Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Friday Mar 25th - 2011

Update: March 25th, 2011

I've recieved a response from City STAFF about my idea. Here it is:

Cam,
I am one of the City’s top Tweeters, and I was one of the people who help sort out that pothole last week.
I work on the Corporate Communications Team and along with our Web Services team we head up the City’s Social Media efforts. There are also folks at Transit, Traffic the River Run Centre and Tourism actively using facebook and Twitter to promote programs, respond to customer service issues and announce service changes or traffic interruptions.

You’re idea is a one of many we are investigating and evaluating as we develop a social media strategy for the entire organization.
We’re working to identify which departments could make the best use of these tools, what resources (staff time, skills and training) they would require to monitor and respond to comments and posts, developing social media guidelines and related policies etc.
The Social Media Strategy is part of the Corporate Communication Plan. You can view the plan on the Infonet, or I can send you a copy if you like. For now, we’ve got 4 facebook accounts and 5 twitter accounts and you can see how the City is already using social media here:

http://www.guelph.ca/cityhall.cfm?subCatID=2220&smocid=2793

Long story short, it won’t happen tomorrow, but we are looking at a number of ways the City could use social media tools, and reporting road repairs and potholes is on the list. If you have any other questions you can reach me at the number or e-mail below.
--
Stacey Hare l Senior Communications Issues Management Coordinator
Corporate Communications l Information Services
City of Guelph
T 519-822-1260 x 2611
E stacey.hare@guelph.ca

Sent: March 25, 2011 11:12 AM
 
Hello all!
Not too sure who to send this idea to so I’m hitting you all up!
Last week I had a sink-hole in the middle of Imperial Rd. and Paisley Rd. which when my vehicle hit it, I thought I was going to die. But I digress…I went over the hole and decided to pull my car over and tweet about it to @cityofguelph. Another resident I also saw on twitter tweeted about it as well. In fact, this is the 2nd “issue” that I believe has been completed by the operations department through the use of Twitter. Very cool.
My idea is to setup other twitter accounts for the residents of Guelph to use as yet another form of direct communication. I personally feel this could be a great tool to use. Some call me a “tool” as well but I digress…

So how about instead of a catch-all twitter name such as @cityofguelph, we setup one for the “operations dept.”?

That way if it’s an issue such as a sink hole or other operations issues, people can communicate through twitter direct to the operations dept. There may be issues with what hours this form of communication could be used and such but I think it has merit.
Your thoughts?

Thanks,

Cam

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Friday Mar 25th - 2011

Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership Community Forum and Showcase

GUELPH, ON, March 21, 2011 – The Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) is hosting a Community Forum and Showcase to promote the Guelph Wellington Settlement Strategy.
The Forum will highlight the existing capacity of programs, specifically in the areas of employment, English language training, community services and programs, and community integration and inclusion.


WHAT    Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership Community Forum and Showcase   
WHO    Mayor Karen Farbridge, City of Guelph = Keynote Speaker: Dr. Alastair Summerlee President and Vice-Chancellor, Unv. Guelph      Newcomers to Guelph Business/education/health representatives from the immigrant serving sector Service provider organizations   
WHERE    Delta Hotel and Conference Centre, 50 Stone Road West, Guelph   
WHEN    March 28  9 a.m.–1 p.m.

The Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership is funded through Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Barbara Powell
General Manager, Community Engagement
Community and Social Services
T 519-822-1260  x 2675
E barbara.powell@guelph.ca

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Friday Mar 25th - 2011

GUELPH, ON, March 23, 2011 - The City has partnered with Artscape to bring its Creative Spacemaking workshop to Guelph’s arts and culture sector at the River Run Centre on April 5.
The workshop will explore strategies to connect and leverage the creative and cultural resources of the community. It will bring together top practitioners and highlight innovative partnerships that have successfully secured sustainable and affordable spaces for creative communities.
Confirmed speakers for the workshop include:
•        Jeremy Freiburger, Founder and Executive Director, Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts,
•        Roscoe Handford, Wychwood Community Animator and Green Barn Market Manager
•        Joe Lobko, Partner, du Toit Architects Limited
•        Tim Jones, President & CEO, Artscape
•        Pru Robey, Director, Knowledge Exchange, Artscape
•        Celia Smith, Executive Vice President, Artscape
The workshop will offer leading advice and hands-on tools for individuals and organizations or partnerships engaged in economic development, downtown redevelopment, tourism, cultural facility projects and culture-led initiatives. The participants will have an opportunity to meet the experts during interactive sessions on topics such as: vision development, feasibility analysis, project planning, finance and fundraising, community engagement and governance models.
"This is a great opportunity for artists, cultural organizations, and business people to come together," says Colleen Clack, the City's General Manger of Arts, Culture and Entertainment. "Attending this workshop will provide participants with the practical tools needed to make cultural space development happen in Guelph."
Over the last five years, Artscape has facilitated workshops in Oshawa, Windsor, Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax, Kingston, Hamilton and Toronto, and connected more than 800 participants from more than 100 different communities.
About Artscape
Artscape has developed a reputation as Canada's leading practitioner in multi-tenant space development for the arts and culture sector. Artscape projects are designed to build and leverage a local community's cultural assets and creative resources while serving as catalysts for neighbourhood growth and transformation. Artscape has earned a reputation as an international leader in the fields of culture-led regeneration and city-building through the arts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Astero Kalogeropoulos
Arts & Culture Program Officer
Community and Social Services
T 519-822-1260  x 2629
E astero.kalogeropoulous@guelph.ca

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Friday Mar 25th - 2011

The tunnel under the CN Rail bridge on Wyndham Street will be CLOSED March 30 until late fall.
Crews are busy replacing the 100 year old bridge. Meanwhile people are welcome to use Wilson Street to travel in and out of downtown. When the project is complete, the Wyndham Street pedestrian tunnel will re-open.
 
In May, a permanent fence will be installed to prevent people from trespassing across the railway tracks and the Neeve Street pedestrian tunnel will be permanently closed.

Thanks,

Cam

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Friday Mar 25th - 2011

GUELPH, ON, March 24, 2011 – A community fundraising campaign for the new Guelph Civic Museum has raised $772,000, surpassing its original goal of $500,000. The total was announced by Capital Campaign Committee Chair John Valeriote this morning at the final meeting of the committee.
Mayor Karen Farbridge attended to personally thank committee members for their work. "The tremendous success of this fundraising campaign is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the members of this committee. It also speaks volumes about how much this community values the Guelph Civic Museum project," Mayor Farbridge said. "We are grateful for the generosity of the people of Guelph."
The late Hugh Guthrie served as Honorary Chair of the Campaign. On September 21, 2010 a generous $200,000 donation from the Estate of Hugh Guthrie, Q.C. was announced.
"The Capital Campaign Committee was determined to meet the original $500,000 fundraising goal in addition to Hugh's donation," said John Valeriote. "I am thrilled that, at the conclusion of the campaign, we surpassed our fundraising goal by a total of $272,000."
The new Civic Museum will feature a Family Tree acknowledging donors at giving levels of $1000 to $10,000. During the fundraising campaign, families were able to purchase a "leaf" on the tree, with their family name and the year they came to Guelph.
In recognition of Hugh Guthrie's commitment to local heritage and the museum project, the archives in the new museum will be named in his memory.
Members of the Capital Campaign Committee are Elizabeth Bonkink, Martin Bosch, Ian Brown, Susan Brown, Ken Hammill, Gil Stelter, Murray Taylor, Morris Twist, and Museum Director Katherine McCracken.
In addition to the $772,000 in community support, the $12.7 million Civic Museum project is supported by $1.5 million in funding from the Government of Canada and $5 million from the Province of Ontario.
At approximately 30,000 square feet, the new Civic Museum will be three times the size of the current facility and will have appropriate storage for artefact and archival collections. It will feature a larger children's gallery, a research room, and meeting space. The museum will be housed in a historic 1850s landmark, the Loretto Convent, which is being renovated and restored. Construction is expected to wrap up in August 2011, and once collections are moved from the current museum and exhibits are installed, the new Civic Museum is expected to open to the public in late fall.

