Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Thursday May 15th - 2014

From Staff:

Mayor Farbridge and Members of Council,
 
Late yesterday afternoon, planning staff became aware that all of the trees in the front yard of 55 Delhi had been removed, we think sometime in the prior several days.   We have started receiving enquiries about this, as have members of Council.  To assist in responding to enquiries we thought it would be helpful to provide some relevant information:
 
Status of Planning Application
The City received an application on July 28, 2013 to amend the Zoning By-law for 55 Delhi Street from I.3 (Institutional – Health and Social Services) to R.4D-? (Specialized Infill Apartment). The application was deemed to be complete on August 13, 2013 and went before Council for a statutory public meeting on October 7, 2013. Prior to and at the public meeting, significant concerns were expressed by area residents on the potential loss of trees in the front yard.   The rezoning application is still being reviewed by staff and once all issues are addressed and resolved a decision report will be brought forward for Council’s consideration.
 
Current Issue:
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, City staff were informed of the removal of the mature trees in the front yard.  City staff were not made aware of the tree cutting in advance of its occurrence. However, the City’s Private Tree Protection By-law (2010)-19058 only applies to properties that are 0.2 ha and larger. The property at 55 Delhi is 0.167 ha in size therefore By-law does not apply.  As such, removal of the trees did not require City approval, and staff could not have prevented the tree removal even if we had been made aware in advance.
 
Staff Response:
In accordance with the City‘s Official Plan, where development is proposed on sites that contain trees, the trees are assessed through the development approvals process.  The outcome of such assessment can include preservation if feasible and/or necessary to comply with policy, or removal, if such removal is consistent with the Official Plan (or some combination thereof).  Where tree removal is authorized through the development review process, staff typically recommend that Council impose the requirement for a Vegetation Compensation Plan as a condition of approval.  This is the process that we were intending to follow with this application, and we had anticipated working with the applicant to preserve as many healthy trees as would have been feasible.  However now that the trees have been removed we will do what we would normally do in tree removal circumstances, and identify recommended replanting and/or compensation requirements through the development approvals process.  
 
Staff has not received any information from the applicant regarding a rationale for the tree removal, but we do intend to follow up with them.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions or if we can provide any further information.
 
Regards, Todd
Todd Salter | General Manager, Planning Services
Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment
City of Guelph

 

Response from Land Owner:

Dear Honourable Mayor, Honourable Members of City Council,

I understand from various conversations with city staff and others that a concern has been raised about the trees coming down at 55 Delhi. I would respectfully like to clarify the rationale behind this.

First, as you know, an arborist who visited the site in the fall of 2013 informed us that these trees were in decline and in danger of coming down. As a result of this report, we stated our intention to remove these trees. In fact, when inspecting these trees in April 2014, we had found that this severe winter had caused substantial additional damage to these trees. In fact, three of the trees had their trunks split and one of the large spruces had a major branch come down which took out a section of the core trunk. As a result, we made a determination that this was a health and safety issue and that these trees needed to come down immediately to secure the building and avoid any negligence on our part. Since the arborists report was public knowledge and should damage to the building occur, we felt that we could potentially be incurring liability for the damages which would not be covered by our insurance as we were aware of the problem and if we did nothing. In addition, since the trees were grouped much too close together and were choking each other to death, there was no possible way to simply remove the damaged trees while preserving the less damaged trees. Please note that we did NOT take down the healthy  trees that were identified in the arborists report, but rather ONLY the declining and damaged trees which unfortunately were the most visible ones.

Secondly, since the council meeting in October 2013, we have been working closely with the neighbourhood group that was present at the council meeting and have had regular communications over the past six months. On December 17th, 2013, approximately 2 months after the original public meeting, I personally wrote to all the neighbours saying:

We will still need to remove most of the trees on the front as most of those trees are dying (we might be able to save one or two). Our biggest concern is that some of the trees are leaning towards the building and could come crashing down onto the building should we have a heavy wind or ice storm. If there are any concerns about this, I would be happy to discuss this with you, show you our concerns while having a certified arborist present to answer any questions you might have. Please note that along with the development, we will be replacing the trees that will need to be removed with new trees, approximately 10-12 feet tall, so as to get an immediate effect on the property. Due to the danger posed by some of these trees, we’d like to take them down sooner rather than later, so if there is a concern, please let me know as soon as possible.

