An utterly rare series of August council meetings will come to close with this regular meeting of council. On the packed agenda is more discussions about the multiyear budget, an environmental assessment for Guelph’s busiest road, an ask for more funds for an affordable housing project, and the possibility of another dog park debate.
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 August 21. 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: 104 Oliver Street Purchase; 2020 Information Technology Security Report.
RideCo Pilot Project Transition to Permanent Program – One of the recommendations to come out of the service review of Guelph Transit was to proceed with a pilot project to use Intelligent On-demand software to enhance mobility services, and staff would like to keep it around for the relatively low annual price of $85,000 per year for hosting and the software’s warranty starting in 2025. It’s being considered a solid investment because the number of passengers per vehicle hour went up four per cent, increased accuracy with pick-up and drop-off times resulted in fewer complaints and happier riders. The City spent an initial $286,000 plus HST to set up and run the system through 2025 from the 2020 capital budget.
Affordable Housing and Funding Requests – Long story short, council approved $924,000 in funding from the Affordable Housing Reserve in 2019 to help build 165 mixed sized affordable rental units that now, for a variety of reasons, needs another $2.4 million to be complete. The County of Wellington’s Social Service Committee has okayed an additional $1.6 million in funding for the project, but it’s contingent on the City of Guelph coming up with the last $800,000. Here’s the rub, the City is countering with $500,000. Their justification is that there’s about $3.5 million in formal and informal requests for affordable housing funds, which, if they were are all approved, would put the reserve fund nearly $4 million in the hole. In another part of the recommendation, council will ask staff to explore the transference of responsibility for distributing incentive funding for affordable housing to the County.
Gordon Street Improvements (Edinburgh Rd-Lowes Rd) Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental Assessment – This study is being undertaken to see if there’s a need for safety and operational improvements to Gordon Street between Edinburgh and Lowes Roads, and you probably don’t need to read the report to assume that there is a need. Of course, the need is mostly volume. The amount of traffic on Gordon has increased considerably in the last few years, and some of that can be attributed to the number of left turns people need to make when there’s no turning lane that will allow them to get out of the way of the rest of the traffic flow. The preferred option will see multiuse pathways on either side of the road that are three metres each, plus a four-metre wide continuous turning lane, along with four lanes of traffic. Staff believe that this is the most cost effective at $760,000, and it was either the number one or number two choice of most attendees at two public forums.
2021 Multi-year Budget and Strategic Plan Update – Council will further discuss some of their expectations with the 2021 multi-year budget. At the August 12 meeting, Councillor Dan Gibson asked staff to look at suspending for a year the one per cent infrastructure, while Councillor Christine Billings asked staff to bring forward a budget with a zero per cent increase in taxes for 2021, and Councillor Mark MacKinnon asked that the Guelph Public Library being requested to bring forward a zero per cent increase of their own. Councillor Rodrigo Goller added that he would like to see a comparison between the services and levels of service mandated by the Province, and the ones that are offered at the discretion of the City. Members of the public will also be able to offer their insights on the budget.
Special Resolutions – Council will debate Councillor June Hofland’s motion to close the Peter Misersky and Bristol Street fenced in dog parks out of abundance of caution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.