LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for November 13, 2017

Two straightforward items make up the demands on council for this month’s planning meeting. You can click here for the agenda from City Hall, and you can click here for the Politico preview. 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 – November 13, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 6:30 pm

  1. Programming note: the live-blog *may* start late due to personal matters.
  2. Long story short, today was my sister’s birthday, and thus we went out for a family dinner. Hence the lack of live blog. I’m at home now, and was hoping that Rogers might have the meeting available for review right after, but no, this is Rogers we’re talking about…
  3. …I promise to do a live-ish blog as soon as the video of the meeting is posted.
  4. And now a special time-shifted blog of last night’s city council meeting…
  5. No Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and General Nature Thereof.
  6. Closed meeting summery: The memorandum of agreement between the City and ATU local 1189 (AKA: Guelph Transit employees). Both sides reached an agreement last week.
  7. Allt/Hofland bring forward a motion to approve the memorandum, it passes 13-0.
  8. Obviously, no details about the agreement will be released until it’s passed by the ATU members.
  9. Now on to Urban Design Manual: Urban Design Vision and
    Design Action Plan. No one on council wants to pull this item for broader discussion.
  10. Downer moves to approve the manual, notes that she’s pleased with the work although she has a few minor questions she’ll take off line.
  11. Urban Design Manual: Urban Design Vision and Design Action Plan passes 13-0.
  12. Last item up: 388 Arkell Road – Proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment Files: OP1705 and ZC1708.
  13. Lindsay Sulatycki, Senior Development Planner, is presenting. This is the statutory public meeting for the project, which, if approved, will see a new high school built at the corner of Arkell and Victoria.
  14. Schools are not specifically permitted on land with this current designation, but the Upper Grand District School Board has submitted a site-specific plan on this.
  15. The land in question was annexed from Puslinch in 1993 and was zoned agricultural. Under law, the annexing municipality has to abide by the original designation. Hence the request for rezoning.
  16. Now questions from council starting with Cllr Allt. Asks about any potential repercussions from re designating annexed land
  17. Sulatycki says that’s something staff can look at and include in a future report.
  18. Cllr Billings about the definition of community services and facilities if schools are excluded from that definition?
  19. Sulatycki says community services and facilities are meant to be complimentary to the primary use, but the school here is the primary use of this land.
  20. Cllr Billings asks how far out the transportation study goes. Mentions the existing concerns about traffic at Arkell and Gordon. Sulatycki says she doesn’t know, but can provide info in next report.
  21. Cllr Piper asks about how the land came to be acquired. It was not a friendly expropriation? Sulatycki says she’s not sure how the land was expropriated, just that it was.
  22. Piper: Was it Class A farmland?
    Sulatycki: Don’t know exact designation, but it was not prime farmland.
  23. First delegation is Pierre Chauvin, MHBC Planning, who’s working with UGDSB on developing the school plan.
  24. At the request of staff, the plan has looked at how development might continue around the school if construction is approved. The site is well established including existing trails and transit routes.
  25. In the plan, there are two accesses to the site on Arkell, and one on Victoria. The second entry on Arkell is meant for accessibility and as a fire route.
  26. This is the first high school to be constructed in Guelph in 50 years. The 4 high schools in the city are all over capacity, and a lot of students currently being bused elsewhere will be able to walk to school once completed.
  27. The school will create employment too. 110 teachers and staff at the school.
  28. Chauvin says this is the “beginning of the road”. There’s still a lot of ground to cover before the school is finally open. Both City and School Board requirements.
  29. Cllr Allt kicks off questions by asking about the type of high school this will be: collegiate, technical etc? Chauvan refers the question to the rep from UGDSB
  30. Allt also has a question about the impact on technical programs at College Heights, whether provincial funding is affected by the type of school, and whether the school will be populated gradually, starting with 9ers, or all at once.
  31. Chauvin refers all those questions to Jennifer Passy of the Upper Grand District School Board, who will be speaking soon.
  32. Cllr Salisbury asks about any consideration for mixed use given the proposed zoning in order to provide amenities for the community?
  33. Chauvin says mixed use doesn’t not always have to be on one property. There already is commercial development on the SW corner and residential nearby.
