Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Friday May 20th - 2011

That is all.


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Thursday May 12th - 2011

May 11th, 2011

Myself and others are excited to see that you have been working hard to be available to Guelph residents and remain open and honest with everyone.  It's a refreshing change that hopefully will catch on with more members of council.  I have been in contact with my ward 3 rep encouraging her to offer the residents a similar web site to yours, but the response seemed,  well...disinterested.  I also suggested the possibility of the occasional ward 3 open public meetings, but apparently that was attempted last term with little to no participation by the residents.  Maybe some sort of blog or website would have helped inform us, because had I known, I would have definately attended!
Anyway, thanks again for your time.  I'm sorry to Ward 4 for needing to "steal" their rep for some answers!

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Thursday May 12th - 2011

May 11th, 2011

I’d 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 April 2011 $22,205,705.82 has been spent on this project.  This is 69% of the total project budget.

To the end of April, 81% of the actual construction has been completed.

Major Construction Activities that occurred during April were:
•    Installation of biofilter exhaust stack
•    Pre-engineered building trim and roof flashing installation is ongoing
•    Steel stud framing, insulation and drywall installation for lower and upper floor rooms in
administration building is ongoing
•    Pre-engineered building kinspan siding installation mostly completed
•    Sprinkler system installed in blower room and installation in tipping area is ongoing
•    Slab on grade poured for acid system containment tank area
•    Christiaens installing ducting in blower room is ongoing
•    Biorem panel installation in electrical room is ongoing
•    Rebar and pipe placement in tunnels is ongoing
•    Pre-cast concrete slabs placed and slab on grade for biofilter plenum poured
•    Installed Union Gas gas line tied in from main line on-site to OWPF
•    Demolition of old electrical room in maturation hall

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Thursday May 12th - 2011

May 11, 2011

Phil Andrews, Editor
The Guelph Mercury
8-14 Macdonell Street
Guelph, ON, N1H 6P7

Dear Phil,

RE:    “Severance packages could cost city more than $1 million” May 10, 2011

Today’s article regarding the City of Guelph’s employee exit packages implies that the City has been less than forthcoming about the impact of last year’s corporate re-organization and other management changes. The article seems to suggest that the City deliberately mislead the public about the financial impact of eight management changes in 2010.

Last December the Mercury accurately reported that a re-organization of the City’s management structure would result in five managers leaving the organization at a cost of $216,000 in 2010. Another three managers exited last year bringing the total impact in 2010 to $351,000.

Today’s article refers to these numbers as “two earlier estimates” and compares the financial impact in 2010 to the potential impact over the next two to three years. Using this comparison is inaccurate and, quite frankly, misleading.

The City’s third Human Resources Annual Report was mentioned in the article and does state how the total potential impact of eight management changes in 2010 could amount to $1,058,156 over three years should these exit packages run their full course.

The report is one more way we show our commitment to public accountability and transparency. Guelph is one of the only, perhaps the only, municipality in the province to publicly report on its employee departures in this way.

Unfortunately, today’s article failed to mention how the City’s Human Resources Annual Report also measures the organization’s performance, compares it to benchmark data and evaluates the effectiveness of its Human Resource programs.

I encourage Guelph Mercury readers who are truly interested in the City’s Human Resources practices to learn more on the City’s website at guelph.ca/careers.


Mark Amorosi
Executive Director

Corporate & Human Resources
Location: 1 Carden Street

T 519-519-822-1260 x 2281
E mark.amorosi@guelph.ca

C Mayor and City Council, Scott Tracey, Reporter Guelph Mercury

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Tuesday May 10th - 2011

Guelph rewrites mission statement

GUELPH — City councillors and senior staff did some soul-searching Monday night and decided they need to focus more on helping the local economy and engaging the community.

At an exhaustive workshop — during which officials crafted a new mission statement and reaffirmed the city’s values and vision — a list of 23 strategic goals was developed. They were then asked to identify which goals from the list needed more attention.

Helping to build a thriving local economy was identified as the top issue, followed by a need to engage the community and be a more accessible organization.

