LIVE BLOG: Committee of the Whole for July 4, 2017

It’s the last committee meeting before summer break, and it’s stocked with infrastructure stuff. 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 – July 4, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 2 pm

  1. First up: awards. Recognition of Adult School Crossing Guard Program by Employment Coordination Committee to Christine Vettor (1of5)
  2. 2017 Awards of Excellence in Water Efficiency to Jennifer Gilks, Cathy Chaput, Megan Haessler & Jocelyn Kelly for H2Awesome. (2of6)
  3. Wayne Galliher, Jennifer Gilks, Julie Anne Lamberts, Karen McKeown, Laura Mousseau, Emily Stahl, Alicia Wind & Heather Yates…
  4. …for the 2016 Water Efficiency Strategy Update (3 of 5)
  5. Recognition of Alex Chapman of Climate Change Office, for Renewable Energy Professional accreditation from Asc of Energy Engineers (4of5)
  6. Finally, a presentation from Barb Swartzentruber and Cathy Kennedy of Policy and Intergovernmental Relations office.
  7. This year, the office has taken credit for securing $18 million in provincial and federal funds for #Guelph.
  8. Recent work being done by the Intergovernmental Relations office.

    Recent work being done by the Intergovernmental Relations office.
  9. Mayor Guthrie says he can’t do his job without Intergovernmental Relations. “Straight up” he adds.
  10. Guthrie candidly admits that he did not support the idea when it initially came before council.
  11. One item passes by consent: COW-CS-2017.13 Tax Sale Vesting
  12. Cllr Downer asks how new registration rules of 2-unit houses will be reported/recorded.
  13. Specifically, how will staff be alerted about ownership changes.
  14. Staff: Provision puts onus on the seller and the buyer to make it known to the City. There are penalties in the new bylaw.
  15. Next up is LED Street Lighting. 13,119 street lights looking to change up to LED and save $$$ and energy.
  16. Keeping the street lights on costs $1.7 million per year. $1 out of every $5 goes to street lights. Been rising 10% per year.
  17. Average cost per person in cities using LEDS: 81.68
    Average cost for those not: 119.68
  18. Consultations included the Royal Astronomical Society. along w/ Enviro Advisory Comm. and @WDGPublicHealth.
  19. Cllr Bell has one concern: Pricing. Is Guelph getting the best deal now?
  20. Alex Chapman says there’s no benefit in delaying further; right price now for Guelph to take full advantage of conversion.
  21. Incentive programs changing over time, Chapman says that they didn’t want to “over promise and under deliver” hence the costs presented.
  22. City going inventory of its street lamps – how high, placement, etc – and they that info will go to venders for tenders.
  23. Piper says when you enter Guelph there is a kind of glow so making an impact on light pollution is important in the conversion.
  24. Cllr Hofland talks about feasible time frame.
    Chapman: If started tomorrow – 8-9 months.
  25. Aherne says that LED lights in her area have made things brighter. Had to get think curtains for sleeping.
  26. LED lighting not the problem. Unregulated use is problematic, says Aherne.
  27. Aherne recommends council set up a bylaw to regulate all outdoor lighting, and that lighting fall under supervision of EAC.
  28. Also, offer lighting resources and info on lighting on City website.
  29. Urban Design is coming up later in the meeting, Downer will address the issue about bylaw there.
  30. DCAO Clack notes that there’s presently no bylaws about light pollution.
  31. Piper agrees with Bell, if city doesn’t get ahead of this private owners will install LED and they may have to “grandfather” bad installs.
  32. Amendment to make the lights dark-sky compliant passes 11-0.
  33. Next up: Guelph Active Transportation Network Design Guidelines and Feasibility Study
  34. Staff: study is a result of intensive public consultation and good work within city departments.
  35. Cycling Master Plan and Natural Heritage Systems are the two plans that directly informed this one.
  36. The study focused on the off-road network. Project manager Jay Cranstone says Guelph should be complemented for on-road network.
