My Thoughts on Net Zero Buildings & the Electric Vehicle Transition in Guelph

On June 6th 2017, as Chair of the Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Committee, I introduced an agenda item for council discussion on Exploring Pathways to Transition the Corporation of Guelph to Net Zero and the Electrification of our Corporate Transportation Fleet.

I’m pleased to report the recommendations received unanimous support from council.

Below, please find my speaking notes and video.  Continue reading

Update | Eastview Park facility building construction has begun!

On Thursday, May 18th I received a welcome update from our Parks and Recreation staff on the status of the NEW Eastview Community Park Amenity Building.

Construction fencing is now up demarking the construction zone (please see picture attached) and excavation and construction is expected to begin shortly.

Construction area now fenced off

The new amenity building will include: washrooms, change rooms, referee rooms, concession, storage and mechanical room for the future splash pad.

Work will be ongoing throughout the summer and fall with the expected completion date (based on timeline from the contractor) being late January-early February 2018.

As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
Dan.Gibson@guelph.ca
519-827-6407 (c)
www.ward1guelph.ca
@DanGibsonCllr

 

My Interview with Open Sources Guelph, CFRU 93.3fm in Guelph | May 11, 2017

On Thursday May 11, 2017 I visited with Adam Donaldson and Scotty Hertz on Open Sources Guelph, CFRU 93.3fm to discuss (among other things), finding “common currency” in our environmental policies; my desire to better align the corporation of Guelph with the Low Carbon Economony; the loss of online voting in the Guelph 2018 Municipal Election; and of course….East End Commercial Development along York Road.

Have a listen Guelph and as always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
Dan.Gibson@guelph.ca
519-827-6407 (c)
www.ward1guelph.ca
@DanGibsonCllr

Is casting your ballot online in the 2018 Guelph Municipal Election important to you?

On Monday April 3rd, despite learning that over 12,800 votes (33%) cast during the 2014 Guelph municipal election were submitted online, seven councilors decided they wanted internet voting removed altogether in 2018.

This was unprecedented. On a recomendation from staff to expand internet voting in 2018 to include election day, seven Councilors unexpectedly brought forward an amendment of their own.  An amendment to completely remove internet voting in 2018. And within 30 minutes they had passed it. No consultation, no notice, no public debate.

They passed this motion with full knowledge that the 2014 Guelph Municipal Election saw the highest voter turnout in 20 years (43%). Up from only 34% in 2010. In addition, they passed this motion with full knowledge that hundreds, if not thousands of new voters intended to use internet voting in 2018 (based on phone survey results).

In conclusion…they knew it would suppress the vote.

Guelph if you valued the ability to cast your vote online in 2014, or would consider it in 2018, please consider sending an email to clerks@guelph.ca to express your support. The council ratification vote is on April 24th and emails need to be received before April 20th at noon.

Council needs to hear your voice on this! 

 

Council not clicking on Internet Voting in 2018 Municipal Election

Courtesy Guelph Today | April 4th, 2017

Unless things change in the next three weeks, the city will not offer internet voting in the 2018 municipal election.

Nor will it offer a paperless voting option during advance polls.

Guelph City Council’s Committee of the Whole voted Monday afternoon to remove internet voting from the picture for 2018 but not without a lot of wrestling with the concept of making voting more accessible and convenient versus concerns about security, privacy and the possibility of voter fraud.

Mayor Cam Guthrie took to the internet later that night to criticize the move.

On his Mayor’s blog he wrote: “Let that sink in. 7 votes today have the potential to prevent how 13,000 citizens voted in 2014 and how thousands more would choose to vote in the future,” wrote Guthrie.

He urged constituents to reach out to the seven councillors who voted against the motion: Bob Bell, Mike Salisbury, James Gordon, Leanne Piper, Karl Wettstein, June Hofland and Phil Allt.

City Clerk Stephen O’Brien said at Monday’s meeting that 33 per cent of the votes cast in the 2014 election were done on the internet when it was offered during the advance voting period. He said during a follow-up telephone survey, 63 per cent of respondents said they would engage in internet voting.

It was convenient for people with disabilities, shift workers, busy families and those who travel and couldn’t vote in person on election day, he said. And internet voting took place at all hours of the day and night.

“Internet voting cast across all age groups,” O’Brien said. “We’re seeing a turn toward internet voting and away from phone and mail.”

But a number of councillors and delegates expressed concern over the security, privacy, and the very integrity of online voting as it is susceptible to voter fraud and computer hacking.

They also accused MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation of having lax rules about voter registration. MPAC develops the voter lists that are distributed to municipalities and the lists are notoriously inaccurate.

“It’s an atrocious voters’ list,” said Susan Watson, who spoke at a delegate. “No identification is required to get on the MPAC voter list. It’s susceptible to fraud. You could register your cat.”

Councillor Leanne Piper introduced an amendment to remove internet voting from the 2018 landscape. Changes to the Municipal Election Act have moved the deadline for municipalities to make decisions about their elections to May 1st a year before the election, so the decision is pressing.

“I don’t know if by 2018 the accuracy will be there,” she said.

O’Brien said that the city has its own two-step system to ensure the identity of the person registering to vote online but has no control over the list provided by MPAC.

“MPAC has to do something about voter identification,” said Coun. Cathy Downer.

Councillor Dan Gibson gave an impassioned plea to retain internet voting, stating that people shop online and pay their bills online and they should be able to vote online too. He said removing the option is a step backwards and away from democracy.

“We’re a progressive community but this is a regressive decision,” he said.

Council also voted not to go paperless in 2018, citing the comfort and security of a paper trail in the case of a recount. But they did support the use of vote scanners and tabulators to assist in the vote count.

