Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Friday Apr 19th - 2013

Some quick Q&A's for Upcoming meeting on April 23rd.


1.    What is the purpose of the workshop?
Answer – The purpose of the workshop is to provide information to Council on the elements of Compensation. As you will recall, during the 2013 budget process there was considerable discussion and public delegations regarding compensation and pensions, wherein there was some misinformation put forward. In addition, there was a motion of Council that was subsequently referred to Committee for a broader discussion of FTE’s and gapping – the workshop on Compensation is intended to provide a baseline/shared understanding of Compensation as a precursor to the workshop (now scheduled in September) on FTE’s and gapping.

2.    You reference in the report changes to benefits? Is that not going to be difficult to do?
Answer: As indicated in the report, benefit costs at the City have been increasing each year as reported in the HR Annual Report and are higher than our benchmarks. In addition to savings achieved through administrative process changes, the City will be seeking through collective bargaining and working with our union partners ways to modify the benefit plan design to manage costs going forward. This will be guided by balancing fairness to employees and affordability, again as mentioned in the report.

3.    Regarding sick time, what are you hoping to achieve with the attendance technology?
Answer: During 2012, the Attendance Support policy, program and technology supports were developed and the new Attendance program was formally launched in January 2013. The technology enables us to provide more meaningful information to Managers/Supervisors about their employees, departmental averages of attendance and those that are exceeding the average who require support/accommodation to ensure regular attendance at work. This is more than Managers/Supervisors knowing who is at work or not. The purpose of an Attendance Management program is to ensure a consistent corporate approach to managing attendance across the City based on established criteria that is well understood by employees, unions and management. There are considerable labour relations/arbitration decisions that highlight this as a requirement for a corporate attendance management program.

4.    If employees are off sick, there really is no cost to the City since they receive their pay correct?
Answer: When employees are off sick and go on Short Term disability they receive 75% of their salary paid from the City’s Insurance provider. Not all employees are replaced when they are off sick- some are however . For example, in Fire, there are minimum staffing requirements, so when a firefighter is off sick, they are replaced, usually paid through overtime of another firefighter- so there are costs to the City for those staff that are replaced. In addition, when staff are off sick and are not replaced, the ‘cost’ is lost productivity for the period when the staff person is off ill.

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Friday Apr 19th - 2013

Guelph recognized as international hot spot for investment activity

GUELPH, ON, April 17, 2013 – Compared to 422 cities in North and South America, Guelph has ranked 5th in economic potential for a small city and 10th in business friendliness for a small city by fDi Magazine’s “American Cities of the Future” bi-annual rankings.

“It is no secret that Guelph is primed for investment with our abundant supply of employment land, proximity to large Canadian and US markets and high quality of life,” says Peter Cartwright, General Manager for Guelph Economic Development. “We can link much of our success to the expansions Guelph has seen in recent years, the Hitachi expansion alone was recognized by fDi Intelligence as the top job creation project in the province for 2012.”

Guelph was shortlisted based on points awarded in investment readiness and economic stability such as a low unemployment rate, low inflation, high credit rating and the growth of the knowledge-based sector.

Attraction and retention activities were topics of great discussion at the Guelph Wellington Economic Summit held by Mayor Karen Farbridge and Warden Chris White earlier this year. “The City of Guelph is committed to building a diverse and prosperous local economy that attracts jobs, investment and talent to our community.  Rankings like this demonstrate that Guelph is a good place to do business,” said Mayor Farbridge.

About fDi Magazine
fDi Magazine is a specialist publication which reports on cross-border investment and is read
by senior-level executives at multinational corporations and others involved in corporate
greenfield site-selection decisions. A bimonthly publication, fDi Magazine is part of the fDi
Intelligence division of the Financial Times

About American Cities of the Future rankings
To create the shortlist of 'American Cities of the Future 2013/14', fDi's research team collected data using the specialist online FDI tools fDi Benchmark and fDi Markets as well as other sources. Data was collected for 422 cities under five categories. Cities scored up to a maximum of 10 points under each individual data point, which were weighted by importance to the FDI decision making process in order to compile both the subcategory rankings as well as the overall ‘American Cities of the Future’ ranking.

For complete methodology and a full list of data points for each category click here.
For a link to the report click here.

