Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Wednesday Apr 27th - 2011

27-Apr-11 GUELPH, ON – Two-thirds of Guelph residents say they get good value for their municipal tax dollars, and satisfaction with City services is high, with a majority saying they are satisfied with all services in a list of 11.
These are among the findings of a citizen survey conducted for the City of Guelph by Environics Research Group.
More than 80 per cent of residents surveyed expressed satisfaction with parks and trails, police, garbage collection, fire protection, and library services. Satisfaction with sports fields, ambulance services, snow plowing, and arts and heritage services ranged from 70 to 79 per cent. 64 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with road maintenance, and 57 per cent said they were satisfied with public transit, though one-quarter of respondents said they were unable to express an opinion about this service.
The survey also found:
•         When asked which is the most important issue facing Guelph today, high tax rates/ tax increases (12 per cent) and urban development/ expansion (11 per cent) topped the list. When the City last conducted a survey of this size in 2008, taxation was also identified as the top issue.
•         Five in ten residents (51 per cent) indicated that fees and taxes should be lowered even if it means a small reduction in services, compared to about four in ten (37 per cent) who hold the view that inadequate services need to be improved even if it means a small tax increase.
•         Road maintenance and public transit were identified as priorities for further investments, a similar finding to the 2008 survey.
•         83 per cent of residents who have contacted the City of Guelph over the past year said they were satisfied with the service they received. Almost half (48 per cent) said they were “very satisfied.” In 2008, 68 per cent of respondents expressed satisfaction, 13% were neutral and 19% dissatisfied.
•         In a series of questions about environmental issues, large majorities (70 per cent or more) expressed positive perceptions of the City’s efforts. 79 per cent said the City does a good job protecting the environment.
•         Opinion was divided on whether the City should only have low and mid rise buildings of one to six stories (45 per cent) or allow taller buildings of seven to 18 stories (50 per cent).
The survey results will inform the City’s 2011-2014 Strategic Plan revision and service review efforts, as well as the annual budget process and ongoing operational improvements.
Environics conducted the survey by telephone among 600 City of Guelph residents 18 years of age and older between March 16 and April 4, 2011. The data was weighted by the City's six wards to ensure that the results are representative of the population. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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Wednesday Apr 27th - 2011

Household Hazardous Waste Depot extends hours for customer convenience
The City's seasonal Paint + Reuse Program is ready to open


GUELPH, ON, April 18, 2011 – The City of Guelph Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Depot springs into extended hours of operation on Tuesday, April 19, providing added convenience to residents.  The HHW Depot located at 110 Dunlop Drive, Gate 2, will now be open:

Tuesday – Friday:      9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  
Saturday:        8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.   

The increase in 2011 HHW Depot hours reflects the strengthened economy. The HHW Depot was open during reduced hours last year as a result of a City budget shortfall due to the economic recession.  

The City’s seasonal Paint + Reuse Program—an earth-smart initiative that helps ensure useable products don’t go to waste—will be open to the public between April 19 and October 15 at the HHW Depot. This program makes used paint and other household products available to residents, free-of-charge.

The City reminds Guelph residents to continue to act responsibly when it comes to the disposal of hazardous items.  

According to Kim Hodgson, Chief Fire Prevention Officer, Fire & Emergency Services, gasoline, “must be in CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or ULC (Underwriters Laboratories of Canada)/ORD-C30 approved safety containers, and should be secured in the trunk of a vehicle with the cap securely fastened.  Flammable liquids should not be stored in the trunk for excessive periods of time.”

“When residents drop off gasoline in an approved container at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot, they will be offered a replacement container,” adds Heather Connell, Manager, Integrated Services, Solid Waste Resources.

Bring your hazardous waste to the HHW Depot year-round or visit www.dowhatyoucan.ca for a list of available retailers where you can drop off certain household waste material, at no cost.  For more information regarding the Paint + Reuse Program, please visit guelph.ca/wetdry.

