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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. 

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,

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
519-827-6407 (c)


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
519-827-6407 (c)

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).

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 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
519-827-6407 (c)

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

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