LIVE BLOG: Committee of the Whole for March 6, 2017

It’s going to be an action-packed agenda for this month’s committee. You can click herefor 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 – March 6, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 2 pm

  1. Stay tuned for the start of today's Committee-of-the-Whole coverage on #GuelphPolitico. https://t.co/jqAwuBCf7s

    Stay tuned for the start of today’s Committee-of-the-Whole coverage on #GuelphPolitico. pic.twitter.com/jqAwuBCf7s
  2. Closed meeting topic: Public appointments to various committees, and development options for Hanlon Creek Biz Park
  3. Council has begun to gather. Mayor Guthrie says 5 min break before we begin.
  4. On closed meeting items: direction given to staff on both items.
  5. No Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and General Nature Thereof. Full house in attendance today.
  6. Non-Application of Line Fences Act passes 13-0.
  7. The 2 sign bylaw variances, and the outstanding motions of IDE passed 13-0 by consent.
  8. We’re starting with Natural Heritage Action Plan Project injection. Hugh Whiteley is delegating.
  9. Consultation activities will include all stakeholders says staff.
  10. “The unwashed valley that could,” is the title of the story Whiteley would tell if he had time.
  11. Whiteley asks council not to approve plan until they’ve adopted Greenspace charter, integrated open space planning & devel. O.S. action plan
  12. Whiteley says this plan replaces a community lead project with an internal-staff project.
  13. Cllr Gordon asks Whiteley why his points would not be considered moving forward rather than stopping?
  14. Natural Heritage definition constrains options, says Whiteley.
  15. “Rigidity of the natural heritage” definition applied arbitrarily says Whiteley.
  16. No more Qs for Whiteley, back to council and Guthrie wants to know if “open space planning is dead” as Whiteley implied.
  17. Parks Dept says there are “elements” of Open Space Planning in the next couple of years.
  18. Trails master plan, Downtown 2ndary plan, and others are example of Open Spaces planning integrated in other plans says staff.
  19. Mayor Guthrie asks why we’re implanting something almost 3 years later (despite OMB and other lags).
  20. Staff: Reason is resources. Site specific approvals and other matters of process.
  21. Staff is comfortable with the resources at this time. They’re identifying actions and outcomes and needs budget.
  22. Cllr Downer asks staff if they’re open to doing a Green Space charter.
  23. Staff: We’ll listen to what stakeholders have to say, this is about adopted existing stakeholder policy.
  24. Cllr Hofland says she’s “not feeling the public consultation” even though they’re just approving the project charter today.
  25. Staff: Community engagement plan is the next step after charter approval.
  26. Stewart says once the charter is approved, there will be list of all projects connected to this on the website. Promises it will “impress.”
  27. Downer reminds council that this comes out of official plan, which had extensive consultations, now talking about implementing.
  28. Bell says there’s something wrong with open space planning, but not sure what it is…
  29. … There seems to be a problem at the City in terms of handling our public lands.
  30. Hofland says this has been “a long hard road”. It’s legacy work.
  31. Sidewalks Needs Assessment next. Q from Cllr Bell.
  32. Bell’s had number of calls about lack of sidewalks in certain areas. Why were some included and others not?
  33. 1) Stevenson St., hasn’t been update on east from Elizabeth.
  34. Staff: There maybe some segments that they didn’t catch. This maybe one of those. A reality when doing an inventory like this.
  35. Staff will re-evaluate this list as they go along.
  36. Bell asks someone to look at Stevenson, Metcalfe before this comes to council at end of the month.
  37. Billings asks if staff will bring forth changes to the assessment as they happen, or not.
  38. Staff: committee is approving the criteria more than the list. The list is a “very 1st cut” it terms of what’s required.
  39. Guthrie on Imperial N sidewalks: A lot of people walk to ARC industries (speaking of pedestrian generators.
  40. Multiuse plans will be Id’ed thru cycling and active transport master plans.
  41. “Instead of giving you Ward 2’s list” Gordon asks, what do councillors do when they get asked about specific sidewalks?
  42. Got feedback on priority segments thru public consultations. Criteria came from that too so future requests will be put thru it.
  43. “I think it’s clear sidewalks are important,” Chair Gibson says after 1/2 hour of discussion on the topic
  44. Guthrie glad to see municipal money going to municipal issues.
  45. Next, Gordon asks Q about Annual Summary Water Services Report. 21.1% less water at Arkell Springs from ’16 to ’15. Asks about impact.
  46. Recharge is offline for repairs, but there is an element from drought too. But primarily to improve system.
  47. Hofland points out that Water Services’ report is meeting its mandate.
  48. Next up 2017 Corporate Asset Management Plan and Policy.
  49. Daryusg Esmaili, Manager of Corporate Asset Management presenting.
  50. Guthrie asks if the $191 M infrastructure backlog is correct, or if the # is closer to 1/2 billion?
  51. Since backlog est. down, significant new data’s been developed across org. and this comes from market value assessment.
