Leanne's Blog

 

 

The Learning Curve on Electric Vehicles

July 12, 2017 — My trusted Matrix took its dying breath on the Hanlon a few weeks ago.  Saying good-bye was harder than I thought it would be, because so many memories with my kids happened in that car – road trips, camping, horse shows, and teenagers learning to drive with their G1.   But I won’t miss the roll up windows, the familiar rattles...

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Committee of the Whole 101

May 29, 2017 — Much ado has been made lately in the press about Council’s Committee of the Whole (CoW).  Opinion within Council is divided — some love it, some hate it — but most of the public don’t even understand it.  Here’s the low-down: Any council or board normally has some kind of committee structure.  The purpose of a committee is to review...

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Learning how to build a great city

May 15, 2017 — Last week, I had the privilege to attend the 2017 National Planning Conference (NPC).   Each year, city councillors are allocated budget funds for professional development which can be used to attend courses, conferences and/or other learning activities related to our role as members of Council.  Each year, I try to choose something different, based on the needs and challenges facing our...

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Online Voting Reflections

April 24, 2017 — Tonight (Monday, April 24) City Council will make its decision to offer — or not offer — online voting as an option in the next municipal election in the fall of 2018.  On April 5th, at Committee of the Whole, I moved a motion to remove online voting as an option, which passed in a 7-5 vote.  Since that day, members...

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Online Voting is a Complex Question

April 6, 2017 — Recently, Council as Committee of the Whole voted (7-5) against the use of online voting during the 2018 municipal election.  As one of the councillors who voted to pause online voting for 2018, let me assure you that this issue is not black and white. I try to do my homework before I make a decision — on any issue...

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Peeling Back the Petrie: Iconic Downtown Landmark is Coming Back to Life

February 24, 2017 — When Tyrcathlen Partners developer Kirk Roberts bought the landmark downtown Petrie Building in 2015, he knew very well that a heritage restoration would bring a unique set of challenges.  It’s not his first rodeo (The Boarding House Arts and the Granary Building) and he clearly sees both personal, cultural and financial benefit in the restoration of unique heritage structures.  ...

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation….

September 6, 2016 — During the month of August, Council takes a short hiatus to allow both staff and councillors the opportunity to enjoy a break.  But rest assured, there is no such thing as a traditional “vacation” in the life of a city councillor.  The daily constituency work – inquiries, emails, calls, re: city issues, problems, ideas – are part of the job all year...

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Footsteps in Ward 5: Peterson Creek

March 28, 2016 — Ward 5 is filled with special places.  Is there a unique place, person, building, or geographical feature about which you would like to know more?  Email me your question and I will do my best to tell the story… The first installment of our new series “Footsteps in Ward 5” is the story of Peterson Creek.   You’ve probably heard...

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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

February 15, 2016 — I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started noticing the proliferation of mobile signs all over the city, but it was several years ago. A constituent brought to my attention a stretch of mobile sign pollution between Harvard Road and Kortright Road a few years back, and after several calls to our By-law Compliance staff, we have regular monitoring of this...

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Closed Meeting Protocol

February 8, 2016 — I have received a number of questions from constituents about Council’s Closed Session (often referred to as In Camera) meeting rules. Here is a link to the City of Guelph Closed Meeting protocol. The City’s protocol conforms to all requirements under the Ontario Municipal Act.  In addition to this policy, there are also rules about what can be discussed publicly...

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Stuck on Stage 2: Anger at Demise of Guelph Mercury Print Edition

January 30, 2016 — According to Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief when one is faced with the loss of a loved one:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When Metroland Media announced the end of the print edition of the Guelph Mercury, I spent an hour or two on stage 1 (denial) and then quickly moved to stage 2...

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What’s In a Name: Mo, Moe or Mole Hill?

January 26, 2016 — Tradition and names matter in local culture and history.  Urban myths abound in Guelph, whether it be the ghost at the Albion (yes, she exists) or whether John Galt really put his hand on a tree stump when he designed the city (no, he didn’t). We even have our own Guelph pronunciations – it’s “Del-HI” Street and “AR-kul” Road. Here...

