LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for June 28, 2017

Tonight there are two special council meetings, as in shareholder meetings for Guelph Junction Railway and Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. 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 – June 28, 2017

Live blog from the special meeting starting at 5 pm

  1. Mayor Guthrie calls the meeting to order. First up, shareholders meeting for Guelph Junction Railway.
  2. Ian Brown, chair of GJR is making his presentation. The railway is “healthy, and growing, and capital and safety issues been addressed.”
  3. 2 sets of improvements on the Eramosa Bridge this year costing $131K. The total was $1.83M over time.
  4. If you can move trains more faster and more safely you increase revenue, says Brown. Reasons for improvements.
  5. The bridge can also do larger loads now, plus the bridge won’t collapse on itself!
  6. Typo on the fifth motion. The wrong date, it's meant to say 2018 not 2017.

    Typo on the fifth motion. The wrong date, it’s meant to say 2018 not 2017.
  7. The GJR meeting is adjourned. Next up is the GMHI share holders meeting at 5:30.
  8. It’s 5:30 and that means time to start the Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. shareholder meet.
  9. Okay, so we’re going into closed meeting. Open meet starts at 6:30.
  10. I know it’s 6:30, but the closed session seems to be running late. Stay tuned.
  11. Okay so councillors are starting to arrive now.
  12. From Mayor Guthrie: The open session will start in a couple of minutes.
  13. Closed meeting: direction given to staff on Envida Asset Review.
  14. First, a presentation with GMHI director (and City of Guelph CAO) Derrick Thomson.
  15. GMHI and Hydro have spent the last 9 months reviewing Envida assets.
  16. Recommendations tonight incl. turning over Eastview generator and solar assets to Guelph Hydro & sell 8 solar microFIT programs 2 City
  17. Recommendations tonight incl. turning over Eastview generator and solar assets to Guelph Hydro & sell 8 solar microFIT programs 2 City
  18. Just a reminder from the GJR potion of tonight’s meet: MacKinnon, Gordon and Van Hellemond send regrets.
  19. Now Hydro CEO Sardana taking council through Envida Asset Review.
  20. “The story isn’t as positive” with remaining District Energy assets, says Sardana.
  21. Cllr Billings aks $1.8M loan that has to be paid back, where is the cash coming from?
  22. It’s coming from GMHI. On Aug 5, the cash balances will be drained, and dividends from GHESI will make up overdraft balance.
  23. Mayor Guthrie clarifies that there will be a reserve update coming back in fall. Can they bring back policy update at the same time?
  24. Billings: D.E. assets written down to noting?
    Sardana: Yes.
    Billings: Like zero?
    Sardana: Technically, still a liability on the books.
  25. Sardana expecting the cost of tying off Downtown D.E. will be another $1M more.
  26. Billings asks if this council has been transparent.
    Sardana: We’ve tried to be as transparent as possible. A priority when Guthrie joined.
  27. Sardana: Technically it was and Billings thanks Sardana and Thomson for “stopping the bleeding.”
  28. Cllr Gibson confirms that with Guelph buying Eastview and the solar assets they might see dividends down the road.
    Thomson: Possibly
  29. Gibson says they’ve been handed a challenging file and thanks Thomson and Co for the support.
  30. Cllr Salisbury asks why the split of solar assets?
    Sardana: City takes over solar on city buildings, Hydro gets the rest.
  31. Guthrie glad that his concerns have been validated tonight. Looks forward to the future moving forward.
  32. Now the Guelph Hydro year in review. Sardana says it’s nice to talk about something that’s positive.
  33. Guelph peak use is just below the provincial average fyi.
  34. Guelph is also in the “lower end of the pact” for cost per customer, says Sardana.
  35. Guelph is exceeding Ontario’s conservation targets, most utilities hovering around 20%, Guelph is around 60.
  36. Cllr Gibson asks about oncoming benefits of high consumption for electric vehicles. Are we ready?
  37. Sardana says we’re not ready tomorrow, but will likely be ready in time.
  38. Thomson closes by thank Hydro and noting how Guelph is fortunate to have high quality service & reliability in GHESI.
  39. Motion to adjourn. And that’s a wrap for this special meeting.

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