Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the March 5 Meeting?

It’s a packed meeting for Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise and Corporate Services for the month of March, plus there are some special requests for committee to consider.
IDE-2018.32 2017 Annual and Summary Water Services Report – Rules are rules, and because of that, every year, the City has to compile a comprehensive report on the delivery and safety of our water supply. The highlights: approximately 16.9 million cubic meters of water were provided through the system in 2017, the City received a score of 100 per cent from the annual inspection by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and there were five “adverse water quality incidents”, but retests showed that there was no issue to be concerned about. Overall, a very good report for the City’s water supply. You can read the entire report for yourself, here.

IDE-2018.28 Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Reform – The Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA) is the means by which municipalities weigh the risks of capital and infrastructure maintenance projects via the Environmental Assessment Act, but this regulation has become more and more complex over time, with one study saying that certain types of projects are being delayed upwards of 27 months in order to complete the process at an average cost of $386,500. A coalition of MCEA stakeholders petitioned the Environmental Commissioner for a comprehensive review, which should be complete in December 2018. In the meantime, the Municipal Engineer’s Association (MEA), one of the stakeholders, wants to implement some short-term improvements now, and push the MoECC to implement those changes now while the review is being completed. Staff is asking council to direct the mayor to send a letter of support to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to expedite the process, and to better harmonize the MCEA with the Planning Act.

IDE-2018.26 Sign By-Law Variance 392 Silvercreek Parkway North – The Brick location on Silvercreek is looking to add an upgrade to their present wrap-around signage that will extend around to the west facing side of the building, and will include an illuminated sign on the front. Staff is recommending both variances.

IDE-2018.27 Sign By-Law Variance 848 Gordon Street – The office space at the corner of Gordan and Oak is looking to add a non-illuminated sign that’s slightly bigger than what’s ordinarily permitted. Staff is asking council to okay the new sign.

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Delegation and Funding Request – St. Andrew’s owns three properties on Yarmouth Street that it uses as affordable housing for 13 people, but it would like to redevelop these lands to house up to 30 people or more. Problem: these are older homes that require a Heritage Impact Assessment, and St. Andrew’s cannot afford one themselves. They’ve already been working with the City to do background research on the properties, but they’re hoping to squeeze a little more generosity out of council because work cannot continue without an HIA. A delegation from St. Andrew’s will ask committee if the City can fund them a grant to pay for the HIA, and to extended their demolition permit until it’s done.

IDE-2018.36 Parking Technology Selection and Implementation Metrics Study – The City embarked on two different tracks to develop a plan for implementing paid, on-street parking downtown. On the one hand, best practices of other municipalities were explored, while on the other, feedback was gathered from various stakeholders downtown. The idea being that the City wants new on-street parking technology to be in place in time for Fall 2019, the approximate date of when the Wilson Street Parkade will open. Staff is asking committee to operationalize the data from the Proposed Parking Metrics Report, and to continue working with the Downtown Advisory Committee on recommending any changes to policy and pricing, as well as creating an implementation plan that address concerns raised by stakeholders.

IDE-2018.18 Commercial Policy Review: Vision and Principles – Another report that’s been a long time in coming, staff will layout the next phase of the Commercial Policy Review, which is the vision and principles. In brief, those include reflecting the City’s commercial needs while being flexible to address market realities, to provide a full range of stores and services, and to represent a commercial policy that will allow itself to be refreshed and evolve within the existing vision. After this, staff will come up with the framework alternatives, begin community engagement, and have a preferred framework ready for the second or third quarter of this year.

IDE-2018.03 City Initiated Official Plan Amendment for Affordable Housing – The City approved the Affordable Housing Strategy in May 2017, and all was well, but then the Ontario Municipal Board approved Amendment 48 of the Official Plan last fall. OPA48 was passed by council in 2012, five years before the Affordable Housing Strategy became a reality of the City’s present plans. So how do you reconcile the two? Why write and amendment to the amendment, of course. The proposed OPA would amend Section 7.2 of the Official Plan to update the affordable housing targets, and remove a separate policy calling for the creation of 90 accessory apartments. The Glossary will also be updated with a definition of “Primary Rental”.

IDE-2018.31 Sewer Abatement and Leak Forgiveness Credits Policies – As you may recall, the City has been undertaking a study on making adjustments to wastewater bills due to use actions by Industrial, Commercial and Institutional customers that don’t result in return discharge to the sewer system. Studying 16 municipalities, staff have found that nine offer some kind of abatement credit program, which seems like a pretty good basis for Guelph to implement one too. So, the City of Guelph’s own proposed Sewer Abatement Program will require the submission of a certified engineering reports confirming that the standards were met, and the instillation of a permanent AWWA Standard flow meter in order to assure accuracy for customers to receive credit for water received, and not discharge. The credit will be applied in a single payment to the account holder, and it is not retroactive beyond 2018. The downside is that this is expected to cost the City $720,000 in annual wastewater revenue starting in 2019. Meanwhile, the Leak Forgiveness Policy will allow residential water customers dealing with a higher than expected water bill because of a leaky pipe to recoup the cost. Customers will be eligible for refund if they can prove they complied with City procedures and paid all costs associated with repairing the leak. This will see a reduction of about $60,000 per year in surplus revenue.

CS-2018.33 Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Local Boards, Update – Changes are being made to this policy for the first time since 2013 including some formatting changes to make the policy more compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Changes were also made to streamline the process for submitting a complaint, reporting requirements to the Integrity Commissioner were also clarified, and now complaints can be received directly by the Integrity Commissioner instead of being submitted through the City Clerk.

CS-2018.36 Procedural By-Law Update – Back in December, council passed a motion concerning Notices of Motion, saying that councillors first had to approach the appropriate service area chair or Deputy CAO about putting their item on the agenda at the next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. Passing this resolution now requires an update to the Procedural Bylaw, including updates to certain definitions, and certain minor administrative and grammatical changes as well. There are some more substantive alterations though. For example, definitions have been added for “notice of motion”, “regular meeting”, and “special meeting”; votes to go into closed meetings must be recorded, and council will no longer have to vote to carry on past 11:59, since this already handled by the motion to suspend the rules of procedure.

Smart Cities Submission Update – The Government of Canada is running a competition to find the smartest cities. Don’t worry, no I.Q. test or trivia contest is required, what this really is about is improving the lives of citizens through innovation, technology and data. The point of the contest is to empower communities to innovate, forge new partnerships and networks, and make all benefits accessible to everyone. For its challenge, Guelph has chosen food and sustainability, touting many of the Guelph advantages (like research at the University of Guelph) to develop innovative solutions to challenges like food inequality, food insecurity, poverty, and the high cost of food. Guelph is eligible for one of two $10 million prizes if successful. The application submission deadline is April 24.

CS-2018.02 Procurement By-Law Update – The rules governing how the City buys goods and services has not been updated since 2014, and there are some changes that need to be made. Generally, the changes include the removal of ambiguities, creating more clarity, and better organizing procedure. Changes include a new easier to use form for the Vendor Performance Evaluation, creating a singular threshold of $35,000 for all goods and services that require competitive purchasing, and the separation of the Purchasing Card policy as its own standalone policy.

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