at identifying services that could be reduced or cut from next year’s budget, several councillors, including Ward 4 reps Gloria Kovach and Cam Guthrie, responded enthusiastically.

The strategic plan is to be completed over a five-month period at a total cost of $58,000.

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Wednesday Feb 23rd - 2011

Feb 23rd, 2011

I received this email today. COME OUT TO THIS!!

KidsAbility of Guelph Wellington is holding its 5th annual 1km Fun Run/Walk, and we would like to invite you to our event, to support our efforts to help kids with disabilities reach their potential. Our event takes place at the:
West End Community Centre, 21 Imperial Road South Guelph (Rink #2), on
Sunday June 5th, 2011 from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Here's a PDF of the event:

Final_Run_Brochure_11.pdf


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Wednesday Feb 23rd - 2011

Feb 23rd, 2011

Just recieved this email from a Ward 6 resident:

Cam - looking at your site - it's quite good - I've now bookmarked it so I can read your accountability report - great work !

J.L

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Tuesday Feb 22nd - 2011

Feb 21st, 2011

I just recieved the following email from a Guelph resident. Here it is:

Cam,
Me again. Having spoken to a lot more people then I usually do about local politics I have yet to find a supporter of our policies. They find over the top spending on what amounts to be vanity projects bewildering and completly out of touch with what it takes to live in Guelph in 2011. Cam your message of fisical responsibility resonates with a huge segment of the local population. I just want to say we're with you and to go after this what ever I want mind set as aggresively as possible.
G.

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Monday Feb 21st - 2011

Here's a notice from the city regarding Storm Water Management.

Click on the link: Storm Water Management Plan - Public Notice.pdf

Thanks,

Cam

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Monday Feb 21st - 2011

This is the media release that was sent to me on Feb 8th, 2011 for the upcoming survey Guelph Hydro will be doing to see about the potential impact of electric cars to our community. As soon as this email hit my computer on the 8th, I immediatley emailed back Guelph Hydro asking them what the cost of this survey was going to be. They called me back and told me that it's a survey of 200 people at a cost of $15,000. I have to be honest, I think it's a waste of money.

Ayways, here's the media release for you to read:

Guelph_Hydro_Electric_Vehicle_Survey 2011.pdf

Thanks,

Cam

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Monday Feb 21st - 2011

The link below will take you to the just released Development Priorities 2011 Report.

Development Plan 2011.pdf

Enjoy the read!

Thanks,

Cam

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Sunday Feb 20th - 2011

Feb 20th, 2011

I recieved the following email from T.S a Ward 4 resident. Here it is:

Cam.
Just a quick line to show my support to your bravery in suggesting that the current budget deliberations are in fact not an exercise in futility and that spending needs to be kept in check. Any property tax increase over 3% for base running of the City is purely reckless in my opinion. Guelph goes need to grow.... however responsibly and in a manner to which we can afford. If we cannot afford the rink at City Hall, the new Museum, underpasses, overpasses bridge reconstruction and parking lots for GO, we just need to admit it. I for one do not appreciate the fact that my children will be funding debt for irresponsible actions made today with taxpayer's money.
Our property taxes are high enough. I also wish the Mayor would stop comparing Guelph to other communities for spending habits. If they are not in tune with reality, why are we choosing to emulate them? 
Keep at it Cam.. you are deserving of making your point..
Regards,
T.S

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Sunday Feb 20th - 2011

Feb 20th, 2011

I recieved this email and thought I'd share it with you: Here it is:

Dear Editor:
I too am appalled at the suggestion of 5.67% Budget increase, recommended by City Staff.
It is great to read Cam Guthrie's comments in the Tribune of 3 Feb.
It seems to me that Council is more interested in hiring a person to look over items, which is their job to do. I thought they were voted in to oversee the City's spending, policies and in general be interested in its people.
Not just the few that are in higher bracket incomes.
As a senior I feel this city is becoming so exclusive, that the ordinary person cannot keep going.
We too would like a standard of living, that we have worked for and payed taxes for, so lets pull together and see outside the glass bowl
Good work Cam ! I am glad I live in Ward 4. Gloria Kovach and Cam Guthrie work for us.
Respectfully,

P.

