Committee of the Whole Post-view: What Happened at the March 5 Meeting?

It was a packed meeting of presentations and updates for smaller than ordinary Committee-of-the-Whole meeting. You can revisit the Guelph Politico preview of the meeting here, and you can follow the complete live blog here.

PRESENTATION: Recognition of the Ontario Public Works Association’s 2017 Project of the Year for Historic Restoration/Preservation Award. The award was presented to City staff for their work on the train station renovations.

PRESENTATION: Recognition of the City staff recipient of the Ontario Public Works Association’s 2017 Wally Wells Young Leader Award. Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Chair Dan Gibson and Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Scott Stewart took a picture with relevant staff.

PRESENTATION: Recognition of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities sustainable Neighbourhood Revitalization and Design Award. The award was presented by Gibson and Stewart, who took pictures with the relevant staff who helped design the Guelph Innovation District Secondary Plan.

IDE-2018.32 2017 Annual and Summary Water Services Report – Passed by consent unanimously. And Councillor June Hofland offered the committee’s gratitude to the Water Services staff for their success and efficiency.

IDE-2018.28 Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Reform – Passed by consent unanimously.

IDE-2018.26 Sign By-Law Variance 392 Silvercreek Parkway North – Passed by consent unanimously.

IDE-2018.27 Sign By-Law Variance 848 Gordon Street – Passed by consent unanimously.

CS-2018.33 Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Local Boards, Update – Passed by consent unanimously.

PRESENTATION: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Delegation and Funding Request – John Groenewegan, a board member for St. Andrew’s, made the presentation, a request on the part of the his church to have the City of Guelph fund an historical impact assessment, and to extend a demolition permit for three properties St. Andrew’s owns on Yarmouth St. These homes currently act as affordable housing for 13 people, but St. Andrew’s wants to double that capacity, and can’t move forward until it’s determined if the three homes have heritage features that must be preserved. A memo attached to the amended agenda outlined staff’s point of view that the City can’t meet the ask as this project doesn’t qualify for the funds the church asked for. Also, Stewart noted that if the City funded the report, it would reporting to itself since it’s the City of Guelph that does the assessment. On the bright side, the Chief Building Official is able to extended the deadline on the permit, and has in the past on the basis of projects waiting for the completion of necessary approvals. Committee voted unanimously to receive the report.

IDE-2018.36 Parking Technology Selection and Implementation Metrics Study – Jamie Zettle, Program Manager of Parking, presented the report, which had two goals: gauge the best practices of other municipalities when it comes to paid parking in their downtown core, and gather feedback from various stakeholders on the subject. The “best practices” piece is technically about the technological aspect of paid parking; the City plans on moving ahead with paid, on-street parking downtown after the Wilson Street Parkade opens in 2019. The paid parking, which will make for the City over $1 million per year, will be reinvested in building further parking capacity downtown.

Two delegates spoke to the report. The first was the executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association Marty Williams, who basically thinks that the City is putting the cart before the horse on this topic saying that the City doesn’t have the data to know how paid, on-street parking is going to affect the downtown, and that the City’s plan is to “plunk it down” and hope for the best. Williams said that the issue is Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, when spaces on the street are filled up by people working downtown, when those spaces are really intended for people visiting downtown. The core needs more inventory and more enforcement, he added. Doug Minett was the other delegate and agreed with Williams saying that more work needs to be done on the data before meters are reinstalled on downtown streets.

Mayor Cam Guthrie proposed that the recommendations of the report be received by committee as opposed to being approved, and felt unsure about clause #5, which was the approval of implementation of on-street paid parking in 2019. Guthrie also suggested that the City should be asking itself if it should be in the business of parking, and if the City’s parking authority – inventory and enforcement – might be better off moved to the private sector or some kind of P3 arrangement. Chair Gibson noted that is an important file with thousands of people moving into the downtown over the next 20 years, with the addition of thousands of more jobs. It was agreed that more work needs to be done before implementing a parking strategy.

The vote on the recommendations:

1. That the Parking Technology Selection and Implementation Metrics Study dated January 2018, prepared by CIMA+ Canada Limited, be received – Approved 7 to 1 (Councillor Phil Allt voted against).

2. That staff operationalize a set of performance based parking metrics to provide reliable data with which to measure the performance of the parking operation, based upon the metrics identified in Table 1: Proposed Parking Metrics of this report – Passed unanimously.

3. That staff establish a mechanism to review at established intervals the performance metrics of the parking system and work in partnership with the Downtown Advisory Committee when recommending any changes to parking policy and pricing – Approved 7 to 1 (Councillor Phil Allt voted against).

4. That staff work with the Downtown Advisory Committee to create an implementation plan which addresses the key elements raised by stakeholders in the Stakeholder Survey – Approved 7 to 1 (Mayor Guthrie voted against).

5. That the implementation of the new on-street paid parking technology be scheduled for Fall 2019, following the opening of the Wilson Street Parkade – Referred to the May council meeting by unanimous consent.

Councillor Mark MacKinnon did not vote on any of these measures noting a Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest as a co-owner of a downtown business.

IDE-2018.18 Commercial Policy Review: Vision and Principles – Senior Policy Planner Joan Jylanne outlined the latest work completed on the Commercial Policy Review, which will aim to balance flexibility of commercial needs with market realities. Chair Gibson asked if some commercial designations would be protected. Jylanne said that there would be some caps on certain uses, and on mixed nodes so that different parts of the city can “share the wealth” as it were. Gibson’s ward mate Councillor Bob Bell noted that he thinks there’s too much of the “bigger is better” mentality when it comes to commercial, and the aim should be for smaller nodes that are less busy. The report was approved unanimously.

IDE-2018.03 City Initiated Official Plan Amendment for Affordable Housing – Staff asked committee to direct them to develop a new amendment to the Official Plan so that section 7.2 will be edited and brought in line with the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy. Staff was so directed by unanimous vote.

IDE-2018.31 Sewer Abatement and Leak Forgiveness Credits Policies – In order to effect better customer service, Water Services proposed offering adjustments on stormwater bills for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional customers that don’t return the discharge to the sewer system, and forgiving high water bills for residential customers due to leaks. Committee seemed pleased with the results, but MacKinnon asked why the program was being started mid-year as opposed to the beginning of next year, and it’s because staff wants to get an idea of its potential success before accounting for it for a full year. The policy was passed unanimously.

Smart Cities Submission Update – Committee heard a presentation from staff about the Smart Cities Challenge, a sort of contest among Canadian municipalities about who can best use data and technology to address one of the great problems of our times. Guelph is choosing food instability and security, taking advantage of the knowledge and skill of over 7,000 people employed here by the agri-tech sector.

CS-2018.36 Procedural By-Law Update – Councillor Hofland asked about possible confusion about delegations concerning the updated rules, but was satisfied by City Clerk Stephen O’Brien’s explanations. The motion was passed unanimously.

CLOSED MEETING: District Energy Update – Committee was adjourned, and a meeting of council as the Shareholder of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc began. Council moved into closed session in order to discuss a matter “subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose.”

Regrets: Councillors Cathy Downer, Leanne Piper, Mike Salisbury, and Karl Wettstein.

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