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Word of the Day: “Makerspace”

December 22, 2015 — The new buzz word in urbanism is “makerspace”.   It follows on the heels of “placemaking”  which is slightly different.  Placemaking focuses on creating a physical built environment that encourages people to congregate, stay and interact within a landscape.   Market Square is a good local example.  Makerspace (aka hackerspace, fablabs) began as shared space where do-it-yourselfers could go to share communal tools,...

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Hey What’s That Old Building?

December 22, 2015 — Have you ever wondered about the origin of the Drill Hall?  The what? You know, that building across from the Armoury.  The one by the tracks behind the train station.  Yes, it has a name. The Drill Hall (sometimes referred to as the Drill Shed) was built in 1866 in response to the Fenian raids along the Upper and Lower...

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Transit Cuts a Step Backward

November 30, 2015 — Once again, transit service cuts and fare increases are included in the 2016 City of Guelph proposed budget.  It seems that whenever we are looking for savings or revenue during budget season, Transit is one of the first places staff look to offer up big dollars.  This is backwards for so many reasons.  Let me count just a few of...

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Road Diets and Reducing Car(b)s

June 30, 2015 — Council will soon deliberate on how to paint the lines on Speedvale Avenue East.  It is down to two options that are being bantered about, as follows: 1.  Traditional Configuration:  four lanes of car traffic, no centre turn lane, no bike lanes. 2.  Road Diet:  two lanes of car traffic, one centre turning lane, with bike lanes. The debate on...

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Guelph Transit Challenge – Week One Reflections

May 8, 2015 — The first week of the Guelph Transit (GT) Challenge is over!  Here is my progress report and observations: Progress: Despite temptation, I have not used my car, asked for a ride or accepted a ride in a car.  I am 100% car-free! Approximately 50% of my transportation needs have been met through Guelph Transit.  I have been a passenger on...

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Guelph Transit Challenge

May 4, 2015 — It was a sunny 20+ degree day outside when I said “I’ll do it!” to the Guelph Transit Challenge.  Although I am already an occasional transit user, the truth is that my car is my primary means of transportation.  The reasons vary by month:  work requirements, family commitments, weather, etc. Can I shift my 90% (car) and 10% (other) lifestyle in the...

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Grow “Up” and Grow “Out”

April 9, 2015 — As a growing city, we have had several community dialogues over the years to address the question “how do we grow responsibly?”   Guelph was well ahead of its time when we initiated SmartGuelph before the Province had legislated Places to Grow or the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan regulations. In 2009, Council approved a made-in-Guelph growth plan — remember Envision...

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City Streets for People?

February 18, 2015 — Public “rights of way” existed long before the automobile. It’s Heritage Week in Ontario and I have been looking at old photos of Guelph. Here’s one of many that intrigued me from days gone by. This, and many other photos, depict pedestrians, carts, horses, cyclists and streetcars sharing the streets.  No right angles, fluid and unencumbered.  Yes, I know that times...

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Full-time or Part-Time Councillors?

January 17, 2015 — The following article was recently published in the Guelph Mercury:  Opinions Differ on Ward Boundaries, Work Status of Councillors. It’s an interesting and timely discussion on the heels of a recent election, especially as we head into another round of budget deliberations. LEANNE’S OPINION:   Democracy Needs Diversity of Voices I think we can all agree that the role of...

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A Race to the Bottom: Public Sector vs. Private Sector

May 31, 2014 — Ontario’s economy shifting from “stable full-time jobs to shaky part-time jobs”? Toronto Star “The wage and pension divide between public and private sector is growing.” Globe and Mail. The latest election trend demonizing public sector workers is disturbing.   Perhaps it’s the ‘Rob Ford’ effect, but it appears that the wages and pensions of public sector workers will be fodder for...

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“Why Didn’t You Just Say That in the First Place?”

May 1, 2014 — Yesterday, in response to a question from a local resident, I tried to explain that “Tax-Increment-Based Grants” (TIBG) were not giveaways, nor are they paid for by current taxpayers. TIBGs are the most misunderstood term in the world. We really need to invent a new word for TIBGs. As part of the conversation, I gave an example of a vacant...