  34. Cllr Bell asks about trails, they lead to the school, but not pass through. Can they connect? Chauvin says they can, there’s opportunity.
  35. Billings asks again about the traffic impact study? Chauvin says it covers to Arkell/Gordon and as far south as Clair Rd.
  36. Piper asks about low impact, sustainable development for the school, has it been part of the discussion?
    Chauvin: It’s been part of the discussion, but too early in the process for details.
  37. Passy of UGDSB is now delegating. Since 2005: 5 new elementary schools, and 3 rebuilds have taken place, yet nothing for high schools. New school hopes to relieve pressure.
  38. In response to Allt’s questions, Passy said that the type of school has not yet been decided, there’ll be no impact on other school programs, and move-in is something else that’s TBD.
  39. Salisbury revisits mixed-use question with Passy. UGDSB has not considered building in mixed-use
  40. Outside of vertical school development in Toronto, Passy says she hasn’t heard of an integration of mixed use in school construction.
  41. Mayor Guthrie asks if there’s ever been a partnership with the city on something like this? A way to answer city needs at the same time as school board needs. Like.. a cricket pitch (??)
  42. Passy says they’ve had lengthy conversations with city staff, including an info night where they asked staff specifically about Arkell, and there seems to be nothing in this instance, but they’re open.
  43. Mayor Guthrie also asks is there’s a possibility of new Transit stops where buses can pull off the road. Passy says they can discuss that with engineering.
  44. Now the matter comes back to council for discussion… But wait! Someone wants to comment, but is apparently ambivalent about coming to the podium.
  45. The delegate is Shelly Jennings, she owns a townhouse across the road from one of the entrances to the school. Her first concern is the traffic and the noise.
  46. Jennings also wondering where the front of the school is, if the park will be publicly accessible, and if the majority of students will be bused? Mayor Guthrie says the previous delegates may be able to answer her questions after the end of the meet.
  47. Billings puts the motion to receive on the floor.
  48. Billings goes back again to the transportation study. The boundary review not done, but the transpo study is? How do you have accurate numbers?
  49. Salisbury says he’s very concerned about the loss of commercial and medium density zoned land. Knows this came in before OPA 48 wants to hear from staff how much of an impact/legal aspect to this development.
  50. Sulatycki: That’s something staff will have to review, but it was submitted before the OPA update went into full effect.
  51. Salisbury says he appreciates the clarification, but the proposal before council is “absolutely appropriate for 1967”. We have to start planning developments differently and take “fresh approach to planning our urban environment as an urban environment.”
  52. Salisbury also notes that there’s a tremendous commercial impact to businesses in the area. Ever see Two Plus Pizza on Suffolk around noon hour?
  53. Guthrie says he’s “hearing comments” and asks Salisbury to respect the delegates. Wants to make sure we’re not attacking a planner doing his job.
  54. Guthrie adds that a lot of what Salisbury is talking about needs to be directed at provincial partners.
  55. Piper says she’ll be looking at lighting conditions when the plan comes back. She’s also uncomfortable with showing a future development overlay, especially when it shows a landowner’s house gone.
  56. Downer also concerned about lighting, might be better to switch the placement of the parking lot and the sports field, since the field has higher, brighter lights.
  57. Bell follows up on Salisbury’s line of question, can commercial development on the SW corner make for the loss on the school side?
    Sulatycki: Staff can provide that info, yes.
  58. Bell says it’s important to the community to create walkability.
  59. Allt hopes that staff will considering limited parking in the hopes that this will be an area school with lots of students heading in on foot.
  60. Van Hellemond asks about the width of Arkell Rd, can it be made 2 lanes both way, or just one?
    Sulatycki: Staff will have to investigate that.
  61. Cllr Gibson suggests that staff look at a ride-in/ride-out style entrance on Victoria, might take some of the pressure off Arkell.
  62. Guthrie jokes in his wrap up comments: Never thought he’d hear anyone say that the south end doesn’t have enough commercial.
  63. The vote to receive passes 13-0. Guthrie reminds everyone that this still time for feedback. They just voted to received the application.
  64. There are no bylaws to be brought forward tonight. Instead, let’s talk about upcoming town halls. 
  65. Whaaaaaaat? We’ve got a Ward 4 town hall now on Tuesday November 28 at the West End Rec Centre at 7 pm in the Lion’s Lair community room.
  66. Mayor Guthrie also reminds of the re-opening of Wilson Street this Saturday November 18.
  67. Meeting adjourned. And now we’re all caught up. Thanks for your patience!

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