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Wednesday Mar 23rd - 2011

Guelph residents quizzed on highrises, taxes during survey

GUELPH — City residents are being quizzed on everything from their thoughts on highrises to whether the University of Guelph should establish a presence downtown as part of an ongoing process to update the city’s strategic plan.

City councillors voted in January to spend $58,000 on the update, including $36,000 for a survey of 600 local residents.

One of those residents recorded the interview and sent it to the Mercury.

While most of the questions seem designed to gauge residents’ views on a range of city services, there are some more pointed queries on the list as well.

For example, the third question asked by the pollster recorded recently concerned whether the resident would be willing to pay “a small tax increase” in exchange for improved services.

The resident was also asked whether he favoured highrise buildings “that allow more green space” or lowrise buildings “even though it would cover more ground area.”

Another question canvassed the level of support for having the University of Guelph move some of its operations downtown “to support the economic development in the city.”

University spokesperson Chuck Cunningham said the city contacted the school while drafting the survey to ask about including that question, so it did not come as a surprise.

“It’s obviously a much more complex issue than one might get from that question,” Cunningham said.

The university has had an “ongoing dialogue” about moving some operations to the core, Cunningham said, but does not have the budget to support such an initiative.

“I think this might give a high-level view in terms of whether there is an interest in the community to seeing the university establish a presence down there,” Cunningham said.

Barry Watson, president and chief executive of Toronto-based Environics Research Group, which is conducting the survey, said the questions were crafted with input from city staff and finalized after a February session with councillors.

The question about high-rises, for example, was added after Coun. Leanne Piper suggested during that session the city should do a “pulse check” to gauge the public’s view of high-density development.

“A great deal of effort goes into an exercise like this to ensure it is as representative as possible,” Watson said.

Coun. Cam Guthrie, who in January was among a minority of councillors who wanted to do the survey later in the strategic planning process, said this week the questions are “very generalized.”

Guthrie noted most councillors knocked on “way more than 600” doors during the recent election campaign and likely have a good sense of where residents stand on core city services.

“I could probably answer, for my ward, a lot of these questions and it wouldn’t cost taxpayers $36,000,” Guthrie said.

He noted the city will this year embark on a review of the services it offers, suggesting the survey could have been conducted after that “when we had some hard financials to offer.

“To me this is kind of cart before the horse.”

stracey@guelphmercury.com

To see the list of questions, visit the Mercury’s City Hall blog at http://guelphmercury.blogs.com/59_carden_st/#tp

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Tuesday Mar 22nd - 2011

City kicks off World Water Day with I love Guelph tap water video contest
Youth invited to tell the world through YouTube why Guelph tap water is tops

GUELPH, ON, March 22, 2011 – The City of Guelph invites local youth, aged 14 to 25 years, to participate in a video contest entitled, I love Guelph tap water.  Participants’ 60-second video submissions are to use creativity to promote drinking municipal tap water with pride.
“We are fortunate to have some of the best drinking water in the world, here in Guelph,” said Wayne Galliher, the City’s Water Conservation Project Manager. “World Water Day provides the perfect opportunity to spread the word that Guelph water is ours to conserve, protect and enjoy; and what better way to do it than through the creativity, excitement and enthusiasm of Guelph’s youth.”
The contest opens today, World Water Day.  Video submissions uploaded to YouTube—accompanied by the required entry information—will be accepted today until May 15.  Effective May 16, the public is encouraged to visit guelph.ca/tapwater to view the eligible videos posted to YouTube and to vote for their favourite submission—the video with the most YouTube votes will win the Viewers’ Choice Award. Public voting closes on May 30.  
The videos will also be judged by a panel of local youth, community and City representatives after the contest has closed. The top three I love Guelph tap water videos will be awarded first, second and third prizes.  Contest winners will be announced on June 15, the winning videos posted to guelph.ca/tapwater.  An awards reception—featuring a screening of the winners’ videos—will be held later in June.
Entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter the contest. For full contest details including rules and regulations, please visit guelph.ca/tapwater or facebook.com/cityofguelph.

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Monday Mar 21st - 2011

 

 

 

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Monday Mar 21st - 2011

City should move from p.m. budget sessions

Various members of Guelph city council have suggested the formats of setting and preparing for future civic budgets should be amended.

There is a sense that the way they were provided with the financial information upon which the proposed operating budget is built could be offered in ways that would be more meaningful and accessible to them. There’s also an apparent interest by some councillors to build budgets from a so-called zero-budget base each year rather than consider a proposed tax-increase dependant plan.

With a diverse team of councillors — such as this one — it will be difficult to reach and to articulate some consensus about a new one-size-fits-all process for documentation and processing of the civic operating budget.

That said, the pending switch to a new chief operating officer for the municipality might lead to staff-side suggestions about how to alter this course as well.

Having worked through its first budget, this council should have a greater collective sense of what might lie ahead of it — or what it would like to look forward to — in budgets to come.

Given this term’s robust and often divided deliberations this winter, one switch the council team should push for is moving away from evening budget deliberations.

This year and last, scheduling the operating budget’s debate as a night session obliged council and staff to set aside a second night if it was needed. This year it was.

It may be more convenient for councillors with day jobs to convene in the evening. But is the community well served to have such a potentially complicated and lengthy process worked through by staff and councillors when they’re at the end of their surely busy days?

This year saw a significant voting mistake and some moments of friction. If either could have been avoided by having less fatigued councillors working on this process — or feeling less time-crunched because a possible opening night cut-off was looming, that should provide more reason to do this crucial work during workday hours. Extend them beyond that if necessary.

Wouldn’t this process have the best potential for best results if it could be tackled by as fresh as possible councillors and staffers and all in one session?

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Monday Mar 21st - 2011

Saving the Bookmobile becomes Guelph campaign

GUELPH — The Guelph Public Library’s Bookmobile service is struggling to stay afloat as it has lost half of its funding for 2011.

The library’s chief executive officer Kitty Pope said earlier this month during city council’s budget discussions the Bookmobile was about to be scrapped but managed to secure funding for another six months.

The Guelph Public Library Board is currently performing a service review of the Bookmobile services, which have been provided in the city for the last 35 years. Locations of the Bookmobile’s 19 stops are listed on the library’s website.

“It is essentially for those who can’t get to us,” Pope said, adding those included seniors, daycare staff and communities where there aren’t library services. “People say we’ve got good bus service . . . a senior with a walker has a pretty hard time getting on a bus.”

Notices in the library’s main branch urge residents to voice their thoughts on the Bookmobile to city councillors, media and non-profit organizations.

Pope said the Bookmobile will also be discussed at various town hall meetings. Ward 1 is to hold a meeting March 30.