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TIF Grants: Giveaways or Good Policy?

April 20, 2014 — A recent letter to the editor in a local paper decried the use of brownfield grant incentives given to Tricar, the developer who is building on the former Marsh Tire site on the corner of Wellington and Macdonell.  See letter here. This is the not the first time I have heard the sentiment “we shouldn’t be giving away taxpayer money...

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PD: A Wise Investment

April 9, 2014 — I can’t think of a single profession that doesn’t benefit from professional development.  I want my doctor to learn the latest research on prescription medication or a new diagnostic tool.  Teachers need to be on top of new curriculum, and IT professionals should be able to troubleshoot new software and hardware systems.  An auto mechanic should know how to fix ...

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Blame…and Credit

April 4, 2014 — Anyone who knows me has heard me repeat many times that the most frustrating part of local politics is that Council is “to blame for everything, but gets credit for nothing.” Never has this been more true than this week. The recent judge’s ruling in the Urbacon case is a blow to all of us, inside and outside of City Hall.   I...

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Downtown Investment an Election Issue?

March 9, 2014 — Both local papers have recently featured headlines posititioning downtown investment as a potential election issue. Guelph Tribune article Guelph Mercury article Is it really an “election battle zone”?   I think perhaps it is being positioned as such by the media because mayoral candidates Karen Farbridge and Cam Guthrie voted differently from each other on whether to move forward on the...

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Thanks Grassroots Guelph…

March 1, 2014 — No really, thank you.  Any group of citizens who care about the city — its people, its programs, its prosperity, its future, and its finances — who have a concern and bring it out into the open, it is a favour to all of us.  That is the essence of civic engagement and accountability.  It provides the city with an...

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Tips, Snitches or Ombuds?

February 28, 2014 — Due to a previously scheduled commitment, I was not able to attend Monday’s Council meeting.  Chris from the Merc asked the next day how I would have voted on the subject of a city hall “tip line” for residents or staff to anonymously submit comments.  Here was my response ….   I see both sides, so my vote would have...

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Heritage Sure Does Gets People Talking

January 22, 2014 — Last night, I attended an event organized by the local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario about the Wilson-Ingram farmhouse, a north-end heritage asset on the brink of an uncertain end.  It was billed as an opportunity to “celebrate” and “explore ways to secure its future.” It certainly was that.  With well over 50 people in attendance, the event began...

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Wilson Farm: An Evening of Celebration and Creative Thinking

January 17, 2014 — Guelph citizens never cease to amaze me…here’s a great upcoming event for anyone interested in our heritage and why it’s important to try to save what we have left…  LP TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2014 7 pm  at the eBar downtown Guelph (2nd floor Bookshelf) Wilson Farm ACO David Knight poster pdf With music, stories and aerial photographs, archaeologist and musician...

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Happy Making in Guelph

January 11, 2014 — This new short film made me smile today!  From the heart and mind of local business owner and Ward 2 Councillor Ian Findlay, the #HappyMaking project defined the summer of 2013.  So “Guelph”…. Watch the film on Ian’s blog

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A Parking Problem or a Driving Problem?

December 14, 2013 — Streets in Ward 5 have a parking problem, there’s no doubt about it.  Essex Street is overwhelmed, and nearby overflow streets on Kent, Fountain, Surrey and Nottingham are just as crowded.  Why ?  Because they are within walking distance of downtown.   Fairview, Forbes, Vardon, James, Dean, all within walking distance to the University, are bumper to bumper all day, Monday...

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Hope for HIV/AIDS

November 26, 2013 —   December 1 is World AIDS Day.  As many of you know, my daughter Lyndsay Piper is currently working in Kenya, a country with one of the highest HIV/AIDs rates in the world.   The children she has met, some of them innocent AIDS orphans, would melt your heart.    Feeling helpless?  Me too.  Thankfully, the caring spirit of Guelph is alive and...

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Thanks Ti-Cats!