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Friday Apr 19th - 2013



Good evening Mayor Farbridge and Councillors,

This email is to inform Council of a decision to extend the completion date of the Parking Master Plan study from March, 2013 to July 2013. The final report, inclusive of recommendations, will be submitted to the July 29th, 2013 meeting of Council.

By way of background, during the 2012 budget deliberation process council approved $100,000 to undertake a Master Parking Study within the downtown. The study Request for Proposal (RFP) was prepared and issued with a closing date of October 15, 2012, and a proposed completion date of the end of April 2013 with a view to reporting to Council in May 2013.

After the initial Public Information Session on February 26th, 2013 the study Steering Committee, comprised of staff from various departments and external stakeholders (i.e. the Downtown Guelph Business Association), realized that an extension to the completion date would be required for a more comprehensive community engagement process.  In addition, it was recommended by the Steering Committee that Council should be made aware of, and approve, the Guiding Principles in advance of the final report to allow for a more focused approach.  The extension will still allow sufficient time for any financial implications from the recommendations to be addressed through the 2014, and beyond, Operational and Capital budgets.  Finally, please note that there will be no additional financial costs accredited to the extension of the project schedule. The study will be completed within the budget allocated.

Thank you,


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Friday Apr 19th - 2013

Article is posted at:


Our review of the article indicates an incorrect statement:
"There will be further construction on Victoria Road in 2014 from Stone Road north to the bridge over the Eramosa River."
The timing indicated in the article statement is incorrect as the future timing for road reconstruction in the area is for Stone Road  from Victoria Road to Gordon Street  to undergo construction in 2014 with Victoria Road  from Stone Road to the bridge over the Eramosa River being forecasted for subsequent years, pending development of the adjacent Guelph Innovation District lands.

We have advised the Mercury and are working with them on this correction.

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Friday Apr 19th - 2013

These were the rough notes and remarks that I wrote before going to the audit committee meeting this week. Since no-one from the public was there I thought it best to share them here.



1.    First of all I want to thank our CAO for recognizing this issue when the MTO letter revealed less then stellar results. As the administration director you did the right thing on this and may I also add that you made the call quickly. When so much in government seems to go at a snails pace, this was triggered, investigated and responded to appropriately. So thank you.
2.    I want to thank our new internal auditor Loretta. You should have been hired years ago and if cloning were allowed I’d put a motion down to make several of you. This is your first audit and I cannot overstate how professional this report is. You did exactly what you needed to do, to root out the issues of concern, and then make the recommendations to our staff. This particular audit was vital. Because not only does it show missing pieces, or provide efficiencies, it deals with the safety of our employees and the citizens we are called to serve. If this is the type of detail we are to expect from future audits then I hope I’m around for a very long time.
3.    Lastly, to all of the staff who had to endure their first audit, where you have to be vulnerable, accessible and open about these issues, I can’t thank you enough. You are an example to the rest of the staff who may just have to go through a future audit themselves.
4.    As someone who for a living deals with risk management and insurance on fleets, I can assure you that whoever insures our auto fleet in this city is going to be very happy & in-turn, if these recommendations are implemented properly and adhered to, over the long run, I am sure they should result in lower premiums. And lower premiums means we save the taxpayers more money. And getting a better handle on the safety issues will only reduce the risk of bodily injury, property damage or the potential for lawsuits.
5.    This audit worked as it should. Issue identified, scoped, recommendations offered and a implementation plan put in place.
6.    But now comes the accountability part. I am sure not only this committee, but the residents now have a clear measuring stick to determine if all of us will be accountable to this issue. And I’m sure we will.


•    The $500,000 efficiency target was approved by council at the budget in December.
•    This report would not have existed had it not been for this committee requesting “OVER AND ABOVE” value for money audits. Therefore, these new audits should not be used to meet the $500,000 efficiency target. In fact, there is never any pre-determined outcome from an audit, that it will result in efficiencies found. So if these further approved audits so happen to result in efficiencies, then it’s gravy over and above the $500,000.
•    The point of an efficiency target was for all to be looking out for savings. Not for the weight of this target to rest solely on our internal auditor.


And, that recommendations or potential efficiencies from report CAO-A-1304 not contribute to the efficiency target for 2013.

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Friday Apr 19th - 2013

Madame Mayor & Council:

During CAFÉ’s deliberation of the 2014 Budget Workshop Report this week, staff received significant feedback about the proposed budget guideline (target) formula. It appears Committee members and Visiting Councillors have differing interpretations of the guideline and its application that need to be clarified.