She hopes to head to council in June with a plan on how to make the service efficient, while serving the city’s residents.

The Bookmobile services affect about 3,000 library patrons, Pope said.

“For a senior citizen in a (seniors’) residence, this is their last link to a life they used to have,” she said.

The Friends of the Guelph Public Library have assisted the library by providing $1,000 as a grant to help fund the review of the Bookmobile.

“It is such a short-sighted target . . . to look at for finding money,” Virginia Gillham, chair of the library friends group, said. “It is the most vulnerable clientele.”

City Councillor Leanne Piper said that through the review of the Bookmobile service, the city will hopefully hear the stories of those who use the mobile library.

“We don’t see the impact,” she said. “When those stories start to come out, you realize this is a service that has an amazing impact on individual lives.”

Piper said she sees the need for the Bookmobile and believes studying what other communities are doing will be beneficial.

tdharmarajah@guelphmercury.com

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Monday Mar 21st - 2011

Guelph heritage work gets OK, but funding denied

GUELPH — City planning staff found themselves in a bit of a lurch Monday, after a city committee approved a process which would see one neighbourhood deemed a heritage conservation district but denied the funding required to move the process forward.

“We’ll have to have another look at it,” Jim Riddell, the city’s general manager of planning and building services, said.

Riddell expressed hope city councillors next Monday might overturn the direction of the planning, engineering and environmental services committee.

Committee members voted to have staff begin the process to designate the Brooklyn and College Hill area, which extends along Gordon Street from just north of College Avenue to just north of the Speed River.

However a separate vote to hire a consultant to guide the process failed on a 2-2 vote, with Mayor Karen Farbridge and Coun. Lise Burcher in favour and councillors Bob Bell and Cam Guthrie opposed.

Committee chair Leanne Piper — who previously sat on Heritage Guelph and, along with Burcher, represents the ward where the neighbourhood is located — was stuck in traffic outside of Guelph and could not attend the meeting, which was chaired by Bell.

The idea to designate the Brooklyn and College Hill area came out of the 2006 community improvement plan for the Old University and Centennial neighbourhood community.

Such designation would allow the city to manage and guide future change in the district with “policies and guidelines for conservation, protection and enhancement of the area’s special character,” according to a staff report presented to the committee.

Stephen Robinson, the city’s only heritage planner, said there have been more than 100 heritage conservation district designations in Ontario, including neighbourhoods in Kitchener and Cambridge.

Riddell said the city needs the help of an outside consultant to guide the process, which has never been undertaken in Guelph.

“I have to express the need for outside expertise for this particular project,” Riddell said. “It’s not a matter of simply doing it in-house.”

Riddell added there are other neighbourhoods in the city which might be the subject of such applications down the road, and what staff could learn from this one might ease the need for consultants in the future.

Staff recommended spending up to $90,000 on the project, with approximately 75 per cent of that going to the consultant and the rest for expenses such as renting meeting space and preparing literature for affected residents.

“Upwards to $90,000 is money well spent,” Riddell said, noting the funds were approved during the 2007–2009 budget processes.

Farbridge noted this project would represent “a significant spike in work” for the planning department. While the additional work could justify adding an employee, the mayor noted hiring a consultant is likely preferable to increasing the city’s staff for a specific project.

But Bell and Guthrie both expressed concern about the cost, suggesting the work could be done for less money by using existing city staff.

City councillors will be able to revisit the funding issue next Monday if anyone chooses to bring it up, city clerk Lois Giles said.

stracey@guelphmercury.com

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Monday Mar 21st - 2011

On Saturday, I went to the Farmer's Market with my family. As I was walking around, I found several posters put on chairs, tables, poles and bulletin boards that said "S.O.S" SAVE OUR SERVICES! IT went on to say that "We Must KEEP our Bookmobile services!"  And then it went on to tell people to contact the Mayor and Councillors. Our address, phone and email addresses were then all provided. But what caught my attention was the full colour GPL, Guelph Public Library logo on the front and back of the poster.

So I went online to the Guelph Public Library site and low and behold, the homepage has the exact same poster right on the home-page which can then be clicked on which brings you to this survey:

 

I found this to be odd. Staff, based on the direction from Council has asked the Library to do a services review on the bookmobile, yet at the same time the Library can lobby the residents of Guelph asking them to "save" something?

Cam

 

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Monday Mar 21st - 2011

This was sent to me from city STAFF. Thought you'd like to see it.

Thanks,

Cam

RESPONSE:

Thanks for passing the note on councillor.

The design was completed by Kleinfeldt Consultants Limited out of Mississauga. The bulk of the work was related to beefing up of the purlins which pick up the load from the roof deck and transmit it to the trusses. Each purlin was straightened out and sandwiched between two C200x28, 8 inch, steel channels. The whole assembly is bolted together at 2 feet on centre with the ends supported on the trusses.

There were a number of trusses in need of repair and a couple of steel columns added at the north end of the building to pick up the purlins that were supported by the masonry wall. Adding the steel columns was a better solution than reworking the masonry pockets which support the ends of the purlins in this location.A representative from the engineering firm was on site roughly once a week to review the work as it was being done and a final inspection was completed by them and our building inspector prior to the building being re-opened to the public. The engineer has provided us with a letter certifying that the building is now safe to occupy.

STAFF

 

ORIGINAL QUESTION:

Hi,
Maybe you want to refer me to city engineers or whatever, but I really would like to know what the logic is behind what they did with the market roof.  From what I can see, they have added more weight, but I cannot see where they have created any more strength.  The only thing I can see is that they added steel to wooden beams.  I hope I am missing something.  Keep up the good work.

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Friday Mar 18th - 2011

This morning I've heard of the death of 2 fire fighters in Listowel. Killed were 30-year-old Raymond Walter of Listowel, and 56-year-old Kenneth Rea of Atwood.

 

MY prayers go to the family, freinds and the whole community touched by this tragedy.

Cam

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

Hi Councillor Guthrie,

Please find attached Castlebury Park Survey for your information.

Here is the link to online survey:

http://www.guelph.ca/living.cfm?itemid=79622&smocid=2142


Thanks.
Jyoti Pathak OALA CSLA | Parks Planner
Operations and Transit | Parks Planning and Development
City of Guelph
T 519-822-1260 x 2431 | F 519-822-4632
E jyoti.pathak@guelph.ca

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

City News Release:

GUELPH, ON, Tuesday, March 1, 2011 

The City of Guelph's Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Hans Loewig, has notified City Council that he will not complete the full term of his employment contract.
Mr. Loewig shared his plans at a closed meeting of City Council last night and offered to stay on as the City's Chief Administrator until the end of 2011, committing to help Council with its recruitment of a new CAO and ensure a smooth transition. He is stepping down from the City's top job for personal reasons.
"This decision was a difficult one for me because I continue to be passionate about the important work we do on behalf of this community," says Mr. Loewig. "The years I've spent as Guelph's CAO have been rich with positive challenges and very rewarding. I have been very fortunate to have worked with so many committed and capable people in the organization. I feel we have accomplished a tremendous amount, built partnerships that will serve Guelph well for years to come, and laid important groundwork to continue to ensure Guelph remains an outstanding place to live as it grows."
Mayor Karen Farbridge says the loss of Guelph's chief administrator is a great one. "The legacy Mr. Loewig leaves is one of exemplary leadership, integrity, and a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic that has served our community extremely well over the past four years. I'd like to thank Mr. Loewig for everything he's done for our community, and wish him the absolute best."
Mr. Loewig first accepted the position as Guelph's Interim CAO in June 2007. That contract was extended, then replaced with a permanent, four-year contract. Mr. Loewig joined the City of Guelph with 37 years' experience in the municipal sector including having served as the CAO for the City of Brantford from 1999 to 2004. Under his leadership the City of Guelph secured $48 million in federal and provincial funds to renew Guelph's aging infrastructure; made significant headway on the Hanlon Creek Business Park—employment lands expected to create 10,000 jobs and strengthen Guelph’s economy; implemented a People Practices Strategy to help the City become a top employer; and launched an economic development strategy to help Guelph compete and prosper in the next decade.
Mr. Loewig is leaving one year in advance of the term of his contract.

