City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the October 21 Meeting?

In an odd third Monday meeting that also takes place on the night of the Federal Election, council will talk about the state or our real estate. Are we getting the most bang for our real estate buck? That’s one big question, but another one will be posed: should the City pursue a new project that will combine many resources in the same physical location?

Note: If you want to register as a delegate for any of these items on the Committee agenda, then you have to get in touch with the City Clerk’s office by 10 am on Friday October 18.

IDE-2019-103 Real Estate Assets Information – Did you know that the City of Guelph owns almost 6,000 acres of real estate? That includes 350 acres of facilities, 2,400 acres of natural area, 100 acres of land for the Guelph Junction Railway, and over 3,000 acres of roads. These are interesting statistics, but what is all this in aid of?

An examination of these lands and facilities by staff has been conducted, and less than one-tenth of a per cent of the City’s real estate holdings are considered a standard asset, which is defined as a real estate holding that is not being utilized, or is presently being under-utilized. The report identifies eight properties of interest including Drill Hall at 72 Farquhar, which needs a lot of work to prevent deterioration, and the old Carter Farm at 880 Victoria South, which features a one-story farmhouse from the 1840s, and sits right above a shallow ground water source.

Council will vote to receive the report.

IDE-2019-102 City Operations Facilities Needs Assessment – With the above information, we need to get the crux of the problem: some City facilities don’t have the space they need to accommodate the needs of a growing Guelph. On top of that, many of the buildings being used now were built in the 1960s, and are at the end of their “useful life.”

So what do we do? Sterling Rothesay Consulting were retained in 2018 to find a solution, and their recommending a 70-acre City of Guelph campus that will bring Transit, Parks Operations and Forestry, Operations, Fleet Maintenance, and Corporate Building Maintenance together in one place on the land adjacent to the Solid Waste Resources Centre at 110 Dunlop Drive. The current buildings housing the services can’t be expanded, either there’s no land to expand, or it’s just not practical to add additions because the buildings themselves are on the old side.

The 2020 Capital Budget and 10-Year Forecast, which is covered in another preview, currently sits at $197.4 million for the next fiscal year, and some of that will go to the site plan development, and preliminary site work. The budget also includes money for the Transit Operation Facility, and if you’re wondering why that part of the project gets first dibs, it’s because of Investing in Canada Infrastructure: Public Transit Stream funding, which the City is still waiting final approval for.

Council will be asked to approve the direction to staff to begin the planning and design for the consolidated City Operations Campus on Dunlop.

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