LIVE BLOG: Committee of the Whole for December 5, 2016

Money matters, mother nature and the city’s pets are all hot topics for the last Committee-of-the-Whole meeting of the year. You can click here for the amended agenda from City Hall, and you can click here to read Politico’s preview of today’s meeting. For the complete blow-by-blow of today’s committee meeting, you can follow me on Twitter, or follow along below via Storify.

Committee-of-the-Whole Meeting – December 5, 2016

Live blog from the meeting starting at 2 pm

  1. Agenda: Audit report, Animal Control bylaw and delegations, then corporate services items.
  2. First presentation: Matthew Betik, Audit Partner at KPMG, LLP with the plan for next year’s external audit.
  3. The KPMG Is starting their external audit this week FYI, results should be back June 2017.
  4. Committee accepts external audit report 12-0. (@DanGibsonCllr is away today).
  5. Catherine Spence, Internal Auditor, will now present the two year internal audit plan.
  6. Difference btw internal and external: External is backward looking, internal does forward look as well as back.
  7. Internal audit also offers consulting and facilitation to city services.
  8. A lot of projects on the plate of the auditor in 2017, may not all be finished in time for the end of the year 2017.
  9. “I’m it” says Spence. She’s the only person doing all this work the auditor has to do. A pretty heavy load.
  10. Plus… she’s only been on the job for two months.
  11. Salisbury asks about independence and the input Spence received from staff.
  12. Salisbury has faith in the work plan, sees no concern, he says.
  13. 3 Things from Guthrie
    1) Gibson regrets
    2) Welcome back, Piper.
    3) Any Qs for CS Staff before we make ’em wait?
  14. Guthrie says he will leave it up to staff to decide whether they might be needed or not.
  15. Next up: Public Services. Animal Control and Street Trees.
  16. Beginning with delegations for Animal Control service review. First up Lance Henderson, who works with exotic animals.
  17. Henderson focusing on poisons and venoms. Banning them all is far too strict removing various insects, fish, arachnids…
  18. Henderson holds up a bottle of mouthwash. You can’t swallow it, right?
  19. Henderson also holds up a coffee cup. Caffeine is a poison, but if council tried to ban Tim Horton’s there’d be “death threats”
  20. Henderson argument is that the restrictions are too broad.
  21. Salisbury asks about allegories to the pitiful ban in Montreal and specificity. 2 extremes, what’s the right answer?
  22. “Being hurst by poison, there’s no black and white to it.” Bee stings hurt, black widow bites kill. There is a spectrum, Henderson says
  23. Guthrie asks if Henderson was part of the working group.
    Henderson did come to one of the meetings.
  24. He helps his friend and her mom raise chickens.
  25. Helping to raise chickens calms Ben down, and makes him very happy. He loves and cares for them. #awww
  26. Next up Jody Teskey, she’s asking council to reduce the 50 ft distance between coup and residence to raise chickens.
  27. Teskey says it marginalizes people that don’t have big properties, and stops the spread of the local food movement.
  28. Teskey says her kids are questioning fairness. Why do some people get to keep chickens and other don’t?
  29. No Qs for Teksey. Chris Casa is up next. He lost his chickens b/c of 50ft rule. 
  30. Casa says it’s a myth that hens are noisy. No more noisy than birds chirping and roosters already banned.
  31. Gordon asks about best practices. 50 ft designation pretty unique amongst communities with chicken bylaw.
  32. Case says #Guelph unique in this. 1 to 3 metres seems to be the norm
  33. Gordon notes that we don’t know where the 50 ft number came from in the first place…
  34. Finally, Valerie Wyatt from Nature Guelph will speak to council
  35. #Guelph has nearly 30K cats, 1/3 of which are allowed to roam outside.
  36. 350 million birds are killed every year in North America by cats, says Wyatt.