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Wednesday Apr 27th - 2011

City of Guelph Press Release:

April 14, 2011 - Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has confirmed that the City of Guelph has maintained its 'AA' credit rating again this year.
The rating reflects Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' view that the City has a solid economic base, manageable debt, and good operating performance.
"Council's strong debt and reserve management policies are having their intended effect, producing a continued excellent credit rating for our municipality," says Mayor Karen Farbridge.
The City’s Chief Financial Officer Margaret Neubauer adds, "This rating is good news for Guelph as the economy continues to recover,"
Standard and Poor's believes the expenditures are manageable and the City's debt will remain under control even with last year's increase in capital expenditures. . Standard & Poor's noted the benefit to Guelph of $45 million in federal and provincial stimulus funding to assist with the maintenance and repair of the city's infrastructure.  The City of Guelph is committed to a disciplined and integrated long-term approach to capital planning and continues to adhere to a long-term financial plan guided by debt and reserve management policies.
This 'AA' rating means the City can secure lower interest rates when issuing debt to finance large capital expenditures from recently constructed facilities, resulting in significant savings to the municipality.
Standard & Poor’s also expects Guelph to benefit from the increasingly diverse economies in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge as the region evolves from a traditional concentration in manufacturing to a technology and service-based economy, and that the arrival of GO train service in 2011 will further integrate the City's economy into the surrounding area.

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Sunday Apr 17th - 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Guelph Remastered wraps up while construction continues
2011 will be a more typical construction season
 
GUELPH, ON, April 12, 2011 – After its massive infrastructure renewal program, Guelph is preparing for a more typical road construction season this year and wrapping up Guelph Remastered.

"The Guelph Remastered campaign did what typical road construction signs couldn’t do," says Tara Sprigg, Manager, Corporate Communications. "Guelph Remastered connected people to important information and helped residents understand that more than 20 construction projects were part of one huge infrastructure renewal program."

The City tracked the campaign and its effects on stakeholders throughout the year and found that Guelph Remastered met its intended objectives. The campaign reached the majority of residents and increased awareness of the City’s plans for construction in 2010. Over the course of the campaign, residents came to understand that Guelph was completing about five years worth of work in just 12 months to meet the Federal and Provincial funding deadline.

Findings also show the Guelph Remastered campaign had positive effects on people’s perceptions of construction upgrades in general, and on loyalty to shops and services. More than 90 per cent of those polled consider it important for the City to undertake construction projects, and awareness that shops and services would be open for business during construction increased from 73 per cent to 81 per cent during the campaign.

As part of the campaign, the City developed new online tools including a construction e-bulletin and an interactive traffic map. These improved online tools proved particularly successful, and will remain on guelph.ca to help people navigate construction detours again this year.

"We still have some paving, line marking and landscaping to do on some of the projects we worked on last year, and we’re glad to have the funding deadline extended to October 31 so we can finish work on the inter-modal transit terminal and Wyndham Street Rail bridge," says City Engineer, Richard Henry. "We’ll also be working on this year’s regular infrastructure renewal program. You’ll see crews on the streets again this year, but we’re not planning as much work on major routes."

Guelph’s plans for construction in 2011 and ongoing construction updates will be posted on the City’s website at guelph.ca/construction.

In 2009, the City began work on more than 20 infrastructure upgrades on roads, sewers, water systems, bike lanes and buildings. The projects must be completed by October 31 2011 to take advantage $48 million in Federal and Provincial Infrastructure Stimulus Funds. Guelph's Infrastructure Stimulus projects are listed on the City's website at guelph.ca > living > planning, building, engineering > road construction.

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Sunday Apr 17th - 2011

Hello my friends! And sorry for the mass email!

Not too often does an opportunity like this come along. However this situation is URGENT. We don't have much time!

I'm talking about this:
http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/514832--historic-pistol-
up-for-auction


We need to raise funds to acquire this piece of history. Don't let this gun go into collector's hands when we can have it on public display in our brand new museum!

Due to it being a public auction and because of how rare and sought after this gun will be it is expected to sell for at least $6000.

So far I have raised $800.

Will you help with a donation of $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more? In return you'll be provided with a tax receipt once the piece is donated to the Guelph museum. Contact me at cam.guthrie@guelph.ca or 226-820-5080 for further information!

We only have a few more days to get prepared before it goes to auction.
Don't let this gun slip out of Guelph's hands! Let's bring it home!

Thank you so much!

