Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the March 1 Meeting?

March begins with a Committee of the Whole meeting, and there’s going to be a lot of work to cover at this first council meeting of the month. There’s going to be a lot of reports from Governance to consider, plus a big report about this summer’s patio program, and the quarterly update about the City and Public Health’s COVID-19 response. In terms of council work, March is coming in like a lion!

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 February 26. 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) Ontario Public Works Association

a) Historical Restoration/Preservation ($2 to $10 million) – Goldie Mill Stabilization Project: Jean Starchuk, Project Manager, Facilities and Energy Management; Prasoon Adhikari, Environmental Engineer, Engineering and Transportation Services

b) Structures ($10 to $50 million) – Arthur Street Trunk Sanitary Sewer and Road Reconstruction Project: Ike Umar, Project Manager, Design and Construction

c) Environmental – ($2 to $10 million) – Snow Management Facility: Prasson Adhikari

2) Project Manager for Facilities and Energy Management Raid Eissa is awarded the Project Manager Professional Designation.

Managing the Impacts of COVID-19 – This is the quarterly report about the City’s response to COVID-19, and as usual, the report will be released when the amended agenda is posted to the City’s website on Friday February 26. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer, and Chief Administrative Officer Scott Stewart will present.

Sign By-law Variance Report for 190 Hanlon Creek Boulevard – The Guelph Humane Society is seeking approval for three non-illuminated signs for their new location in the Hanlon Creek Business Park.

Sign Variance Report for 1886 Gordon Street – Tricar is looking to install a non-illuminated sign on the side of their building.

2020 Water Services Annual and Summary Report – Fun fact: Guelph’s Water Services pumped and treated 3.7 per cent less water in 2020 than they did in 2019. It was another strong year for the service with only three minor “adverse water quality incidents” that were all resolved to the satisfaction of the Ministry of the Environment, and a third-party audit completed in November that found only two minor non-conformances that were solved to the acceptance of the auditor. The Ministry is still completing the final inspection report, so the information in this City report may be subject to further updates.

Building By-law Update – Staff are proposing an amendment to the City’s Building Bylaw to transfer in-force building permits to the current property owner if there was a file opened by the previous owner. By doing this, staff feel that they’ll be able to due more timely inspections and make sure that work gets carried out since, in many cases, this work involve resolving a safety issue.

2021-2023 Seasonal Patio Program -Last summer, the City of Guelph implemented a pilot program to allow downtown Guelph restaurants and bars to expand their patios, or take advantage of extra space created by street closures for the first time. After months of gathering feedback from patrons and businesses on success, safety, and areas for improvement (increased enforcement for noise and non-compliance being the big one), the City is ready to reveal a more permanent plan for the next three years.

The new program will be not too dissimilar from the one last year, but there will be a couple of important differences. The biggest difference is that the program will be open to all types of business, and that lanes will be closed in areas around downtown on Wyndham Street, Carden, Macdonell, Baker, Quebec, Cork and Wilson instead of being concentrated at the corner of Wyndham and Macdonell. Staff are also putting an option for road closures forward, but their preference is for special occasions only and that it will not be constant for the entire season. The City will also have improved signage, plus a streamlined application process, but the City will not be sponsoring picnic tables this year.

2021 Property Tax Policy – Council needs to approve the new tax ratios in advance of the tax bills going out in June. For 2021, the average residential property assessed at $389,417 will be levied at $3,853.71, which is a $87.21 increase over 2020 or 2.32 per cent. The increase was, of course, approved last December when council passed the 2021 tax-supported operating budget.

Property Tax Relief and Deferral Program Options – Also back at December’s budget meeting, council unanimously approved spending $25,000 on investigating a property tax deferral option. Staff are recommending though that the City does not need such a program because, interestingly, their were fewer properties in arrears at the end of 2020 than there were at the end of 2019. Also, the City’s own experience says that property owners overwhelmingly would rather settle obligations via their own means versus taking part in any of the City’s current relief measures.

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