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

City News Release:

GUELPH, ON, March 1, 2011 – The City is working with Guelph Hydro and its subsidiary Ecotricity to put solar photovoltaic panels on a number of City-owned buildings. During last night’s City Council meeting, the City approved an agreement that defines the terms of Guelph Hydro’s mandate to develop energy projects on City properties.

"Ecotricity already operates the two Megawatt generator at the former Eastview landfill site," says Rob Kerr, the City’s General Manager of Community Energy "Now they’ll have access to our rooftops to generate more clean, renewable energy right here in Guelph."

Together with Guelph Hydro, the City has identified about 50,000 square feet of rooftop space where Ecotricity could install enough solar photovoltaic panels to generate up to 500 kilowatts of electricity. Once the panels are up and operating, Ecotricity would sell the power to the Ontario power grid over the next 20 years under the Ontario Power Authority’s MicroFIT program.

"This licence agreement is just the beginning," adds Kerr. "Together with Guelph Hydro the City of Guelph will continue to seek out more opportunities for energy projects on City-owned properties in order to support the goals of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative."

About the Community Energy Initiative
Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative is a collective commitment among community members including the City of Guelph, Guelph Hydro, Union Gas, Guelph Chamber of Commerce and the University of Guelph to use less energy in 25 years than we do today; use less energy per capita than comparable Canadian cities; and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the current global average.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Rob Kerr
General Manager, Community Energy
T 519-822-1260 x 2079
E rob.kerr@guelph.ca 
guelph.ca/energy

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

Guelph MS community seeking liberation treatment continues to grow
GUELPH — When Guelphite Joe Longo travels to Rhode Island in late April, he’ll be the third Wellington County Multiple Sclerosis Society board member to receive experimental and controversial ‘liberation’ treatment. The national society is advising more research is needed, but MS sufferers increasingly say they can’t wait for those studies now launching in Canada and the U.S. They’re too encouraged by early signs from people with MS who have had treatment in clinics around the world, though not in Canada, where it isn’t available to date.
“We’ve seen definitive proof. The quality of life is just an incredible, incredible bonus for us,” Longo said Monday. He’s raising $14,000 for treatment and associated costs at a Providence, R. I. clinic, on April 28, through family, friends and a local bank trust fund a supporter is setting up to allow the public to contribute. Developed by Italian vascular surgeon Paulo Zamboni, the treatment seeks to free blockages in main veins in the neck. Zamboni asserts these blockages cause a debilitating iron buildup in the brain that leads to lesions often associated with MS. The illness often causes paralysis and muscle tremors, through symptoms and severity varies. Local MS Society board chair Julie Goodwin underwent the surgery in November in Albany, New York, as has a third board member. Joanne Duffy Adamson went to Warsaw, Poland, in October, for her surgery. “I certainly have some small improvements,” Goodwin said. Her legs no longer shake. “I feel stronger. People say my colour is better. I’m not as pale as I was.” But suffering a progressive form of MS, she wanted more: she still gets around largely by wheelchair, as before. “I was hoping to get some of my mobility back.” She also remains more fatigued than she’d like. She’s hopeful these conditions will improve in the months ahead. Overall, Goodwin said she feels better, thanks to the treatment. “I don’t regret it for a minute.” She’s got her fingers crossed for Longo. “I wish Joe all the best.” Raised in Guelph, Longo, 43, is a chef by profession who ran a catering business. He was diagnosed with MS in 2004 and is today receiving Ontario disability support for an illness that leaves him too exhausted to pursue a career. Longo describes his MS as a “relapsing/remitting” form not as advanced as Goodwin’s. “I’m kind of an enigma. It’s an up and down rollercoaster thing.” That means there are times when he’s feeling relatively well, times when he’s less so.
It’s the fatigue that’s “the biggest battle for me.” It’s frustrating for him because he was an avid walker until he came down with the affliction.
“I want to take the ‘liberation’ therapy because I know so much about it,” Longo said, referring particularly to testimonials from others. “The feedback I’ve been getting is incredibly, incredibly encouraging.” Proponents, he said, point to a lifting of the typical “MS fog,” a sense of confusion and disorientation. They feel warmer and their eyesight has “cleared.” He expects to have two or three veins, depending on final testing, freed of obstructions. He was referring to two jugular veins and one closer to the chest area. The surgery may also require insertion of tubelike stents to keep those veins open. Longo conceded the treatment is not a cure. But it is a step forward, he added. It’s an option for the almost 78,000 people with MS in Canada to consider. MS societies in Canada and the U.S. jointly announced last summer $2.4 million in research to determine whether neck vein blockages, the basis of ‘liberation’ treatment, cause or contribute to multiple sclerosis.
vkirsch@guelphmercury.com

More Contact Info: Joe's phone number is 226-203-7779.  His friend Jackie Ross is spearheading the fundraising bank account and more.
Jackie's number is 519-823-2198.

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

City to tap reserve fund in search for its next civic chief

GUELPH — The process to identify a candidate to serve as the city’s next chief administrative officer will be formally considered by members of council next month.

A staff report regarding the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer will be presented to the governance committee of council on April 11. The committee is expected to recommend a recruitment process for council’s subsequent consideration.

Because the report has not yet been made public, Mark Amorosi, the city’s executive director of human resources and legal services, could not say whether staff will recommend the use of a recruitment firm.

“Given council has not had the opportunity to review the report at this time, no comment,” Amorosi wrote, in an email.

However, in an email, Mayor Karen Farbridge said “the hiring of a recruitment search firm has been past practice,” in such recruitment circumstances.

At a closed-door session on Feb. 28, Loewig told councillors he is stepping down for undisclosed personal reasons.

Loewig, who was to retire Dec. 31, 2012, when his contract expires, offered to remain on the job for the balance of 2011 to help with recruiting his replacement and bringing that person up to speed.

According to Amorosi, there is no fixed cost associated with the recruitment and hiring process.

“There is no dedicated budget for this search. Funds will come from the city’s gapping reserve, which is intended to be used for human resource purposes,” Amorosi wrote.

Amorosi and Farbridge said the best candidate will get the job.

“There is no staff recommendation regarding the filling of the CAO position. The position will be posted/advertised, and any person who feels he/she may be qualified is able to apply. Their application will be reviewed against the qualifications for the position, and if a determination is made that they meet the qualifications from their submission, the applicant would be invited for an interview to further determine their qualifications for the position,” Amorosi wrote.

Amorosi said current city employees will not receive preferential treatment. Nor will staff extend special invitations to internal candidates.

“The consideration of both internal and external candidates is considered best practice,” Farbridge wrote.