I received nothing but support from the neighbours including the following response from one of the neighbours, which was sent to all the other neighbours as well.

As far as cutting down the trees, I have no problem with that, particularly if they are going to be replaced with healthy, attractive new trees. Many of the existing trees are old, and some are in very bad shape. They hide the building, and some could damage your building (or Ed's home) if they were to blow over. The issue for me (and others) was never the trees; it was the prospect of a parking lot in the front yard. If you would like a local referral, many of us in the neighbourhood rely on Ed Steel (Full Circle Tree Service) for that kind of work. He's a good arborist, and his prices are reasonable.

Not only did we get the support of the neighbours, but we were also given the name of a local contractor to do the work.

On January 11th, 2014 I personally gave a tour of the building to approximately a dozen neighbours. During this visit, we showed them our revised landscape plans which showed that there would be no parking in the front other than the existing five spots. Again the issue of the existing trees came up and again there was widespread support for these trees coming down

On April 17th, 2014, I wrote another e-mail to the neighbours stating:

Third, we will be taking down the dead and dying trees around the building before the end of this month. We will also be removing the bushes close to the building as the roots have penetrated through the mortar in the walls resulting in water leaking into the building. We will however be replacing these trees with a beautiful aesthetic landscape that a spectacular building of this age deserves. Our landscape architect will shortly begin to revise the original landscape design to remove the parking lot and create a front-yard that would compliment this stunning building. At this time we are thinking about a tree lined (starting with 6-12 feet tall trees), stonecobbled walkway, pillars at the entrance with either mature bushes and/or a blackiron fence round the building. Once we have these plans created, I will happily send them to you for your views/inputs.


Again, I received responses from EVERY neighbor present at the November 2013 public meeting and again I got nothing but support from this. For example, one of the responses I received was:

Thank you for this detailed update. No doubt everyone will be glad to hear that everything seems to be falling into place (at last) with the City, the purchase of the rear parking lot, etc. For my part, I look forward to seeing the front yard restored to its original grandeur! It will be nice to see that beautiful building come back to life.

I still waited another 3 ½  weeks before removing these trees so that everyone would have an opportunity to rethink this and raise any objections. So after 5 discussions over the past six months with all the neighbours who were present at the public meeting, we decided to remove these trees on Friday May 9th.

On May 9th, when the trees were being taken down, three of the immediate neighbours came out and observed the work being done. The comments we received were “Wow, this looks so much better” and “now you can actually see this beautiful building”. Again, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Please note that I have sent copies of all the original e-mails quoted in this message to (Individual) as well as some of the approximately 30 email responses that I have received from the neighbours supporting this.  

Third, the concern has been raised about who authorized the removal of these damaged trees. To clarify, we did contact the city previously regarding cutting down these trees and we were informed that since the property was less than 0.2 hectares, we would not require a permit for the removal of these trees. And so we did not make any application to remove these trees as we were told it was not necessary.

Finally, please note that it is our intention to replace these trees with a landscape that will complement a stunningly beautiful historical building such as this. We are currently envisioning a tree-lined walkway, shrubs around the perimeter and a stone walkway. While the plans have not been finalized, I am confident that once the final landscape plans are available and have been implemented, there will be widespread support for what we have done, as we will not only have restored the building to its original heritage state, but we will also have restored the landscape to the original 1910 design which we have been able to see from a photograph taken at that time. Please note that these trees were not from 1910 but rather were planted about 20-30 years ago, so in the 1980s to 1990s.