  37. Important note: this is not the end of the process. This was the feasibility study, and the development of design guidelines.
  38. Goal to create a reliable network and to give residents choices in how people can get around the city.
  39. Billings asks about trail near Wellington and the Hanlon, been on the books for a while, but not included in “priority segments”?
  40. Cranstone says it’s “challenging” b/c of all the parties, so more immediate move is the Silvercreek trail.
  41. Will also be addressed in the trails master plan. says staff.
  42. Focus on study is for existing trails with a couple of links added. Wasn’t that particular trail isn’t feasible in short term.
  43. Guthrie asks if the trail was there and in use today, would this plan for ATN still be approved?
  44. Staff: Not necessarily. Just in the scope of this work, that opportunity won’t come up in the next 10 years.
  45. Costs in report are capital costs, not for new staffing. If new FTE is required that will come up at budget time.
  46. Mayor Guthrie asks if there’s anything that can be done on existing signage on trails this year?
  47. Staff: No money in the budget this year. Some little things are being done thru Parks & Rec, but they’ll need more $$ to implement.
  48. Guthrie says there are some bike lanes he’d rather not see in place, any opportunity for feedback?
  49. Cranstone says on-road and off-road meant to compliment. 60% of respondents said they’d prefer more separation. Guthrie agrees.
  50. Piper asks if the funds recommended cover expropriation? Some land in the plan is owned by others, and not the City.
  51. Staff: the 12.27M would not include legal costs. That will come up in the regular capital budget process.
  52. Piper recalls that part of the money for the Wellington overpass was supposed to fund a trail. Province put that back on City though and…
  53. Piper says public might be concerned that this trailer is still not be considered a priority, and it is. Need to make it more visible.
  54. Staff: It’s a priority in the trail master plan, as the other plans are developed they will make sure everything complements.
  55. DCAO Stewart wants to take time to confer with staff about Wellington/Hanlon trail possibilities. Could add fifth recommendation.
  56. In response to Cllr Downer’s Q: the report did look at moving the crosswalk at Riverside Park to line-up with the trail….
  57. …The original placement of the crosswalk was completely arbitrary anyway. Staff says they’ll look at this with Transit.
  58. 1% of trips per day in the day across all methods of transit, use bikes. Staff calls that “conservative” due to survey methods.
  59. Cllr MacKinnon notes that some trails in the south end are not City property, but are common elements to certain developments.
  60. Staff says they’ve already partnered with Westminster Woods, and will partner with others where possible.
  61. Bell doesn’t understand why Boathouse crossing has highest traffic and yet not included in the plan.
  62. Cranstone: It’s one of a number of options that feed into the network development in that area, not a singular priority.
  63. Staff: All these plans are integrated, one doesn’t take precedence over the other.
  64. DCAO Stewart suggest we’re “getting into the weeds”, a lot if what’s being discussed comes out of detailed design.
  65. A lot of this, “We won’t know until we get there,” says Stewart.
  66. Doesn’t want to “put everything on hold until we learn everything,” says Stewart.
  67. Salisbury notes there’s really no connection to the city for areas in the west end south of the railway tracks. Could be decades away.
  68. Cranstone: Off road ATN not end all/be all. Meant to compliment on-road, and may have to rely on that in foreseeable future.
  69. “My concern that as a guiding document this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” – Salisbury.
  70. Why would we approve this with an immediate condition to address a specific issue? asks Salisbury. Shouldn’t this go back staff?
  71. Stewart says council has already taken action, all the plans are connected. Process has been underway for years.
  72. Salisbury not satisfied. The Hanlon/Wellington connection not shown, thus West end not serviced.
  73. Gibson asks Salisbury if we can pause to hear from delegates, but Salisbury wants to know if its a viable option to send back to staff.
  74. Stewart: It feels like you want to pause everything, but we’ll lose a year if we do.
  75. Tendick also mentions Ward 4 and how it’s cut off from the rest of the city. Residents feel cut off, she says.
  76. Visual aid: if you're "fit and brave" you can take Wellington.

    Visual aid: if you’re “fit and brave” you can take Wellington.