Amorosi, who on occasion has been acting chief administrative officer, declined to comment on whether he would apply for the full-time job.

“The decision for anyone to apply or not to apply for any position is a personal decision, and is confidential,” Amorosi said.

glayson@guelphmercury.com

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

City to tap reserve fund in search for its next civic chief

GUELPH — The process to identify a candidate to serve as the city’s next chief administrative officer will be formally considered by members of council next month.

A staff report regarding the recruitment of a new chief administrative officer will be presented to the governance committee of council on April 11. The committee is expected to recommend a recruitment process for council’s subsequent consideration.

Because the report has not yet been made public, Mark Amorosi, the city’s executive director of human resources and legal services, could not say whether staff will recommend the use of a recruitment firm.

“Given council has not had the opportunity to review the report at this time, no comment,” Amorosi wrote, in an email.

However, in an email, Mayor Karen Farbridge said “the hiring of a recruitment search firm has been past practice,” in such recruitment circumstances.

At a closed-door session on Feb. 28, Loewig told councillors he is stepping down for undisclosed personal reasons.

Loewig, who was to retire Dec. 31, 2012, when his contract expires, offered to remain on the job for the balance of 2011 to help with recruiting his replacement and bringing that person up to speed.

According to Amorosi, there is no fixed cost associated with the recruitment and hiring process.

“There is no dedicated budget for this search. Funds will come from the city’s gapping reserve, which is intended to be used for human resource purposes,” Amorosi wrote.

Amorosi and Farbridge said the best candidate will get the job.

“There is no staff recommendation regarding the filling of the CAO position. The position will be posted/advertised, and any person who feels he/she may be qualified is able to apply. Their application will be reviewed against the qualifications for the position, and if a determination is made that they meet the qualifications from their submission, the applicant would be invited for an interview to further determine their qualifications for the position,” Amorosi wrote.

Amorosi said current city employees will not receive preferential treatment. Nor will staff extend special invitations to internal candidates.

“The consideration of both internal and external candidates is considered best practice,” Farbridge wrote.

Amorosi, who on occasion has been acting chief administrative officer, declined to comment on whether he would apply for the full-time job.

“The decision for anyone to apply or not to apply for any position is a personal decision, and is confidential,” Amorosi said.

glayson@guelphmercury.com

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

Here is the form that I signed and delivered to the HR Department at City Hall indicating that I will refuse the salary Increase. I promised the residents of Ward 4 and the City of Guelph that I would refuse it. I will always put the tax-payers first.

I'ts been an honour serving you for the past few months Ward 4!

Thank you,

Cam Guthrie

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

Thought you'd like to know about this! Looks like fun!

Hi Cam,

We will be hosting a minor bantam hockey team from Sweden (Mora IK) in a few weeks. They will be touring the area and playing three exhibition games against teams from Guelph, Mississauga and Kitchener. The exhibition series will start in Guelph Monday April 4th @ 7 PM at the Sleeman Centre against the Junior Storm Minor Bantam AAA. Andy Van Hellemond will perform the ceremonial puck-drop before the game followed by and on-ice gift exchange by the players and the playing of the Swedish and Canadian national anthems.
Admission is free so if you could help to get the word out it would be appreciated.

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

City Staff Update:

 

I would like to provide you with a quick update on how the construction of the new Organics Waste Processing Facility is progressing.  It is still anticipated that the facility will be fully operational in December 2011.

As of the end of February 2011 $16,514,235.11 has been spent on this project.  This is 50.3% of the total project budget.

To the end of February, 60% of the actual construction has been completed.

Major Construction Activities that occurred during February were:
•    Removal of the south panels of the old maturation hall and commencement of tie-in of pre-engineered segments;
•    Completion of installation of pre-engineered building roof deck;
•    Continuing to install corrugated metal siding in administration area;
•    Backfilled Blower room with granular B and compacted;
•    Biofilter media installation for Biofilter Cell #2 and #3 completed;
•    Beam and hollow core slab installation completed for biofilter.

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

City Press Release:

Rate increases come into effect on April 1.

GUELPH, ON, March 16, 2011 – The rate for special event parking will increase to $5 on April 1. As part of the 2011 City budget, Council approved rate increases for special event parking and monthly parking permits.
 “We have 1,200 free parking spaces in addition to the 1,090 paid parking spaces throughout the downtown,” said Allister McIlveen, Manager, Traffic and Parking Services. “Anyone attending events at the River Run Centre or Sleeman Centre has the option of parking in either the paid or free parking spaces available.”
The special event parking fee is collected only at the East and West parkades and the Baker Street lot. The special event parking fee of $2 was first approved by City Council in 2009. Rate changes will help balance growing parking expenditures including maintenance of parking infrastructure to ensure public safety, longevity of parking lots and parking operations.
Guelph’s special event and monthly permit parking rates are similar to or lower than the median for parking fees when compared to other municipalities.

STAFF

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Thursday Mar 17th - 2011

City News Release:

GUELPH, ON, March 17, 2011– The City of Guelph invites residents to suggest names for five local properties by the submission deadline of 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25, 2011.  This Municipal Property and Building Commemorative Naming Policy initiative provides residents with an opportunity to participate in civic decision-making.  
Citizens have the opportunity to suggest names for three new neighbourhood parks (Cityview Heights Subdivision Park, Northview Subdivision Park, Kortright East Subdivision Park), a portion of the Trans Canada Trail (Eramosa Road to Woodlawn Road) and the Inter-modal Transit Terminal.  
The Naming Committee—which includes representation from Heritage Guelph, the Cultural Advisory Group, Development Planning, Community and Social Services, and two Council-appointed citizens—will evaluate submissions received through this open nomination process.  
The Naming Committee will give first consideration to those names honouring the civic, geographic or historic significance of each site’s neighbourhood/community.  Second consideration will be given to those names honouring an outstanding group or individual whose contribution meets at least one of the following criteria: demonstrated excellence, courage or exceptional service to the citizens of Guelph, Ontario, Canada or internationally; worked to foster equality and reduce discrimination; risked or gave his/her life to save or protect others.  In the event a current or former City employee is named, the individual will be required to have made an exceptional contribution to the city of Guelph outside of his/her capacity and regular duties.
Residents’ submissions should include background and/or biographical (individual or organization) information demonstrating that the proposed name is of significance to the community, and contain documentation, including verification of agreement with the naming proposal by the individual or organization being named.

Submissions can be e-mailed to rory.templeton@guelph.ca, brought to City Hall’s ServiceGuelph counter, or sent by mail.  All submissions must be addressed as follows:

Rory Barr Templeton, Planning & Building, Engineering and Environment
City of Guelph
1 Carden Street, 3rd Floor
Guelph ON  N1H 3A1

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Well Cam,


I have to admit that at the beginning of this budget process I was rather anxious as to what our so called Guelph Leaders were proposing. You have done your best so far and it is greatly appreciated. There are no words of wisdom at this point, that may give you any light at the end of the tunnel other than to say "stick with your gut feel". You are proving to be one who can be trusted and appreciated in this office and will continue to have, mine and all those I can influence, support. There might be a need at the end of this process for some house cleaning and that will become your next challenge. One step at a time. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

J.G

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Cam,

We have and are still watching the budget deliberations this morning. We are very impressed with the way you are conducting this operation. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in even though it is obvious you and two or three others are behind the 8 ball in this Council. We live in Ward two, one of the two in our Ward will vote with the Mayor no matter what and it is a breath of fresh air to listen to you.We look forward to this evening.
J&R F.

