Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the November 7 Meetings?

Monday is going to be a very long day for Committe-of-the-Whole, with both a regular meeting in the afternoon, and a special meeting beginning at 7 pm. So what’s all on the agenda?

Regular Committee of the Whole Meeting – 2 pm

PRESENTATION: Follow-Up on Living Wage Campaign and 20,000 Homes Initiative by Randalin Ellery, Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination – Not yet available.

COW-GOV-2016.3 2017 Council and Committee Meeting Schedule – The council meeting schedule for 2017 will practically follow the model for the way they were scheduled in 2016: Committee-of-the-Whole will be on the first Monday of the month, the planning meeting on the second, and the regular council meeting on the fourth. If the Monday in question is a holiday, in which case the meeting is moved to the Tuesday. Like in previous years, there will be no council meetings in August.

COW-GOV-2016.4 Chief Administrative Officer Employment Contract – For transparency and disclosure purposes, staff will post highlights from the contract for new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Derrick Thomson on The information will include terms of agreement, base salary, benefits, automotive allowance, vacation, and overtime.

COW-GOV-2016.5 Proposed Framework for an Affordable Housing Financial Incentives Program (AHFIP) – Council has seen the Affordable Housing Strategy, now they must look at how best to implement it. The framework will look at ways to encourage affordable housing construction in the city, and if approved by council, staff will then go back in with more detailed research and information on how to enact it. The AHFIP will be focused on the creation of new, permanent housing, and will establish the incentives and funding to best create affordable housing. The priority will be on primary rentals and small units, and projects where a municipal contribution is required to access funding from another level of government; the maximum incentive will be between $60,000 and $80,000 per affordable unit. As per council’s directive, staff is still looking at the role of accessory apartments as a form of secondary rentals, and whether incentives could be created there as well. That additional reporting should come back first quarter of 2017.

COW-IDE-2016.10 Commercial Policy Review: Terms of Reference – It was over 10 years ago that Guelph initiated it’s previous Commercial Policy Review with an eye towards what the City would look like in 2021. With just five years to go, and new elements like the Urban Growth Centre (Downtown), Intensification Corridors and Community Mixed-use Nodes having been incorporated into the City’s Official Plan, it’s time for a review. The new Commercial Policy Review will have a “planning horizon” for another 15 year period until 2031, but it will also look a second planning horizon of 2041 to inform the next Official Plan update, along with the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan and the city-wide update of the land budget, which is part of the proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

So how will this review be undertaken? Step 1 will be a Market Analysis and Background Report, an inventory of commercial space will be created, the shopping patterns of Guelphites will be analyzed, and national, provincial and local shopping trends will be researched. Step 2 is a Policy Review and Development, and it will involve gathering public input, engaging stakeholders, developing assessment criteria, and deciding on a preferred commercial policy framework and policy directions. The final step, Step 3, will will see the finalization of the process, an open house with the results, and all the materials then coming back to council for approval. Steps 1 and 2 will be completed in house before consultants are hired for Step 3.

COW-IDE-2016.11 Downtown Parking Items: Conclusion of Essex Street One Year Pilot and Updated Downtown On-Street Temporary Use Policy – The City’s been running a pilot project on Essex St between Gordon and Dublin to improve public access to the street to support weekday commercial activity. “The pilot was to test the impact of the provision of more 2 hour restricted spaces during weekday, business hours in order to improve turnover and support the commercial interests on the street,” notes the report. Turns out the pilot was a success, and staff is asking council to make it permanent. Staff is asking council to approve the end of the pilot, which started in July 2015, and move forward with updating the ‘Temporary Permits for On-street Parking Space Use’ standard operating procedure and that the updated fees be approved with immediate effect.

COW-IDE-2016.12 Hart Farmhouse, Lot 58 (Hart Village): Notice of Intention to Designate Pursuant to Section 29, Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act – The old Hart farmhouse has sat on its property in the southwest end of Guelph for over 165 years, and it looks like it will sit there for a while more. Planning staff, in consultation with Heritage Guelph, are prepared to report that the old framhouse meets all three criteria used to determine cultural heritage value or interest as set out in Ontario Regulation 9/06 under the Ontario Heritage Act, and that the building should be protected by an individual heritage designation by-law. Terra View Homes’ will rehabilitate the farmhouse and convert it to a community centre for neighbourhood residents in the Hart’s Village subdivision, even using materials saved from the demolition of the old barn on the property to do it.

COW-IDE-2016.14 115 Dawn Avenue: Letter of Refusal for Tree Removal as per the City of Guelph Private Tree By-law – So the owner of 115 Dawn Ave doesn’t like the species of tree in his front yard. The tree is healthy, it’s not impacting development, and it’s not a hazard to the public, so the Inspector is putting the kibosh on the request. Staff is looking for support on the Inspector’s judgement in this matter.

COW-IDE-2016.15 Development Engineering Manual – The City’s getting a new Development Engineering Manual (DEM)! The DEM provides engineering guidelines, standards, and process information for use when preparing the engineering aspects of a development application, and this new single document will replace multiple, outdated manuals (the Engineering Standards of Design for Subdivision Engineering, Sewers, Roads and Watermains goes back to 1974 FYI). It will also outline requirements and standards for the engineering design of new developments within the City, and it will provide guidance and framework for stakeholders submitting, and city staff reviewing, engineering designs and reports in support of a development application. It’s also rather technical.

COW-IDE-2016.16 Subdivision Construction Process Change – The Engineering Department initiated a business performance review of the subdivision construction process by the City’s Business Performance Specialist. The objectives of the review included looking at the best practices of other municipalities, looking at the current practices of the City, looking at the risks and benefits, and recommending areas of improvement. The survey says that while there are some benefits to the way the City does project control, the review also identified financial and service related risks.

