Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Monday Jul 29th - 2013

Email received today July 29th, 2013:

Dear Members of Council,
As this is the first time we have had a formal complaint filed with the Integrity Commissioner, I am provided some background prior to the meeting.
Each of you were provided with a copy of the Code of Conduct at the beginning of the term and it can be found  at this link.
http://guelph.ca/city-hall/mayor-and-council/city-council/values-and-prinicipals/
•    A Code of Conduct was developed by a Citizen Advisory Committee.
•    The Code of Conduct was approved by Council to establish a common basis for ethical and professional behavior of Members of Council and Local Boards. The standards serve to enhance public confidence in that the City’s elected and appointed representatives operate from a base of integrity, justice and courtesy.
•    Each member signs their commitment to uphold the Code of Conduct at the Inaugural Council Meeting, in addition to taking the Oath of Office.
•    City Council appointed an Integrity Commissioner to address the application of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Local Boards and approved a protocol for investigations by the Integrity Commissioner.
•    The information report we have before us tonight is the first step in the Council-approved protocol and is consistent with the terms of engagement of the Integrity Commissioner.
Excerpt from Complaint Protocol

4. Upon receipt of a complaint or request to conduct an enquiry within his/her jurisdiction, the Integrity Commissioner will deliver a preliminary information report to an open meeting of Council including the following:

a.    The opinion of the Commissioner as to whether the enquiry is appropriate and whether it can be conducted within the law applicable to such an enquiry.
b.    An indication as to whether it is the Commissioner’s intention to conduct the enquiry under the Public Inquiries Act.
c.    A preliminary indication of the members of staff and/or consultants needed to assist the Commissioner.
d.    An estimated cost of the enquiry.
e.    The estimated time required to complete the enquiry and prepare a final report.
f.    Where appropriate, the Commissioner may recommend that the alleged infraction be reported to the police and that the enquiry be suspended until the police investigation is completed.

5. If the Integrity Commissioner is of the opinion that the referral of a matter to him or her is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith or that there are no grounds or insufficient grounds for an enquiry, the Integrity Commissioner shall not conduct an enquiry and shall state the reasons for not doing so in the preliminary report.

•    In addition, the Integrity Commissioner has asked that consideration be given to amending the Code of Conduct to address the role of members of Council with adjudicative boards (e.g. Committee of Adjustment, Heritage Conservation Review Board, Ontario Municipal Board) by the Governance Committee.
•    The Integrity Commissioner will be in attendance if there are any questions of process.  He will not be making a presentation.  He will be reporting back to Council at a future date with the results of his investigation.

Mayor.

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Wednesday Jul 24th - 2013

Email recieved from STAFF re: Departure of Michael Anders, General Manager Transit -  July 24th, 2013:

Good afternoon,

During this transitional period, I have asked Fred Gerrior, Supervisor or Route Planning, to provide leadership to the Department until Monday, August 12th when Phil Meagher will join us in his capacity as Manager of Transit Operations.  We have been recruiting for this position since earlier this year and Phil’s arrival at this time is strictly coincidental.  Phil brings to the City over 30 years of senior transit experience.  As of that date, Phil will assume the role of Acting General Manager of Guelph Transit while we recruit someone for the position on a permanent basis.  

Staff of Guelph Transit will be fully supported during this period by the Operations, Transit & Emergency Services Service Area, the City’s Executive Team and, specifically, this office.   In addition, the Executive Committee of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Local 1189 has given me assurances they will be supportive during this transition.  My thanks are extended to ATU for this gesture.

I have every confidence our Transit staff will continue to deliver transit services on a daily basis in a reliable and professional manner.  We ask for Council’s support during this period until a General Manager is in place.

Please call me if you have any questions,...

Regards,

Derek J. McCaughan
Executive Director
Operations, Transit & Emergency Services
The Corporation of the City of Guelph

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Monday Jul 22nd - 2013

Thunderstorm clean up ongoing in Guelph

GUELPH, ON, July 22, 2013 – Following the July 19, 2013 thunderstorm experienced by the City of Guelph, City staff will continue to clean up the debris over the next several weeks in a priority system.
As a first priority, City staff will clear roads and right-of-ways to allow for the safe passage of vehicles. Staff will also clear City owned trees from driveways and entrance ways, clean up public parks, and remove all other debris from City owned trees.
Residents are urged to respect ‘Do not enter’ markings in parks and treed areas, as there are still damaged tree limbs in the tree canopy that may fall before City crews can safely remove them.
The City cannot assist in cleaning up or clearing trees on private property. Residents are encouraged to contact their local tree service and/or bring broken tree limbs to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre on Dunlop Drive for free disposal.
City staff are working with Guelph Police Service and Guelph Hydro in a coordinated manner to ensure public safety and prompt clean-up efforts.
Please contact Public Works reception at (519) 837-5628 or operations@guelph.ca to report concerns involving City trees.
The City thanks residents for their patience as staff work diligently to address this unplanned weather event.

