Author: DanGibson (page 2 of 10)

Notice of Motion | Review of City Bylaw (1995)-14864 & Suspension of Enforcement

Just over a week ago Mayor Guthrie and myself, along with Councillor Bell, held a town-hall meeting about a city bylaw from 1995 that has created major conflicts in our community.

To recap, many citizens have been warned through compliance letters, or received summons and ultimately heavy financial penalties for widening their driveways so they can park their car on their own property. Continue reading

Update from June 6th Townhall on Guelph driveway width bylaw

Greetings Friends,

Thank you once again for taking time out of your busy schedules to join us on June 6th to discuss Bylaw enforcement of driveway widths in our neighborhoods.

I, along with the mayor, greatly appreciated the community’s honesty and respectful dialogue as we look to bring change to this punative issue.

As an immediate follow up to actions I took on June 6th, I’d like to provide the following update from staff to those property owners who received notices in late April.

  1. To clarify, staff did not proactively send out supplemental notices to those that received notices in the final week of April.
  2. If you received a notice during the last week of April, staff will not initiate further action on any of these properties until at least 90 days has passed which would be the last week in July.
  3. Finally, all future notices (including any notices sent out since April) will be granted 90 days to comply.
  4. If you have not already done so, residents are encouraged to call Building Services at 519-837-5614 extension 1 or to further discuss options.

I trust this provides some small relief to those effected homeowners in the short term.  In the long term however, the Mayor and I are finalizing (this week) a Notice of Motion to Council seeking to change this bylaw permanently.

Thanks again for your patience and input on this issue.  Our Townhall on June 6th was exactly what was necessary to bring people together, share our collective experiences and start the process of change.

Look for another update from me in the very near future.


My Thoughts on Downtown On-Street Parking. It’s not “FREE”

At the March 5th Committee of the Whole meeting the term “free” 2hr on-street parking in the downtown was used a lot.

Specifically, whether Guelph should keep “free” 2 hr on-street parking in the future, or whether the City should implement new on-street parking fees to help fund the approved Parking Master Plan (2016). There was only one problem with this debate. It was based on the false premise that 2 hr on-street parking is actually “free” when in fact it is not. On-street parking is not free. The truth is, it is subsidized by the city’s tax budget. See below.

As noted, the current cost to operate and maintain our parking inventory downtown is funded 48% by the general tax base and 52% by parking fees (daily and monthly permits). This breaks down as $1.5M annually coming from our City budget or approximately $23/household.

It is true that the approved Parking Master Plan will result in millions of dollars of new investment in parking inventory downtown over the next decade.  It is also true however, that it needs to be paid for. To this end, the collective “we” have a few options.

Option #1 | Static parking fees and continued “free” on-street parking. This option would increase the subsidization through taxes to 65%. Or $4.04M annually. This represents an annual increase of $2.54M to the city’s budget and a $61/year cost to the average homeowner (nearly triple the current $23/year).

Option #2 | Maintain “free” on-street parking and increase daily and monthly fees.  This option would increase the subsidization through taxes to 51%. Or $3.2M annually.  This represents an annual increase of $1.7M/year to the city’s budget and a $48/year cost to the average homeowner (double the current $23/year).

Option #3 | Blended increases to the tax subsidy and user fees.  The tax base subsidy still increases by almost $400k/year with the net subsidy rate (as a percentage) being reduced to 29%.  This represents a $29/year annual cost to homeowners (up from the current $23/year), with the remaining funding coming through a mix of user fees (i.e. Daily/Monthly parking passes as well as paid on-street parking). This is the enterprise model council understood in 2016 when approving the Parking Master Plan.  A plan which will be jeopardized if not funded properly.

In closing, it’s very important for residents to remember that our downtown is growing…..and it is growing fast. By 2031 it is estmated that our downtown will be home to over 8,000 residents and over 8,000 jobs.  This represents an increase of over 30%, making downtown one of the fastest growing and most important economic engines of our City.   In order to meet these goals however, we must move towards an intensified parking system; and that system comes at a cost.

As I mentioned on Monday.  It can come from the tax base.  It can come from user fees.  It can come from a mix of both.  But it has to come from somewhere.  Because one thing is for certain.