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Dear Cam,

Kkeep up the good work.  We need people like you who care about taxpayers dollars ,every Department is trying to justify their existence and spending.

M.

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Thsi is the City News Release re: 2011 Budget:

Guelph City Council approves 2011 budget Tax-supported operating budget to increase 3.14 per cent over 2010
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GUELPH, ON, March 3, 2011 – Guelph City Council approved the 2011 tax-supported operating budget at $167,037,121, a 3.14 per cent increase over 2010. The capital budget was approved at $4,145,000. The impact on an average household in Guelph assessed at $281,700 will be roughly $67 this year.

For the last few years and in 2010 in particular, the City responded to economic pressures by passing budgets that focused primarily on affordability. To keep tax increases low, or affordable, the City reduced services, postponed some important investments and reduced its savings.

This year the City will reinstate may of the services that were cut in 2010 and begin to ensure Guelph’s budget is realistic and more sustainable given the level of service residents expect.

City Council heard over 20 public delegations during this year’s budget process, many of whom objected to the City's plan to increase transit fares while offering 30-minute service frequency in June, July and August and no service on statutory holidays in 2011.

City Council voted to restore 20-minute summer service frequency, and increase cash fares in September to partially offset the $120,000 cost of delivering holiday transit service on Canada Day, John Galt Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Labour Day. "Less than 10 per cent of our riders use cash,” says Michael Anders, General Manager, Guelph Transit. “In September, an adult cash fare would increase 25 cents to three dollars.”

The budget was also adjusted to reflect the fact that Guelph’s new inter-modal transit terminal will open in November.

“The cost of opening and operating several new community facilities is having a big impact on this year’s budget,” says City Treasurer, Margaret Neubauer. “The City will move ahead with plans to open the new Civic Museum, the east end library branch, Guelph’s Provincial Offences Court, the inter-modal transit terminal, Market Square, the Organic Waste Processing Facility, new parks and trails and the South End Emergency Services Station in 2011.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Margaret Neubauer
City Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer
T 519-822-1260 x 5606
E margaret.neubauer@guelph.ca

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Thanks for your efforts on the budget Cam. At least 3 more budgets overseen by this group, litigation involving the county and the builders of the new city hall that i guarantee you we will come out of on the losing side. A garbage system being built thats going to come in so far over budget that it will take your breath away (literally if you live near it) and be obselete the day it's finished; maybe its time to seriously consider relocating to another community. If on the other hand there was a way to get at least 50% of the population to vote in the next municipal election i'm confident there would be a much different group sitting around the horseshoe at city hall. One with the best interests of the majority of Guelphites as it's number 1 priority.If i could help with that next election let me know.
Thanks for listening
G.

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

The media will always edit. And that's okay. But I thought I'd post here my complete response so you can see exactly what I said to the Guelph Tribune media response re: 2011 Budget Process. Here it is:

 

Thanks for asking me Guelph Tribune!

I wasn’t surprised that the budget process was referred to committee. As this was my first budget, I had nothing to compare it to, but the comments coming from those that had been on council previous were consistent with my frustrations.

On the first night we were making progress. However, upon return for the second night, I felt like the process was being rushed. When $2million dollars was raided from our reserves to artificially make the tax rate look lower, it was as if the wind was taken out of our sails to look for further opportunities to cut spending. I was very disappointed, and in turn this is what compelled me to vote against the budget.

 I would like to see the following changes if possible:

1.    A clear process of how the budget night(s) will go.
2.    A methodical way of moving through the budget and knowing this in advance so we’re all on the same page.
3.    Having each councillor tell the mayor in advance of how many motions he or she would like to present for consideration. This doesn’t mean they would have to disclose what they are specifically, but just the number of motions.
4.    The layout of the budget itself could be better.
I’m thrilled that council has decided to do a complete review of all the services the city provides. This review should also help the 2012 budget process. It’s a great way for us to answer the question of “What does the city need to be in the business of”? I believe we owe it to the taxpayers by taking a long hard look at what they’re actually paying for.
Cam Guthrie

Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 11:16 AM

 
Hi. I’m collecting views from council members about the budget process, for a story I plan to write tomorrow (Tuesday March 8) for our March 10 edition. Some dissatisfaction with the process used for the 2011 budget was expressed last week, and council referred the issue to the corporate administration, finance and emergency services committee for study.
What I’m wondering is:
• how would you describe this year’s budget process?
• how could the process be improved?
Please email me your response, if you want to be part of this story. Thanks very much.
Regards,
Guelph Tribune

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

I recieved the following email from a Ward 4 resident today:

 

Dear City Staff: It was a pleasure to meet you this morning whilst applying for and receiving my War Veteran Transit Pass. I would be remiss if I didn't let you know how impressed I was with the two ladies at reception who were,to say the least,most helpful ,cheery, capable and very professional in assisting me in this matter; truly excellent representatives of Guelph Transit. Please pass my regards to the two ladies involved.
Regards,
D.B

 

Here's the City Press Release!

City of Guelph enhances War Veteran Transit Pass program
Program extended to individuals who have served with the Canadian forces and allies.

GUELPH, ON, March 1, 2011 – Guelph Transit is extending the War Veteran Transit Pass program to any resident of Guelph who has actively served with the Canadian forces or its allies. “We recognize that many residents have varying levels of military service,” said Michael Anders, Guelph Transit’s General Manager. “Extending the eligibility criteria makes the transit pass program consistent with other City programs for war veterans.”  The free transit pass program was originally restricted to World War II and Korean War veterans and was valid for the lifetime of the holder. The revisions to the program will mean that qualified residents who have served in the Canadian Forces will be able to obtain a free annual transit pass. The City also offers veterans free parking permits, valid at City-owned off-street parking facilities and on-street parking meters. Vehicle parking permits are issued on an annual basis.  
Qualified residents will be able to obtain either a free transit pass or a parking permit. Free transit passes and parking permits cannot be used at the same time. Existing Guelph Transit lifetime pass holders are permitted to keep their passes without the need to reapply.
The City offers this program as a gesture of respect and acknowledgement of the personal sacrifice and commitment made by these veterans to the community and to Canada.

City of Guelph

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Sent: March 8, 2011 2:27 PM

Thank you for doing your best during the 2011 budget deliberations in the face of the Farbridge juggernaut.  Thank you for recognizing that council could have done better for the citizens, and that using $700K from the rate stabilization reserve merely avoids the tough decisions.  The reality is that in creating more than 75 new positions, council has also created a significant ongoing financial commitment, and that $700K is only a one-year answer, but then you are the five people who actually seem to realize that.

I truly appreciate your efforts, particularly because it must be extremely frustrating to argue against a philosophy that already has the votes locked up. Councillor Kovach in particular, I have to give you full points for your persistence in fighting this fight over the many years.  I seriously wish you would run for mayor.  I would vote for you, and I know many others who would as well.  