For more information
Rod Keller
General Manager, Public Works
519-822-1260 x 2949
rod.keller@guelph.ca

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Saturday Jul 20th - 2013

From: Staff
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 04:02 PM
To: Councillors & Mayor; Executive Team 
Subject: 19 July Storm update 
 

This afternoon members of Public Works, Solid Waste (also representing Water Services), Guelph Police and Emergency Services met to discuss the progress of the clean up from yesterdays storm.

 

P.W. (Forestry) has had 115 calls about trees down. They estimate there are approximately another 50 trees they haven’t been called about yet. They have been working on clearing roads and cleared everything that doesn’t have wires in it. They are still waiting on Guelph Hydro to clear some wires so remaining blockages can be removed. P.W. estimates 2-3 weeks to clear up all other issues. Priorities are:

 

1) Clear Roads and Right of Ways for safe passage of vehicles including emergency vehicles

2) Clear private driveways and entrance ways of City owned trees

3) Clear public parks making them safe to enjoy

4) Clean-up all other debris from City owned trees

 

The following messaging will be put out through Corporate Communications:

 

*City cannot assist in cleaning up or clearing trees on private property; residents are encouraged to contact their local tree service and/or bring limbs and brush to the Waste Resource Innovation Centre on Dunlop Road (disposed of for free)

*Public must remain vigilant as there are still damaged tree limbs in the canopy of trees which may fall down before City crews can address

*City staff are working with GPS and Guelph Hydro in a coordinated manner

*Please be patient as City staff are working diligently in addressing this unplanned event

 

GPS and GFD both had high call volume last night and have mostly returned to normal. Police have had a few issues today including standing by at live wire situations and fire has had alarm issues due to power being down. GWEMS had a County ambulance base without power and are back to normal now.

 

Water Services lost power at the Arkell Springs. Contingency planning (generator) insured continuation of the potable water supply and power has now been restored.

 

All City staff and Hydro crews involved in this clean-up have worked extremely hard to clear safety issues since the storm.

 Staff

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Friday Jul 19th - 2013

Mayor Farbridge and Councillors,

Update as at 8:30 pm.

45 calls for downed trees and limbs. Calls are from all across the City and there appears to be no one centre of mass. Royal City Park was hit particularly hard.

Known road blockages are at the following areas:

Gordon @ Water
Stevenson @ Speedvale
Suffolk @ Park
Wellington @ Surrey
Wellington @ Fife

Bewtween PW and Parks & Rec we have about a dozen staff deployed to deal with the calls. Priority is on clearing roads and rights of way. Crews will work until last light tonight or until all roads are clear for Emergency vehicles to pass.  Work will likely continue tomorrow with remainder pushed until normal working hours next week.

Finally, City staff are working in concert with Guelph Hydro and Guelph Police Services.

If the situation changes, an update will be provided.

Sincerely,

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Thursday Jul 18th - 2013

From: Clerk
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2013 04:55 PM
Subject: Governance Committee Questions: Follow Up
 
Mayor Farbridge and Members of Council,

I just wanted to relay some information on the items that I was not able to fully address on Tuesday.

Q1. What are the voting requirements associated with non-resident electors who own more than one property in the municipality?

A1. When developing the preliminary voters’ list, MPAC defaults voting privileges to a voters’ primary residence – meaning, if you reside in a municipality your qualifying address is listed as your home and any properties you own elsewhere in the municipality are removed. If you reside in another municipality outside Guelph and own several properties within Guelph, then you are entitled to vote in your residing municipality as well as in relation to one of your owned properties in Guelph. MPAC will automatically default to one of the owned properties and remove the others from the list. In this case, a non-resident elector has  the ability to amend the voters’ list in order to decide which owned property they would like to serve as their qualifying address.

Q2. What is the cost to support an advance voting period without including costs related to Internet voting?

A2. This is a bit of a difficult question to answer only because expenditures relating to equipment, resources, support etc. are not directly allocated to a voting period, they are shared between the advance voting period and election day. Based on staffing costs (which can be calculated based on the voting period) and a best guess in relation to apportioning the other expenditures, the cost of the City’s advance voting period in 2010 was approximately $13,000 - $15,000.