Cam Guthrie
Ward 4 - City Councillor, Guelph.
www.ward4news.ca
226-820-5080
Cam.guthrie@guelph.ca

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Sunday Apr 17th - 2011

Hello Cam,
I thought I'd forward some information on Culture Camp Guelph, which will be taking place on May 25 from 2-5pm at the River Run Centre. Perhaps you could post the information on your blog?  The event is being organised by myself, the Guelph Arts Council, the City of Guelph, Guelph-Wellington Business Enterprise Centre and Cultural Careers Centre of Ontario.


CultureCamp Guelph is a free confrence that will allow attendees to:

•         Share their ideas
•         Inspire their peers
•         Broaden their reach
•         Prepare for Culture Days

All members of Guelph's creative community are encouraged to attend. Register online at http://culturecampguelph.eventbrite.com

Thanks in advance for spreading the word! 

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Sunday Apr 17th - 2011

Council hears concerns about proposed Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph health facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GUELPH, ON, April 15, 2011 – At a special meeting of City Council Wednesday night, Councillors and the public heard a variety of concerns brought forward by City staff regarding the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Board of Health’s plans to build and own new facilities in Guelph and Orangeville.

City Treasurer Margaret Neubauer presented Council with financial context to show the current and potential future costs of Public Health facilities for City of Guelph taxpayers.

Currently, the Health Unit’s facilities in Guelph, Fergus, Mount Forest, and Dufferin County are leased, and the Provincial government pays approximately 75% of the lease costs. The Province has stated it will not contribute to the new facilities’ capital costs. The Board of Health’s position is that the City of Guelph and the Counties of Wellington and Dufferin will be responsible for 100% of the capital costs.

Under the current lease arrangements, with a 75% Provincial subsidy, the City of Guelph’s share of facility costs for Guelph and Orangeville is $68,000 annually. Under the Board of Health’s plan to build and own new facilities, Guelph’s share would increase to $988,000 annually, and the project would add $10.8 million to the City’s outstanding debt. City of Guelph taxpayers would pay 40% more for public health services each year due to this capital project alone. While the municipality would be liable for the debt, the Board of Health would have ownership of the building.

"The City does not debate that a new Public Health location is needed, and we fully support the delivery of Public Health programs and services," said Mark Amorosi, Executive Director of Human Resources and Legal Services. "However, the City has a number of outstanding concerns and questions about how the Board is proposing to construct and finance this project. We believe there are other options that are less costly to local taxpayers, and would allow the Province to fund a portion of the costs."

Council heard that one option would be for the municipality to build and own the new facility and lease it back to the Board of Health, which would significantly reduce the City’s annual costs. This option would still increase the City’s debt, but it would allow the City to retain title to the asset. Another option would be to enter into a commercial lease for an existing facility, which would reduce annual costs while having no impact on the City’s debt. Under each of these scenarios, the Province would potentially contribute up to 75% of the lease costs.

Concerns about governance were also raised by City staff, including the apparent lack of consultation with partners, collaborators and citizens on the location, accessibility and centralization of services proposed in the Board of Health’s Space Needs Assessment.

Staff questioned the sequencing of approvals for the Space Needs Assessment prior to the Board’s approval of its Strategic Plan—a Plan that includes a section on new facilities. "A best practice in developing any new facility is to ensure the needs of the public and partners are well understood," says Guelph’s Executive Director of Community & Social Services, Ann Pappert. "This ensures facilities are aligned with long-term plans and meet client needs. That there is no reference in the document to the public or partners being involved is troubling. Further, why the Space Needs Assessment was completed and approved before the Board of Health’s Strategic Plan is among the City’s questions."

The Ontario Public Health Standards call for collaboration among boards of health, their community partners, academic institutions and government in the interpretation and prioritization of needs. The City remains concerned this step has been overlooked.

In March, the City was granted a temporary injunction to stop the Board of Health from incurring further costs on the project, pending an argument for a more permanent injunction. The City is seeking clarity on funding and the Board’s authority to incur debt in the City’s name without its consent.

Staff will report back to Council at its meeting on April 26 with recommendations about how to address the issues brought forth at Wednesday’s meeting.

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Thursday Apr 7th - 2011

Hi Cam:

We live on Marksam Road and in your Ward 4.  We watched the council meeting on Monday and were very impressed with your presentation.  You show regard and appreciation for others when you thanked city staff for their patience in explaining the heritage project.  You also show intelligence by challenging the people concerned to not use all of the budget.  This shows your regard to the taxpayers here.  

