Thursday, October 30, 2008

News From City Hall

City goes DIY with stalled Hall

Urbacon may have put a lien on the City of Guelph saying that they haven’t been paid $12.1 million for work they done on the new City Hall, but that hasn’t stopped administrative offices and staffers from facing a matter of homelessness. Many city offices that were scheduled to move out of their current tenements this month have had to find temporary shelter or otherwise negotiate for a stay-of-moving-out like in the case of offices at 2 Wyndham St., the lease for which was set to expire at the end of the year.

The City is moving forward with finishing the new HQ after insurance company Aviva denied the City’s claim that they were responsible for completing the project following the firing of Urbacon in September. It was a move Guelph's chief administrative officer Hans Loewig called "certainly not unexpected." Regardless the city’s submitted a claim to Aviva for the extension of office leases, the hiring of a new project manager and other related expenses. Right now, city staff is looking at a move in date of mid-to-late January. "There probably won't be anything visibly happening on the site for a bit. But we are looking forward to getting on with the project as soon as we can," says Loewing.

DGBA says keep those letters coming

The Downtown Guelph Business Association has announced that they’ve extended their deadline for letters in support for the two-hour free parking downtown. Executive director Jacquelyn Garrard told the Guelph Tribune that the deadline for the letters, which was formally October 17, has been extended indefinitely "due to the sheer volume of letters" coming in. The DGBA is currently deciding the fate of the pilot-project, which has been in place for the last year. A report from city staff was expected last Thursday. "We've had a wonderful response from the membership," said Garrard adding that 30 letters have come in so far, and more are coming in everyday. "They feel this is something we cannot lose in the downtown. […] Some of the (letter writers) are saying 'please, please keep it.'"

Budget Presentations Continue

All this week there have been budget meetings at City Hall as city departments present their financial plans for the next fiscal year. Today the Governance and Economic Development committee will be meeting to discuss Police, Library, Museum, Tourism, Social Services and Health Unit funding at 5:15 pm. And tomorrow, the Community Development and Environmental Services Committee will gather to look at Construction Projects, as well as Recycling and Solid Waste. Finance, Administration and Corporate Services and Emergency Services, Community Services and Operations met yesterday. Citizens and community groups are invited to participate, but delegations have to contact the City Clerk’s office in advanced if they wish to speak. Call Joyce Sweeney, the Council Committee Co-ordinator at 519-837-5603 ext. 2440.

For if you own a piece of history…

Heritage Guelph is having an open house on November 7 in City Hall, followed by a meeting of the Community Development and Environmental Services Committee where the expansion of Guelph’s Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties will be considered. Guelph is planning to add 1,900 non-designated properties to the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties. If your property is included in the proposed expansion, you would have received a letter from Heritage Guelph. Individuals, groups and delegations are welcome to participate in the committee meeting and must contact the City Clerk’s Office to register. Call 519-837-5603 or e-mail

Bye-bye Bottle

It was announced that the City of Guelph intends to join the increasing chorus of municipalities by eliminating bottled water and water coolers from offices, meetings and facilities and replacing it with greater access to pure Guelph tap water. “The City wants to lead by example by making municipal water easily accessible in its facilities,” says Janet Laird, Director of Environmental Services. “The City of Guelph does an excellent job managing our drinking water system and we are confident that our municipal drinking water is of the highest quality.”

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