The review found that not all costs incurred during the subdivision development process are recouped, and that Guelph is the only municipality that manages the construction activity on all subdivision infrastructure. Staff is recommending that the City moves to a project management structure called “assumption model” where the developer is responsible to manage and administer the construction of infrastructure with the City assuming ownership once inspection and formal acceptance is complete. Doing it this way would reduce the risk to the City, but it will require some reorganization at City Hall; there will be both increases and decreases in the financial impact and the workload.

Implementation of the new process will begin before the end of the year, but any future budget impact will go into effect for the 2018 budget.

COW-CS-2016.6 Reserve and Reserve Fund Consolidation and Policy – Council passed the Reserve and Reserve Fund Statement report dated May 2, 2016, and now the Committee-of-the-Whole will be updated on the progress. This report will comment on phase one of two of the project, and will report that 20 tax-supported capital reserve funds were identified for consolidation into one of three new categories: Infrastructure Renewal, Growth, and City Building. The consolidations will “positively impact the approach to budget development,” says the report.

COW-CS-2016.7 Business/Service Review Framework Implementation – As previously reported, the City will begin a Service Review pilot project by looking at three areas: Solid Waste Services, Boulevard Maintenance, and Transit. The review of these three departments, and all other departments subject to future review, will look at relevance, effectiveness and efficiency; determining why the City is performing the service, whether it’s achieving its goals and priorities, and whether it’s achieving them in the best, most cost-efficient way possible. According to the staff report, these three departments were chosen “using the draft prioritization framework,” and they “all fell within the categories of high potential impact and/or high risk services, identifying them as recommended reviews.”

The timeline for the pilot is expected unfurl over the next year and a half with the review of Solid Waste to begin immediately and wrap up by next fall. The review of Boulevard Maintenance will begin in the Spring, while Transit will be tackled in the fall of 2017. All the department reviews in the pilot should be complete by the end of June in 2018. In the meantime, staff will begin getting things arranged for the widespread implementation of the framework by updating the service inventory, prioritizing which services to evaluate next and creating a work plan.

A full review will take anywhere between 10 and 50 weeks, and there will be opportunities for feedback from the public as well as internal examination of City staff within the reviewed department. The final review of each service will be measured by one of four possible outcomes. When it’s all said and done the service might be reduced, eliminated, increased, or maintained based on priorities, or they might identify potential new services or re-purpose existing ones. Resources might also be reallocated or some other to-be-determined change might be implemented.

Special Committee of the Whole Regarding Water Taking – 7 pm

COW-IDE-2016.18 Process to Support the City’s Submission to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Regarding Ontario’s Water-Taking Regulations – Water taking is a hot-button issue in Guelph right now, and because of that, City staff want to make sure that the thoughts and opinions of its citizens are taken into account. This report deals with how the City will get that feedback, and how they’ll share it with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

To ensure community input, staff will work with MOECC to facilitate an in-person, open public consultation; consider comments made by public during November 7 delegations, in preparation for a Council resolution for on November 28; and, provide the ministry with a videotaped recording of the November 7 delegations. Staff also points out that while the Environmental Registry (ER) for Nestlé’s permit renewal has not yet been posted by the Province, they are currently collecting public feedback on the proposed changes to the permit process, and the two-year moratorium on on new or expanded water takings.

COW-SA-2016.19 Nestlé Waters Canada Permit to Take Water Technical Report – One of the first things that the report submits is that that the City of Guelph is ahead of the game so far as Nestlé Waters Canada and its Permit to Take Water (PTTW) renewal application is concerned. Nestlé filed its paperwork in April, but the Environmental Registry has still yet to be called, and the previous PTTW expired July 31. So having said that, what technical expertise does the City’s Water staff suggest in responding to the renewal once the ER is posted?

“The City’s Water Supply Master Plan Update in 2014 (WSMPU) identified potential future water supply sources in south Guelph that may conflict with the Nestlé water taking at some point in the future,” says the report in its key findings section. “Resource management is required to ensure adequate water supplies are available to support Guelph’s future water supply needs.”

The report also recognizes the provincial Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s October 17 announcement proposing changes to the way PTTWs applications are handled. Still, City staff have apparently been working under the assumption that the continued water taking from Aberfoyle and other area aquifers is not in the best interest of Guelph. The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), the City of Guelph, Wellington County and Guelph Eramosa Township are all in the process of completing a Tier 3 Water Budget and Water Quantity Risk Assessment (Tier 3 RA), and it’s determination is that the City’s water supply would be under “significant risk” if there’s extreme drought as demand in the area increases. At this time, it makes sense to point out that on November 1, the City’s outside water use level was at Level 1 Yellow.

There’s more. The City’s Water Supply Master Plan Update in 2014 (WSMPU) has identified several water supply sources in south Guelph, and the day may come where the needs of the municipality and the desire of Nestlé to make money off of it will come into conflict. Guelph’s resource management has to ensure that the City has adequate water resources, and the Source Protection Program, which will be developed through 2017, will look at risk management issues to ensure that Guelph’s water supply is sustainable.

Long story short, the City staff response to the 2016 application is similar to their official response in 2007 and 2011. Presently, staff sees the Nestlé permit not creating a conflict with Guelph’s goals, but there’s a point coming very soon in the future where that might change.

Councillor Gordon’s Motion Regarding Permit to Take Water – “That Council, with administrative assistance from Intergovernmental Relations, Policy and Open Government staff, submit comments through the Ontario Environmental Registry Process expressing Guelph’s concern about the future sustainability of water-taking from the watershed shared by the City of Guelph.”

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