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Sunday Feb 20th - 2011

Feb 17th, 2011

With the good emails, you sometimes get the....not so good. Here it is:

Councillor doesn’t understand water conservation program:

It’s easy for a first-time city councillor to pick out a program to criticize. The less one knows about a program the easier the criticism. So Coun. Cam Guthrie sets our eyes on the water conservation program. He says he knows about water conservation, so the rest of the city must, too. He says he does not need anyone to tell him ways to landscape his property.

Does he know how much clean, fresh drinking water is wasted in 13-litre toilets? Does he know how much is wasted in old-fashioned washing machines? Does he know how much is wasted watering lawns in the July and August heat? Does he actually know, or is he just making it up? Some Guelphites do know — but certainly not all. Staff was able to tell the councillor that the water conservation program — including rebates for installing efficient appliances and advice on maintaining healthy landscapes — has saved three times what it has cost in the last several years.

Getting rid of the healthy landscapes program might save the city one employee and a summer student or two. Attacking city programs can be eye-catching, even when the amount of money is insignificant. Big talk, but not much action.

Does the councillor really think that we can save our tax dollars by throwing out programs that save us money. Let’s stop the grandstanding, do our homework, and start making a difference.

Keith Bellairs

Guelph

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Sunday Feb 20th - 2011

Feb 20th, 2011

I recived this email today. Here it is:

I was reading the Tribune on Tuesday,and came across a letter to the editor.
I must say you are truly a 'concerned' representative of the Ward,not to mention one that understands who and how the City's bills are being paid. I would be most 'happy' to support you in any 'public' office position. I will also pass on to my neighbours the type os councillor you are.

R.

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Sunday Feb 20th - 2011

It's always nice to get these types of emails:

"Cam,
I have been watching to how the new council is operating and I have been very impressed with your willingness to question what is put in front of you.  Your efforts are appreciated - keep up the good work."

P.

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Saturday Feb 19th - 2011

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Saturday Feb 19th - 2011

The Guelph Mercury last week decided to write an article about the upcoming potential tax increase of 5.67 percent and decided to call all of the "rookie councillors" for their feedback except one. Me. They didn't contact me for comment at all. I don't care about not getting contacted, but what has transpired since the article has been interesting. I've had 4 phone calls to my home and several emails from angry Guelphites coming to the conclusion that because I was not included in the article, that I must have then been in support of the tax increase. This is the furthest from the truth.

And so here I am at 11:00pm on Saturday night writing this post to let you know that this is exactly how I feel about the proposed increase. Click here:

http://guelphtribune.ca/news/article/228928

 

Thank you,

Cam

 

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Saturday Feb 19th - 2011

Feb 18th, 2011

This email was sent me today. Wow, this guy did a lot of work! Here it is:


Further to my emails of Febrary 10 and 11 below, I have now completed a study of Ontario Hockey League (OHL) parking rates.  My findings are most enlightening and I hope these will help inform Council's decisions.

According to the Mercury's February 8 article on this issue, City parking staff are recommending the proposed increase because many cities charge much more for special event parking than Guelph does.  Findings of my informal research do not support that claim, especially with respect to OHL Storm games.

The OHL consists of 20 teams, with 17 in Ontario and 3 in the USA.  I questioned team administrators and, where necessary, contacted municipal parking staff, arena management companies and parking administration contractors associated with various facilities.

