Friday, February 13, 2009

Lafarge, Valeriote and Heritage

Lafarge deal good, but not for all

A deal reached between the City, the Howitt Park Neighbourhood Residents' Association (HPNRA) and Silvercreek Developments was formally approved by council last Monday allowing development at the Lafarge site to proceed, and shorten the hearing process at the Ontario Municipal Board. Only Armel Corp, the fourth party involved in the mediation process, has refused to endorse the deal, which was reached after nearly half-a-year of negotiating. Mayor Karen Farbridge was pleased, saying that this will save taxpayers money at the OMB. “At the very least we’ll be able to reduce the length of the hearing, which will reduce the cost of the hearing to taxpayers,” Farbridge said Monday.

The key components of the deal include: A main street area for restaurants and other services along Silvercreek Parkway between Paisley and Wellington streets; a business park, residential community and park on the east side of Silvercreek Parkway; and retail/commercial uses on the west side of Silvercreek on lands bounded by the Hanlon Expressway. Farbridge said that she was grateful that an agreement could be reached given the fact that this brownfield is a “difficult site for development.” She added, “I think we’re really impressed with how hard everybody worked on it, and there was a lot of give on all sides,” she said. She also commended representatives of the Howitt Park Residents’ Association, whose members voted 61 to three in favour of the deal at the end of January, according to HPNRA president Ron Foley.

Valeriote to represent farmers and foodies

Our local MP, Frank Valeriote, has been appointed to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in the House of Commons. This Committee focuses on bills, expenditures and activities of the organizations that are part of the Agriculture and Agri-Food portfolio, including issues such as farm income, food safety, pesticides and the wheat board, says a Valeriote office press release. The position’s a natural fit for Valeriote who advocated heavily during the campaign in favour of expanding the opportunities in investment of the Agriculture sector and how it relates to creating a greener economy. “It’s an exciting opportunity for me to focus on Canada’s agriculture industry and our nation’s food supply,” said Valeriote. “There’s no doubt that Canada’s farming industry is facing enormous challenges but is also presented with an exciting range of opportunity with constantly evolving advances and innovation in technology.”

City Hall on Doors Open tour

If you’ve been sitting around, waiting with bated breath to see the inside of the new City Administration Building (AKA: City Hall), fear not because you’ll get your chance on Saturday April 25. The building was announced last week as one of the stops on the eighth annual Doors Open Guelph Tour sponsored the Guelph Arts Council, Heritage Guelph and the city’s tourism office. This will be the first time that the new City Hall will be open to the public before its official grand opening which will hopefully be held in May once the exterior portion is complete. Currently, the interior is expected to be done in March for staff move-ins at the end of the month. The Doors Open event is considered a celebration of the city’s architectural heritage and was started in 2002 as part of Guelph’s 175 anniversary.

More Heritage to celebrate

Stone Road Mall is ready to welcome the pillars of local heritage with its annual Heritage Day celebrations. The main corridor of the mall will contain displays from such groups as Guelph Historical Society, Wellington County Historical Society, Heritage Guelph, Heritage Guelph/Eramosa, Architectural Conservancy – Guelph and Wellington, Guelph Public Library, Hammond Museum of Radio, Guelph Historical Railway Association, Locomotive 6167 Restoration Committee, Guelph Arts Council, Norfolk Street United Church Archives, St. George’s Church Archives, Wellington County Museum and Archives, and Guelph Museums. This year’s celebration is called Spotlight on Heritage, and the exhibits, which are all organized by Guelph Museums, will be on display from 9:30 am to 5 pm. And just so you know, about 30 years before it became known as “Family Day,” the third Tuesday of February was known in Canada as Heritage Day.

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