In summary:

1)    The neighbours were intensively consulted 5 times on this issue during the previous 6 months and not once, once the parking issue had been resolved, did I receive a single concern about these trees being removed
2)    We had no choice but to remove these trees as a result of the additional damage caused this winter as it was a health and safety issue, which can be confirmed by the arborist who conducted the removal
3)    We did not seek approval from the city as were told that it would not be required
4)    We will be replacing these trees with newer, healthy trees that will be properly planted to accentuate the beauty of this building

As a final note, I am surprised that there are now concerns being raised at this time as we have had extensive consultations with all the parties involved. I can only imagine that these concerns are being brought forward by individuals who are not directly connected with the project and that we are not aware of. However, that said, I sincerely apologize for any concern and/or distress that I may have been caused by our actions.

If you have any questions or concerns to this, please feel free to contact me at any time.

Best wishes

Property Owner

 

 

 

 

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Thursday May 15th - 2014

Ice storm brush cleanup complete in residential areas

Guelph, ON, May 15, 2014 – Brush cleanup from December’s ice storm is now complete in Guelph’s residential areas.

All park play and high traffic areas are now cleared. A few park areas remain to be addressed. These areas were too wet to access, and this work will be completed as soon as conditions improve.  

“It has been a tough winter for the City’s Forestry crew, and we are happy to have completed the majority of the ice storm brush cleanup,” says Martin Neumann, manager of Forestry. “We can now resume the work of trimming, stump removals, and tree replanting resulting from the earlier storms of April and July 2013.”

Report tree hazards by using the “How can we help you?” section on guelph.ca or call 519-837-5628 and include your name, contact information and the street address where the tree is located.

The City’s storm-related forestry activities remain prioritized as per the following phases:

1.    Remove highest-risk hazards: branches hanging over hydro wires, near critical facilities, or blocking roadways or driveways.
2.    Address blocked sidewalks.
3.    Clear community trails and high-traffic park areas.
4.    Remove marked trees, clear boulevards and parks, and prune City trees.
5.    Grind up remaining tree stumps and plant replacement trees.

Phase 1, 2 and 3 of the December ice storm brush cleanup are complete, with some areas such as secondary trails and lower-traffic park areas still requiring some work. It is anticipated Phase 4 will be wrapped up by late 2014. The timing of Phase 5 will be based on Phase 4 completion and is estimated to occur in spring 2015 at the earliest.
 
For more information

Martin Neumann
Manager of Forestry
Public Works Department
519-822-1260 extension 3337
martin.neumann@guelph.ca

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Thursday May 15th - 2014

Mayor Farbridge and members of Council,
This email is to notify you that today, May 15, the draft Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District Plan and Guidelines is released on the City website for review and comment by Council and the public.  The HCD project page is available at http://guelph.ca/city-hall/planning-building-zoning/community-design/heritage-planning/heritage-studies/
The June 9, 2014 meeting of Council is the statutory public meeting required under Section 41.1 of Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act.  Before Council can consider a by-law to designate an HCD area or to adopt an HCD Plan, a statutory public meeting must be held to give opportunity for persons to provide comments regarding the HCD Plan.
The purpose of Planning staff’s report at the meeting will be to summarize the key components of the draft HCD Plan and Guidelines and to describe the next steps in the HCD designation process.  Council will hear public delegations on the draft HCD Plan and Guidelines, ask questions for clarification and identify issues.  The draft Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District Plan and Guidelines is to be received and no decisions are to be made at the statutory meeting.
Public notice of the statutory meeting to discuss the proposed heritage conservation district plan must be given at least 20 days before the date of the meeting.  Planning staff have advertised the statutory meeting in the City News section of the Guelph Tribune on Thursday, May 15 and meeting notices are also being mailed to property owners within the proposed district and those within 120 metres of the HCD boundary.  Planning Services shall provide a copy of the proposed heritage conservation district plan for viewing during regular office hours.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Sincerely,
Stephen

Stephen Robinson, MA, CAHP | Senior Heritage Planner
T (519) 837-5616 x 2496 |
E stephen.robinson@guelph.ca

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Tuesday May 13th - 2014

Council Approves Plan for Innovation District in Guelph’s East End
Plan promotes progress in harmony with history
 

Guelph, ON, May 13, 2014 – Guelph City Council has approved the secondary plan for the 436 hectare (1,077 acre) plot of land known as the Guelph Innovation District located South of York Rd. and East of Victoria Rd. N. which is expected to be home to close to 7,000 people and 9,000 jobs. The plan includes an innovative mix of land uses, including a new urban village, a mixed-use main street, a research park and an adaptive re-use area around the historic reformatory complex.
 