We just wanted to let you know that this does not go unnoticed and that we appreciate you being our councillor as we feel protected and well represented.

Thank you,
M&P

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Thursday Apr 7th - 2011

The Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Marty Williams to the position of Executive Director, effective April 26, 2011.

Marty is passionate about Downtown Guelph and will bring his considerable talents, experiences, and insights to this very crucial role. He comes to the position from York University, where he served as the Director of the Office of Student Conflict Mediation and Senior Policy Analyst and where he was also responsible for Aboriginal Student Services. Previously, he has worked in volunteer organizational development, event planning and promotion, housing, and food services.

In addition to residing in Guelph with his wife and son, Marty has been involved as a volunteer and as a director with the Hillside Festival.   
 
Marty graduated from the University of Guelph where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Ontarion, President of the Central Student Association, Vice President of the Guelph Campus Co-operative, and Member of the University’s Board of Governors. He received the Paul Gilmore Award for student leadership and the University of Guelph Community Service Award.

Please join us in welcoming Marty to the Downtown Board of Guelph.

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Thursday Apr 7th - 2011

Good Afternoon

This email is just to inform everyone that the 2011 Clean and Green Event will be held on April 30th.

Cleaning and collection will take place from 8:30 am to 11:30 am; to be followed by a volunteer appreciation barbeque at Riverside Park (large red picnic shelter) from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm.

Registration for event participants will open on April 7th and close on April 21st.
Registration can be done online at <<guelph.ca/cleanandgreen>> or by calling 519-837-5628 x2047 and of course in person at Operations.

Please let me know if you would like to attend the appreciation barbeque, in support of our event participants.

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact me.
Katherine Gray | Coordinator
Service Performance & Development
Operations & Transit Department
City of Guelph

T 519-822-1260 x 2006 | F 519-821-0839 | C 519-222-6991
E katherine.gray@guelph.ca

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Thursday Apr 7th - 2011

Special meeting of Council about new public health facility

GUELPH, ON, April 7, 2011 – The City of Guelph will hold a special meeting of City Council on April 13 to bring forward information regarding the new public health facility that was announced by the Board of Health on February 2, 2011.
Senior City staff will provide Council with information about the proposed facility, including legal and governance issues; the proposed agreement between the Board of Health and the University of Guelph to lease and build; financial implications should the Board of Health proceed with its proposed location; and concerns about community engagement and integrated community health service delivery.
This meeting is an information-sharing meeting. City Council will receive information but will not be making decisions. Community members may contact the City Clerk's Office at 519-822-1260 x  2269 for more information about the meeting.

WHAT    Special meeting of Guelph City Council
    
WHO    Guelph City Council
Senior City staff
Registered public delegations
    
WHERE    Council Chambers, City Hall
1 Carden St, Guelph.
    
WHEN    Wednesday, April 13, 2011
6-8 p.m.

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Thursday Apr 7th - 2011

Please be advised that, beginning on Monday, April 11 and will end on the targeted completion date of Friday, May 6, Water Services will be completing the Spring Watermain Cleaning program.

This component entails cleaning approximately 30 kilometres of watermain and will be performed on weekdays by Water Services licensed operators between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Areas to be cleaned are outlined in the attached map.

 Storm Water Management Plan - Public Notice.pdf

 

Other info:

·  Local newspaper advertising starting this week and continuing to program end

· Local radio advertising starting next week and continuing to program end

· Bulk mail notices delivered the week prior to cleaning to all affected customers

· Delivery of door hanger notices to all customers on the day before they experience an interruption in water service

· Press release distributed this week announcing program start and where customers can get more information

· Signage (4 signs) located at key entry points to the areas affected

· Posting of relevant information on City web site, including detailed mapping, press release, and Frequently Asked Questions; and

· 24/7 customer telephone support (regular hours, 519-837-5627, after hours,  1-866-630-9242).

 

We anticipate a number of customer inquiries related to the program and are committed to limiting customer inconvenience while ensuring program success.  We all want clean watermains.

Please contact Water Services if you require additional program information and please direct customer inquiries our way.  Thanks for your support.

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

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