LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for February 27, 2017

Filling some board vacancies and fostering commercial growth in the east end of the city are the items up for bids at this week’s council meeting. You can click here for the amended agenda from City Hall, and you can click here to read Politico’s preview of tonight’s meeting. For the complete blow-by-blow of tonight’s council meeting, you can follow me on Twitter, or follow along below via Storify.

Guelph City Council Meeting – February 27, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 6:30 pm

  1. It’s 6:30, but there’s no council in the chambers. Closed session running late…
  2. Wait, Scott Stewart and Cam Guthrie just came in. Others are following…
  3. Mayor Guthrie says only 2 of 3 items were discussed in closed session. Innovation expression of interest is the topic.
  4. Employee litigation: Received verbal info, no direction
    Public App’ts to Library: See Later in Meet.
  5. No Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and General Nature Thereof
  6. 1st up: Medal presentation to the Guelph Gryphons Girls U14 Red Rep team for winning the Ontario Soccer Association’s Indoor Cup.
  7. Gryphs won five games, the final 3-0 in order to become champs. A ‘fantastic group’ says coach.
  8. Guthrie says he sometimes refers to council as “indoor champs.”
  9. @mayorcamguthrie hands out medals to the Guelph Gryphons Girls U14 Red Rep team for winning the Ontario Soccer Association’s Indoor Cup to kick off #Guelph city council tonight.

    @mayorcamguthrie hands out medals to the Guelph Gryphons Girls U14 Red Rep team for winning the Ontario Soccer Association’s Indoor Cup to kick off #Guelph city council tonight.
  10. Now on with the meeting. The minutes are passed unanimously.
  11. Motion to pass Ellis Creek Park plan plus outstanding motions of audit committee passes unanimously.
  12. Next: appointing Mayor Guthrie to the @WDGPublicHealth board of directors.
  13. Cllr Billings asks about process. Used to be 2 members of council and member of the public, wants to know if it can go back.
  14. City Clerk says it could happen through motion tonight, or it could be through notice ‘down the road’
  15. Billings has no problem with recommendation, but wants next vacancy to be someone from the public.
  16. Cllr Wettstein agrees that we don’t need a policy change, just a motion.
  17. Guthrie calls the vote “and then if someone wants to do something, they can.”
  18. Guthrie appointed to Board unanimously. Nothing further on the matter.
  19. 2 New Community members appointed to Library Board. Have to get exact names later.
  20. Appointments passed 10-2 (Gibson and Van Hellemond voted against).
  21. Next up: Gibson motion, “Exploring Opportunities to Accelerate Large Neighbourhood Commercial Growth in East Guelph”
  22. Gibson wants to talk about how council can inform commercial policy review and those interested in the Yord Rd corridor specifically
  23. “This is way more than achieving some political outcomes,” says Gibson. It’s about summer & after school jobs, getting traffic on Grange,etc
  24. Wettstein says Ward 6 is sensitive to need for a grocery store, but says council is usually at the end of the planning process not beginning
  25. Need to be careful with the precedent, says Wettstein.
  26. Downer asks for clarity with staff about whether or not this is a “whole other project” for them. Doesn’t want to create false expectation
  27. Stewart says the language is correct, will like up with commercial policy review.
  28. Stewart says it’s also a signal to Loblaw, “How serious are you?” Doing chicken & egg with residential build.
  29. “This is similar work that we would do anyway if not identical,” says Stewart of the motion.
  30. Guthrie reminds council that this is the debate to have a debate.
  31. Stewart says he has no problem referring this to committee.
  32. Gordon needs 1 more piece of clarity: What does staff do and what will motion direct you towards.
  33. Stewart: Big signal to Loblaw that council may have other options it wants to explore. Big opportunity will get on agenda.
  34. Salisbury says he’s been contacted by west end developer about “tilting the ice.” What might the repercussions be for other areas of city?
  35. Stewart: There is a little bit political to this, but there is a message. The rest we can get into the debate on March 6.
  36. Salisbury: Doesn’t Loblaw know we’re serious already? Lafarge re-development is stalled.
  37. Stewart says that will be up for debate on March 6. Is Loblaw going to build or not?
  38. Wettstein says Salisbury hit the nail on the head. Wants Loblaw to put up or shut up, but other developers watching.
  39. He’s worried that council is showing preference to one section of town, and using Notice of Motion to do it.
  40. Wettstein says he’s nervous about using the wrong tools to shock Loblaw into action.
  41. Salisbury concerned that there will be repercussions not anticipating, and sending clear message to the wrong people.
  42. That developments in other areas will not be treated fairly.
  43. Bell says notice of motion may not be the appropriate tool, but the debate will establish what is appropriate.
  44. “He’s fine out there in the west end,” says Bell to Salisbury. But there’s no policy doc to mandate development in east. Loblaw has monopoly
  45. Gibson clarifies: nods in west and south growing, desire to grow those areas more increase, commercial areas elsewhere decrease
  46. Gibson says doesn’t want to micromanage staff, he’s informing them of a goal he wants to see in commercial policy review.
  47. Also, no developer waiting “in the shadows”. Impressing on staff to have opportunities emerge.
  48. Guthrie says not 1 day that goes by when someone says to him about commercial development in east end.
  49. Motion to refer passes 10-2. (Salisbury and Wettstein vote against).
  50. No mayor’s announcements. Gordon motion on sanctuary city attached.
  51. Council returning to closed meeting to discuss expression of interest in Guelph innovation District.
  52. Effectively, that’s the end of the meeting. Thanks for following.

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