By my count, if we were to elect just two more councillors who share your ideals, we could really turn this around.  We need more candidates like the five of you in ALL wards, candidates who are credible alternatives to the Farbridge allies.  I wish to have the opportunity to vote against the likes of those who feel my request for a reasonable property tax rate is invalid because Google Street View suggests I live in a nice house (o.k. she's not in my ward, and I've done a little well-reasoned interpreting as to why she's using "an internet tool" to look at my house, but it's clear she is not alone on council in what would seem to be socialist views).
Sincerely,
M.H

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

I received the following email. Here it is:

Mr. Guthrie,

I was aware that you tried to stop the parking and the raise, and are refusing the raise. And for this I applaud you. I appears to me you are the only councillor who gets it. I wish you were in my ward so I could vote for you (I live in ward 2). You listen to the people of the city and act in their best interest not your own.
Thank you for your hard work for us.

D.

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

I'm going to use this blog posting to put every single email that I've recieved about Councillor Laidlaw and her Googling. At the end of this post, I will post the reponse letter from Maggie. Here they are:

 

EMAIL #1.

Councillor Laidlaw:
It is absolutely outrageous for a member of City Council to categorize people according to how nice are houses they live in or how many cars were parked in the driveway, when Google went by videotaping. To dismiss the opinions of those, whose houses look to you "pretty nice" is flagrant violation of your mandate. The only honorable action after uttering such a statement would be a resignation from City Council. Unfortunately it is not very likely to happen in your case. Then it remains to be seen, if there will be a person in Ward 3, who will vote for you in the next election. The language you used to call your fellow councillor (off the record) only confirms, that you do not belong in the institution representing our city.
Last word about the 2011 budget: if Toronto and London can keep the tax increase at 0%, why cannot Guelph? Is it because too many councillors share the opinion of Councillor Laidlaw, that they can spent as they want, because the citizens of Guelph will have to pay, if they want to - or not?
S.S

 

Email #2.

Hello Cam,
It looks as though the votes my wife and I cast in the last municipal election paid off.  We were very impressed with your efforts to gain some reasonable reductions in the city budget.  It is interesting to see that the mayor and some other councillors seem to feel that the world just snaps back to normal after such a severe economic downturn, or that one member of council can actually gauge a resident’s well being by using Google Earth.  In fact, many people suffered badly during the recession, and it will take several years for them to regain what they lost. I am not a large or small ‘c’ conservative, but I do believe in fiscal responsibility.  It is nice to see that both councillors in our ward feel the same way. As frustrating as it no doubt will be, I trust that you and Gloria will stick to your positions. I have two key concerns, and many more of a less important nature, going forward. I would like to see our municipal government focused on items that are important to the people of the city, such as infrastructure, and less on things like twinning with a community in Italy (the benefits of which I haven’t seen), or meaningless competitions with other communities, to name just a couple. The other apprehension I have concerns the selection of the next CAO.  I fear there will be a push for an internal candidate, particularly the one who now controls everything from engineering to waste disposal.  It is probably the only time I would advocate going to an outside firm that specializes in the selection of people for a role of this nature. There is no question that I will disagree with some of your decisions during this term, but rest assured I am not going to chastise you every time that happens. You were the only candidate to come to my door, and you had the temerity to ask if I would put a sign on my lawn supporting you, which I did. It was just the second time I have done that in my 45 years in Guelph. If you stay on your current track, I’ll go out and campaign for you in the next election.
G.H

 

Email #3.

In respect to Maggie Laidlaw's attitude and behaviour, if there was some way of excusing her from her position, it should seriously be considered.  To refer to another councillor in a derogatory term really shows a person's level of respect, not only there, but in all areas.  To even publicly admit that she "does not pay much attention to emails from residents who live in pretty nice houses" after "googling" where they live, is pretty unbelievable.  To think that seniors want to defer their taxes until they leave their homes has the picture all wrong and again reveals a disrespect from them.  This is only means that they are passing the burden down to their children...keep it in the family.  This is a backward picture of what we are suppose to do, which is bless our children and not curse them with a financial burden.
It is very discouraging to think that we have another four years of this.  There should be shame, not pride in the burden that has been passed to us.
Respectfully,
M.C

 

Email #4.

Hello Cam,
I was shocked and dismayed to read in yesterday’s Tribune that Maggie Laidlaw has been caught on camera calling a fellow Councilor an A**HOLE. If this is true she MUST be forced to resign. It is a public disgrace for both the Mayor and the citizens of Guelph to have someone on council who embarrasses herself and our city. It was also disturbing to see that in a year when the tax payer is being asked to absorb ANOTHER Guelph City Tax Hike that councilors voted to increase their wages and the wages of our spend first budget second Mayor.
Disgusting!!
B.H

 

Email #5.

 I wish to have the opportunity to vote against the likes of those who feel my request for a reasonable property tax rate is invalid because Google Street View suggests I live in a nice house (o.k. she's not in my ward, and I've done a little well-reasoned interpreting as to why she's using "an internet tool" to look at my house, but it's clear she is not alone on council in what would seem to be socialist views).
Sincerely,
M.H

 

Email #5.

Dear Ms Laidlaw
I am a proud resident of Guelph and known by my councillors of Ward 4. I support this city and all that it is whenever I speak out of town. Within Town, I like many others complain and "whine" about various things in this city. That is not to say that I do not respect city hall. On the contrary, once provided with complete information I support council decisions. Lately, I have found interaction with our Mayor, through her blog, to be very beneficial in understanding directions this city is taking. I did not support Karen in the last election, but I do respect her and the chair. I have never been embarrassed by our council except for two times before. In both those situations, those people are no longer involved in the city. Your recent comment regarding whining tax payers and based on the google picture of their home have no right to complain, is beyond comprehension and or words. As Mr Scott Tracey has stated publicly, there is just too many things wrong with this to comment. I will comment though, as to my overall thought. What you have indicated to me is that the more self worth I have, the more I should be taxed. It says to me that there is no accountability at city hall to the very people who gave you this job, of looking after our city and it's common needs. It says you are un-reproachable and above all. Mayor Karen Farbridge has and I believe, trying to stand on accountability and communication, among other things. You have gone against all that is being attempted to change for the better. I do not know how you can continue as a Councillor after making such a comment. I am of mixed emotions in total embarrassment, sympathy to you and empathy to those commenting publicly. With the attitude you have shown, you do not represent me on any level. Retiring from public office would be an option for you.
J.G

 

MAGGIE LAIDLAW RESPONSE:

I have had two emails and two phone calls about this issue.  Therefore I am responding as I did to the other person who emailed me (see below).  I would appreciate it if you would publish this as a response letter-to-the-editor, Chris.  I am sick and tired of pussy-footing around people who are, selfishly, only interested in themselves. They have no concept of the common good, or of lending a helping hand to those much less fortunate that they are, and anyone who does think of others, besides themselves, are labelled as "commies" or "socialists", or other derogatory adjectives. You should have heard the phone message that was left for me, by some despicable coward who used a public telephone so that he couldn't be traced. He used the "socialist" term as a slur (personally, I regard it as a compliment!), the f-word, the c-word (and I don't mean Conservative!) and every other derogatory term he could think of.  He probably lives in a mansion!