It is not “free”.

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
519-827-6407 (c)

200 Beverley (IMICo) Redevelopment Community Meeting Presentation | Jan 23, 2018

Please find attached the presentation provided at the IMICO community meeting hosted by ARQi R&D Inc., and supported by Business Development and Enterprise on January 23rd at 7:00 pm at the Italian Canadian Club.

Similar to the redevelopment of 5 Arthur Street, ARQi wished to engage the neighbourhood in preparation of an Urban Design Master Plan for the property.

Continue reading

My Thoughts on Guelph’s Commercial Policy Review

Continuing the push to see York Road rezoned to allow more appropriate neighbourhood commercial development.  The commercial policy review gives us the opportunity to reassess our plan for the east end and chart a new course along York Road.

It’s time to move our community forward.

Guelph’s Commercial Policy Review | An opportunity to advance commercial interests in the east end

On November 24, 2017 staff provided an update to council on the City’s ongoing commercial policy review.  This is a critical file for the East End of our city.  It is the review staff and council need to inform updates to the official plan and justify decisions that can bring more equitable distribution of commercial lands to east Guelph.  I encourage all who are interested to read the report here.

Based on my review, I’ve placed the report on the Committee of the Whole agenda for Monday January 15th for discussion.  Further, in advance of the meeting, I posed the following questions to staff seeking clarity on the progress of the review and how the ongoing inequity in east Guelph is being considered.  My questions and staff’s response are below.

Be sure to check back here following Monday’s meeting for further updates.

DATE: January 15, 2018

TO: Committee of the Whole

FROM: Todd Salter, General Manager

DIVISION:  Policy Planning and Urban Design

DEPARTMENT: Planning, Urban Design and Building Services

SUBJECT: Response to Questions Regarding Commercial Policy  Review: Stage 1 Commercial Analysis and Background Continue reading

Thoughts on the Proposed Guelph Hydro, Alectra Merger

As December 13th approaches and council makes a decision on the future of Guelph Hydro, constituent email, phone calls and social media inquiries have understandably increased.  As a means of staying as open and transparent on this file as possible, I’m posting the following response to many of the commonly themed concerns I’ve heard focused primarily on “Why”?

Know that I value and appreciate all of the feedback I’ve been receiving and I encourage everyone to continue reading and asking your questions.

Continue reading

My Thoughts on the 2018 Capital Budget

“Investing in what we own.”

This is a good summary of my thoughts on the $90M+ Capital Budget for 2018.  With almost 80% of the budget allocated exclusively to asset renewal, the 2018 Capital budget (in my opinion) aggressively seeks to tackle some of the most pressing infrastructure needs in our City.

This includes a number of critical investments in Ward 1 such as:

  • $12M toward the next phase of the York Rd trunk sewer expansion project from Ontario Street east to Victoria Road through the original Ward.
  • $200K in detail design work for the forecasted York Road reconstruction project (from Victoria Road east to the city limits).
  • $1.5M for the Phase 2 Environmental Assessment and Remediation of the former IMICO lands at 200 Beverley Street.  A project that is building momentum toward the eventual mixed-use redevelopment of the 14 acre property in the heart of our City.
  • $420K in design and construction work for the NEW Cedarvale Parkette off of Cityview Drive in the east end.
  • And finally, funding for the asphalt resurfacing of Starwood Drive (from Chesterton south to Lee St).  A special thank you to all residents for your continued advocacy and support for seeing this section of road resurfaced.

For these reasons and more, I am generally pleased with the 2018 capital budget and supported it when the final vote came down.  The only aspect of the budget that I did not support was the 14% increase to the stormwater user fee for 2018.  Through this user fee (established in 2016), annual funding for stormwater management and renewal has increased dramatically during this term of council (from approximately $2M to more than $6M annually).  This is good news and given its success, I believe the increases can now begin to slow down.  With this in mind, I tabled a simple motion seeking to reduce the increase in 2018 from 14% down to 7%.  Unfortunately this motion failed on a 9-4 vote.

Next up, the 2018 operating budget.

