Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the May 6 Meeting?

It looks like a very busy start to May of City Council as the Committee of the Whole discusses the final balance sheets of the 2018 fiscal year, updating the City’s environmental endeavours, and some new rules for pools and hot tubs.

STAFF RECOGNITION: Silver Level Recognition for the Wastewater Treatment Plant for 2017 Performance to Jared Karr, Supervisor of Wastewater Services, and Tim Robertson, Divisional Manager of Wastewater Services.

IDE-2019-21 Sign By-law Variances: 950 Paisley Road – Guelph’s newest Tim Hortons is asking the City for a pair of sign variances, one for three interchangeable signs on the side of the building, and a new menu board for the drive-thru. Staff has approved the request because the signs won’t be terrible obtrusive and because they’ve approved similar signage at other Tim’s locations.

IDE-2019-48 Sign By-law Variances: 630 Scottsdale Drive – Scottsdale Dental is looking to install a new illuminated sign that’s just over three metres squared. Staff approve of the extra size because of the building’s unusual size and the lack of a negative impact on the surrounding streetscape.

IDE-2019-45 New Outdoor Swimming Pool and Hot Tub By-law – It’s been 25 years since this bylaw was updated, and there have been changes in safety procedures and equipment in that time. After consulting with stakeholders, and reviewing best practices, staff are proposing a number of changes. The new bylaw will call for the provision of life saving devices specifically rescue polls and life rings, the proper displaying of safety signage, ensuring electrical installations are safe, reducing the risk of children being trapped in a pool drain and suction fittings, ensuring the safe storage of pool chemicals, and installing backflow prevention devices.

IDE-2019-43 2018 Building Permit Revenue and Expenditures, Building Services OBC Stabilization Reserve Fund and Annual Setting of Building Permit Fees – This is the annual report for this specific reserve, and a review of the Building Permit fees for this year. Staff will initiate some changes to the Stabilization Reserve Fund that will align it more with best practices and the current City practices of how corporate reserves are managed. Also, the recommended increase to permit fees this year is five per cent.

IDE-2019-52 Solid Waste Management Master Plan Advisory Committee – This report will lay out the terms of the master plan, a five-year review that includes environmental considerations, as well as the impacts of growth, infrastructure, and customer service while delivering Solid Waste Services. Among the things that this review will try to accomplish is a strategic plan for the next 25 years, diverting 70 per cent of waste by 2021, a cost of service study, the optimization customer service, the identification of budget efficiencies, and an investigation into how to eliminate single-use plastics.

IDE-2019-47 Community Energy Initiative Update: Pathway to Net Zero Carbon – Last year, City Council set itself the goal of making Guelph Net Zero by 2050. Net Zero is a building standard that simply means that building produces as much energy as it consumes, and of course that means *clean* energy. The original task force that lead the review of the CEI has since become Our Energy Guelph, which is now becoming incorporated as its own non-profit, a process that’s expected to conclude in May. OEG will lead the efforts to move to Net Zero, with a full-time executive director, who will work with the Climate Change Office to set the strategy and lead co-ordination with various agencies and business and Guelph to reach the City’s Net Zero goal.

IDE-2019-44 Corporate 100% Renewable Energy Target by 2050 – Along with last year’s motion to move to Net Zero, was another motion to move to 100 per cent Renewable Energy. Presently, almost a quarter of the Corporation’s energy use come from Renewables, which is pretty good, but this report will outline how to get the rest of the way including the prioritization of projects by way of retrofits, new construction, and finding was to optimize energy projects. This will be a three-pronged approach including energy conservation efforts, renewable energy generation, and the purchasing of renewable energy credits. Currently, the City sets aside $500,000 for the 100 per cent Renewable efforts, but the Corporate Energy division will aim to take things further by reviewing and advising on new construction projects, applying energy management into daily situations, tracking energy data management, and keeping council up to date on all progress.

Reducing Plastics and Waste – There’s no official report with his measure, but there are nine recommendations proposed by Mayor Cam Guthrie designed to reduce or eliminate the use of single-use plastics in the city. Some are simple, like directing staff to find alternative ways to promote and provide drinking water, installing water bottle vending machines and promoting water filling stations, negotiating changes to current agreements, the phasing out of procurement of all single-use plastics over three years, and the phasing out the sale of single-use plastic beverage containers from City-own facilities and City-run events. The recommendations also includes a call to partner with the University of Guelph’s IdeasCongress to come up with further recommendations, as well as talking with citizens and businesses on finding ways to reduce plastics through old fashioned engagement and the civic accelerator. The final motion will be cc’ed to the Minister of the Environment, the MP, the MPP, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario on  all these recommendations.

CS-2019-11 2018 Year-End Operating Variance Report and Surplus Allocation – The good news is that the City has a surplus of over $3.25 million for the last fiscal year. The favourable variance is owed to higher activity levels for Planning and Building Services, higher revenue from Water and Wastewater, and other additional revenue and grant money procured over the year, including dividends from Guelph Junction Railway and some higher than expected interest rates. Staff is recommending that the surplus be allocated to reserve and reserve funds, with the vast majority going to the Wastewater Capital Reserve Fund. Over $600,000 will go to the Building Services OBC Stabilization Reserve, over $578,000 will go to the Water Capital Reserve Fund, over $313,000 will go to the Stormwater Capital Reserve Fund, and almost $89,000 for the Court Contingency Reserve.

CS-2019-12 2019 Year-End Capital Variance Report – As it happened, the City approved a budget of just over $90 million for Capital projects for 2018. About $13.3 million was added over the course of the year with new council decisions, plus $166.4 million being carried over from 2017. In total, the City spent just over $100 million on Capital projects in 2018, which is an increase of $3.7 million over 2017. Departments closed 66 projects last year, and a net total variance was returned to the City to the tune of $4.7 million.

CS-2019-13 2018 General Reserve and Reserve Fund Report – Every year, staff has to provide a state of the reserves report to council. The City has 64 reserves and reserve funds with a closing balance of $272.4 million, and a balance of $120.8 million after outstanding budget commitments. The staff report notes that this is a much stronger position for the reserves than they had in 2017. A new Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Reserve Fund is being added due to a grant from the Provincial government to cycling-related infrastructure improvements that will be applied to the multi-use path on Woodlawn Road.

CS-2019-56 Dividend Allocation Policy – City council as the shareholder of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc and Guelph Junction Railroad has previously passed motions as to what staff is to do with dividends procured from both, but council’s intentions from those motions is not exactly clear. Hence, this report. After reviewing the needs and priorities of the City’s financials, staff are recommending that $6 million goes to the City Building Reserve Fund, $1.3 million will go to the Community Investment Program, and $700,000 will go to the Community Energy Initiative with any remaining funds going into the Infrastructure Renewal Reserve Fund. Staff is also recommending that any net new ongoing dividend revenues be directed to the Infrastructure Renewal Reserve Fund.

Notice of Motion for Reconsideration provided by Councillor Gordon – Although not a declaration of a climate emergency, Ward 2 City Councillor James Gordon is looking to revisit last year’s Community Energy Initiative Update by passing a motion to reconsider the last term’s passage of the City’s direction to go to Net Zero and 100 per cent Renewable by 2050. If the motion to reconsider is successful, Gordon and Ward 5 Councillor Leanne Piper will make a motion to set a new deadline of 2035 to move to 100 per cent Renewable and Net Zero, and will direct staff to bring forward a report on how to achieve that by the second quarter of 2020.

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