CITY PAGES: Playgrounds, Service Reviews, and New Chalmers Leader

The City of Guelph puts out a lot of information on a weekly basis, and while it all ends up on the City’s website somewhere, wouldn’t it be easier to just scroll through it all on one easy-to-read article on Guelph Politico here…?

Public Health Issues Overdose Alert

Wellingt0n-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is warning the community again about the dangers of using drugs alone and without naloxone nearby. There have been four overdose deaths in Guelph since January 16, and the culprit might be a form of fentanyl that is stronger than what one might normally encounter. If you’re using alone, Public Health suggests calling the National Overdose Response Service, which is free, anonymous, and open 24 hours a day at 1-888-688-NORS (6677).

Guelph Paramedics Trained to Give COVID Vaccine Jabs

With COVID-19 vaccines finally flowing in Guelph and area, the City of Guelph has revealed that Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service paramedics are being trained to assist with vaccination distribution, and many have already been giving out jabs at local long-term care homes. Around 30 paramedics have been trained to administer both the approved vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, and another 20 are being trained to provide support as vaccine distribution ramps up. “We’re so proud of how our team has answered the call from public health to assist with the roll out of their COVID-19 vaccine program. This is certainly a big undertaking and its one more way our paramedics are giving back to the communities they care for on a daily basis,” said deputy paramedic chief Leanne Swantko in a statement.

Construction on Five New Parks Announced

The City of Guelph has revealed the designs for new playground equipment in five parks: Bullfrog Pond, Clair, Kortright Hills, Westminster Woods and W.E. Hamilton. Construction on the five playgrounds is expected to begin sometime in the spring, and they will be opened to the public later this year. To see artists’ renditions of the five parks click here.

New Leader for Chalmers

The Board of Directors for the Chalmers Community Service Centre has announced that they’ve hired Vicki Olatundun as their new executive director, and that she’s already been on the job since January 4. Olatundun was born and raised in Nigeria where she trained to be a lawyer, but she ended up emigrating to Canada and settled in Manitoba where she was the executive director of the Steinbach Family Resources Centre for six years until 2018. “In these COVID times, it will certainly be more difficult to meet Vicki, but I know she will do her best to meet all our volunteers and guests as soon as she can,” said board chair Randy S. Brant in a statement. “We welcome Vicki and look forward to working with her.”

Tax Help For Low Income People and New Canadians

Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington and the West Willow Village are teaming up to implement the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, a volunteer program that sees volunteers help low income residents and newcomers file their tax returns. Volunteers are trained through the Canada Revenue Agency, and because they are dealing with people who’s first language is not English, multi-lingual people are especially encouraged to volunteer. “Interested individuals who want to learn about taxes are provided resources and training, and in turn their language, contacts and efforts help us extend the reach and benefit of the CVITP,” said West Willow Village volunteer co-ordinator Linda Busuttil in a statement.

Three Projects Get Public Works Awards

The City of Guelph has been recognized with three Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) Project of the Year awards, which were handed out virtually earlier this week. The projects were the Arthur Street sewer and road construction project, the new snow management facility, and the Goldie Mills clean up and restoration project. “I want to congratulate all the staff, consultants and contractors who were involved in delivering Guelph’s winning projects,” said general manager of Engineering and Transportation Services Terry Gayman in a statement. “The City is honoured to receive these awards from the OPWA as recognition of our dedication to working together to deliver responsible and responsive public service.”

Service Rationalization Review Begins

Last fall, city council approved the decision to spend $300,000 on a service rationalization review contingent on support from the Government of Ontario with the goal to find efficiencies in City services. That process started this week with the request for proposals from eligible third parties who will oversee the process and comeback with recommendations to streamline services, or deliver them more effectively. As the City gathers RFPs, they await word on the provincial portion of the funding, which they should hear back about sometime next month.

“This work will examine the City of Guelph’s services to assess current program and service models, and explore their alignment to the Strategic Plan, legislative requirements, and municipal benchmarking,” said deputy CAO of corporate services Trevor Lee in a statement. “The recommendations are intended to help the City become more efficient and effective in its delivery of services to citizens, and will also shine light on opportunities for customer service improvement and overall modernization.”

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