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
519-827-6407 (c)

Mayor’s Forum on Substance Abuse & Public Safety | Oct 16th at City Hall

As a councilor representing the downtown, not a week goes by that I am not stopped on the street, recieve a phone call, or recieve an email from residents expressing concerns about open substance abuse and uncomfortable encounters within the public spaces of our downtown.

And while I sympathize with the individual stories of those living with addictions, simply put, public spaces in our downtown need to feel safe, secure, and welcoming for residents and visitors.  For these reasons I applaud Mayor Guthrie and other community leaders for coming together to host this important forum.  I’m looking forward to discussing more about the measures being taken to comfront these challenges; including support networks for treatment, harm reduction and prevention, as well as ongoing efforts to ensure and enhance public safety.

I strongly encourage all to attend including the many residents and business owners of our downtown.

See details below.

New Release

Guelph, Ont., October 13, 2017– Join Mayor Cam Guthrie and community agencies for a Mayor’s Forum on Substance Use on Monday, October 16 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Guelph City Hall. This is a free event; all are welcome and no RSVP is required.

In the midst of a national opioid crisis, substance use in our city concerns us all. Learn about what’s being done in the areas of community safety, treatment, harm reduction, and prevention. An open question and answer session will follow.


Mayor’s Forum on Substance Use


Speaker list:
Mayor Cam Guthrie
Adrienne Crowder, Manager, Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy
Guelph Police Chief Jeff DeRuyter
Guelph Wellington Paramedic Service Chief Stephen Dewar
Colin McVicker, Program Director, Sanguen Health Centre
Kerry Manthenga, Clinical Director of Community Services, Stonehenge Therapeutic Community
Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health representative


Monday, October 16, 2017
6:30 to 8 p.m.


Guelph City Hall, Council Chambers

Media Contact

Kate Sullivan, Communications Advisor
Mayor’s Office
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2558

Federal tax reform and the risks to Guelph’s small business culture

During the September 25th council meeting I weighed in on matters relating to upper levels of government.

I expressed concerns on the proposed federal tax reforms for small business and the risks they pose to Guelph’s entrepreneurial culture.

Why did I discuss this? It was in the context of council voting on whether to expand the Downtown Guelph Business Investment Area (BIA) and subsequent tax increase on  dozens of independent small businesses in and around our downtown. Ultimately I could not support the BIA expansion at this time, but it was passed on a 7-5 vote.

Specific to the proposed federal tax reforms however, I want to thank our local Guelph Chamber of Commerce for their continued advocacy on behalf of Guelph’s business community. To read the Chambers positions, please see link here.

In addition to the Chambers concerns, I echo the growing number of small business experts across the country questioning the timing of these reforms. At a time when our country is experiencing an extended period of economic growth, experts agree these tax reforms risk compromising small business job creation and investment. As such, many (including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) believe they should not be rushed.

Similarly, the opportunity for Canadian municipalities like Guelph to attract and retain small business talent and investment is now. Today our city is experiencing tremendous interest from prospective and existing small businesses to invest here! New start-ups are evolving and new storefronts are opening. The proof has never been more evident:

  • The 4th best large city in Canada to start and grow a business;
  • The 3rd best City in Canada to raise a family;
  • One of the top 10 places in Canada for new Canadians;
  • One of the best job rates and lowest unemployment rates in the country; and,
  • 2nd highest in full time job numbers nationally.

So again, I question the timing of these reforms. At a time when Canadian municipalities like Guelph are so poised to attract and retain new talent, new investment and new entrepreneurs (including recent graduates), why risk harming this growth by changing the foundation of the small business and entrepreneurial landscape? Especially in our downtown. These changes will almost assuredly result in reduced investor confidence and uncertainty.

It is for these very Guelph centric reasons that I expressed, and will continue expressing, my concerns on the proposed tax reforms. Our City, and our downtown, are currently positioned to succeed. From my perspective, any tax reform from Ottawa must be carefully calibrated so as not to compromise growth for our small business job creators.

If you have any questions on this file or would like to discuss further, please feel free to contact me.

Dan Gibson
Ward 1 City Councilor
519-827-6407 (c)

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