“If you get this,” consultant Chris Bart said as he posted the 23 goals on a screen, “it will uncomplicate your life as a council and executive team because it will tell you what to argue over.”

Bart, founder of Directors College at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, compared the goals to “spinning plates,” and said at any given time a handful might be wobbling and require special attention.

The workshop was council’s first as it works toward creating a new strategic plan.

Much of the time Monday evening was spent hammering out a new mission statement.

Bart said a mission statement “is a social contract with staff,” and should outline what the municipality will do for a range of stakeholders including staff, residents and the business community.

Each of the 17 councillors and staff in attendance wrote their own mission statement, then worked in groups of three and then six to refine them. Ultimately, three versions of a mission statement were whittled down to one.

The final mission statement speaks of building a city that “celebrates a thriving social, cultural and environmentally sustainable community” while ensuring an accountable and accessible organization.

It also speaks of providing quality services, supporting the role of business and being recognized as a top employer “by treating employees with the same level of respect and commitment which they are expected to deliver to the community.”

To read the full new mission statement visit the Mercury’s city hall blog at http://guelphmercury.blogs.com/59_carden_st/

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Tuesday May 10th - 2011

Please be informed that the 2011 transverse pavement marking program commenced on Sunday, May 8, 2011. This program involves the painting of markings at signalized intersections, school crosswalks, all-way stops, and railway crossings. The painting of parking stalls, turn arrows, and bicycle symbols is also part of this program.

The longitudinal pavement marking program is scheduled to commence on Sunday, May 15, 2011. This program involves the painting of centreline, lane lines and bike lanes.

Thank you,


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Tuesday May 10th - 2011

Open House kicks off National Public Works Week.

GUELPH, ON, May 10, 2011 – The City of Guelph will kick off National Public Works Week by hosting an Open House on May 14 at 50 Municipal Street. Residents are invited to drop in, speak with Operations and Transit staff, and view the City’s equipment and displays.
“We celebrate National Public Works Week by raising community awareness of the many services and activities we provide,” said Derek McCaughan, Executive Director, Operations and Transit. “It also recognizes the hard work and dedication of public works professionals in our community.”
The City will also introduce local high school students enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major Program and foreign-trained engineering professionals to the world of municipal public works careers in a variety of hands-on job shadowing sessions and networking events. The week will start off with a networking event that focuses on career education and talent connections with engineers that are internationally educated and looking to learn more about opportunities within the municipal sector. For local students, several fleet workshops take place throughout the week and a local road (Forest St. at Mary St.) will be temporarily closed for a hands-on demonstration on May 18. Engineering hopefuls will be participating in activities related to construction project planning and a tour of the City’s storm water ponds on May 17 and 19.
National Public Works Week provides residents and students with the opportunity to learn how the City maintains Guelph’s infrastructure and services. Among those services are downtown parking facilities and by-law compliance; maintenance of the City’s fleet and equipment; maintenance of sanitary sewers and roadways; maintenance of forestry and parklands; provision of transit and mobility services; the Guelph Farmers’ Market; animal control services; and traffic signals and investigations.
For the Open House on May 14, a free transit shuttle will be available from Wilson Street (across from the Wilson Street parking lot) to Municipal Street and back from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Residents can also visit the Career Education booth at the Open House to learn first-hand about the services and career opportunities available at the City of Guelph.

FOR MORE INFORMATION related to the Open House
Coralee Barfoot
Executive Assistant
Operations and Transit
T 519-822-1260 x 2033
E coralee.barfoot@guelph.ca

FOR MORE INFORMATION related to Career Education Events and Networking Event
Joanne Oliver
Workforce Planning and Development Specialist
Human Resources and Legal Services
T 519 822-1260 x 2446
E careers@guelph.ca

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Saturday May 7th - 2011

As you are aware Carden Street is now closed between Wilson Street and Wyndham Street. This is to complete the installation of the paver brick, sidewalk and landscaping. This project is expected to be completed and the road opened by July of this year. In addition, construction activity will be beginning on the Inter-model transit terminal on Carden Street west of Wyndham Street shortly.