I am more than happy to provide you with further information if you have questions. Nicole has also offered to provide you with data directly from her many years of researching Internet voting. If you prefer, you can reach Nicole directly at nicole.goodman@utoronto.ca.

Regards,
Blair Labelle | City Clerk - Guelph

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Wednesday Jul 17th - 2013

Public information session for Guelph skatepark

 

GUELPH, ON, July 17, 2013 – The City of Guelph is hosting an information session about Guelph’s new community skatepark on Wednesday, July 24.
During the information session, residents will have an opportunity to learn about the proposed Silvercreek Park site and how this location was chosen; review the final stakepark design created through a collaborative design process; and find out about next steps.
City staff, representatives from New Line Skateparks Inc., and community partners will answer questions and receive comments on this exciting and long-awaited project.
Construction on Guelph’s community skatepark is planned for 2015 and will accommodate skateboards, in-line skates, scooters, and BMX bikes.
WHAT
Guelph Community Skatepark Information Session
WHO
City of Guelph staff
New Line Skateparks Inc. representatives
Community partners
WHERE
Galleria, City Hall
1 Carden Street
WHEN
Wednesday, July 24
7-8:30 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Adam Rutherford
Youth Services Coordinator
Community and Social Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2703
E adam.rutherford@guelph.ca

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Wednesday Jul 17th - 2013

Recieved from Resident to all of council:

From: L
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 02:54 PM
Subject: Ontario Fire Protection and Prevention Act
 
Your Worship Mayor Farbridge and Councillors in attendance at the PBEE meeting of July 15, 2013

I made a statement during my delegation submission that the Ontario Fire Code permitted the Fire Department to enter any home at any time for the purpose of carrying out an inspection. This was stated by staff to be incorrect, and I later had the opportunity to discuss this with representatives of the Fire Department that were in attendance.

Their position at that time is that they would need to get a Justice of the Peace to issue a Warrant enabling them to enter private residences, and at times, such Warrants are difficult to obtain; they claimed the restrictions do not apply for large multi-residential properties and commercial, residential, and institutional properties.

I have thoroughly examined the wording of the “Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997” to better understand this issue.

It would seem to be implausible that in the Province of Ontario, where we are trying to enforce the rules regarding the use of fully operational smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in all occupied premises, that an owner or occupant would have the right to outright deny access by a Fire Prevention Officer.

Upon reading the Act, there is no reference in any part that differentiates the application of the law between commercial, institutional, industrial, and residential properties of any sort. But there is an element of confusion and I have discussed this with Christina Mak of the Ontario Fire Marshall’s office for clarification.

Part VI of the Act deals with Inspections and the first 3 Sub-sections (18, 19 and 20) read:

