Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 8)

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

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.

What

Mayor’s Forum on Substance Use

Who

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

When

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

Where

Guelph City Hall, Council Chambers

Media Contact

Kate Sullivan, Communications Advisor
Mayor’s Office
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2558
kate.sullivan@guelph.ca

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.

http://www.guelphchamber.com/post/3633567-guelph-chamber-hosts-federal-economic-roundtable

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

My Thoughts On The Solid Waste Service Review

First and foremost, I want to thank staff (both management and our labour groups) for undertaking a professional, honest and transparent process to date on the solid waste service review.  While this type of “inward looking” is never easy, I wholeheartedly believe this process has been respectful to our valued City staff while honoring this council’s commitment to ensuring value for taxes and efficient service delivery.

To this end I encourage everyone with an interest in this file to read the interim staff report on the state of the City’s Solid Waste Services.

http://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/council_agenda_091817-1.pdf 

Now for some take homes messages.

It’s important to note that of the six solid waste services under review, five are performing at, or above the levels of our comparator municipalities.  This is a good news story that cannot be understated.

As for the sixth however (the operation of the Material Recovery Facility or MRF), the staff report indicates the current operating losses sit at $92/tonne, or $2.5M annually, while many of our comparator municipalities are seeing positive revenues (as much as $84/tonne).

From this perspective, our cost ($92/tonne) plus the loss of potential revenue (as high as $84/tonne), results in a net operating variance of $176/tonne (in some cases).  When projected over 23,000 tonnes of waste processed each year, it is conceivable to conclude that the MRF may be underforming by as much as $4M annually (by comparison).

This, in my mind, is the fundamental issue facing council on this file and one that cannot be ignored.  While no staff recommendations have been tabled to date, I believe this council is serious about correcting these losses.  As such I’m supportive of the work ahead and trust staff will bring forward sustainable recomendations for correcting these ongoing losses in the near future.

 

Mayors Blog July 12, 2017 | Addressing East End Concerns

The East end of Guelph should know this info: I’d like to thank Councillor Gibson for compiling these links after an inquiry was made by an East end resident to us both – wondering if the city wasn’t addressing their needs?
I had a blog post from the past about this here:
Where is The Grocery Store in The East End of #Guelph?
I have written a letter to the editor in response to a letter published by the Tribune in yesterday’s Tuesday paper. My hope is that it is published, but if not, I’ll post it here soon.
Thank you,
Cam

Continue reading

Guelph maintains AA+ credit rating for a fifth consecutive year

Guelph, Ont., August 25, 2017 – Yesterday, S&P Global Ratings (S&P) announced the City of Guelph’s credit rating is strong and remains at AA+ with stable outlook.

“This is an independent, third-party confirmation of the City’s solid financial position and practices. It sends a strong signal that our municipal finances are in excellent shape,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie.

“For five years, the City has maintained the AA+ rating which reflects our strong financial position and staff and Council’s commitment to making strategic financial decisions,” says Derrick Thomson, chief administrative officer.

Continue reading

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

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