These projects will impact on the parking available to customers visiting our downtown during this period of time. We are therefore taking steps to manage the parking available by undertaking a number of steps including working with staff of City Hall and the POA to ensure that they utilize their designated parking areas and not utilize the Wilson Parking Lot and adjacent on-street areas;  converting the section of Wyndham Street between Carden Street and MacDonell Street to a typical parking lot design, as we did last year, i.e. change the layout from parallel parking stalls to 90 degree parking; this will occur on Tuesday April 26th; and looking for additional parking supply that would enable us to relocate a number staff from their designated parking areas to create more parking supply for the public to use within the downtown area. In addition, I have advised staff involved with the administration of these  projects to advocate/direct the construction trades to find alternate parking arrangements outside the critical downtown parking areas to maximize the available parking supply for the public.

Enforcement will be more visible to the general public of abuse of the permissive 2 hour parking throughout the downtown area through the construction periods, which will hopefully lead to self enforced turnover of the parking supply.

Thank you,


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Saturday May 7th - 2011

Water Services recognized for Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy

GUELPH, ON, May 5, 2011—In recognition of the City of Guelph Water Conservation and Efficiency Strategy—its aim to reduce daily water use by 8.7 million litres per day by 2019—the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA) honoured the Guelph Water Services Division with the 2011 Award of Excellence in Water Efficiency – Public Sector Award at its annual conference and trade show earlier this week in the Town of the Blue Mountains.  

The annual award recognizes a successful water efficiency (conservation) program in each of the following categories: Public Sector and Utility, Private Sector, and Public Education and Awareness.

"As one of Canada's largest communities reliant on a finite groundwater supply for our drinking water source, water conservation plays a very important role in ensuring the ongoing sustainability of our precious water resources,” says Wayne Galliher, the City’s Water Conservation Project Manager.  “In recognition of the many benefits of water conservation, the City strives to be a municipal leader in water efficiency and is greatly honoured to receive this award of excellence from the OWWA.”  

The City of Guelph is proud of its water conservation history. The City received the 2003 Award of Excellence in Water Efficiency – Public Sector Award from the OWWA in recognition of its Outside Water Use Program.  This seasonal conservation program aims to maintain sustainable levels of consumption during drought-like conditions when water demand is at its peak.  
For additional information regarding water conservation in Guelph, visit guelph.ca/waterconservation.

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Friday May 6th - 2011

GUELPH — It turns out a local campaign to purchase a historic pistol was doomed from the beginning.

City councillor Cam Guthrie led the effort to buy the 19th-century gun, raising $12,500 in pledges before heading to an auction of militaria Saturday at the Fort York Armouries in Toronto.

John Harlow, a gun collector from Fenelon Falls, Ont., came to the auction prepared to spend twice that amount.

The bidding on Lot no. 447 started at $3,000, Guthrie said. “I decided to play coy and just be quiet and not say anything. There were about two or three people in the room who started going at it.”

After an early contender dropped out and Guthrie jumped in with a $5,200 offer, the price escalated fast as Harlow and he bumped their bids in $500 increments.

“This other guy was not letting up. This guy, well, he had more money than us,” said Guthrie, who was accompanied at the auction by a representative from Winmar Restorations, the local contracting firm that fronted most of the Guelph bid.

When Harlow’s bid topped $11,000 — not including taxes and fees that would push the price to about $13,750 — it was game over for Guelph. “Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed,” Guthrie said. “Three weeks of work, then travelling down there for four hours on a Saturday, then coming home without the gun is not the way I planned it.”

The Smith and Wesson revolver was originally expected to fetch from $5,000 to $6,000, about half the final price.

Harlow later said he plans to let the new Guelph Museum display the sidearm after it opens. “It won’t leave the country, and it will eventually end up in Guelph,” he said Tuesday, adding he felt bad about outbidding the people of Guelph.

“I would have gone probably double what I did go. You know, it’s an interesting piece, and well-documented.”

He said the vintage “Army Tip-Up” six-shot revolver, which he will display privately, has a great story.

