City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the March 27 Meeting?

An investigation, a 40-year-old problem, and a controversial motion all come to the floor in the second council meeting of the month for March.

CLOSED MEETING – C-COW-CS-2017.1 Public Appointments to Various Advisory Committees and The Board of Trustees of the Elliott Community (Downtown Advisory Committee, Guelph Museums Advisory Committee, River Systems Advisory Committee, Water Conservation and Efficiency Public Advisory Committee); C-CON-2017.4 Request for an Exception to the Public Appointment Policy from Guelph Police Services Board; C-COW-IDE-2017.1 Hanlon Creek Business Park – Development Options; C-CON-2017.5 Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. Governance Structure; C-CON-2017.6 Charges and Fees, Lowes Road and Dawn Avenue

CON-2017.6 Closed Meeting Investigation Report – Nigel Bellchamber of Amberly Gavel Ltd has investigated a complaint received by the City Clerk that Council inappropriately went into a closed meeting on December 10, 2015 without proper notification. The complaint also says that the reasons that Council went into a closed meeting did not meet the requirements of the Municipal Act. Now you may recall that December 10 was the second day of a two-day meeting to pass the 2016 budget. The complaint alleges the there was no advance notice of the meeting of the 10th, it was not in the newspaper notice of meeting as outlined in the City of Guelph procedural bylaws, but the City website has changed to include notice of the extra day’s meeting when the Clerk sensed (correctly) that one night might not be enough. That’s still in keeping with the bylaws by the way, which allows for posting meeting dates on the City website with 72 hours notice. As to the reason of the closed meeting, a matter that was part of discussions around Non-Union Compensation Adjustment recommendation, the Municipal Act allows for closed sessions for labour relations or employee negotiations under section 239(2)(d) of the Municipal Act. So the City’s in the clear, but in the future, they should introduce a new procedural bylaw allowing for the proviso that one day’s meeting can automatically carry over to the next if its running late with no end in sight.

CON-2017.7 Charges and Fees, Lowes Road and Dawn Avenue – Two projects, 25 years apart, but each with the same problem. In the Lowes/Dawn area, water main installation in 1977, and a sanitary sewer installation in 2002, somewhere along the way, staff missed a couple of steps and as a result only 28 of 31 original properties paid water main costs and only 3 of 32 original properties paid sanitary sewer costs. So what is the City of Guelph to do? A 2012 decision said that the amounts were “uncollectible” so the question now is what’s the City going to do to prevent this from happening in the future? Well, staff has initiated “a corporate protocol that clearly identifies roles, responsibilities and processes related to Local Improvement initiatives.” Also, they will continue to look at ways to recover the lost charges through development charges another revenue tools. In all, $159,608.13 was deemed uncollectible in a 2015 report.

CON-2017.8 Guelph as a Sanctuary City – James Gordon’s controversial motion to follow the lead of Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, and London, and name Guelph a Sanctuary City comes forward. Along with the designation, the motion will ask the Intergovernmental Relations, Policy and Open Government staff to consult with stakeholders, the police and other sanctuary cities in Ontario about how to proceed and come back to council with a report in the third quarter of 2017.

CON-2017.9 Surplus Asset Sales Policies – Mayor Cam Guthrie would like to see City staff look at ways for local community group and non-profits to claim first dibs to any old city assets that might be decommissioned before they’re put up for auction. That includes desks, chairs, computers, printers and even fleet vehicles and ambulances.

Reports from Committee-of-the-Whole on March 6:
COW-IDE-2017.8 Sidewalk Needs Assessment Update
COW-IDE-2017.9 Natural Heritage Action Plan (NHAP) Project Initiation
COW-IDE-2017.10 Sign By-law Variances – 158 Clair Road East
COW-IDE-2017.11 Sign By-law Variances – 84-202 Clair Road East
COW-IDE-2017.12 Annual and Summary Water Services Report – 2016
COW-IDE-2017.13 2017 Corporate Asset Management Plan and Policy
COW-IDE-2017.15 Transportation Master Plan – Framework
COW-IDE-2017.16 Pedestrian Crossing Treatments – Update to the Ontario Traffic Manual
COW-IDE-2017.17 Delegation of Authority for Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services
COW-IDE-2017.18 Outstanding Motions of Committee of the Whole (Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise)
COW-IDE-2017.19 Striking Committee Policy Review – Councillor Wettstein’s Motion for Which Notice was Given December 5, 2016
COW-IDE-2017.20 Exploring Opportunities to Accelerate Large Neighbourhood Commercial Growth in East Guelph – Councillor Gibson’s Motion for Which Notice was Given February 13th

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