As such, the formula and its use will be further shaped over the next week leading up to consideration of the report at Council, Monday, April 29, 2013.

In the meantime, staff acknowledge Councillors’ feedback and recognize there are questions. Council’s uncertainty appears to be tied to budget targets having historically been indicative of (or equated with) the proposed property tax increase. While the recommended budget guideline (target) formula isn’t proposing a tax rate increase, staff appreciate how it might be interpreted this way, given historical considerations.

The following needs to be clarified: In short, the 3.87% target derived through application of the proposed formula is net of assessment growth so in the historical context described above would be the property tax rate targeted. Of course, the final tax rate increase would be subject to Council approval.

Again, it’s intended that further follow up and work will be conducted between now and the April 29, 2013 Council Meeting but staff felt it was important to clarify the 3.87% in the meantime.

Staff look forward to the continued conversation.


Albert Horsman, Executive Director and CFO
Finance and Enterprise
City of Guelph

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Friday Apr 19th - 2013


Week Ending April 19, 2013


1.    Tourism Services Public Consultation


1.    Township of Wainfleet – Motion declaring the Township of Wainfleet not being a “Willing Host” for Wind Turbine Development
2.    Community Care Access Centre – Spring Symposium Invite, May 22, 2013
3.    Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health – Regarding consultation about smoking in outdoor public spaces.


1.    Municipal Information Form – Liquor Licence Application – Montana’s     Cookhouse, 201 Stone Road West

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Friday Apr 19th - 2013

Good afternoon Mayor Farbridge and Councillors,

Public Works Staff have been monitoring a significant weather front moving into the region from the West that may bring severe thunderstorms and high winds (gusts up 55 km/hr) over the next 24 hours.

This may cause further damage to our urban forest given its vulnerability from last Friday’s ice storm and spring conditions.  A public notice has been coordinated with Corporate Communications staff and is now posted on the City Website.  Radio, Twitter and Facebook updates are also scheduled to go out.

This is a coordinated message between Public Works and Emergency Services Departments.

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Friday Apr 19th - 2013

Exhibition Arena to host Guelph Farmers' Market during renovations

GUELPH, ON, April 19, 2013 – The Guelph Farmers' Market building, located at 2 Gordon Street, will be undergoing major renovations this summer.
The City is renovating this Guelph landmark to improve accessibility, long-term maintenance and operations, and overall aesthetics.
During the renovations, the Farmers' Market will be temporarily relocated to the Exhibition Arena, located at 70 Division Street. The Farmers' Market will be operating at this venue every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. starting Saturday, June 15 until Saturday, August 31, 2013.
"Exhibition Arena was identified as the most desirable alternate venue for the Farmers' Market because it can accommodate all the vendors, has indoor and outdoor space, has ample parking and is located relatively close to the downtown core," explained Mario Petricevic, General Manager of Corporate Building Maintenance.
The facility requires floor recoating; the addition of an accessible washroom; wall painting; installation of new vendor partitions and millwork; plumbing modifications; office renovations; installation of fire suppression and exhaust hoods; an upgrade to the entrance vestibule and doors; repainting and/or filling of cracked concrete; and coating of the foundation wall.
To accommodate customers’ parking and transportation needs during the renovations, the City is offering free parking at the Fountain Street lot and shuttle service to and from the Exhibition Arena. In addition, there is free onsite parking at the arena.

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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

April 2013

Final call for Summer Camp Grant Applications
The deadline for our Children and Youth Summer Camp Program is fast approaching. We're pleased to offer our grant application process online and encourage camp organizations to apply prior to the April 12th deadline. Grants are supported by several funds held at The Guelph Community Foundation, including the Guelph Mercury Kids to Camp Fund and Camp Discover, a field of interest fund. If approved, grants typically range between $500 to $1,500 with a total of approximately $10,000 available for this granting program.

If you are interested in applying, please review our grant guidelines to determine your eligibility and to learn more about what we do and do not fund. Applications will be reviewed by the Grants Committee mid May and successful applicants advised by late May.


Community Grants and Musagetes Grants Program 2013

The Foundation is pleased to offer two robust granting programs this year totaling over $100,000. Over $50,000 is available through our Community Grants Program, and approximately $50,000 is available from The Foundation's Musagetes Fund. The Musagetes Fund is a donor advised fund focused primarily on arts and culture.

