Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Tuesday Jul 19th - 2011

I have been dealing with this park since elected and am pleased to tell the residents of Ward 4 that it is moving ahead. For those of you that made your voices heard during the surveys I also thank you.

Here is an article from today's Guelph Mercury about this development:

Guelph park development approved, despite ballooning budget.

GUELPH — Members of a city committee have approved redevelopment of a west-end park, even though it is now estimated to cost more than twice the original approved amount.

Coun. Bob Bell was the only member of the operations and transit committee to vote against the master plan for Castlebury Park, after none of his colleagues would second a proposed amendment aimed at reducing the cost of the work.

Bell argued the city could save $70,000 by leaving a parking lot within the park unpaved, but was unable to sway other committee members.

City staff had initially estimated redevelopment of the park would cost about $300,000.

But a report from parks planner Jyoti Pathak said the new master plan “addresses a number of neighbourhood and connectivity issues not fully understood or appreciated” when the initial budget was submitted for approval.

Castlebury Park was established in 1999.

Murray Cameron, the city’s general manager of parks maintenance and development, said the original plan was to develop the park in conjunction with the Upper Grand District School Board, which owns adjacent property fronting onto Stephanie Drive.

However the board has said it has no immediate plans to move ahead with a school proposed for that property, so the city intends to move forward on its own. This has meant a tweaking of the park design, including losing a softball diamond which would have straddled the line between city- and school board-owned property.

“This will be 100 per cent city funded,” Cameron said, suggesting the additional funds could come from the parks reserve.

Bell expressed concern about this, noting if the money is removed from the reserve to do Castlebury there will be less available for redevelopment of other parks.

“There is sufficient funding (in the reserve) to do this without affecting other parks,” responded Derek McCaughan, executive director of operations and transit.

“I disagree,” Bell said. “It’s either something here or something over there. There’s only so much money in the pot.”

Two temporary soccer pitches created in the park in 2000 will be upgraded with irrigation and drainage systems. Additional improvements would include a new playground, trails and permanent seating including picnic tables.

If approved by council the work would begin next spring, making the soccer fields unavailable for use for most of the season.

Coun. Jim Furfaro expressed some doubt about the project, noting the city sent out 500 surveys seeking feedback about the park redevelopment and only received 17 responses.

“I have to question where the motivation and the desire is to see this park built,” Furfaro said. “I don’t understand why (the survey) wasn’t taken more seriously by the neighbourhood.”

But Mayor Karen Farbridge said development of the park is long-overdue.

“My sense of the neighbourhood is they’ve just given up,” the mayor said. “I’m glad to see this moving forward after such a long time.”

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Wednesday Jul 13th - 2011


New timing for inter-modal transit terminal
Guelph Transit will begin servicing new routes from St. George’s Square in November
GUELPH, ON, July 13, 2011 – New and improved transit routes will be launched this November as part of Guelph’s Transit Growth Strategy. Transit operations at the new inter-modal transit terminal will be deferred until spring 2012.

“We planned to move operations to the new inter-modal transit terminal in November, but we’re faced with construction conflicts on the Carden Street site, so we’ll continue using St. George’s Square as our primary transfer station until May 2012,” says Michael Anders, General Manager of Guelph Transit and Community Connectivity.

The City is confident that new bus platforms along Carden Street will be completed by the end of October in order to meet the deadline for using Federal and Provincial Infrastructure Stimulus funds. However, the City is re-evaluating the design of the terminal’s canopy shelters in an effort to reduce the cost of the project.

“We will still be able to take advantage of about $5.3 million in funding from the Federal and Provincial governments, and only one-third of the project costs are coming from the City’s budget,” says City Engineer, Richard Henry. “The canopies may be installed later than expected, along with security cameras and a public announcement system.”

“We’re not certain that everything will be up and running by November. So, in the interest of offering the best possible service to riders, we decided to wait until spring to move into the new inter-modal transit terminal,” adds Anders. “The up side is that people get a chance to get comfortable with the new routes and schedules in St. George’s Square, and it could make our move to the new terminal a little less stressful.”

GO Transit’s plans to build a passenger drop-off platform south of the station on Farquhar Street are further complicating the construction schedule. As GO Transit completes its kiss-n-ride, pedestrian tunnel, elevator and stairway, buses will be unable to use the completed roadway and transit platform.

“It’s been a challenge to co-ordinate a number of inter-related construction projects in collaboration with CN, Rail America, VIA Rail and GO Transit. We’re all working together to make sure the puzzle pieces fit together,” adds Henry. “Together, we continue to make careful plans and decisions in order to create a truly innovative transit hub that will benefit the community as Guelph grows over the coming years.”

With the roadway, transit platforms, passenger drop-off and pedestrian tunnel complete, renovations inside the existing VIA station will continue until next fall. GO bus and Greyhound service will continue operating at the temporary station at the corner of Wyndham Street and Fountain Street until those renovations are complete.

About the inter-modal transit terminal
Guelph’s new inter-modal transit terminal will be located on Carden Street between Wyndham Street and Macdonell Street. The terminal is designed to improve connections between Guelph’s local bus service and regional public transit systems including Greyhound, GO Transit and VIA Rail. The City began construction on the $8 million facility in June 2010. The project is scheduled to be complete by October 31, 2011 in order to take advantage of $5.3 million in Provincial and Federal Infrastructure Stimulus Funds.


Michael Anders
General Manager, Guelph Transit and Community Connectivity
Operations and Transit Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2795
E michael.anders@guelph.ca

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Wednesday Jul 13th - 2011

July 13th, 2011

I recieved this email today and I thought you'd like to see it:


Guelph Transit held four public information nights in June to keep our riders and residents informed of the new proposed routes and service model as part of the implementation of the Transit Growth Strategy (TGS) recommendations. The new routes will take effect in November 2011. The sessions were very well attended and staff received a variety of feedback at all the sessions.

Based on input and comments received from participants, staff completed a final review of the proposed routes. The reassessment of one route in particular, Route 13, highlighted a number of facilities with high potential for transit use that were not optimally served by the routing as proposed in the original TGS recommendations. The Planning Committee which has representatives from both management and operators assessed a number of alternatives to maximize service levels in the area of the City bounded by Victoria Road, Grange Road, Eastview Road and Starwood Drive. Based on the field assessments, a number of changes to Route 13 are being recommended.

The initial Route 13 had vehicles travelling:
•    east on Cassino
•    south on Hadati
•    east on Leacock
•    north on Auden
•    east on Eastview
•    south on Starwood
•    west on Chesterton
•    north on Auden
•    west on Leacock back towards downtown

Route 13 will now travel:
•    east on Cassino
•    north on Hadati
•    north on Victoria
•    east on Eastview
•    south on Starwood
•    west on Watt
•    south on Auden
•    west on Leacock back towards downtown

A map of the updated Route 13 is available at guelphtransit.ca.

Guelph Transit staff appreciates all the interest and support shown by numerous groups in the community in moving forward with the implementation of the Transit Growth Strategy. Residents in the area who provided feedback on this matter have been copied under separate cover.

Michael Anders | General Manager, Community Connectivity and Transit
Transit Services | Operations & Transit
City of Guelph

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Wednesday Jul 13th - 2011

July 13th, 2011


Thought this was a good article to share with you:


TOPIC: Selling Guelph Abroad


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

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