  52. The number will adjust again as we go deeper into the asset management “journey”.
  53. Guthrie: To confirm, that does not include city building.
    Esmaili: Theoretically, yes.
  54. Esmaili says that the best practice is to come back with updates on asset mgmt ever 5 years, intends to update every year.
  55. Updates will be on website and report to council too.
  56. Scott Stewart says that #Guelph leadership on Asset mgmt gone to the “head of the pack”. We were behind. “We don’t play 2nd fiddle anymore.”
  57. Hofland asks if there’s 2 full-time staff doing this work. There is.
  58. Chair Gibson says most important to be keenly aware that there’s finite level of funding. Harmonization is key.
  59. Asset Management Plan passes 12-0 (MacKinnon stepped out).
  60. So now we’re on break till 4:45. See you then.
  61. And we’re back with the Transportation Master Plan
  62. City’s been relying on the 2005 Guelph-Wellington Master Plan, which expires in ’21. Time for an update.
  63. Focuses on walking, biking and transit. Includes ride sharing too.
  64. Automobiles will be the choice for many in short and medium term, says staff.
  65. Major tech advances coming. I.e. driverless vehicles.
  66. #Guelph is predominately suburban, so we have to work around that, staff.
  67. Operational aspects of transit and parking, intersection, site analysis not part of the study.
  68. Here's the steering committee for the Transportation Master Plan: https://t.co/ZAfgWlyejT

    Here’s the steering committee for the Transportation Master Plan: pic.twitter.com/ZAfgWlyejT
  69. Guthrie asks about timetable, wants to get something done before the next election.
  70. McIlveen: the 2005 study began in 2002/3, so the timetable is kind of set regardless of 2018 elxn.
  71. Guthrie says the extension of Stone Rd needs to be reconsidered as part of this. Will be bringing forth a motion to that effect.
  72. Gordon says he’s disappointed that car owner #’s are up, but the stats from 2011, any anecdotal treads in interim?
  73. McIlveen: Waiting for results from 2016 survey, may not see it today, but maybe in next 5 years.
  74. Piper also disappointed that transit #’s have gone down, but important to know with transit changes coming that they’re make good decisions
  75. Allt asks about integrated regional transit plans, will that be a part of the study?
  76. “It’s our hope” says McIlveen. GRT could be part of convo, golden horseshoe as well could be discussed.
  77. Metrolinx is also part of the discussion, the City has regular contact with them.
  78. Allt asks about being in contact with private carriers like Greyhound.
    McIlveen: Yes, wants to look at that too.
  79. Staff: This process will follow a similar one to a construction project. Multiple depts, cover the entire corp.
  80. Consultants will be hired. 1st step was to give council framework, give feedback, and then hire consultant.
  81. Hofland asks why a 20 year plan when there’s so much uncertainty.
  82. Need a road map to know where you’re heading, need the elements in place to meet the future.
  83. Bell would like the consultant to identify why the City keeps falling short of its goals rather than getting all info at once.
  84. Kealy Dedman says it is possible to have info brought back in a phased process.
  85. Billings ask about the philosophy of the framework, not much has changed: more cycle, more transit, fewer cars…
  86. McIlveen says there’s an opportunity here to go forward. Thinks the goals can be better accomplished now.
  87. 2011-2016 data will come out next year. Comes from the province. McIlveen says the data should show improve on goals.
  88. Billings asks if public has been asked first so that they can inform the framework.
  89. McIlveen there will be “substantial” engagement with the public once the consultant’s ben brought onboard.
  90. Staff: We have to be cautious about this data. Doesn’t give a full picture, but good to compare year over year.
  91. Also #’s would be worse without work year over year.
  92. Downer asks if this is strategy to feed into current official plan, or planning for the next? A: It’s both.
  93. The Stone Rd expansion not in the current official plan, says Downer, that needs to be addressed.
  94. “That will need some public response… There’s a red flag around that issue,” says Downer on Stone Rd extension.
  95. Wettstein says we need to think carefully about where to put Stone Rd extension. I
  96. If we’re to “play around with that” might affect Hanlon interchanges
  97. DCAO Stewart warns not to embed these things from the official plan into a Transport Master plan.
  98. Stewart: We can ask consultant to look at “unintended consequences”, wants to make sure we’re not pre-emting other work.
  99. Derrick Thomson: Council has to give direction through a motion to look at different framework.
  100. Salisbury points out that this could be left as direction to staff, but Stewart would prefer a motion.
  101. Guthrie wants to move things along, call a motion to what’s in front of council and move on to his motion.
  102. Gibson says need an “intellectually honest moment,” cars aren’t going away, but we want to move to alternatives.
  103. Vote on Transportation Master Plan Framework: passes 12-0.
  104. Guthrie’s motion: Hopes it’s high level enough and exploratory enough to pass.
  105. Basically: go out and have a look, talk to people, and figure what we’re going to do. RE: Stone Rd extension to Elmira Rd, plus Watson.