November 25, 2013 — Could not have said it better myself … so I’m sharing. Mayor Karen Farbridge’s Blog — Hamilton Tiger-Cats LP

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“The City Can’t Be Trusted With Our Heritage”

September 18, 2013 — I overheard this comment last night at the Community and Social Services meeting where the fate of the Wilson Farmhouse at 80 Simmonds Drive was on the agenda. I understand where the sentiment was coming from, because one of the shared reflections from all involved (neighbours, staff, heritage advocates and members of council) is that the Wilson Farmhouse file has...

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Who is John Galt?

August 5, 2013 — The opening line of Ayn Rand’s famous novel Atlas Shrugged, Galt is later revealed to be the book’s main character.  Rand’s Galt is a fictional character who, ironically, is the opposite of Guelph’s John Galt. The real John Galt is a more complex and interesting fellow than the fictional one.  The founder of the City of Guelph — celebrated locally each...

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Backroom Politics and Trust

August 3, 2013 — We’ve all heard the term “backroom politics”. It is a term used to describe politicians at any level of government who operate outside of established process – the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the backroom as a place where deals are “made in an inconspicuous way : behind-the-scenes.” All decisions made by government should be made with full transparency (unless subject to...

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Jury of One Nails It

August 3, 2013 — Mr. Tracey hit this issue squarely on the head.   http://www.guelphmercury.com/opinion-story/3921530-guelph-on-right-track-with-rental-housing-licensing-proposal/ I’ve heard enough tenant stories over the years (including my own son) to know there is a problem. I will be the first to say there are a lot of legal and safe rooms in Guelph, managed by responsible landlords.  But there are enough rooms out there that would...

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A Whole Lot of Mulch for Guelph

July 20, 2013 — I’m feeling pretty good about my city today. You can tell a lot about a place, and its people, by its response during and after an unexpected event, like a massive thunderstorm, for example. We’ve had three major storms since April, all resulting in significant private and public damage to trees, hydro lines, etc. Response is swift to emergency situations,...

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Waste Carts and Cool Technology

May 9, 2013 — It’s Year 2 and another round of Guelph residents are preparing to roll out their carts!   So far, the majority of current existing cart users are telling us they prefer the carts to the use of bags.   That’s good news.  Read more here. One very cool piece of waste collection technology that is worthy of note:   our collection trucks are equipped...

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Saving Barns

April 9, 2013 — This evening at Council, we removed the Hart Barn at 132 Harts Lane from the city’s Heritage Register. It was disheartening, but necessary. The barn was structurally unsound and the best possible future is to retain, preserve and reuse its architectural elements in the potential new subdivision that is being proposed. Thankfully, the barn’s new owner is someone who understand...

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I Love By-Laws – Part 2

December 31, 2012 — Part One click here. The 1850 – 1880s must have been an interesting time in Guelph.  The transformation from a town of 3,000 to a city of over 10,000 came with significant financial, social and cultural change.   Guelph was given the power to enact by-laws  in 1851, the railroad arrived in 1856, major industry was booming (Raymonds Sewing Machines, Bell...

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I Love By-laws!

December 30, 2012 — But not the way you think! By-laws are simply functional rules by which citizens of a municipality govern themselves and behave as a community. They are wide-ranging and in most cases cover everyday governance matters, such as street names, sidewalk widths, plans of subdivision and appointment of by-law officers. What I love about by-laws is how they reflect the community...

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Dam Thoughts

June 30, 2012 — Recently, an article in the Guelph Mercury highlighted the conflicting community opinion on the future of the Wellington Street dam. While the debate may be years away — as there is no immediate need for a large capital investment in repairs — it is still a subject that is of high interest to those who care deeply about our river...

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River Rant

June 2, 2012 — There’s been quite a flash flood of emails over the last few days about Official Plan Amendment 48 (OPA 48) and a claim that the document ignores how much we value our river systems. Nothing could be further from the truth! From my perch, there is no Council in recent history that values the rivers as much as the current...

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Is This The Best We Can Do?