Interpretation
18.  For the purposes of this Part, fire safety includes safety from the risk that a fire, if started, would seriously endanger the health and safety of any person or the quality of the natural environment for any use that can be made of it. 1997, c. 4, s. 18.
Inspectors
19.  (1) The Fire Marshal, an assistant to the Fire Marshal or a fire chief is an inspector for the purposes of this Part.
Inspections
(2) An inspector may, without a warrant, enter and inspect land and premises for the purposes of assessing fire safety.
Time of entry
(3) The power to enter and inspect land and premises without a warrant may be exercised at all reasonable times.
Assistance
(4) An inspector who enters land or premises under this section may take with him or her a police officer or such other person as he or she considers advisable to assist.
Identification
(5) On the request of an owner or occupant of the land or premises, an inspector shall identify himself or herself and shall explain the purpose of the entry.
Powers during inspection
(6) An inspector conducting an inspection may,
(a) examine a document or other thing that is relevant to the inspection;
(b) demand the production for inspection of a document or other thing that is relevant to the inspection;
(c) remove any thing that is relevant to the inspection for review and examination and remove any document that is relevant to the inspection for review and copying;
(d) conduct tests, take and remove samples, take photographs and make videotapes and other images, electronic or otherwise, that are relevant to the inspection;
(e) in order to produce a document in readable form, use data storage, information processing or retrieval devices or systems that are normally used in the premises being inspected; and
(f) question a person on matters relevant to the inspection.
Obligation to produce and assist
(7) If an inspector demands that a document or other thing be produced for inspection, the person who has custody of the document or thing shall produce it and, in the case of a document, shall on request provide any assistance that is reasonably necessary to interpret the document or to produce it in a readable form.
Document and thing removed from place
(8) A document or other thing that has been removed from land or premises,
(a) shall be made available to the person from whom it was removed on request and at a time and place that are convenient for the person and for the inspector; and
(b) shall, if it is possible to return the document or thing to the person, be returned within a reasonable time.
Copy admissible in evidence
(9) A copy of a document that purports to be certified by an inspector as being a true copy of the original is admissible in evidence to the same extent as the original and has the same evidentiary value. 1997, c. 4, s. 19.
Warrant authorizing entry
20.  (1) A justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing an inspector named in the warrant to enter on lands or premises and exercise any of the powers referred to in subsection 19 (6) if the justice of the peace is satisfied on evidence under oath that there are reasonable grounds to believe that entry on the lands or premises is necessary to assess fire safety and,
(a) the inspector has been denied entry to the lands or premises or has been obstructed in exercising any other of those powers with respect to the lands or premises; or
(b) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the inspector will be denied entry to the lands or premises or obstructed in exercising any other of those powers with respect to the lands or premises.
Execution and expiry of warrant
(2) A warrant issued under subsection (1) shall,
(a) specify the times, which may be at any time during the day or night, during which the warrant may be carried out; and
(b) state when the warrant expires.
Extension of time
(3) A justice of the peace may extend the date on which a warrant expires for such additional periods as the justice of the peace considers necessary.
Use of force
(4) A person authorized under subsection (1) to enter land or premises for the purpose of doing a thing may call on police officers as necessary and may use force as necessary to make the entry and do the thing.
Assistance
(5) A person named in a warrant issued under subsection (1) may call on any other persons he or she considers advisable to execute the warrant.
Application without notice
(6) A justice of the peace may receive and consider an application for a warrant or extension of a warrant under this section without notice to the owner or occupant of the land or premises.
Identification
(7) On the request of an owner or occupant of the land or premises, a person who exercises a power conferred under subsection (1) shall identify himself or herself and shall explain the purpose of the entry.
Application
(8) Subsections 19 (7), (8) and (9) apply with respect to an inspection carried out under a warrant issued under this section. 1997, c. 4, s. 20.

For clarification, the term “fire chief” is defined in Sub-section 1 as: “fire chief” means a fire chief appointed under subsection 6 (1), (2) or (4)” dealing with the right of Council to appoint a Fire Chief, and under Sub-section 6 Part 6 – Delegation “A fire chief may delegate his or her powers or duties under sections 14, 19 and 20 and such other powers and duties as may be prescribed to any firefighter or class of firefighters, subject to such limitations, restrictions or conditions as may be prescribed or set out in the delegation. 1997, c. 4, s. 6.”

From this I conclude that Fire Prevention Officers have the right to inspect any residential premise, regardless of size or intended use to ensure it meets the fire safety requirements.

However, an owner or occupant has the right to refuse entry to Fire Prevention Officers. In some cases, this will simply be a matter of convenience (the occupant is in the process of getting ready to head to work, or they are putting small children down for a nap) and an alternate time can be arranged, but it may also be because they feel such an inspection is a matter of personal privacy (or just “because”) and there is no “acceptable” time. In such instances, the Fire Prevention Officers do have the recourse of getting a Warrant, and if obtained, they have the right to enter the property, even using force, if necessary.

I am mystified that if the Ontario Government has constructed this law in 1997 such that a Fire Prevention Officer may have to resort to getting a warrant to enter a residence to do a fire safety inspection, how a Municipal By-law could ever be constructed such that Municipal staff including By-law Enforcement Officers would have the right to do so.

In fact, I have also researched the “Municipal Act, 2001”, and find that in the Part dealing with Powers of Entry (Subsection 435 to Subsection 439, inclusive), it explicitly spells out in Sub-section 437 that entry to a “residence” or a “room in a residence” needs to have the consent of the Occupant or they need to obtain an “Order” from a provincial judge or justice of the peace, or in more extreme situations, a “Warrant” from a provincial judge or justice of the peace.

For reference, the City of London has an “Inspections By-law” and it reflects the wording of the “Municipal Act” whereby a warrant is necessary should access be denied.

The argument that the proposed “Shared Rental Housing Licensing By-law” will give the City of Guelph the right to enter residences that the Fire Prevention Officers do not already have, is simply erroneous and misleading to Members of City Council, and where the issue is dealing with personal (fire) safety versus enforcement of the municipal building standards, my bet is that the Fire Prevention Officers will be much more successful in obtaining a Warrant than would the By-law enforcement officers or building inspectors.

I will deal with the other aspects of this report in a separate message.

Regards,

L.

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

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