In any case, here is my response to one person:
======================================================
I have often wondered, over the years, whether the people who complain most bitterly about, for example, the city's investment in public transit, community facilities, libraries, taxes, etc. are the ones who could most afford to pay taxes and, in a very small way, "share the wealth".  From my experience, these people are the "I'm all right, Jack" people who do not care one bit for those in our community who are less fortunate than we are, and who are financially disadvantaged, perhaps because of mental or physical illness - and that includes the "working poor", which is the type of family I grew up in.  Over the years, I have grown somewhat cynical about the human race's ability to show empathy.  In the last couple of weeks, of the many emails I received about the budget and other things, I randomly picked out the three that appeared to be most vehemently opposed to a tax hike of any sort, and who were, in fact, pushing for a zero tax increase.  I googled their homes just to get an inkling of whether my theory might be correct.  That is all that this amounted to, and if the press chose to run with it, so be it.  I have developed a thick skin over the years and no longer care what is written about me.  I live by the adage first uttered by a former U of G graduate and renowned economist, John Kenneth Galbraith"  "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable".  I feel that sometimes the "comfortable" need a good shaking up to remind them how the other half lives, and that was what I was hoping to do with that comment.  My family is quite comfortably off,and I pay taxes just like everyone else in Guelph, but I am very willing to support a tax increase if it means that we can get more affordable housing, better public transit, etc.  I am not boasting, just stating a fact.
Maggie Laidlaw, Ph.D., R.T.
maggie.laidlaw@guelph.ca

 

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Updated: March 15th, 2011

I have emailed P. back with the following:

Hi P.,
I’m sorry I haven’t responded until now. My grandfather passed away on Thursday night and I’m just getting back to my emails now. I wanted to thank you for your email. It means a lot to me for you to take the time to write that letter to the editor. I don’t know if they published your letter but I have on my website at www.ward4news.ca.
Thanks again P.!
Cam Guthrie

 

March 11th, 2011

I have recieved the following email from P. Here it is:

FYI - a letter I submitted today to the Mercury.
Imagine This:
What if Councillor Guthrie revealed at a City Council meeting that he had recently been using Google Street View to check out the homes of people advocating for subsidized transit funding to get an idea of their economic standing based on what their house looked like.
The hue and cry would be so loud that sales of hearing protection in Guelph would spike dramatically. Substitute Tim Hudak or Stephen Harper for Councillor Guthrie in the scenario above and think on it some more.
Instead, except for the excellent work of Mercury reporter Scott Tracey, if one strains their hearing really hard they might be able to hear the first sounds of crickets chirping this spring.
P.S

 

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Tuesday Mar 15th - 2011

Last Thursday night, my grandfather Gordon Guthrie passed away with myself and my family beside him. It was very peacful and I know that he is with his saviour Jesus Christ in heaven. I was and still am blessed to have known him. He was an amazing man and had a huge impact on Guelph.

Due to the visitations and funeral etc...I've been away from my emails. So, I will get caught up over the next 3-5 days.

Thanks everyone!

Cam

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Tuesday Mar 8th - 2011

Call for nominations: 15th annual Mayor's Awards - Media Release

GUELPH, ON, March 7, 2011
– Mayor Karen Farbridge is now accepting nominations of Guelph residents for the 2011 Mayor's Awards.
The annual award recognizes citizens who are making a difference through service to the community. Past winners have made contributions in many different facets of community life, including the arts and culture sector, the environment, health and mental health, labour, multiculturalism, and sports and recreation, among others.
Nominators are asked to write a letter outlining their nominee’s achievement and how he or she is making a difference in Guelph. Nomination letters can be e-mailed to mayor@guelph.ca or mailed to Mayor Karen Farbridge, 1 Carden Street, Guelph, Ontario N1H 3A1. Letters must include contact information for both the nominator and the nominee. Nominations must be received no later than April 15, 2011.
“Recognizing outstanding citizens is one of the great privileges of being mayor. I am always amazed at the many different ways Guelphites make a difference, and I look forward to reading this year’s nomination letters,” said Mayor Farbridge.
Mayor’s Award winners will be recognized at the annual Guelph Awards of Excellence gala, hosted by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. This year’s awards dinner will be held on June 23.
For more information, visit guelph.ca/mayorsawards.

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Tuesday Mar 8th - 2011

March 8th, 2011 - City Media Release

Court action to prevent Board of Health from imposing debt on City unilaterally


Plans would cost Guelph taxpayers $10 million; City believes there are alternatives.

GUELPH, ON, March 8, 2011 – The City of Guelph has started a court action requesting an injunction to stop the Board of Health from incurring costs related to the acquisition or construction of capital facilities or from entering into agreements to this end until the legal authority for the Board to do so is determined. The court action follows the City of Guelph's resolution to not support the Board of Health in its plans to proceed unilaterally with the construction or acquisition of a new headquarters.
The City of Guelph continues to believe the Board of Health does not have the authority to incur debt in the City's name without its consent. The cost to Guelph taxpayers, should the Board of Health proceed as planned, is $10 million. The impact on the City of Guelph's ability to fund other projects could be significant.
"Guelph City Council has agreed it will urge the Counties of Dufferin and Wellington to not support the Board of Health in proceeding with direct ownership of property," says Guelph's mayor Karen Farbridge. "We will be requesting the counties participate, along with the City, in meetings with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to discuss alternatives that would not jeopardize Provincial participation in funding accommodation costs or add to the City's debt."
The City has been clear about its opposition to funding $10 million in capital costs for the construction of a new building in Guelph without participation from the Province in funding a portion. The City has been working with the Board to assess other proposals since 2007.
Capital funds for new facilities were not part of Guelph's 2011 budget approved last week. The Board of Health withdrew from its scheduled opportunity to present its budget on February 15, thereby eliminating Guelph City Council's ability to ask questions and comment on the Board's capital plans.
While the City of Guelph acknowledges a new location is needed, it hopes an injunction will afford the chance to determine its legal obligations to fund these types of projects.  The City is committed to exploring alternatives, and remains hopeful an alternative can be found.

STAFF

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Tuesday Mar 8th - 2011

Here they are:

2011_Budget_Adjustments_Summary_March_7,_2011.pdf

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Tuesday Mar 8th - 2011

Updated: March 8th, 2011

Thanks a lot M! I really do appreciate your encouragement to me. In this position as councilor, I can tell you, that taking the time to email me means a lot!
If I can ever help your with anything, please contact me!
Take care,
Cam

Sent: March 8, 2011 8:02 PM

Hi Cam:
I very much apprecite your efforts in having the 2011 budget hit 3.1%.  I understand you voted against this increase and for that I applaud you.  I would very much like to see Guelph, for once, achieve a 0% increase.  Again thank you for making our "no more tax increases" voice heard.  I really think our Mayor and some of the other Council Members need to get a handle on how to properly spend our tax dollars.
M

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Wednesday Mar 2nd - 2011

I just wanted everyone to know that I'll try to post the "Questions & Answers" from council regarding the 2011 budget later on today. You can access it currently online at www.guelph.ca or at councillor Ian Findlay's blog. I wanted to share with you though that we were told that whenever we had budget related questions, we were to send them into one specific STAFF person so that all questions could be compiled and sent out as one complete docuement with all councillor questions. During the last few weeks, while preparing for the budget, I of course recieved questions from Ward 4 residents about issues not related to the budget and I sent them into STAFF to respond. What's happened is that these non-budget related questions have somehow been forwarded by STAFF onto the individual compiling the budget question and answers and that person has now included them for the final document. I bring this up because if you read some of my questions, you might be asking yourself, "Why is Cam asking about metal dog tags for the 2011 budget?" And it doesn't stop there. I've sent in about 6 or 7 other questions completely unrelated to the budget that have been included. No one has brought this to my attention, but as I was reading the 50 page document, I came across these and thought it best to let you know up front that I'm not micro-managing things so much that I want to know about metal dog tags. Thanks!
Cam

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

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