Ward 4 News

Councillor - Christine Billings

Thursday Sep 26th - 2013

From Staff:

Subject: Annual Guelph Farmers' Market Customer Appreciation Day
Good Afternoon

I would like to bring you up to date on our second annual Guelph Farmers’ Market Customer Appreciation Day event scheduled for Saturday, September 28.  

Our first Guelph Farmers’ Market Customer Appreciation Day was held in August 2012 and was considered extremely successful by our customers, both regular and new, as well as fully supported by our vendors through donations of various produce.  We served over 700 burgers and hot dogs during the event on a wonderful sunny day.  Our Guelph Farmers’ Market Executive was fully supportive of the idea and aided us through both the planning and implementation process. The costs to implement this event were shared by the vendors providing produce, the City through the 2012 Operating Budget and a $400 award from the Greenbelt Event Fund, for initiating a farmers market event to celebrate “community building with fresh, local produce, farm products and arts and crafts.”

Our second annual Farmers’ Market Customer Appreciation Day is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday. It intended not only to thank our customers but more importantly to celebrate the “return home” of the Guelph Farmers’ Market.  Once again this year we have received a $400 grant from the Greenbelt Event Fund.  In addition, our vendors are donating product and monetary donations to help with supplies and costs, other companies such as Gay Lee are donating butter for our event, the Sleeman Centre and Coca Cola are generously donating 1500 drinks (pop, water and juice), our concession vendor is assisting us with 300 portions of coffee, and the donut vendor once again this year is offering donuts for the day. The concession vendor is also donating his large BBQ for our use at no cost.  Booth contract staff and family members as well as office staff volunteer to assist with setting up, cooking and preparing condiments, to make this event a success.
We will also have some entertainment: a balloon lady to make balloon figurines for the kids, a kids play area to colour agriculture related items, and the Royal City Music Production will be on site to sing songs for their upcoming performance of Joseph to be held at the River Run Centre.
At present, the event has a projected cost of approximately $3,500. The City portion of this costs is estimated to be approximately $1,000 based upon monetary donations, the $400 grant from the Greenbelt Event Fund and vendors donations of produce.  City funding is from the advertising budget within the Guelph Farmers’ Market 2013 Operating Budget, as we feel this is an excellent way to bring in new customers and to let our regulars customers know that we appreciate them as well.

In summary, the annual Guelph Farmers’ Market Customer Appreciation Day event, is a vendor valued initiative that aligns with the existing Guelph Farmers’ Market Governance Model and is fully supported by the Guelph Farmers’ Market Vendor Executive.

Thank you

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Wednesday Sep 25th - 2013

September: 25th, 2013:

For the past several years, there has been one particular (massive) thorn in my side when it came to furthering transparency for our local government here in Guelph. It all comes down to the complaint I most often hear now, and one I was upset about before I was even elected, and it is this:

"Why are we not making our council committee meetings available to the public?"

I first inquired about this, through our previous city clerk, who told me that the committee meetings were indeed recorded digitally. I then followed up as to why we weren't posting these audio recordings on the city website for the public to access? The answer at that time was that it was really only recorded for verification purposes, for recalling meeting minutes or for any Freedom of Information requests that may come through to the city.

(Not good enough I thought)

Our new clerk and I have been discussing this issue at length now over the past year and a half. Several months ago I imagined this being an available option by now., so when I called again yesterday to find out where we were on this issue, he explained we might be another 5-6 months out for the proper resources and/or technical requirments for a database of audio recordings. Furthermore, this issue would be a part of the Open Government Action Plan the city is in the midst of researching.

(Fair enough, but not good enough I thought)

So Again, I explained (or begged, pleaded) to our clerk that I can't understand how 15 minutes after my pastor at church finishes his Sunday morning message, the congregation can pickup an audio copy of his talk before leaving the building, or, find it online within a day or two as a podcast, but our city can't figure it out?


So credit goes to our city clerk for taking the time to talk to our IT department after our discussion because I received an email from him last night indicating the following:

  • Hi Cam, I can commit to having audio recordings of committee meetings posted to our website starting November 2013.
  • The recordings will be posted as mp3’s but will be un-edited and un-indexed.
  • This is an interim solution, as we move to the Open Government Plan.


This is exciting for me. And it should be exciting for you. You see, there's only two council meetings shown on TV through Rogers Local Television a month. But there's many committee meetings (See HERE) that take place. If you don't have Rogers in your home, then you're not going to find it on Bell or Netflix either. So it's too often that I hear statements like these:

"I just watched you on TV last night and you guys just voted for this issue without even debating it!"