  77. Next up, Mike Darmon. He’s also a Board member of GCAT.
  78. Next up is Patrick Sheridan, we opens with a picture of himself riding through 2 feet of water yesterday on one of the trails.
  79. Sheridan makes the point that most of Guelph lives within 2 or 3 kilometres of one of the rivers.
  80. Last delegate on this: Bill Mungall of Ontario Trail Council, Hike Ontario, and Guelph Hiking Trail Club. He’s with all 3.
  81. Gibson turns back to committee, hopeful that consensus can be reached.
  82. Guthrie asks if this is already funded.
    Staff: On-road upgrades have already been budgeted, the off-road has not been budgeted yet.
  83. Data collected during the spring and summer months in terms of use. Guthrie asks if there’s a high demand for use in the winter.
  84. Cranstone says he did hear feedback, but it was not “overwhelming”
  85. Downer amendment: to study the movement of pedestrian light at Gordon near Royal City Park.
  86. Wettstein says council has started picking their corners and adding amendments. If there’s just this one though, okay.
  87. Salisbury says his goal is to get plan to address connection to West End, asks staff for best way to proceed.
  88. DCAO Stewart: Can incl. amendment to look at Hanlon trail connection, but it would be making it a capital priority….
  89. … Also, the province has a role in this too. They need to be included in the conversation.
  90. Stewart says the $12.2M is for what’s in the report, if committee moves forward with amendment cost will go up.
  91. New amendment to direct staff to include the Hanlon/Wellington connection on the “yellow line”, Billings seconded it
  92. Guthrie verifies, that this trail is at top of the list on Trails Master Plan. The only thing missing is the funding portion?
  93. DCAO Stewart: Yes, put there will be costing studies coming forward for all new developments.
  94. Salisbury says there will more debate and discussion, just wanted to make sure *this* was in the guiding document.
  95. Wettstein: “I guess I’ll support this one too”, he says.
  96. Wettstein says that they don’t want to leave the public with the impression that these are *priority* capital projects.
  97. Stewart: It will all come back in the budget process.
  98. Piper puts the idea of re-establishing a Trails Advisory Committee.
  99. Asking staff to bring forward terms of reference, so this motion would not automatically create a committee.
  100. CAO Thomson notes there is a parks, trail system in master plan. Suggests public services come back with that information.
  101. Guthrie says this is a “feel good motion”. Guelph once had a trail advisory committee but not now, so what gives?
  102. Hofland says she’s sure that staff would bring back that historical info with terms of reference.
  103. Piper withdraws motion and rewords to ask for information report in Q1 2018.
  104. Mackinaw asks how many municipalities maintain winter control on their trail systems?
  105. The answer is not many, but none do the entire system
  106. Bell thinks the priority should be to remove obstacles instead of focusing on things like paving.
  107. Bell says he wants to refer the document back for more consultation with the community, otherwise, he’s got some more amendments.
  108. Bell wants to add an amendment then to include grid separation on Victoria Rd as a priority.
  109. Gibson asks Bell if there’s wording on that motion, and a seconder. No seconder.
  110. Guthrie wants to add the words “in principal” to clause #1.
  111. Downer not sure what that means, Staff said it was a living document, so what’s the difference?
  112. DCAO Stewart thinks it will complicate things more. The city needs to move forward.
  113. Guthrie motion fails 2-8. (Guthrie, Billings in favour)
  114. Guthrie proposes now to replace “year-round maintenance” in clause #2 for “in-season”
  115. Stewart notes that this is about commuters, and commuters travel all year round. Guthrie notes he *never* hears ppl complain about access.
  116. Guthrie says this is “city building” not “infrastructure” so has concerns endorsing this. Going to speak to staff “big time” about this.