The one-of-a-kind development pays careful attention to the conservation and adaptive reuse of existing cultural heritage resources such as the decommissioned Guelph Correctional Centre and the protection and enhancement of the site’s extensive natural heritage system, including the Eramosa River valley and Clythe Creek. The plan also includes improvements to transportation infrastructure such as trails and cycling paths, encouraging alternative modes of transportation supporting mobility within the district and between neighbourhoods.
 
“The Guelph Innovation District plays a critical role in achieving Guelph’s overall city-building vision, and creatively integrates and advances a number of other community driven initiatives, such as the Community Energy Initiative and Prosperity 2020,” says Todd Salter, General Manager of Planning Services. “An exhaustive community and stakeholder engagement process involving input from multiple City departments, residents, local organizations, business and development leaders, landowners and other levels of government, has resulted in a plan for the Guelph Innovation District that has truly been crafted by the Guelph community.
 
“We have been successful in reaching this stage thanks to the support of our community partners, land owners and fellow government offices,” says Peter Cartwright, General Manager, Guelph Economic Development. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Province of Ontario through the next stage of development and create attractive investment opportunities for our targeted business sectors.” Intended business uses for this land include the environmental and agriculture technology sectors and communication and creative media companies.
 
For more information

Peter Cartwright
General Manager
Economic Development
Finance and Enterprise Services
519-822-1260 extension 2820
peter.cartwright@guelph.ca
 
Todd Salter
General Manager
Planning Services
Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment
519-822-1260 extension 2395
todd.salter@guelph.ca
________________________________________

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Thursday May 8th - 2014

Subject: Riverside Park Carousel


Good morning,

Guelph’s antique carousel in Riverside Park is undergoing scheduled maintenance of the ride’s custom mechanical parts, which is taking longer than anticipated. As a result, the 2014 opening of the carousel will be delayed by six weeks.
Typically the carousel ride, miniature train, and paddle boats welcome visitors from the Victoria Day long weekend until mid-September, weather permitting. However, this year only the train and boats will be ready to open on May 17.
While the horse poles, telescopes and floor locks are machined and fabricated at a patent holding company in the United States, staff are using the time to make minor repairs to the wooden horses—filling small cracks and pinch points. A local artist will give the horses a fresh coat of paint.
Once the mechanical parts arrive back in Guelph, a local company will reassemble the carousel. City staff hope to have the painted horses going around in circles again by July 1.
STAFF

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Monday May 5th - 2014

May 5th, 2014

This morning my blackberry beeped indicating I had received new messages. When I went to retrieve them, I noticed they were emailed voicemail messages. When residents call into city hall and directed to my voicemail, the message they leave is automatically transferred into an audio file which is then emailed to my blackberry. That way, while out and about, I can get stay connected.

What was odd this morning was that I received 5 messages in a row. All emailed to me at 9:52am. I knew something was wrong right away. There’s no way 5 different people all left messages for me at city hall at exactly the same time. My fears were validated because as I started looking at the actual dates of when these voicemail messages were left, some were from the beginning of April!

I have emailed the IT department at City Hall to find out what has happened here.

I want to apologize to those that have left messages and have not heard back from me. I take communication very seriously. My personal cell is 519-830-7625. Feel free to call me on that at (almost) anytime.

