As many of you know the York Rd/Victoria Rd intersection in our Ward has been in a state of disrepair for some time now. Thank you to all who have expressed their concerns to me regarding traffic safety and pedestrian saftey at this intersection.
As an update, please see below the latest from staff (received today) regarding the York/Victoria intersection.
The fenced off portion of the intersection does not belong to the City – it belongs to Imperial Oil. The City has been attempting to negotiate the purchase of the portion it needs to complete the intersection, and is trying to do so in a way that is fair and equitable for both the City and Imperial Oil. Until then, the City does not own this property and it cannot move forward with restoring the intersection.”
As always please feel free to contact me with any further questions.
Aug 19, 2015
With Barrie and Guelph, maybe we should compare Apples to Oranges
By Bob Moore
An Aug. 14 guest column by Guelph Coun. Phil Allt (“Barrie to Guelph comparisons are an apples to oranges thing”) suggests that comparisons between Guelph and Barrie are “virtually without foundation.”
Since I am on record for making these comparisons, with all due respect to Allt, I would like to defend the comparisons that I have made based on the data found in the municipal study conducted by BMA Management Consulting Inc. Continue reading
Published on Thursday, September, 03, 2015
East End Development Ramps Up
By Doug Hallett
A Ward 1 city councillor is lauding a newly unveiled plan for a commercial development on York Road east of Victoria Road, but says much more needs to be done to boost commercial services for the city’s rapidly growing east end.
“It’s an exciting project,” said Coun. Dan Gibson, but “I just see it as the tip of the iceberg.”
As summer comes to an end and many of our households shift back into school mode, I wanted to update you on the summer that was at City Hall and start to bring your attention to Guelph’s 2016 budget season.
July – In many respects, July was defined by the month long Speedvale Avenue debate. Specifically, the debate on whether to maintain this important East/West corridor as a four lane road or reduce it to a single lane of traffic in each direction (with a center turn lane) in order to accommodate bike lanes. My sincere thanks to all who provided input and delegated to council. While I believe the decision to keep Speedvale four lanes was the right decision, I’m also taking comfort in knowing that a fully transparent, public engagement process was carried out. As I said at council in July, regardless of the outcome I was satisfied with the process and that is a credit to the many residents who made their voices heard. Continue reading
For those unable to attend please find below the presentation from our June 4th Town Hall.
In May City Council approved the creation of a licensing category under the City’s Business Licensing Bylaw for donation bins.
Effective July 1, 2015, anyone operating a donation bin will be required to obtain a business licence and once licensed, they will need to comply with a number of regulations including obtaining permission of the property owner before placing the bin, posting signage on the bin indicating to residents where their donation will go and ensuring routine maintenance of the bin and surrounding area is conducted. To provide bin owners, including charities time to obtain a licence and comply with the regulations, a grace period of one month prior to commencement of enforcement is being provided.
Enforcement is slated to begin August 3, 2015 and at this time, Bylaw Compliance staff will begin the process of removing and disposing of unlicensed bins from both public and private land, in an attempt to reduce the number of bins that will need to be removed by the City. Starting in June Bylaw staff will begin posting notices on all bins affected by the new regulations. These notices will provide general information on the new regulations but will also encourage owners of bins which will not meet the regulations to have them removed by July 1. Ads will also be posted in the papers alerting residents/bin owners of the new regulation and an on-line reporting option will be made available to the public so that concerns may be made directly to Bylaw staff.
If you have any questions on this matter, please feel free to contact the City’s Bylaw Compliance office at (519) 836-7275.
Greetings Ward 1,
Please consider joining Councilor Bell and I for a Ward 1 Town Hall meeting this Thursday (June 4) from 7:00-9:00pm at the Ken Danby Public School Community Room located at 525 Grange Road in East Guelph.
For more information please visit the City event calendar at http://guelph.ca/event/ward-1-town-hall-meeting/
There will be a short presentation updating residents on the 2015 city budget; efforts to improve traffic and road safety; the status of east end commercial development; the next steps for the IMICO property; and time for Q&A.
I look forward to seeing you there.
Dan Gibson | Ward 1 City Council
After having this conversation with dozens of residents since the budget was passed on March 25th, I thought it best to turn my response into a post. For those wondering about the impact of the 2015 tax increase on their household budget I offer the following.