    350 million birds are killed every year in North America by cats, says Wyatt.
  37. MacKinnon asks about the root of 30K cats number.
    Wyatt: Comes from U of G, surveys
  38. Staff: it was there to do noise, odour and possibly attracting rodents b/c of feed.
  39. Salisbury asks if best practices were looked at by staff.
  40. The working group did look at them, but response from residents about changes was limited. Only after report was written they got feedback
  41. Salisbury: Can we look at it again now?
    Staff: Need vote to direct staff to make it happen.
  42. Salisbury asks about venomous animals.
    Staff: Reptile list will be further consulted on under exotic animals component.
  43. Gordon jokes that he will have to get rid of his manatee since it’s on the exotic animals list.
  44. In seriousness, Gordon says that 50 ft is discriminatory and now there’s more of an appetite for local food initiatives.
  45. Gordon moves changes of a 1.2m setback, 3m from windows and doors, and review of regulations. Guthrie seconds.
  46. Salisbury says he’s not a chicken expert, but would like to refer to staff before “We fly off the handle.”
  47. Gordon says he has not come up with these numbers randomly, they cam from consultation with staff.
  48. The next largest in chicken offsets, after Guelph, is Ottawa with 10 metres. Guelph is just over 15.
  49. Gordon hears a lot of yeses about referring the motion to staff so he’s “chickening out”
  50. DCAO Clark proposes that all matters concerning chickens be referred back to Q2 ’17, but the setbacks can be approved now.
  51. Downer says end of June might be a bit late for “chicken season”
  52. Gordon concurs to separate the motions: a) setbacks and b) staff review of all other chicken matters.
  53. MacKinnon says he’ll support staff looking on this, but won’t support new set backs
  54. Guthrie notes that this move is very specifically about chickens.
  55. Guthrie also trying to figure out why council would refer back, when staff will just come back with the same setback recommendation.
  56. Guthrie asks when this might be looked at again:
    Staff: Bylaws are reviewed typically every 5 years.
  57. Staff says they’re not sure if they’ll see increase of complaints with 1.2m setback, they get complaints with 50m setback.
  58. Van Hellemond asks about limits. There are currently no limits on # of chickens, but there are animal welfare issues considered.
  59. Guthrie says he will bring forward a motion on #, thought that another councillor would.
  60. Hofland notes there was a working group that spent 3 years coming up with recommendations, council making their own in 3 minutes,
  61. New setback rules pass 8-4. Bell, Billings, MacKinnon and Van Hellmond against.
  62. Guthrie says he wants to make sure that there’s something here about the number of chickens.
  63. DCAO Clack says that council can consider a temp limit of 10 chickens until staff can come back with permanent recommendations.
  64. Guthrie moves to amend the motion with 10 chicken limit. Wettstein seconds.
  65. Allt gets picky. Is 10 the total number, or 10 adult chickens plus chicks.
  66. Bell asks about the people who have more than 10.
  67. Historically, from an enforcement perspective, those in compliance with changes to bylaw are ‘grandfathered’
  68. Hofland clarifies: the 10 limit is tied to the new setback.
  69. 10 chicken limit passes 10-2. Allt, Hofland against.
  70. Council passes unanimously the referral to all further chicken matters to staff.
  71. Hofland asks about enforcement. Staff says it’s done through bylaw and humane society.
  72. Allt concerned that the new licensing regs is revenue generation through pet licensing.
  73. Staff: this is an attempt to recoup costs of licensing cats, any revenue would go to animal control.
  74. Piper asks about voting for each of the 12 recommendations separately. We’re not quite there yet, there are still speakers.
  75. Staff says it’s “very polarizing” on the matter of whether or not cats should be allowed to roam. Would like owners to keep indoors for now
  76. MacKinnon asks about implications of not registering.
    Staff: Not many cats being picked up, smaller # of dogs, want to be able to ID them
  77. Guthrie asks about adding “outdoor” cats. Staff says working group looked at that, but indoor cats escape you see.
  78. Leanne Piper: “I’d like to move to a question about goats, if that’s okay?”
  79. Piper asks about bylaws concerning the slaughtering of animals on residential properties.
  80. Staff: No bylaws or regs, but there have been complaints. Don’t know what the impact of goats and sheep will be.
  81. Bell says he’s gotten a lot of complaints about cats, ppl want more restrictions but need to understand outdoor cat hard to move indoors.
  82. Bell wants to change the word “review” to “implemented” in point #4.
  83. Piper, Wettstein say they need to review something before implementing it.
  84. Bell motion fails with only 3 in favour: Bell, MacKinnon and Van Hellomond.
  85. Point # 1a “That the licensing of cats be phased in and not become mandatory until 2018” passes 8-4.
  86. 1b “that no collar or license tag be required if the cat is micro chipped and the information is kept current.” passes 8-4
  87. 2. That the User Fee By-law be amended to include a $25 Annual Licensing Fee for cats. passes 8-4.
  88. 3. That $5 of each cat license sold be allocated to a program to be developed by the Animal Control Working Group… passes
  89. 4. That a requirement to restrict cats from being at large be reviewed in five years… Passes.
  90. 5. That staff be directed, with input from representatives from pet stores and other stakeholders to develop regulations… Passes 11-1
  91. 6. That roosters be prohibited in the City of Guelph. passes 11-1
