Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the January 11 Meeting?

This is the first city council meeting of 2021, and it will feature a look into the future, a look into the present, and a look into the past. On the agenda is the work plan from council’s one employee, a handful of sign variances, and a delayed look at a plan for Guelph’s heritage. Plus, there’s a new group that council wants Guelph to be a member of.

NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on January 8. 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.

STAFF RECOGNITIONS:

1) Water Services Department for the 2020 Readers Choice First Place Water Delivery and Supply Award.

2) Manager of Design and Construction Reg Russwurm for the Municipal Engineering Award.

PRESENTATIONS: Chief Administrative Officer – 2021 Objectives. No further information on this topic was included in the initial committee agenda.

Sign By-law Variance for 225-245 Westwood Road – The property owner for a townhouse development on Westwood Road is looking to replace one non-illuminated free-standing sign with a newer one. It’s not that much bigger than the previous sign, but its still outside of the established sign bylaw, so council needs to approve it.

Sign By-law Variance for 85-87 Westwood Road – See above. It’s the same sign, just for a different property further east on Westwood Road.

Sign By-law Variance for 244-246 Willow Road – See above, because its the same sign, but for a different property on Willow Road.

Recommended Cultural Heritage Action Plan – From the original Politico preview for the October Planning Meeting:

It’s a document that will outline how to implement polices relating to heritage and heritage protection in the Official Plan, it will prioritize actions to aid in the protection of heritage features, recommend incentives for promoting cultural heritage, and look for future cultural heritage landscapes (CHL) within the city limits. At the moment, the City of Guelph is apparently considering three CHLs that they’re calling high priority, which are the Exhibition Park area, the St. George’s Park area. and an area identified as the Ward – West, which is the western most part of the Ward from the river to Huron Street. The plan also has directives for future financial incentives to protect heritage buildings, and a plan to protect old and abandoned barns in Guelph. You can read the full Cultural Heritage Action Plan here.

The debate and the vote on the Cultural Heritage Action Plan was postponed at the October Planning Meeting to allow time for comment from Heritage Guelph, who ended up refusing to endorse the plan at their December meeting. In a staff memo dated for the January 11 meeting, staff acknowledges one of the primary critiques from Heritage Guelph that there’s too much emphasis on post-settler heritage in the plan, but it will require a specialist in Indigenous engagement specialist to do proper outreach. The memo also notes that Heritage Guelph’s directions for additional work to the CHAP is not budgeted for 2021 so there will need to be specific council direction.

Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities -So far, 82 municipalities across Canada have elected to join this group, which is co-ordinated under the Canadian Commission for the United Nation’s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO. The municipalities are joined under a set of 10 common commitments under three categories: to act as a guardian of the public trust, to uphold human rights, and to promote diversity in the community (see the full list below). The coalition meets once or twice annually (presumably these are virtual meetings right now), and members support each other with feedback and the development of action plans and initiatives to achieve coalition goals.

The Common Commitments of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities:

The municipality as a guardian that respects the public interest

1. Increasing vigilance against systemic and individual discrimination.
2. Monitoring discrimination in the municipality and taking action to address it.
3. Supporting individuals who experience discrimination.
4. Providing police services that are exemplary institutions for fighting discrimination.

The municipality as an organization that upholds human rights

5. Providing equal opportunities as a municipal employer, service provider, and contractor.
6. Supporting measures that promote equity in the labour market.
7. Challenging discrimination and promoting diversity and equal opportunities in housing.

The municipality as a community that promotes diversity

8. Involving citizens by giving them a voice in anti-racism initiatives and decision-making.
9. Challenging discrimination and promoting diversity and equal opportunities in education and other forms of learning.
10. Promoting the respect, knowledge, and appreciation of cultural diversity and the inclusion of Indigenous and racialized communities in the cultural fabric of the municipality.

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