May 1, 2012 — On April 30th, Council passed an ambitious and inspiring vision for the future of our downtown —  the Downtown Secondary Plan. It calls for preservation of the heritage core, enhanced public realm and parkland, commercial and residential intensification, and demands a high degree of urban design for new buildings.  It calls for us to “build beautifully”. The vision is a...

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Feeling Great about Guelph!

April 11, 2012 — This is worth sharing — from the series Profiles hosted by Terry Bradshaw…. As per the Mayor’s blog,  it is worth noting that Guelph is the ONLY Canadian city that was featured in this series.  One of several Canadian cities…. http://youtu.be/Da11A8_6Bv4

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Local is the New Global

April 1, 2012 — I had the privilege of waving the Guelph banner today at the Centre for Civic Governance conference in BC — http://www.civicgovernance.ca/events. Guelph is often asked to share its best practices, and we seem to be making a lot of news lately as one of the pioneers in Canada of participatory budgeting. Thursday morning this past week, Kelly Guthrie in our...

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Museum a Shining Jewel

February 25, 2012 — Friday, February 24 was a day of celebration for the many citizens, organizations and worker bees who made the opening of the new Guelph Civic Museum a reality. The museum is officially open — and it is spectacular. Multiple galleries, a children’s learning gallery, meeting and workshop space, collection storage and a public research and archives area are all part of...

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Downtown Rowdiness Cure

August 20, 2011 — At first, I got a good chuckle out of this story, but maybe the City Council of Victoria, BC is on to something….. http://www.npr.org/2011/07/23/138622229/lollipops-pacifiers-for-bar-patrons

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Carden Street Response

August 2, 2011 — Like most residents of Guelph, including downtown merchants, I am very much looking forward to the opening of Market Square and the new transit hub. The long term vision for this new civic space will benefit the community for generations to come. Let’s face it, no one likes construction (except perhaps construction workers!). Add hot weather and unforeseen delays, and...

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“When They Come for the Libraries”

August 1, 2011 — Had to share this…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN-e7xo5Bi8 – Hillside Festival, Spoken Word, July 24, 2011 LP

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High? Low? Slim? Wide?

March 26, 2011 — I had a call from a constituent today about one of the Environics survey questions re: highrise buildings in Guelph. For those who don’t know, the city is conducting a survey on the many issues that Guelph is currently facing to feed into the upcoming Strategic Plan, ranging from taxes to recreation and everyting in between. The specific question of...

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Nature Called

March 4, 2011 — I received an email this morning from a constituent asking how I would have voted (if I had been at the table) on the issue of cutting three part-time library clerks. Answer: I would have voted to keep them in the budget. In other words,  the outcome of the vote (6-6 tie motion defeated) would NOT have changed had I...

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Thoughts on Water

February 1, 2011 — From today’s Mercury (with my comments below): Council approves 10 per cent water rate February 01, 2011 Drew Halfnight, Mercury staff GUELPH — Council approved a 10 per cent increase to city water rates Monday evening, the second of four projected consecutive annual increases at that rate. The vote came at the end of an occasionally tense, two-hour meeting, as...

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Living Sustainably in the City

January 10, 2011 — This article from the weekend Guelph Mercury is a good opportunity to talk about how city dwellers can live more sustainably within the urban environment. Obviously, city residents can’t live off of the land to the degree that Arlene Slocombe is doing, but there are ways that the City is encouraging us to move in that direction — through the...

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Farmer’s Market at its Best Today

December 11, 2010 — Guelph’s community spirit was alive and well at the Farmer’s Market today! Thank you to all the vendors who set up shop and to the many, many regular and new customers who came out to support them. Over 2,600 people came out between 7 am and 12 noon to show their Market spirit!  The City Hall venue was bustling with...

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I’m Thankful for Guelph

October 10, 2010 — Happy Thanksgiving!   My eldest son moved to Kitchener-Waterloo last year to pursue his education.   When he returns home for holidays or a visit, we often end up talking about how great it is in Guelph.   Isn’t it funny that we have to hear it from someone outside the city to appreciate what a truly fabulous community we have? This Thanksgiving,...