  92. 7. That the User Fee By-law be amended to include a one-time fee of $25 for the registration of keepers of domestic poultry… Passes 11-1
  93. 8. That an exception to the Prohibited Animal Schedule “A” be added to permit sheep and goats… Passes 11-1
  94. 9. That City staff continue to work with the Animal Control Working Group… Passes 12-0
  95. 10.That City staff continue to work with stakeholders to develop an education package and outreach… Passes 12-0
  96. 11.That the fees for animal licensing provide a 25% discount for residents purchasing a licence for a second… Passes 12-0.
  97. 12.That the licence fees be reduced by 50% for any resident who qualifies for other City subsidies… Passes 12-0
  98. Gordon amendments 13 and 14 (the chicken matters) pass 12-0
  99. Street Trees are separated into three different but equally important groups: City, Private, and “Shared” or “Boundary”.
  100. Going into hour #4 of Committee of the Whole we’ve still got Q3 variance report, Tartan inventory, & digital services.
  101. Guthrie notes that this report is receive only. No need to dive in too deeply.
  102. Martin Neumann, Manager, Parks Operations & Forestry notes that there is another piece coming on responsibilities for landowners.
  103. Salisbury asks about liability about ash trees, and evasive species. Comm will have to move in camera to discuss that.
  104. Guthrie says this report is receive-only, staff can take away and investigate and they can have in-camera discussion later. Salisbury abides
  105. Wettstein says that he’s heard from a number of constituents who are surprised to learn that they own a tree.
  106. Guthrie moves receipt of report, Piper seconds.
  107. We’re back. MacKinnon clarifying what reports to be pulled.
  108. Only operating variance will be pulled, along with Digital services presentation.
  109. Amorosi says there’s no “Where’s my chicken?” app coming. Sad.
  110. 2 aspects of this: the creation of apps, and the modernization of technology to make service more effective.
  111. Much of that work will take place over 2017 and ’18.
  112. Four new apps being rolled out: Waste Reminder (what garbage goes out when), Council Search (city council minutes back to 2006) 1/
  113. “I Want to…” (a simple way of trying to learn what city service you need), 2/
  114. And and the Park Maintenance Tracker (see when your local park was last maintained and see when it will be maintained again) 3/3
  115. MyGuelph, a full customizable porthole to City of Guelph services, still about a year away…
  116. Staff wanted to make sure that people couple see results sooner rather than later.
  117. Andy Best says that real time Water Usage Data being tested right now.
  118. Allt notes the cost of this is 33 cents per year per person. That’s the cost of developing 2 new apps per year not ongoing costs
  119. Allt asks if there are any numbers about how many people engage with the city online everyday.
  120. Staff: we count the hits, not the transactions, that will start in January.
  121. Allt says he was disappointed by the lack of use of the budge accelerator this year…
  122. Allt is also concern about how much of the personal interaction will be phased out. Many constituents computer illiterate he notes.
  123. Best says this will reduce pressure on calls and walk-ins, simply another option made available.
  124. Bell asking about the fidelity of the search function and various terms. Some room for improvement there it sounds like.
  125. Schedule A still requires amendments -not all of the requested animals listed on the survey were taken off (reptiles,fish, spiders) #Guelph 
  126. Piper asks if staff will be able to see breakdown of type of device the service used. They will.
  127. Guthrie is “amazed” about how #Guelph is always chosen as a leader in engagement.
  128. Guelph’s piece in the innovation corridor is the use of tech to engage citizens, says Guthrie.
  129. Guthrie has 2nd motion: a co-ordiated strategy to make #Guelph a civic tech hub by Q2 2017. Piper seconds.
  130. Guthrie wants staff to see what would be involved in making Guelph that civic tech hub, Piper interested about what kind of resources needed
  131. Staff has already begun to think about the possibility in teaming up with Fed and Prov.
  132. Allt asking for clarity: Can staff do it, or are they being asked if they can do it?
  133. As Mayor, Guthrie says this is an important piece for the city. hint hint
  134. Allt concerned about how this fits in to the work plan for 2017. MacKinnon says the motion is clear that this is not for a specific plan
  135. “This is the game we have to get into now,” says CAO Derrick Thomson. “We don’t want to be late to the party, and we’re beating it.”
  136. Back to the operating variance report and Billings Q.
  137. Billings ask for clarity, the favourable variance is that for whole budget or general revenue?
  138. City may not have negative variance at end of the year, staff thoughts?
  139. Staff: Additional revenue will be realized in 2016. (Meaning good chance no negative variance.)
  140. Clack says baseline wanted to represent an “average” winter. Lighter winters go in reserve to cover for worse winters.
  141. Amorosi: the budget correction was retrospective. Reserves were needed to deal with “hills and valleys” in winter control.
  142. Council moves to go into closed meeting for Transit Budget Update
    Section 239(2)(b) personal information about identifiable
  143. Essentially, that means the meeting is over because all that’s left is to adjourn the meeting.
  144. In other words, that’s a wrap for the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. Thanks for following along.


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