  106. Piper asks to separate Watson to Woodlawn, dead set against Stone Rd though b/c of all past reasons.
  107. Salisbury asks about the timetable. Guthrie says at the same time the TMP is done, but wants to underline word “explore”
  108. Stewart notes we’re doing this on the fly and maybe we’re not getting good answers on this matter.
  109. Salisbury: Tell us the scope of what we’re getting into – OMB, MTO, et al – we want to know that before we put it into the plan.
  110. Wettstein: We can pass what’s here now, and then get more info on the new motions before the council meeting on 03/27
  111. Downer says this is backwards, if the study says we need another link to Highway #24, that’s the time to look at options.
  112. IOW: We’re already looking at the solution when a problem hasn’t been identified yet.
  113. Guthrie motion withdrawn, so we’re moving on to Pedestrian Crossing Treatments.
  114. There were changes in pedestrian crossover installations, so the City will explore where and what to implement in a reporting coming Q3
  115. Drivers and cyclists must yield right of way to pedestrians until they’ve crossed the road. Good luck with that.
  116. Salisbury asks for info about cost difference between pedestrian stop lights and other x-walks.
  117. Cost between $20-60K due to all the work involved, says McIlveen. X-over a “standalone facility.”
  118. Salisbury asks about research between x-overs and stop lights. McIlveen says they use the x-over devices out east, and west.
  119. Also being used in Kitchener and Hamilton, another safety device in the tool box, says McIlveen.
  120. Also, these measures are designed for lower speed and lower volume roads.
  121. There will also be an extensive campaign to make the public aware of new signals. Hence the wait…
  122. Van Hellemond clarifies about the conditions. Emphasis is on volume of road, how many pedestrians travel per hour, speed limit, etc.
  123. Gibson asks about funding for awareness campaign since this is provincial mandate. Nope, it’s coming from city.
  124. Presentation from Stewart on Delegation of Authority for Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services
  125. “Less red tape, more red carpet,” says Stewart.
  126. These are administrative, and not relieving council of any powers. Want to keep council focus on strategic matters.
  127. Also, council (and the public) will still be updated along with the way.
  128. Piper points out that there are occasions where council has added conditions to sign by-law b/c of input from constituents
  129. Also, council has talked about doing a comprehensive sign bylaw review. A lot of changes in this area last 10 years.
  130. Is a sign bylaw review in the work plan in the next two years?
  131. Sign bylaw review coming later this year, says staff. “We certainly feel there’s a need for it… It’s a big undertaking.” Coming in 2018.
  132. Piper puts motion on floor defer clause three until sign bylaw review completed.
  133. Piper amendment passes 12-0. Other 3 points left to vote on.
  134. Gibson moves to set a cap at $5 million on clause #1 so that council can maintain some oversight.
  135. Bob Bell goes lower with a $3 million cap. Van Hellemond seconds.
  136. Stewart says we’re splitting hairs, $5 million captures vast majorities of projects that this might come up under.
  137. Guthrie says this is like a pilot project, reports will come back to council on progress, would rather focus on cutting that 2-4 week window
  138. City clerk notes that this motion has to do with scheduling. Caps would have to be changed under purchasing bylaw.
  139. Allt says we need to expedite business in Guelph, and this move is to the betterment of all.
  140. Vote on $3 M cap amendment: fails 9-3 (Bell, Billings, Van Hellemond vote in favour).
  141. Guthrie wants to clarify: these are mostly road projects, already approved in budget. also engineering matters.
  142. Vote on $5 M cap: fails 8-4 (same 3 with Gibson).
  143. Vote on items 1,2 and 4 passes 8-4 (Bell, Billings, Gibson and Van Hellemond vote against)
  144. Attached to agenda are about 100 correspondences in favour of Gibson motion about Commercial Growth in East #Guelph:  http://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/cow_consolidated-agenda_030617.pdf 
  145. Council’s back with East End Commercial Growth motion.
  146. Gibson says he wants to make sure we’re talking about what’s in the motion, and not what isn’t.
  147. Gibson says that Cllr Bell’s phone has been ringing too. Council has shown support for the east end all term and it’s appreciated.
  148. Stewart says there’s duplication it the motion, but will make sure that there’s no work for staff and not duplicating efforts
  149. Hofland asks about risks to the development industry. Stewart says he’s not sure there’s risk.
  150. Hofland: Are there legal implications for the OMB concerning precedent of setting one neighbourhood against the other.
  151. Stewart: We’re not reporting mack on every single phone call, it has to get in line with the rest of the work we’re doing.