Of the twenty cities, 75 percent (15) do not charge municipal parking fees directly associated with OHL games.  (There may be paid municipal parking within walking distance of game facilities, but rates remain unchanged from regular, non-game days.  These include:
•    Barrie Colts
•    Belleville Bulls
•    Brampton Battalion
•    London Knights*
•    Mississauga St. Michael's Majors
•    Niagara Ice Dogs
•    Oshawa Generals
•    Erie Otters (limited but free)
•    Kitchener Rangers
•    Owen Sound Attack
•    Plymouth Whalers*
•    Saginaw Spirit*
•    Sarnia Sting
•    Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
•    Windsor Spitfires*

* Notes

London Knights:  Normal, daily municipal parking rates remain constant without any reference to activity levels in the arena, such as OHL games, special events (or no events whatsoever).  Coin operated pay and display - $2.00 per hour or $6.00 maximum municipal fee from 5:00 pm to midnight, seven days per week, even when the Labatt Centre is dark and empty.  

Plymouth Whalers (Michigan):  Compuware Sports Arena is privately owned and charges US $5.00 for OHL games (i.e., private parking).  It charges higher private parking for "special events" depending on the attraction.  Hockey is not deemed a "special event".

Saginaw Spirit (Michigan):  The Dow Event Center (county owned) has contracted SMG (a major facilities management corporation) to control and operate this arena.  SMG'S private parking fees are US $5.00, but Spirit season ticket holders receive a 40% discount by purchasing a season parking pass for US $129 - resulting in approximately US $3.40 per game.  SMG does not consider OHL games to be "special events".  For concerts and other shows, their private parking rates increase to US $10.

Windsor Spitfires:  Free for first 1,000 vehicles.

Only twenty-five percent of OHL municipalities (including Guelph) charge parking fees directly targeting OHL games:
•    Ottawa '67s:  Parking for all commercial events at the city's Landsdowne Park (OHL games, soccer, football, concerts or trade shows) costs $5.00.  But due to frequent individual and concurrent event programming, this rate applies "almost every day of the year" and is reportedly tantamount to a regular daily municipal parking fee for using those lots.  In fact, the same fee applies to those who park at Landsdowne only to skate for free on the Rideau Canal nearby.

However, Ottawa '67s season ticket holders alone are allowed to purchase prepaid discounted parking passes in volume.  They buy 10 parking ticket coupons for $40 (a 20% discount).  Season ticket holders therefore park for $4.00 per game.  According to the city's Landsdowne Park Event Manager, it's "a win-win arrangement".  The '67s team, as a major tenant, is selling more seasons tickets with this incentive - while the city is reportedly collecting additional parking revenue through more regular and frequent hockey attendance.
•    Kingston Frontenacs:  Coin operated pay and display lots.  For OHL games at the K-Rock Centre, fans pay $5.00 immediately across the street, or $3.00 only one block from the rink - (about the same distance from the west end of our West Parkade to seats on the east side of the Sleeman arena).  Kingston does not consider Frontenacs games to be special events.  Parking for K-Rock concerts in the same lots costs more - $8.00 at the arena and $5.00 at the other nearby location.

•    Peterborough Petes:  $3.00 for OHL games and the same for special events.

•    Sudbury Wolves: Municipal parking across the street is $2.00 for OHL games - same for special events.  (There is also very limited preferred parking immediately next to the arena at $3.00, but since all revenue from those sales goes to the Wolves team, this constitutes private parking.)

•    Guelph Storm: $2.00 municipal fee, same for concerts, shows.

At greatly increased expense, our City chose to build the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre (Sleeman Centre) in its present location to promote redevelopment of our downtown core.  Unfortunately, that decision proved even more costly than anticipated and we are still servicing substantial related debts as the sole owner.  "Build it and they will come" was the underlying strategy.  The proposed increase in event parking, including Guelph Storm parking clearly runs contrary to our overall objectives for downtown redevelopment.

