City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the May 25 Meeting?

Council returns to regular order for the first time in months, and the first regular meeting of council looks to have something for everybody. From the final ratification to the latest stage in Clair-Maltby planning, to year-end budget considerations, to water issues and solid waste, it’s going to be a policy wonk’s delight again at council.

NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 1o am on Friday May 22. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.

NOTE #2: The meeting will be closed to the public, though it will be live-streamed on the City of Guelph’s website here.

CLOSED MEETING: 361 Whitelaw Road, City of Guelph Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment Application File No. OZS18-005 Notices of Appeal pursuant to Sections 22(7) and 34(11) of the Planning Act – You’ll recall that council voted against proceeding with this project at February’s planning meeting, and then a couple of city councillors proposed a motion to reconsider that was going to be discussed at council at the end of March before the pandemic hit. While the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) website hasn’t yet posted the application appeal, it seems like one might be imminent.

IDE-2020-17 Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan: Open Space System StrategyApproved at the Committee of the Whole meeting back in March, this will now face final approval by city council before planning for Clair-Maltby moves on to the next stage. Although staff endorsed Option #2 originally, council altered the recommendation to endorse Option #1 instead, which could allow the future 10-hectare community park to access Halls Pond and make it a more complete amenity in the Clair-Maltby area.

2019 Reserve and Reserve Fund Statement – Thanks to $7.8 million in additional gas tax revenue, the $13.5 million in special dividends from Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc, and an extra $12 million in Development Charges, the year-end reserve and reserve fund balance has increased by 43 per cent over last year. Council will vote to further augment those reserve accounts in another report by re-investing last year’s surplus.

2019 Year-End Capital Variance Report – The City of Guelph spent $102.2 million on capital projects in 2019, which leaves about $114 million left to spend from the Capital Budget in 2019. Now that’s not because City crews didn’t get all their work done, it’s because of multi-year projects; that work will carry over into 2020, and so will the remainder of that funding. Council will also be asked to transfer $677,000 from the Equipment Replacement and Upgrades account to complete upgrades to Digester 3 at the Guelph Water Treatment Plant.

2019 Year-End Operating Variance Report Surplus Allocation – Most City departments ended 2019 with a positive operating variance (aka: a budget surplus) of nearly $5.5 million. Staff is recommending that all of that money get re-invested back into the City’s reserve accounts, including nearly $3.7 million for the Tax Rate Operating Contingency Reserve.

Council support for Lake Erie Source Protection Authority Winter Maintenance Chemicals Report – In December 2019, a report was published that outlined the potential impacts of chemicals used for winter road maintenance on our local ground water supply, and while Guelph doesn’t get water from Lake Erie, it all goes down river eventually. The City of Guelph is a member of the Lake Erie Source Protection Committee, and worked with Waterloo Region and Wellington County to prepare the report, and now council is being asked to endorse the resolutions coming out of that report.

Basically, the study found “elevated sodium and chloride” concentration at several locations, and in 34 municipal drinking water systems. These elevated samples can be connected directly to winter road maintenance measures, meaning road salt and other methods of de-icing our roads, highways, and parking lots. Now it’s a matter of raising awareness. The report is being referred to various government ministries, municipalities and advocacy groups to take action and start finding a way to mitigate the increasing values of such dangerous chemicals in our drinking water.

Transition of Blue Box to Producer Responsibility Framework – You may recall the presentation last December about the implications of the update to the Waste Free Ontario Act. Basically, it’s the transition away from municipalities paying for waste collection to a producer-based payment model. Some of that work has begun, but the biggest part of the plan is when municipalities transition away from the current Blue Box programs to the new producer-based frameworks, and that’s going to happen in all of Ontario’s 400-plus municipalities between January 2023 and December 2025. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is asking all municipalities to pass a resolution by June 30, 2020 with their preferred date to transition, and then send it along to AMO and the Ministry of the Environment. The Ontario government is looking to transition about 150 municipalities per year in 2023, 2024, and 2025.

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