  152. Allt concerned about raising false expectations in the neighbourhood, concerned what staff can do beyond what they’re doing now.
  153. Stewart: It will be on the latter part of 5 year timeline, also council is not in control of all of this.
  154. “We have a council that’s very interested in moving this thing along and you may not be the only game in town,” Stewart on message to Loblaw
  155. Wettstein says #1 commercial issue for all of council is grocery store in the east end.
  156. He was concerned with policy changes that could be read into it.
  157. Salisbury says he’s not sure what this can do beyond commercial policy review, wishes he had more one-on-one w/ Ward 1 councillors tho.
  158. Salisbury disagrees with the idea that he’s against commercial development in east end.
  159. Allt wants to hear from others on council. Admits they’re hamstrung by market forces.
  160. Salisbury asks if staff will be considering the point of the motion even without the motion?
  161. That would be presuming the outcome of the study, says staff, but it will be considered.
  162. Staff: it highlights the issue.
    Salisbury: What does that mean?
  163. East end is an area were well aware of, says staff in considering the overall commercial policy.
  164. Salisbury says “little to no real impact” is not the message he’s getting from other developers.
  165. Concerned there will be political repercussions from the development community.
  166. Salisbury says developer’s he talked to don’t want to speak on the issue b/c they might feel repercussions.
  167. Thomson says that’s unfair to staff. This comes from council, and asks that political points be kept among councillors.
  168. Salisbury: Is it possible that this might show Loblaw the opposite and we’re moving off without them?
    Stewart: Anything’s possible/
  169. Salisbury says this is a purely political message and could adversely offend the east end.
  170. Yet, here are all the correspondences of people that feel differently. pic.twitter.com/U47lkFYQ04
  171. Wettstein says if they get a grocery store going in the east end, then this term will be a success.
  172. Wettstein: If they [Loblaw] really wants residential, they could wait us out. In Ward 6, they made sure to follow process.
  173. Already had an experience with Lafarge site at OMB, opposition could use this as a case against the City.
  174. Wettstein says the message is being heard loud and clear right now even w/o voting on the motion.
  175. Allt says this is symbolic motion, not going to deliver grocery store tmrw, but still a dilemma b/c of Salisbury’s points.
  176. Allt say council feels like they got a raw deal, and Loblaw feels like they got a raw deal b/c of OMB on Walmart decision.
  177. “Damned if we do, damned if we don’t,” adds Allt.
  178. Gibson: Aside from Starwood/Watson, the only commercial space left for grocery store is York land. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
  179. Yes, it’s political, says Gibson, but also a necessity.
  180. Billings asks about timeline for commercial policy review.
    A: 18-24 months.
  181. Billings asks about contact with Loblaw since last council meeting.
    Stewart: Nope.
  182. Billings sympathetic due to struggle getting grocery store built in south end. Does developer have problem with urban design guidelines?
  183. Staff says they are seeing progress. Minor discussion around urban design guidelines can’t be hugely influential in major development.
  184. Billings unsure if this has teeth, but it’s high level and “better than nothing.”
  185. Also the motion highlights the York Rd lands, and maybe it will do something so Billings will support.
  186. Hofland says if this is going to help the east end, she will support.
  187. Staff has informal discussions all the time with potential investors, nothing formal for York lands yet.
  188. Cllr Bell commends Gibson’s work on the motion, and staff input.
  189. A win for Loblaw, a win for residents and a win for council says Bell on the trifecta here.
  190. Wettstein offers compromise, keep point 1, lose point 2.
  191. In point #1, Wettstein wants to replace “be directed” with “continue”
  192. Also removes everything after “York Road Intensification Corridor.”
  193. Gibson says he’s “at the water’s edge” of the staff’s work plan. He worked very hard on the original wording.
  194. Hofland says that she would like to see consensus, acknowledges Gibson’s work but unanimous vote will send powerful message.
  195. Billings would prefer recommendation as written but will support if staff endorses it.
  196. “The amendment gives me no more or less pause than was originally written” says Stewart.
  197. Guthrie acknowledges Gibson’s work, and the wording changes sends the same message.
  198. Guthrie wants to send message to east end with the weight of council behind it. Doesn’t want Gibson/Bell to feel work diminished.
  199. Gibson asks to see the motion, is will to concede to new wording when he sees it written.
  200. Stewart says he feels like the new wording is accomplishing the same thing as the original wording.
  201. Wettstein is prepared to risk that ppl will see this for what it is, a way to help get grocery store in ease end as quickly as possible.
  202. Part 2 of the recommendation passes 11-1 (Wettstein against).
  203. Wettstein said that part 2 was more “dangerous” than part 1, but the rest of council disagreed.
  204. That’s it. Committee is adjourned. Thanks for following along.

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