Hopefully, like the large majority of other OHL municipalities, Guelph will stop charging special event  parking fees targeting OHL games.  On a weekly and bi-weekly basis, these regularly scheduled games in "Hockeyville" put bums in seats, shoppers in stores and diners in restaurants.
C.S

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Saturday Feb 19th - 2011

Updated: Feb 19th, 2011

I have responded with the following email to B&N. Here it is:

Thank you B&N for your email. Unfortunatley, tough decisions need to be made for this budget and I need to look at all options. However, I have not heard back from the library yet as to the impact the bookmobile has on our city. Only when I have more info will I decide which way to go on this issue. You expressing your concerns will have equal weight though. Thanks again for your email!
Cam Guthrie

 

Feb 19th, 2011

I recieved the following email from a B&N concerned about the future of the bookmobile. Here it is:

Dear Mr Guthrie
We are  alarmed by the reports that there is a possibility that the bookmobile may be discontinued as a budget cutting measure. This is a very important  asset for seniors in our community who have limited mobility either because health limitations or finances. Reading is a pass time that is both educational and stimulating for those who are struggling with aging. The ability to walk a short distance  at no expense and get reading material for one or two weeks is something we treasure. Please do your best to retain this service for the citizens of Guelph.
Sincerely,

B&N

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Wednesday Feb 16th - 2011

Feb 15th, 2011

I recieved this email from a Ward 2 resident:

 

Hi Cam,

I was impressed with your philosophy , freeze, reduce, evaluate and eliminate as appeared in a recent Guelph Tribune newspaper.

As a resident of Ward 2 , I have been on many occasions in contact with Councilors, Mayors and city staff, in fact since Joe Young's tenure as Mayor, mainly for the purpose as you're quoted ,  ' questioning tax hike ', budgets and various cost reduction projects, policies and future trends, ie Utilities. As a concerned and dedicated citizen of Guelph for over 40 years, for most part it has been somewhat frustrating exercise getting satisfaction.

My focus is always cost improvements or safety concerns usually based on data I have collected or my engineering background..

Furthermore, I also notice today, that the City of Waterloo increased their
2011 residential tax rate by 1.9%. Not too shabby ! However I haven't compared their average over 5 years like I did with Windsor at 5-3% over the same peiod. In closing , I hope your tax hike efforts will be rewarding  as I'm sure as a new member of council it will likely be a challenge for you to get concensus with some of your colleagues.

All  the best

Sincerely
B.A

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Friday Feb 4th - 2011

I have a new website that I hope can be a useful tool for me to use (and maybe others?). Please check out my new website at www.abetterguelph.ca

 

THANKS!

Cam

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Thursday Feb 3rd - 2011

I have recieved an email from a resident here in Ward 4 on Whitelaw Rd that is elderly and has a heart condition. She is finding it very difficult to shovel out the end of her driveway after the road plow goes by.

If you can help out this person, please let me know okay!

Thanks,

Cam

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Thursday Feb 3rd - 2011

Another email about the Tribune Article:

Hi Cam,
You are right on with your comments in the Trib.
Keep up the good work.
M.M

 

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Thursday Feb 3rd - 2011

Just recieved this email from a Ward 4 resident. Here it is:

For a new counselor you have been in the paper quite a few times.  I agree with you on the tax increase, wasted spending, increasing staff and pay increases to name a few.  Water is going up again too.  The only way I can conserve is to turn my water off.  Guelph is becoming very expensive to live.
You get'em Cam!!!!
D.

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Thursday Feb 3rd - 2011

Click here to read my comments about the proposed 5.67% tax increase.

http://guelphtribune.ca/news/article/228928

Thank you,

Cam

 

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Wednesday Feb 2nd - 2011

This letter was in the Guelph Tribune from Feb 1st, 2011.

Okay, I think I have heard it all now. What lunacy. Spend $60 per person and ask 600 citizens, hopefully randomly selected, totalling $36,000, what their “attitudes and expectations” are in the community.

Coun. Cam Guthrie said “councillors fresh from the campaign trail should already know from knocking on doors what Guelphites are thinking these days” (Tribune Jan. 27). I agree, except I have not seen anyone at my door for the past 10 years, at least. How about you? Mayor Karen Farbridge wants to know what the “silent majority” thinks (and 600 people statistically represent a silent majority?), not “just who we bump into during an election.” Poor choice of words and poor description of a campaign plan.