Our 2013 Community Grants program will open as of April 8th. The Guelph Community Foundation invites applications from charitable organizations providing projects / activities in the following areas:
~ Health and Wellness
~ Social Services
~ Recreation
~ Children and Youth
~ Environment
~ Education
~ and Arts and Culture.

Be sure to visit our Grants Program for more details in the coming weeks. The deadline for Community and Musagetes applications is July 26, 2013 (4:00 p.m.) and funding decisions made by mid-September


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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

Guelph residents:

Some on council like to take swings or jabs at the federal Conservative government on a constant basis. (Actually anything to do with Conservative values.)That's fine. I too have voiced opinions on the provincial Liberal government. But when good news for municipalities comes from any level of government, or any party, it's important to share them. That is why I'm sharing some of the good news that has come our way through a letter from the president of FCM.



Dear FCM Members,
What a month March gave us! A whirlwind of activity led to a truly historic federal budget for the municipal sector on March 21.

  • On the last day of February, I had the honour to represent FCM at a media event in Ottawa where we and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association announced a joint protocol on the siting process for wireless antenna systems. This protocol ensures that wireless providers will notify municipalities of all proposed antennas prior to construction. It also establishes a process for meaningful consultation between municipalities and wireless providers on tower locations.
  • On March 21, Budget Day, First Vice-President Claude Dauphin, our Government and Media Relations Director Gabriel Miller and I attended the budget lockup in Ottawa, where we had access to all of the budget materials on an embargoed basis. This was my first experience in a budget lockup and it was exciting to read through the Budget 2013 documents and discover that the government had listened to our ask and addressed our needs head-on with a number of key funding announcements. Success! Our advocacy efforts over many months had now paid off!


  • In fact, FCM was mentioned four times in the budget document as a key partner of the Government of Canada. A strong sign of the respect we have earned in federal circles came in the ground-breaking commitment the government made to index the Gas Tax Fund — and to credit the move to FCM. In his budget address, Minister Flaherty announced: “Acting on the advice of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Gas Tax Fund … will be indexed and therefore will increase over time.”


  • In addition, Minister Flaherty announced a 10-year renewal of the Building Canada Fund with a formal five-year review, and an invitation for FCM to provide input into the fund as well as into the development of affordable housing programs. All of these are key achievements for our members!
  • This budget clearly indicates that the federal government views local government as partners and the discussion on how to entrench this partnership will continue.

Karen Leibovici
President, FCM
Councillor, City of Edmonton

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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

TO: Property Owners, Businesses and Residents   

The City of Guelph is hosting an Open House to discuss the reconstruction of Alice Street.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
5-7 pm
Italian Canadian Club
135 Ferguson Street

You are invited to view presentation panels, ask questions about traffic and access to properties, and learn about the project. You are encouraged to provide comments to City staff at this Open House.


The project involves the reconstruction of Alice Street between Sackville Street and Arthur Street including replacement/upgrading of sanitary sewer, storm sewer, watermain, curb and gutter, sidewalk and asphalt roadway. Reconstruction is anticipated to start in May 2013 and take approximately 4 months to complete. Alice Street will be closed to through traffic during the reconstruction. Access to abutting properties will be maintained as best as possible throughout the duration of the reconstruction.

The City of Guelph appreciates your patience and understanding as we complete this important infrastructure project.


Brad Hamilton, P.Eng.
Project Engineer
Engineering Services
Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment
Location: 1 Carden Street
T 519-822-1260 x 2319
E brad.hamilton@guelph.ca

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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

Sent: March 28, 2013 9:48 AM
Subject: thanks

Dear Staff,
The Executive Committee of the Old University Neighbourhood Residents' Association has asked me to pass on their thanks for the excellent job that you and your by-law enforcement personnel did on the St. Patricks Day weekend. We have not heard of any significant issues in our neighbourhood. This is a big change from just a few years ago, and we credit this change to the proactive efforts of your department, the police and the university. Many thanks. Please keep up the good work and do let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
Best wishes from OUNRA
President, Old Univeristy Neighbourhood Residents' Association

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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

Good Afternoon,

Please find the attached Construction Notice for Laneway Watermain Replacement (between Powell St E and Clarke St E). The City has hired Network Sewer and Watermain Ltd., with construction tentatively scheduled to begin the second week of April, 2013 with a target completion date the first week in May, 2013.