  117. Hofland really wants to move forward with this. Represents a lot of work on the part of staff.
  118. Downer points out that this is about walkers too. Easier to walk on clear trails.
  119. The original 4 recommendations. 3 more have been added (from Downer, Salisbury and Piper)

    The original 4 recommendations. 3 more have been added (from Downer, Salisbury and Piper)
  120. MacKinnon will vote against 2 and 4, not doing good enough job on sidewalks already.
  121. Gibson asks if any councillor brought concerns to staff before hand
    The answer is no.
  122. Gibson says adding new services creates more issues in addressing infrastructure gap. Will vote for some.
  123. Clause #2: Fails 4-6 (Downer, Hofland, Piper and Salisbury for)
  124. Motion to take no action on clause #4: Passes 7-3 (Downer, Hofland, Piper against)
  125. Now a 15 minute break before dealing with the other 5 items on the agenda.
  126. Leanne Piper taking over from Dan Gibson, who had to leave to make a flight, as chair.
  127. Proceeding to Bell’s questions under the affordable housing incentive file.
  128. Requesting $230K more for the reserve account because the rest made up though balance carried over.
  129. The money goes to offsets to a max amount of $70K per unit, per the framework.
  130. Staff: this is to help inform the budget, this is not a pre-approval of the budget. Money funds up to 6/half of annual affordable units
  131. Wettstein has a problem with the city taking up slack from feds and province (on affordable housing)…
  132. …Wants to know if he’s committed to vote for this at budget time (because he won’t).
  133. CAO Thomson clarifies that this money will be part of an expansion package that comes during budget time.
  134. Hofland clarifies: tonight we’re approving the framework, 2018 it’s part of expansion pack, afterward becomes part of base budget.
  135. Guthrie says council really needs to start thinking of tiny homes. Could house 43 ppl right now for this money.
  136. Next up: the Woonerf pilot project. A motion brought forward by Cllr Bob Bell.
  137. Piper points out that there is an identified street, but that’s not part of the motion.
  138. First up, @MikeSchreiner to speak on woonerfs. Was blown away at how community life thrived with woonerfs in Netherlands.
  139. “People want to live in connected communities” says Schreiner. Planners catching on b/c we’re recognizing the negative health.
  140. Next up, Cas Herold, a Neeve St resident and new arrival to Guelph. He says traffic on his street is 4-to-1 pedestrians to cars
  141. Herold notes that Neeve St needs a lot of work, so get two things done at once and give Woonerf’s a whirl.
  142. Maurice Nelischer: “it’s stupid to be councillors there’s so much work” (Meant it as a compliment).
  143. Downer says its a good time to evaluate this with a Transportation plan coming. Who’s been doing this? Has it worked?
  144. Guthrie’s gut says skip with the process and engage directly with the residents of Neeve St (although the street’s not named in the motion)
  145. Nelischer says he thinks all residents are in favour of moving forward.
  146. Guthrie offers amendment that directly mentions Neeve as a pilot, and consultation with residents there.
  147. Wettstein thinks this is a governance issue, and this item shouldn’t be here right now. No budget, no staff report, no exploration.
  148. Jumping right to consultation means changing the work plan, which means something else comes off the work plan.
  149. Wettstein wants to see this come forward w/ proper process at CoW meet, doesn’t “appreciate” these circumstances.
  150. Bell says staff prefer the motion as it appears, and he does too.
  151. For the record though, Bell’s fine doing both at once.
  152. Downer doesn’t want to raise expectations on Neeve St, and wants to wait to hear back from staff before proceeding.
  153. Guthrie says he chose his words carefully. Doesn’t commit the city to doing it.
  154. Vote fails 3-6 (Piper, Guthrie and Bell vote in favour).
  155. Vote on the amended main motion: Passes 7-2 (MacKinnon and Wettstein votes against)
  156. Next up: Stormwater Service Fee – Credit Program Feasibility Report.
  157. Staff is recommending a hybrid program of old and new incentives and credits to encourage stormwater management.
  158. Ignore previous references to Neeve St in Woonerf discussion, it was actually New St.
  159. Sainsbury asks what kind of incentives can the city offer when the cost is $48 per year?
  160. Staff: there’s also the investment in the educational component and enhancing that program. Cost savings more significant on non-residential
  161. Guthrie asks if staff knows the exact cost of the increase in administration?
  162. It can be done within an existing program so there’s really no additional cost.
  163. Guthrie glad they did the hybrid option, but many he’s talked to other mayors that have implanted this, and not gone well…
  164. Staff is asking to take $480K of the $580K surplus to put towards the incentive program thus answering Holland’s concern.