Topping this off is the proposed hiring of facilitator Chris Bart, an authority on “organizational mission and vision statements”! Another $22,100. This and the survey adds up to $58,000. Where in the world do you think you are going to pull that kind of money from? We, the taxpayers, again. And, add $468,000 to the finance payroll in 2011 because staff are “run off their feet”! Give me a break. In this day and age, every employee trying to keep his/her job is run off his/her feet, getting no additional assistance, just told to “suck it up”! So, finance department . . . suck it up.

I am tired of being squeezed like a sponge by taxes that are escalating at an alarming rate, both locally and provincially, but let us not go there right now.

Call me for your survey –I dare you!!!

Linda Liddle
Guelph

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Wednesday Feb 2nd - 2011

Good afternoon everyone;

Welcome to week 9 of 20!....were almost half way there!!

As promised below is an update of our activity, progress and anticipated completion of the work related to fighting this storm.

The winter storm warning has ended.  We anticipate the snow fall will end by 4:00pm this afternoon.  Cleanup of the snow will continue through the night.
Snow accumulation amounts received from this storm vary by location due to the strong winds experienced early in the storm and the resultant blowing and drifting that has occurred.  A good approximation puts the accumulation in the vicinity of 20cm.  We anticipate the winds to die down this evening and for the sun to shine once again tomorrow.  Temperatures however will remain on the cold side.

The following is a summary of our current situation;

ROADS;

Roads crews are still working on the main arterials (Salt Routes) and collector roads, (Secondary Salt Routes).  A city wide plow-out of residential streets will begin this afternoon at 5:00pm.  Road crews will transition into the residential roads once the mains and arterials are complete to apply traction materials behind the contractor plows.  

SIDEWALKS, CITY OWNED STEPS AND BUS STOPS, including DOWNTOWN

Sidewalk crews are currently out on the high pedestrian arterial, collector and bus routes.  This task will be complete by 6;00pm.  Residential sidewalk plowing will begin at that time.  The residential sidewalk plowing activity will continue non-stop around the clock until completed sometime tomorrow morning.  
The downtown sidewalks have been plowed and sanded throughout the day today and are reported in good condition.  

City wide storm cleanup will continue tomorrow with clearing and sanding of all pedestrian cross walks and PXO's once sidewalk plowing activity is complete.
 
Bus stops will be cleared simultaneously with the sidewalk operation.  All city owned steps have been shovelled and treated with materials and will be cleared again as required if additional accumulation or wind blown snow is realized.

FACILITIES;

All city owned facility parking lots, access roads and entrance ways are being worked on and progressing.  Completion is expected by 7:00pm tonight.  Final cleanup service to these areas will be provided tomorrow morning beginning at 3:00am when parking lots are vacant to allow ease of mobility.

Updates will be provided to you as conditions warrant or if current information changes.

As always, your patience, co-operation and understanding is very much appreciated.
All the best;
Regards,

STAFF

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Wednesday Feb 2nd - 2011

Just a quick update with the bad weather today.

We have full conventional service out on the road this morning. We have just been informed that the U of G will be closed today – we will monitor the loads on the University specials and make a decision based on usage on whether to pull those runs around 9 this morning. We are running the University specials this morning as there may be a few non-students who need to make a transfer at the UC.

Mobility service is cancelled today – about 40% of today’s rides cancelled last night – it is extremely difficult to get riders on and off vehicles in these conditions. We will still make trips for hospital appointments and medical emergencies.

We have let the radio station know about service today and will be updating the website when admin staff get in. We will continue to communicate any changes to service as the day progresses.

STAFF

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Wednesday Feb 2nd - 2011

Just recieved this email from STAFF: Here it is:

Good morning everyone;

Just a quick update on the storm so far;
We have received anywhere from 8 to 15 cm of snow depending on where you are.  There is a lull in the storm at this moment (as you can see from the break in the blue over Guelph in the map below) but we expect another 10 to 15 cm of accumulation before the storm moves on this afternoon…(the big blue blob over Michigan).