The vote still has ratified at the council meeting on April 24.

Exploring Pathways for Aligning the Corporation of Guelph with the Low Carbon Economy

When it comes to environmental initiatives my desire is for a consistent message from elected leaders.

That our focus, first and foremost, is to be stewards of the community’s good will toward the environment and to seek “common currency” (i.e. social, fiscal and environmental) in our initiatives that ensures transparency, trust and broad support.

And while I have no interest in repeating mistakes of the past in Guelph that included unattainable and unaccountable visions; my focus remains on rebuilding the community’s trust in our municipal governments ability to implement fiscally responsible climate change initiatives that are achievable, transparent and reflect common currency.

In this context, please see attached an Agenda Item I will be bringing forward during the June Committee of the Whole Meeting of Council for discussion.

As always if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to discuss further, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
Dan.Gibson@guelph.ca
519-827-6407 (c)
www.ward1guelph.ca
@DanGibsonCllr

Plan “B” for East End Commercial Development Gets Nod from Guelph Council

Courtesy Doug Hallett | Guelph Mercury Tribune | March 7, 2017

A conceptual illustration of the mixed-use node identified at Starwood Drive and Watson Parkway from a City of Guelph display board for the official plan. The existing Guelph Public Library branch can be seen at right.

Council has thrown its weight behind a “Plan B” for commercial development in Guelph’s east end, in the event that the designated mixed-use node at the corner of Watson Parkway and Starwood Drive fails to shape up as a commercial centre.

Council’s committee of the whole (COW) unanimously approved a slightly amended version of Ward 1 Coun. Dan Gibson’s motion calling for city staff to consider opportunities for neighbourhood commercial development along York Road east of Victoria Road.

Then, on a 11-1 vote, COW approved Gibson’s additional clause directing staff to report back on commercial opportunities along York as they emerge or at established reporting times for a major city-wide commercial policy review that’s underway.

Gibson told Monday’s meeting of COW that the city’s “Plan A” is still to see a supermarket built to act as a commercial anchor at the Watson-Starwood node, where a Guelph Public Library branch now sits near a lot of vacant land. However, Gibson said he fears this designated node might be “collapsing.” And if Plan A doesn’t work out as hoped, “then we as council are ensuring we have Plan B” in looking at neighbourhood commercial development on York Road, he said. Continue reading

Loblaw ‘unco-operative’ in Guelph’s east end, councillor claims

Courtesy | Doug Hallett of the Guelph Mercury Tribune

March 1, 2017

City hall seems to be losing patience with Loblaw Companies Ltd. over the lack of a Zehrs supermarket that could act as an anchor for commercial development in Guelph’s east end.

On a 10-2 vote, council agreed on Monday, Feb. 27, to refer a motion by Ward 1 Coun. Dan Gibson about east-end commercial development to the March 6 meeting of council’s committee of the whole for a full debate on the issue. But preliminary debate that happened on Monday clearly showed city hall’s frustration with the lack of progress in getting commercial development at a designated mixed-use node at the corner of Watson Parkway and Starwood Drive, where Loblaw owns a lot of land. Coun. Bob Bell, who also represents Ward 1, said the city’s plans for commercial development near this intersection hasn’t resulted so far in much more than a public library branch. And, he added, Loblaw is pressing city hall for more residential rather than more commercial development in this area. “Loblaw is at our door as we speak, wanting more residential” and wanting to “snuff out” what remains of the designated commercial land in the area, Bell charged. Loblaw is “a developer who has been unco-operative” in regards to the city’s development goals for the east end, Bell told council. Continue reading

Update on New Traffic Controls Coming to Ward 1 in 2017

Traffic control and speed on our roads has been a significant file for me since being elected in 2014 and I want to thank the many residents who have been strong advocates in this regard. Whether it be school zone safety, volume control,  pedestrian crossings or traffic signals, we are seeing signs of progress.

Here are some updates (Provided by City Staff) on traffic related files advancing in 2017.

1) All way Stop at Watson and Speedsvale
“It is our intent to have the all way stop signs, plus associated pavement markings in place by end of April of this year (2017).”

2) New Traffic Signals at the intersection of Eastview and Watson
“Due to the recommendations from the existing Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that was undertaken previously in the area we will not be able to have the new traffic signals installed and operational until August of this year as we are undertaking our work in conjunction with other capital work taking place on Eastview. It is our focus to have the signals operational before school is back in September.”
 Please see the recommendations from the study below.
9. It is recommended that construction take place between August and March (i.e. outside the breeding cycle of April through July) to allow amphibians to complete their breeding cycle;
10. If construction must take place during any part of the breeding cycle, wildlife enclosure fencing (e.g. silt fence) should be used to prevent amphibians and reptiles from entering the active construction area. An on-site environmental monitor should survey the fence daily to ensure the fence is functioning as intended. Daily surveys of the construction zone should be completed first thing in the morning and any wildlife should be moved outside the construction zone.

3) New (Temporary) Traffic Signal at the intersection of York and Elizabeth

“We estimate that the traffic signal installation (temporary design) at York at Elizabeth would be completed by August/September of this year.”  Full installation of traffic signal (permanent) will take place in during the future reconstruction of York Road. 

Again, thanks to the many of you who have been advocating with me on these files.  We’re moving forward together!

Regards…..,

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
Dan.Gibson@guelph.ca
519-827-6407 (c)
www.ward1guelph.ca
@DanGibsonCllr (on twitter)

 

 

Please share, retweet and forward to your friends, family and co-workers! Your voice matters!

Feel free to email me at dan.gibson@guelph.ca, and if you’d like your support to become part of the public record, please email clerks@guelph.ca.

Have a great night!

Dan

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