This Week in Press Releases – February 8-12, 2016

Every week, the City of Guelph and other groups send out notices to announce new events, imperatives, and information that you need to know. Here is this week in press releases.

City Releases Niska Rd. Study Docs
Proof that December’s city council decision to endorse a new two-lane bridge on Niska Rd. is far from the final word, the City of Guelph has released the Notice of Completion for the Schedule ‘C’ Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA). Long story short, the report recommends to a) replace the existing one-lane Bailey bridge with a two-lane bridge, and b) reconstruct Niska Road from the Bailey bridge to Ptarmigan Drive with two shared–use lanes and a sidewalk on the north side. The Environmental Study Report is online at guelph.ca/niskaroad and paper copies are available at City Hall, the Main (downtown) Branch of the Guelph Public Library, and the YMCA-YWCA near Downey Road and the Hanlon Expressway.

Council Prepares List for Fed Infrastructure Money
City council met Thursday evening to consider what projects amongst Guelph’s $60 billion infrastructure gap will get priority when the Federal government turns on the spending with the coming budget. “Details of the funding programs are unknown at this time,” said Scott Stewart, City of Guelph Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise. “So we’re doing what we need to in advance to be ready to meet application deadlines on short notice. We know from experience that it pays to be prepared for these types of rare funding opportunities. We intend to take full advantage to meet the needs of our community while addressing some of the city’s growing infrastructure gap.” Victoria Rd. Recreation Centre renovations, playground equipment upgrades, the renovation of the train station, Parking Master Plan infrastructure, and general asset management, are all on the ‘A’ list for potential “shovel ready” projects, you can see the full list of entries here.

Panel to Tackle Greenbelt Expansion
Wellington Water Watchers is holding a panel this week in Aberfoyle about petitioning the provincial government to expand the Greenbelt to protect another 1.5 million acres of land in order to safeguard water resources. A report called Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe: 2015 – 2041 was completed in December. A forum for stakeholders and rights holders about expanding the Greenbelt in Wellington County, and all the options therein, is being held at Puslinch Community Centre Archie MacRobbie Hall, 23 Brock Rd. S. this Thursday from 8:30 am-1:30 pm; guests include former Toronto Mayor David Crombie, Seaton Group developer Jeremy Grant, Wellington County farmer Gerry Stephenson, and former Guelph City Councillor Lise Burcher. “More than 90 per cent of Ontarians agree that the Greenbelt is one of the most important contributors to the future of the province,” says Arlene Slocombe, executive director of the Watchers. “Our intention is to get an Agreement in Principal from Guelph-Wellington decision-makers to expand the Greenbelt to include our river corridors, Orangeville Moraine and Galt-Paris Moraine, and significant wetlands and recharge areas. We need comprehensive and effective regional protection of our critical potable water resources, working lands and natural heritage systems.” For more information, go to the Wellington Water Watchers website.

Guelph Police Really, Really Want You to Stop Ignoring School Buses
It should really go without saying, stopping when you see the stop signs popped out on the school bus, but apparently, it’s a big enough problem that the Guelph Police Service had to drop a press release specifically dedicated to it.

DON’T PASS A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS

The Highway Traffic Act requires motorists traveling in both directions to stop. When approaching a stopped school bus from the rear that has its overhead red signal lights flashing, drivers must stop at least 20 meters behind the bus. If you are approaching from the opposite direction, you must stop before reaching the school bus. In both cases, do not proceed until the overhead red signal lights stop flashing. On a highway that contains a median strip, only vehicles travelling in the same direction as the bus must stop.

Drivers who pass a stopped school bus with the overhead red flashing lights activated can be charged, at the roadside or up to six months following an incident, and will receive a $490 ticket that carries six demerit points.

In Guelph and area we have a Bus Watch program. This allows bus drivers who witness a vehicle disobey this rule, to report the plate number to police. When the driver cannot be identified, the registered owner of the vehicle is liable and subject to the same fine without the demerit points. In Guelph, police generally give a warning to that owner for a first offence in an education over enforcement methodology. Guelph Police average about two reports per week and have yet to ever have an owner receive a second complaint.

48 Community Groups Get Wellbeing Cash
The City of Guelph announced the 48 local not-for-profit organizations to receive a total of $282,200 through its Wellbeing Grant Program. All told, $124,200 will go to 20 human and social services applicants; $121,000 to 21 arts and culture applicants; $13,500 to three recreation and sport applicants; and $23,500 to four other (community, environment or health) applicants. The maximum funding allocation per applicant is $15,000. “The City is pleased to work with and contribute financially to various local organizations committed to improving the well-being of Guelph residents through the important programs and services they provide,” says Colleen Clack, general manager, Culture, Tourism and Community Investment. You can check out the full list of organizations for 2016 here.

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