This notice will be hand-delivered to businesses and local residents in the area and advertised on the City Page in the Guelph Tribune as well as posted on guleph.ca/construction.

For more information you may contact Mr. Majde Qaqish at ext. 2225 or via cell # at 519-362-5147.

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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

Click here to read the City's latest news release: City audit prioritizes actions to improve fleet management
If you do not have links enabled, copy and paste http://guelph.ca/2013/04/city-audit-prioritizes-actions-to-improve-fleet-management/   into your web browser.


City audit prioritizes actions to improve fleet management

GUELPH, ON, Thursday, April 4 – On April 17
, Guelph’s Audit Committee will review and discuss 24 recommendations designed to improve the City’s vehicle fleet management and operations.

Last fall, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation warned that Guelph’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) safety violation rate of 38.6 per cent was higher than the Ministry’s satisfactory threshold of 35 per cent. There is no threat to Guelph’s CVOR permit, and the City expects its safety record to return to good standing in May.

“Upon receiving the warning, the City requested an audit of its fleet services to find ways to continue improving regulatory compliance, driver safety, and fleet performance,” said the City’s Internal Auditor, Loretta Alonzo.

“Several recommendations from the audit were already underway,” said Derek McCaughan, Executive Director of Operations, Transit and Emergency Services. “For example, we are in the process of hiring a driver safety trainer who will lead the City’s effort to build on departmental practices that are working well, and improve fleet operations across the organization.”

Using findings from the audit, the City has developed an action plan to address inconsistencies and deficiencies in driver training, disciplinary programs, record-keeping, reporting and corporate policies.

The City will implement 21 of the 24 recommendations in the audit report; three of the recommendations not being implemented are not related to safety or regulatory compliance. The list of recommendations and the City’s plans for implementation are available as part of the staff report.

The internal auditor will present a follow up report showing the City’s progress in January 2014.

About Guelph’s Internal Audit Function

The City’s internal auditor performs operational, financial, compliance, information system, special investigation, follow-up audits, and consulting to identify potential savings, efficiencies and service improvements. To ensure objectivity, transparency and accountability, the internal auditor uses best practices and standards established by the Institute of Internal Auditors, and reports directly to the Audit Committee of City Council.

For more information

About fleet management and operations:

Derek McCaughan
Executive Director
Operations, Transit and Emergency Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2018
E derek.mccaughan@guelph.ca

About the internal audit process:

Loretta Alonzo
Internal Auditor
Office of the CAO
T 519-519-822-1260 x 2243
E loretta.alonzo@guelph

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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

From Staff:

Good day, you will soon likely notice that we have implemented a new format for Council and Committee meeting minutes. This was done for several reasons:

•    To Improve the overall readability
•    To better align minutes with the principles of the Municipal Act and municipal best practice
•    To eliminate formatting that was used previously as a linkage to work processes which no longer exist
•    To follow the same formatting used for closed meeting minutes which were implemented last year

This action represents the next step in an iterative process designed to modernize and streamline the public record with respect to the actions of Council and Committee. We will also be reviewing the format used for meeting agendas in an effort to do the same, however, this will be a longer term review.

Although we have been somewhat delayed in doing so for March, we will continue to post draft minutes to the City website as soon as they have been completed following a meeting.

If you have any feedback and/or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.


Blair Labelle | City Clerk
City Clerk’s Office | Corporate and Human Resources
City of Guelph
Phone 519-822-1260 x2232 | Cell 519-803-4474
Fax 519-763-1269 | E-mail blair.labelle@guelph.ca

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Sunday Apr 7th - 2013

This email was sent by a Guelph resident:

Dear Staff,
I am an architectural designer living in Guelph and I have been working with the City of Guelph staff for over 10 years now. There are always lots of people I deal with criticizing but not enough complimenting the work the city hall staff is providing.
This is the reason of my email to you.

I'd like to take a minute and let you know that your staff have been very helpful to me over and over again. When I had questions he answered it fast, correctly and in a kind manner. Also offered his help at "any time"! It is very important to me to have someone I know I can count on when I'm not sure of a certain situation in regards to building and design. He was always ready to help. I shouldn't forget your other staff either who has been a very pleasant to deal with time after time.
Thank you!



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

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