We will be initiating a residential street plowout following this storm and the start of that work will be announced later today when we have a better handle on the storms movement.
Thank you for your patience.

 

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Tuesday Feb 1st - 2011

Dear Cam,

I was very impressed with your reasoning last night. Occasionally, I am able to watch the meeting on tv. You were right about alot last night and I appreciate your concern about the money some departments spend. You expressed my sentiments very well. Both you and Gloria Kovach are really there for the people of Guelph.

Thank you,

M.

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Tuesday Feb 1st - 2011

Just thought I'd update you on this park coming our way here in Ward 4. Near my end of Ward 4. Here's the email from STAFF.

There is a small park block (about 0.2 Ha) planned for the intersection of Curzon Crescent and Westra Drive in the next phase of the Chillico Glen subdivision -The contents of the park will be determined by a Council-approved master plan, but it is expected to contain a neighbourhood-size set of play equipment and small turf area. The timing of the park development is not yet known.

STAFF

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Tuesday Feb 1st - 2011

One of my campaign promises was to look into what I feel is a growing problem with vandalism and graffiti in Guelph. But specifically in our Ward.

I heard over the radio on CFRB 1010 that a councillor in Toronto had come up with some suggestions on these exact issues and so I decided to call that councillor up.

I had to leave a voicemail message but his assistant has emailed me back and we intend to keep eachother in the loop on this issue.

I look forward to seeing what role I can play in curbing this issue.

Thank you,

Cam

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Tuesday Feb 1st - 2011

The city has a “Be Nice Treat The Ice Program”, where residents are encouraged to use the free sand/salt mixture available in sand boxes throughout the city to help treat icy patches in sidewalks fronting their properties as well as fronting their neighbours properties.

In Ward 4 I pass one at the corner of Elmira and Willow everyday. You can't fill up the back of your truck. Only handheld buckets okay!

It's there so you might as well use it.

Thanks,

Cam

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Tuesday Feb 1st - 2011

I recieved this email today and thought you should see it. Here it is:

Good afternoon everyone.  In the world of winter control, there are two givens each year.  The short thaw that takes place during  the first week of January and the major snow event that happens within 7 days of Superbowl Sunday!  

Well as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, a major weather system is moving into our area sometime late tonight. As with every major storm, snow accumulation will occur faster than we are able to clear it.  Once the storm wanes, you’ll see the roads quickly cleared.  For the new Councillors, during a snow storm our focus is on the major arterials and bus routes.  We focus on these to keep transportation moving within the City.  The side streets will become difficult to traverse, but once on the major streets, residents should be able to get to where they are heading albeit at a slow rate.  

Clearing the residential roadways will commence once the storm has stopped.  I understand the major system  is being followed almost immediately by a minor system which will deposit additional snow.  We’ll have to watch this to determine if we should wait until it passes to commence residential clearing.  Although we do try to avoid back to back clearing of residential roadways, whether we wait or proceed is a discretionary call which attempts to balance our desire to minimize winter control cost against the residents’ degree of difficulty traversing their streets.  

STAFF will communicate with everyone as things develop so you are aware of how staff are responding to the community need.

Hopefully you’ll be in a position/location to enjoy what sounds like this winter’s first major event.

Regards,

STAFF

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Tuesday Feb 1st - 2011

Ive been to many meetings over the last week and will just get busier now for the next month or so. Yes, it's budget time.

I've already recieved 2 phone calls at home regarding the water/waste-water budget and a couple of emails. People aren't too happy. I don't blame them. The increase hits my household too.

I asked council to make sure the proposed budget is available at all library outlets and that was agreed upon.

It's also available on-line.

It's a proposed 5.67% increase but I'm up for the challenge. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me okay!

I'll update this with more news as it becomes available. I hope January was good to each of you!

Take care,

Cam

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

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