"What do you guys even talk about down there?!"

"This or that issue/report wasn't even pulled out for discussion at all and it was important to me or my neighbourhood!" You get my point.

Not only are committee members present, but public delegates and city staff are there to discuss the important issues effecting the city.

This is obviously good for the public whom we serve, but it's also good for city councillors. Some councillors, (like myself), still work full time at our "day job" and some committee meetings are held throughout the day making it very difficult to attend. Having the ability now to listen to what was discussed and debated can only help me be more prepared as your representative.

Of course we shouldn't want to stop here. There's so much more potential! Council willing, I want our committee meetings to not only be audio, but video as well.

Our clerk has discussed these ideas as well: How about a unique product that combines user accessibility (like Oakville’s TownTV) with agenda indexing (like a Granicus powered product) and web 2.0 integration (like Chicago’s model).

Maybe we don't need to stop at only having committee meetings recorded this way? How about other informational council meetings? Why not!? The more transparent we are the better!! There's lots I'm proud of accomplishing since being elected, but furthering transparency is top for me!!

Maybe you don't think this is "BIG" news, but it is to me.


Have a great day!


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Thursday Sep 19th - 2013


Community members invited to comment on proposed City budget

First of four budget presentations takes place October 1
Guelph, ON, Thursday, September 19 – The City is improving opportunities for community members to get involved as staff and Council present, discuss, deliberate and approve the City’s budget.
On Tuesday, October 1, City staff will present Guelph’s Capital Investment Strategy: proposed 2014-2023 Capital Budget and Forecast. During the meeting, community members are invited to make presentations supporting specific investments in buildings, roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, parks, trails, and other assets and infrastructure.
“Councillors listen and respond to community feedback throughout the year, and we recognize public input is a critical part of the City’s annual budget process,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge. “We’re encouraging people to write to us and talk with us about specific projects in October to give everyone more time to reflect and discuss capital investments, their impact on taxpayers, and their benefit to the community,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge.
To ensure affordability for taxpayers, most of the City’s proposed capital investments focus on keeping facilities and infrastructure in good repair, ensuring accessibility, and meeting Guelph’s legislated requirements.
“First, we focus on taking care of what we own, then we plan strategic investments designed to enhance Guelph’s quality of life,” said Al Horsman, Guelph’s Chief Financial Officer. “We’re also exploring innovative funding sources to avoid using debt to fund new projects.”
View highlights of Guelph’s Capital Investment Strategy
View Guelph’s Capital Investment Strategy:
proposed 2014-2023 Capital Budget and Forecast

Guelph’s Financial Strategy will be presented in four sections
•    Capital Investment Strategy: 2014-2023 proposed Capital Budget and Forecast
•    Non-tax-supported Strategy: 2014 proposed Operating and Capital Budget and Forecast
•    Tax-supported Operating Strategy: 2014 proposed Operating Budget and Forecast
•    Local Boards and Shared Services Strategy: 2014 proposed Operating and Capital Budget

Visit guelph.ca/budget for a complete schedule, and continued updates about Guelph’s Financial Strategy.
For more information
Al Horsman
Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer
Finance and Enterprise Services
519-822-1260 extension 5606

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Thursday Sep 19th - 2013

City seeks input on proposed Heritage Conservation District

GUELPH, ON, September 19, 2013 – The City is holding a community focus workshop to discuss options for policies and guidelines for the proposed Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District.

The community focus workshop will be held on Wednesday, October 2 from 7-9 p.m. at the
Guelph Community Christian School, located at 195 College Avenue West.

Workshop participants will have an opportunity to provide feedback about key topics associated with this heritage district area, and the policies and guidelines that may be recommended for the district. Discussion topics will include the streetscape; open spaces; guidelines for contemporary design; guidelines for restoration and alterations; and heritage permit approvals and incentives.

“Whether you are new to the area, a long-time resident, or just interested in the city’s cultural heritage resources, this workshop will explain how heritage conservation district plans are used to guide development and change while conserving cultural heritage value,” explained Stephen Robinson, senior heritage planner with Planning Services.

The City will use feedback from the workshop to inform the draft Heritage Conservation District Plan and detailed design guidelines.  

A Heritage Conservation District (HCD) is an area that is protected by a municipal designation by-law passed by City Council, under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA). District designation enables Council to manage and guide future change in the district, through adoption of a district plan with policies and guidelines for conservation, protection and enhancement of the area’s special character.

The Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District would be the first of its kind to be designated in the City of Guelph. City Council approved the district boundary on December 10, 2012.

Read more about the Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District.

For more information

Stephen Robinson
Senior Heritage Planner
Planning Services
T 519-837-5616 x 2496
E stephen.robinson@guelph.ca

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Friday Sep 6th - 2013

This letter to the editor was published in August.

Read it Here: Guelph Needs More Leaders Like Cam Guthrie

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Thursday Sep 5th - 2013

I have asked City staff to look into this damage that happened a long time ago to see if there's a timeframe as to when it'll be repaired:

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Tuesday Sep 3rd - 2013

Senior municipal leader joins City of Guelph:
GUELPH, ON, September 3, 2013 – Today Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert announced the selection of Derrick Thomson as the City’s new Executive Director, Community and Social Services, following an extensive search and evaluation of potential candidates.
“Derrick is an accomplished senior municipal leader with a proven track record of successful initiatives that demonstrate organizational excellence, innovation in local government and city building,” said Pappert. “He has worked collaboratively and successfully with community partners and municipal Councils to provide exceptional services that are well designed, inclusive, appealing, attractive for business, and strengthen citizen engagement.”
Since 2008 Mr. Thomson has served as CAO for the Township of West Lincoln, where he led the completion of several key Master Plans including the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, the first Council Strategic Plan, and a Community Improvement Plan.
Prior to his tenure as CAO for West Lincoln, Derrick fulfilled a variety of senior management roles at the City of Brampton. His accomplishments at the City of Brampton include the successful negotiation of a 26.5 million dollar public, private partnership agreement for a Sports and Entertainment Center; management of the planning, design and delivery of corporate facilities including recreation centers; and the development of corporate-wide business plan models.
Mr. Thomson holds a Masters Certificate of Municipal Administration and a Diploma in Recreation.

Ann Pappert
Chief Administrative Officer
T 519-822-1260 x 2221
E ann.pappert@guelph.ca

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Tuesday Sep 3rd - 2013

Please read the following two articles below. One from The Guelph Mercury & one from the Guelph Tribune.

Please also note, it's important to give credit where credit is due. Although many policies or procedures have been put in place in this term of council, two were from previous council. One was the debt management policy & the other was the reserve fund management policy. Thank you to councillor Piper & Wettstein for pointing me to those. This term added the internal auditor functions, different reporting mechanisims through comittees and I would argue a more transparent reporting of our budgets and financials. As I said in the Guelph Mercury article, thanks goes out to staff for their hard work on this. Specifically Tara and Al. Our external auditors from Deloitte deserve thanks as well!


Guelph Mercury Article: HERE

Guelph Tribune Article: HERE


Thank you,




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Tuesday Sep 3rd - 2013

GUELPH, ON, September 3, 2013 – The City of Guelph is seeking feedback and insight from the community as part of its Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) Review.  
Beginning this week, a telephone survey, administered by Metroline Research Group Inc., will gather responses on waste management practices and trends from a statistically significant sample of 400 randomly selected Guelph households. The telephone survey will be completed weekday evenings and Saturdays and will take approximately 10 minutes.
All residents will have the opportunity to complete the same survey online. The web survey will be available at guelph.ca/waste from September 12 until October 31.
Residents are also invited to share their thoughts and feedback at the first SWMMP open house on September 12. The open house will provide the community with a look at Guelph's current waste system and what's been happening since the implementation of the 2008 SWMMP, as well as an overview of the SWMMP Review and a chance to talk to City staff, the consultant team, and members of the public steering committee about waste management.
WHAT:    Solid Waste Management Master Plan Review Open House
WHO:    City staff and consultant team from GENIVAR, SWMMP Review Steering Committee members, Residents and community stakeholders
WHERE:   Cutten Fields
190 College Avenue East
WHEN    Thursday, September 12
5 to 8 p.m.
Community feedback from the surveys and the open house will be used to inform the City's new SWMMP. The new Master Plan will guide the strategic direction of Guelph's waste management over the next 20 years and will provide recommendations that build on Guelph’s leadership in waste minimization and diversion for a sustainable, service focused and economically viable future.
The SWMMP Review community consultation efforts support the City's open government principles and the Corporate Strategic Plan's strategic direction to strengthen citizen and stakeholder engagement and communication.  
For more information about the SWMMP Review visit guelph.ca/plans-and-strategies/solid-waste-management-master-plan/.

Heather Connell
Manager, Integrated Services
Solid Waste Resources
Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment
T 519-822-1260 x 2082
E heather.connell@guelph.ca

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

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