  165. Recommendation passes 7-2 (Billings and Salisbury vote against)
  166. Next up: Senior Urban Designer David degree and the Draft Urban Design Vision and Design Action Plan.
  167. Volume 3, which is pending, will contain standards and directions for the Urban Design Manual
  168. In the 1st volume, urban design is defined, &it’s described why it’s important in the Guelph context. Urban design principles alss defined
  169. 2nd volume: highlights opportunity areas (places in the city with potential for significant change)…
  170. …how to strength institutions and activate public space (areas where the City could seek improvement)…
  171. … and the possible new directions for urban design policy (AKA: the future).
  172. A final version of the manual will be coming back later this year in either Q3 or Q4.
  173. Downer says this plan is “much more comprehensive and wholesome” than what was brought forward in 2009.
  174. Wettstein puts recommendation on the floor, and wants to add light pollution bylaw.
  175. DCAO Clack says staff huddled and will bring back a draft recommendation for that bylaw for the July 24 meeting.
  176. According to Clack, lighting bylaws are tough to enforce, and very few municipalities have them. So uphill we go…
  177. Salisbury says the work on the manual is why we’re Guelph, ON and not Anywhere, ON.
  178. 2nd last item: Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan Phase One Report and Recommended Vision and Guiding Principles.
  179. 5 guiding principles: vibrant & urban, green & resilient, healthy & sustainable, interconnect & interwoven, and balanced & liveable.
  180. Project within scope and on budget. Phase 2 gets rolling in Sept with public visioning exercise. Conceptual structure in Q4 2017.
  181. Guthrie asks if there’s any opportunity to move the process along quicker. Might that be up to Mother Nature?
  182. DCAO Stewart: What the staff can control, they’re already 12 months ahead of schedule.
  183. Completion date of the project, you ask: April 2019.
  184. Staff unable to provide answers on job creation in the plan. They’re waiting 4 new guidelines from the province which are due later this yr.
  185. Senior Policy Planner Stacey Laughlin tells Wettstein that they want this to be a “design exercise” not a question of how many people.
  186. Wettstein says people along Gordon are concern if the number of high-rises may end up blotting out the sun (a jest?).
  187. Bell: #Guelph‘s 200 is in 2027, and planning horizon for any big project is 5-7 years. Let’s start planning…
  188. Things to consider: level of financial support, types of project, historical significance, contrib to the city.
  189. Examples: new park downtown, public/street art, a bridge.
  190. Bell would like to see some kind of public competition for 2019.
  191. “I’m not sure why anyone would be against this?” Bell adds.
  192. Piper asks about a bicentennial reserve created in the 2017 budget.
  193. DCAO Clack says there’s an item in the work plan, but can’t recall the specific motion.
  194. Downer says this should have been a public services agenda item, not IDE, just a note to be cautious about future agendas.
  195. Downer has concerns, but agrees this is a big thing and should start planning soon.
  196. Wettstein won’t support the referral, but he’s already made his speech on matters like these.
  197. Bell thinks we should be thinking now about the size of the project. In next council it won’t be till 2020/21 this comes up.
  198. At the same time, he’s fine with the referral, but thinks staff needs to start thinking about “implosion” in budget in 2019.
  199. Piper adds that many items in the capital forecast that could be bicentennial projects: new library, south end rec centre.
  200. Meeting adjourned. That’s a wrap for committee-of-the-whole, the next one’s in September. Next council meeting on July 10.

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