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Property Rights – Yours, Mine and Ours

July 26, 2010 — Several years ago, when I was a Community Editorial Board columnist with the Guelph Mercury, I published a column examining the issue of property rights. The column was in the context of property owners having the right to demolish heritage buildings.   How do we define the line that is crossed when individual rights and the public good are in conflict?...

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No Jefferson Salamander on Hanlon Creek Busines Park Lands

May 10, 2010 — CITY OF GUELPH NEWS RELEASE Salamander monitoring finds no Jefferson Salamander presence on Hanlon Creek Business Park lands GUELPH, ON, May 10, 2010 – Results of the recently completed salamander monitoring program indicate no Jefferson Salamander presence within the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP) lands. Natural Resource Solutions Inc. completed a comprehensive salamander monitoring program at the site between March...

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Lessons From London

March 27, 2010 — Earlier this week, a delegation from Guelph (consisting of myself, Mayor Farbridge, Councillor Wettstein, Jim Riddell, Director of Community Design and Development Services and Katie Nasswetter, senior development planner) traveled to London, Ontario to talk with local staff and politicians about implementation of their Near Campus Neighbourhoods strategy.   The goal was to learn from their mistakes and successes, and model...

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Canada’s Most Caring Community Comes Together to Help Haiti

January 26, 2010 — From the organizers of the Help Haiti Benefit Concert: Following the recent earthquake in Haiti, members of the Guelph community have pulled together to organize a benefit event featuring a wide selection of our amazing and world-class local-area talent. With overwhelming support from the local community, event organizers (Rev. Paul Clarkson, Dr. Ajay Heble, Sam Turton) have set a goal...

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Guelph Commemorative Naming Policy

January 5, 2010 — From the Community Design and Development Services department…. The City will be looking for suggestions from the public for naming new and unnamed parks, trails, bridges, squares, gardens, buildings, structures and rooms within buildings. Early in 2010, the City will post a complete list and map of City-owned assets to be named. First consideration by the Naming Committee will be...

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SUBBOR to Pay City of Guelph $2.5 Million

November 24, 2009 — The following media release was sent out this evening… SUBBOR to pay City of Guelph $2.5 million Settlement brings successful conclusion to court battle with SUBBOR, avoiding need for future court proceedings. GUELPH, ON, November 23, 2009 – The City of Guelph will receive $2.5 million in legal costs from SUBBOR (Super Blue Box Recycling Corporation) and its parent company...

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Let’s Talk Trees…

November 19, 2009 — Our urban forest is a major municipal asset. Cities spend a lot of time, money and resources maintaining “grey” infrastructure, but not enough on “green” infrastructure. Green infrastructure is linked to quality of life, recreation, air quality, urban cooling, carbon offsets, and so many other intangible benefits, such as aesthetic beauty. Grey infrastructure is, let’s face it, boring. It’s underground,...

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Royal City Park

November 18, 2009 — The Royal City Park Material Management Plan went to the Community Development and Environmental Services committee this past Monday. One of the key recommendations in the plan is to remove and replace 52 high-risk trees in 2010. The loss of 52 trees will have a significant impact on the look and feel of  the park.   As a regular user of...

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Why Do We Celebrate John Galt Day?

August 4, 2009 — John Galt portrait by Charles Grey In October 2006, City Council enacted a bylaw creating John Galt Day, becoming the 7th municipality in Ontario since 1969 (when the Civic Holiday was created) to give a name to the civic holiday. The impetus to name the civic holiday after our founding father, John Galt, came from citizens Peter Anderson and Gil...

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New Main Library - Size Matters

January 16, 2009 — From Norm McLeod, Chief Librarian Dear Council Members: Numbers often tell a compelling story. For 125 years Guelph has enjoyed the services of a highly successful public library. In recent years demand for all of the GPL’s expanding services has grown exponentially. As Rob O’Flanagan reported in a recent article in the Guelph Mercury (Feb11, 2008), the age of the...