“I’m a student of Canadian history. I am in a small way a gun collector. So it wasn’t a stretch for me to be interested in that gun, with its historical significance to the Fenian raids and to Guelph.”

An inscription on the gun’s barrel indicates a group called the Ladies of Guelph presented it to Nathaniel Higinbotham, in 1866, at the height of hostilities between radical Irish nationalists and the colonial government. Higinbotham later became Mayor of Guelph as well as the city’s member of Parliament.

“It’s a pocket gun. It would have been a backup gun, as opposed to the main weapon,” Harlow said, adding it has a spur trigger and no trigger guard.

“It’s in pretty good shape for a gun that’s 150 years old,” Harlow said. “It’s a very early cartridge revolver, from when they just started to bring out cartridges. I think that’s why it was chosen to be presented, because it was the newest thing on the block.”

Guthrie said he hoped locals would now get to see the gun without paying a cent, adding the campaign to buy the gun brought people together.

“That was the fun part. People got behind it,” he said. “Just too bad it didn’t work out in the end.”


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Friday May 6th - 2011

On Thursday May 5th, 2011 I was asked to speak for a confrence held at the Delta Hotel. The event was for the Ontario Electrical League.


Here are my notes I'd like to share with you:

Ontario Electrical League – Annual Conference, May 5, 2011

On behalf of the City of Guelph, I’m delighted to welcome you to our city for your Electrical Industry Conference. We’re very pleased to be hosting you. I was interested to learn that the focus of your day today is renewable and green energy. This is certainly an area of focus for Guelph. In 2007, Guelph City Council unanimously endorsed a 25-year Community Energy Plan that puts Guelph on the cutting edge in North America. The goals of the Plan are for Guelph to use less energy in 25 years than we do today - even with population growth of 65,000 people. This means cutting our energy use by 50 per cent per capita, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent per capita.
We are now in the implementation phase of the Plan, and so have changed the name to Community Energy Initiative. Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative is attracting national and international attention. Most recently, the website MSN.com named Guelph the “most liveable” city in Canada outside of the big three of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Our Community Energy Initiative was cited as one of the reasons. It was also cited by Canadian Solar – one of the largest solar power companies in the world – as key to their decision to locate in Guelph, bringing 500 jobs here. Another solar company, Sustainable Energy Solutions, has also chosen to locate in Guelph, bringing another 100 solar manufacturing jobs. The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the economy. So we’re thrilled that Guelph is becoming known as “the place to be” for renewable energy. I mentioned that we’re in the implementation phase of the Community Energy Initiative. One of the key steps was the establishment of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Energy. The Task Force includes representation from provincial organizations such as the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Power Authority; national organizations such as the Canadian District Energy Association; and local stakeholders including Guelph Hydro and major companies such as Canadian Solar and Linamar.  A number of specific initiatives are underway. For example, the City is currently working with Guelph Hydro to install up to 1 megawatt of solar panels on City-owned facilities. We have several renewable energy projects that are already up and running. One example is Ecotricity, which is located at the site of a closed local landfill. Ecotricity uses methane created from the waste to generate electricity and sells it back to the grid. Another example is Guelph’s Wastewater Treatment Plant, which generates electricity using the gases created by the treatment process. The electricity is used to run the Plant. Green and renewable energy is an exciting part of the electricity sector, and I think it’s safe to say it will become even more important in the years to come. Guelph is proud to be on the leading edge in this area. And I’m very pleased that all of you have taken the time to come to Guelph to share information on this topic. So once again, a warm welcome to Guelph.

Have a great day!

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Friday May 6th - 2011

May 6th, 2011

I have just been in contact with Guelph Hydro and Canada Post. I talked with both people that are in charge of operations here in Guelph. They are well aware of the constant graffiti problem on their property. I have made a suggestion to them that I would create an online submission form for reporting graffiti that could be sent to them directly so that they can take action in cleaning graffiti up.

They both agreed.

So, I’ll be working on adding that form to www.ward4news.ca soon.

Stay tuned…


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

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