At the outset, it is important to note that the approved 3.55% levy increase is (in itself) not a tax increase. Rather it is a budget increase that will affect individual property owners differently. The 3.55% is the council approved increase to the City’s Operating Budget from 2014 ($200M) to 2015 ($207M). How this increase is now dispensed and collected across the 55,000+ households and 2,000+ businesses in Guelph is a separate discussion which I’m happy to examine.
Note: To read my thoughts on the budget increase please click here www.ward1guelph.ca/2015/03/my-thoughts-on-the-2015-tax-supported-operating-budget
Unlike provincial and federal income taxes, municipal property taxes are based largely on assessed value and growth (not income). How this impacts households differently is the fact that in Guelph, property types are appreciating at vastly different rates. For example, with a Guelph housing market starved of single and semi-detached homes (stemming from the Places to Grow Act), these desired properties are appreciating much faster than others. As a result, while many Guelph residents are still seeing increases above inflation (>3%), others have been incurring significantly higher tax increases in recent years (6%-8%). In many cases this has equated to $300-$450 annually. So while some have stated the tax increase will only mean a “cup of coffee a week” for them, I’ll remind those people that for many Guelph families, seniors and young homeowners the 3.55% will demand real sacrifice. Further, for fixed and low income homeowners (the demographic most vulnerable to sudden spikes in inflation), the combined tax levy (3.55%) and water use (4.1%) increase may finally represent the financial tipping point between the pride of home ownership and a forced return to renting. It is these realities that make controlling the costs of living in Guelph increasingly important. Because while the 3.55% increase will mean something different to everyone, the resourcefulness needed to absorb it (i.e. a tax increase that once again outweighs the average increase in family incomes) will be a common burden placed on all Guelph households.
As a first term Councilor I’m cognisant of the fact that for a short period of time, this council inherits the decisions and directions from previous terms. While I hope to be a Councilor that defends more decisions than criticizes over time, I won’t compromise on the message of “change” sent by the Guelph electorate in 2014. That being said, although I am proud of the approved capital works budget for 2015, I do not support the 2015 Guelph Operating Budget as a whole. The following explains why.
The positives on the capital side are numerous and include funding for completing Eastview Park and Trails ($5.7M); funding for upgrades to the Victoria Road Recreation Center (>$9M); funding for the York Road Improvement Environmental Assessment ($200K); funding for the Woodlawn Road multi-use path ($600K); and a $250K contribution to the affordable housing reserve.
All of these capital investments directly benefit our collective living experience in Guelph and are broadly accepted across all demographics. It is equally important to note however, that the total cost of these projects do not contribute significantly to the 2015 tax increase of 3.55%. In fact, when all is accounted for, the 2015 budget will likely include an overall decrease in capital spending year over year (2014-2015) and a net positive impact to the tax rate (i.e. a decrease in taxes). So why did the tax supported budget go up by 3.55%?
The answer is departmental growth and budget increases greater than 7% or >$7+ million dollars. Specifically, increases related to a) salaries and benefits, b) new positions, c) service costs, d) purchased goods, and e) purchased services. All of which incurred significant increases in 2015. In total, these costs result in a >4.15% increase to the tax rate in 2015. Further, this increase was only reduced to 3.55% on budget night because of cuts to capital spending (year over year) and council’s decision to reduce the annual debt repayment stemming from the Urbacon ruling (a $5.3M payment now made over ten years rather than six). As it stands the ongoing burden of Urbacon will include $500,000/year or a 0.25% annual increase to property taxes until 2025.
In an attempt to mitigate the tax burden on budget night, I (along with a few other Councilors) proposed many fiscally responsible motions to reduce the overall budget increase to 2.8%. This (minus the original 0.5% cost of Urbacon repayment) would have represented a 2.3% tax increase and aligned with voter expectations. We had the opportunity to deliver this to the people of Guelph with all of the capital projects intact, but were continually voted against on budget night. For these reasons, I concluded that the election message of “change” was defiantly being ignored and I would not support, or defend a 3.55% increase.
As a resident of east Guelph the question of WHEN comes up on a weekly basis. Some have been asking for 15 years. Others ask as part of their decision to buy here. Still others ask as they wait on their new home to close. Regardless, as I review the 2015-2017 proposed Capital Budget and reflect on this question, I’m encouraged. Encouraged because I can see the WHEN quickly converging with the NOW in East Guelph.