Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the October 4 Meeting?

October’s Committee of the Whole Meeting will undoubtedly carry a hint of familiarity for careful council watchers. Remember that property owner that wanted some trees gone? They’re back, and so is the City’s quest to bring under-performing real estate assets under control, and a couple of key pieces of bookkeeping. Plus, Committee will consider its first every petition policy.

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 Friday October 1. 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:

The City of Guelph’s Healthy Landscapes Program has won the Ontario Water Works Association’s 2021 Award of Excellence for Public Education and Awareness.

Economic Development Officer Stephanie Slaman has achieved the Economic Developers Association of Canada Ec.D. Certification.

Public Petitions Policy – Back at the special council meeting in March for the Governance Review, the Clerk’s Office said that it was working on policy to allow the official submission of petitions. Now people have frequently gathered signatures for matters before council, but they could only be informally submitted as part of a delegation and not considered on their own as a part of any kind of official lobbying effort.

In this new policy, staff will not make a distinction between electronic and paper petitions, they have just have to be forwarded or signed by anyone who is a resident, business owner, and/or property owner in the City of Guelph. Staff will do an initial review of each entry to make sure that the submitted petitions line up with the policy requirements, but they won’t have the time or the proper sourcing to check all names and addresses. Along with that, staff are advising against the use of petition websites like Change.org saying that there’s no way for the City to regulate or control content that comes from those sites, and though they can’t be officially submitted, they can still be included in correspondences to council.

649 Scottsdale Drive: Refusal to Issue Tree Permit – If this sounds familiar, it’s because this property owner contested a similar decision back at July’s Committee meeting. After July’s council meeting, the property owners went back to staff and prepared another application, which they delivered in August, and staff has again refused their request on the same grounds as their previous application. What’s next? Another appeal to Committee.

MTO Connecting Links Program 2022 2023: York Road Phase 3 – The Government of Ontario makes funds available for municipalities to improve local roads that connect provincial highways, like the way York Road connects portions of Highway #7. The City of Guelph wants to apply to the Province for the maximum amount, $3 million, to help fund the reconstruction of the portion of York Road between Stevenson and Victoria, a project that’s budgeted for just over $10 million in total. Committee and council need to approve the application before it’s filed with the Ministry of Transportation.

Environmental Policies Update – The City of Guelph recently passed two new environmental policies, the Leak Forgiveness Credit Policy and the Sewer Abatement Credit Policy. These policies aren’t changing substantively, but Committee does need to adjust some of the customer access and business needs portions of the policy to better align them with administrative procedures at the City.

Real Estate Assets Update – For the last couple of years, City of Guelph staff have been regularly updating city council about the redevelopment and remediation of underperforming real estate assets owned by the City. There’s not much to update here, but staff are looking to secure further council/committee direction on a couple of items. Staff are asking Committee to endorse the ongoing stabilization efforts of the Drill Hall as the City gets ready to launch a process to solicit proposals for potential uses of the property, and they’re also asking for approval to proceed with a three-year project to stabilize 341 Forestell Road and the Carter Farm. The next report on the remaining properties will come back in the fourth quarter of 2022 after next year’s election.

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