Thank you,
Cam

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Thursday May 1st - 2014

Good morning Mayor Farbridge and Councillors,

Starting May 1, Guelph households scheduled to receive waste collection carts this fall (the final one-third of the city) will receive an information brochure delivered to their door about the cart program. This brochure will provide residents with general information and facts about the cart program that will help them choose the size of their blue (recyclables) and grey (garbage) carts. The contents of this brochure is attached in electronic form for your reference and hard copies will be available at your desks at City Hall this afternoon. This information will also be available online at guelph.ca/waste tomorrow.

Key messages and frequently asked questions
In preparation for questions from residents and the media you may field, below is a refresher on this program’s key messages:
1.    The City is rolling out a new way to collect organic waste, recyclables and garbage. Carts will be used instead of plastic bags.
2.    Using carts will reduce the amount of waste Guelph sends to landfill, lower the City’s operating costs, and decrease Guelph’s carbon footprint.
3.    Processing our organic material locally at the Organic Waste Processing Facility, using carts and sorting carefully will help Guelph reach its waste diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021.
4.    The carts will be phased in over three years to keep costs affordable - 2014 is the third and final year.
5.    The new waste collection system saves taxpayers $460,000 each year.

Click here for a link to all updated waste cart FAQs on guelph.ca/waste.

What’s different from last year?
The downtown core will transition to automated waste cart collection, or a suitable alternative, this fall. The City recognizes that waste carts are not a one-size-fits-all solution for every downtown business and resident.  To accommodate their unique needs, the City is proposing unique solutions. Starting May 12, the City will host individual consultations and group information sessions to share with them their unique waste collection options. Downtown residents and businesses can contact us today (at 519-767-0598 or waste@guelph.ca) to set up a site specific consultation or register for a group information session. At these sessions, the City will provide more information and answer general questions about automated collection in the downtown core. More information on waste collection in the downtown core will be shared with you prior to May 12.

Questions and more information
If you have questions about the program, please contact me.


Regards,

Heather Connell | Manager, Integrated Services
Solid Waste Resources | Planning & Building, Engineering and Environmental Services
City of Guelph

T 519-822-1260 x 2082 | F 519-767-1660
E heather.connell@guelph.ca

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Thursday May 1st - 2014

Guelph Urban Design Summit starts with an urban design “intervention” this Saturday

Guelph, ON, April 30, 2014 – The City of Guelph, Workshop Architecture, Zehrs Market, University of Guelph Landscape Architecture and community members will work together this Saturday to create a temporary small-scale urban design installation.
“In anticipation of the Guelph Urban Design Summit, taking place this Monday and Tuesday, the City is working with Helena Grdadolnik, Associate Director at Workshop Architecture, to implement this urban design intervention in the city’s west end,” said Todd Salter, general manager of Planning Services.
The “Sprouting Nodes” project will help Guelph residents visualize the possible future of the Paisley and Imperial Road intersection and kickstart the process of creating a more pedestrian-friendly place.
“This Saturday we will help Paisley-Imperial spring to life with the Main Street Future Walk and a Parking Lot Oasis,” explained David DeGroot, Senior Urban Designer with the City of Guelph. “Come along on the walk to be the first to see these urban design interventions and to hear about the City of Guelph’s urban design vision for the area. After the walk, you are welcome to stay and work alongside your neighbours to help plant the parking lot oasis.”

 

Click this link for more info: HERE


What    Sprouting a Node at Paisley-Imperial   
Who    Todd Salter, General Manager of Planning Services, City of Guelph
David DeGroot, Senior Urban Designer, City of Guelph
Helena Grdadolnik, Associate Director, Workshop Architecture
University of Guelph Landscape Architecture students   
Where    Zehrs Garden Centre, 1045 Paisley Road, Guelph   
When    Saturday, May 3 - 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

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Thursday May 1st - 2014

Good Evening

I am pleased to advise you that we have completed the implementation of our first reduced speed zone in front of an elementary school. It is located on Forest Street in front of the Cornerstone Christian School. The reduced speed zone is a 30km/h zone only, as Forest Street is not an arterial roadway.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Respectfully,

STAFF

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

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