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Sidewalks are For Walking

November 28, 2008 — I’ve been asked by several constituents about my lone vote against residential sidewalk clearing last Monday evening… I support the city clearing arterial road sidewalks, bus stops, central business district sidewalks and public facilities.  However, I believe residential side streets should be eliminated from the 2010 budget (not this year).  I also support an assistance program for residents who are...

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What Do Councillors Do Anyway?

November 20, 2008 — It’s a question often asked — and a good one that deserves an answer.  This week, the Governance and Economic Development committee considered a report on Full-time vs. Part-time Councillors.  The report compares other Ontario municipalities and the bottom line is that all of them are very different.  Burlington (population 151,000) is the closest municipality in size to Guelph with...

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Trying to Do the Right Thing

April 29, 2008 — Last night, Council voted to eliminate the cosmetic use of pesticides within the City of Guelph. There are exceptions, but for the most part, the days of indiscriminate spraying of pesticides on lawns in Guelph is over. Exceptions for insect infestation (grubs and chinch bugs) will end January 1, 2009. The new pesticide-free Guelph will require a cultural and behavioural...

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Boby Rub Parlours Rub Me the Wrong Way

March 20, 2008 — A posting at the 59 Carden blog accused City Council of being morally righteous in trying to establish a by-law to regulate body rub parlours. Running a “common bawdy house” is illegal. Enforcing the law is not a morally righteous act. The problem with the law as it currently is enforced has been problematic for police forces in Ontario. They...

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The Future of Community Sports

February 20, 2008 — The following column appeared in the Guelph Mercury, December 28, 2007. by Randy Norris Guelph needs a recreation master plan designed for today’s pressures RANDY NORRIS I remember my parents telling me that time speeds up as Father Time gets older. I much prefer being called mature compared to what my teenagers could call me. It allows me to retain...

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Sidewalks in Winter

December 19, 2007 — Increased public transit or residential sidewalk clearing? More frequent yard waste pick up or sidewalk ploughs? These are some of the trade-offs being examined by Council in the upcoming budget. Guelph is one of the last communities in the province to clear residential sidewalks. Is it an effective use of tax dollars? I have heard a range of comments this...

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Party Politics

November 2, 2007 — The ousting of local Conservative candidate Brent Barr is a stunner. I’m so glad municipal politics is not tied to the political party system.  I don’t consider myself to be an indoctrinated member of any political party.  I have voted all over the map since I cast my first ballot at 18. If our current City Council was beholdin’ to...

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City Logo

September 16, 2007 — From Guelph Mercury – September 15, 2007 The city’s logo is too important not to be great TONY LEIGHTON The path to mediocrity is paved with good intentions. I have no doubt that our city government intends to provide Guelph with a world-class logo. But between intention and delivery something has gone wrong. The two logos — rightly called “wordmarks”...

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Welcome Students

September 2, 2007 — Yes, it’s that time of year again. University of Guelph is welcoming new and returning students back to Guelph this weekend. Gordon Street (between Stone and College) will be closed Sunday, September 2, for the move-in mayhem. Each year, Ward 5 (and the city) welcomes students into our neighbourhoods. In most cases, students add vibrancy and diversity to our community....

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I’m a Taxpayer Too

July 24, 2007 — On occasion, I get calls or emails from constituents reminding me that they are taxpayers and have certain expectations about the services they receive for their tax dollar. Many residents are worried about facing significant tax increases over the next few years. As a taxpayer, I share these concerns. My teenage children are eating me out of house and home,...

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The Business Case for Saving the Convent

July 24, 2007 — Future site of Guelph Civic Museum framed by Guelph’s most recognized landmark. A recent commentary in the Mercury is critical of the concept of putting a civic museum in a building the city does not own. The writer compares it to building a swimming pool in your neighbours backyard. Personally, that sounds like a great deal. The business case for...

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Naming Public Spaces

May 19, 2007 — Should the City honour the memory of fallen police officers and firefighters who gave their lives in performance of their duties? Absolutely. But what is the most appropriate way? Earlier this year, I moved a motion for staff to bring forward a new-and-improved process for naming public spaces. Public spaces are for gathering, celebrating and inspiring our citizens. The naming...

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