Thursday, July 9, 2009

Guelph Green(?), Party Hard and Washroom News

Guelph on Green Leader’s short list

National Green Party leader Elizabeth May is hoping the third time will be the charm in securing a seat for herself in Parliament and she may be hedging her bets on the Royal City to make it happen. May ran in Central Nova in the last Federal election in October 2008, a riding notable because at the time, and currently too, it was held by Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay. Before that, May ran in London-North-Centre in a by-election in Fall 2006, but lost to Liberal Glen Pearson. But Central Nova was May’s home base, although now it seems the strategy is to find somewhere she’s more electable "Now the party is convinced that our Number 1 goal is to elect me to the House of Commons. So that changes quite a lot of things,'' May told Eastern Ontario Greens and reporters at an election-preparedness briefing a few weeks ago.

Owen Sound or Vancouver Island are also strong contenders, as well as Cumberland-Colchester in Nova Scotia, which is now vacant because of the retirement of independent MP Bill Casey, a former Conservative. But Guelph is certainly an attractive choice too. Last summer, the Greens felt they had the momentum going into the by-election only to have their thunder stolen when the polls opened nationwide. Last October, local candidate Mike Nagy, on his third campaign, came in third, garnering over 21 per cent of the vote, and just 11 points shy of the winner, our current MP, Frank Valeriote. May said it comes down to the question: "Where is the greenest riding in Canada? Where is the place where people are more likely than anywhere else to say, 'We want that voice in the House of Commons?' ''

Party On Guelph

After postponing the official celebration of the opening of the new City Hall last month after the accidental death of Isabel Warren in a city washroom in a south end park, a new date has been set for the festivities: September 19th. The free, day-long celebration at 1 Carden Street will feature five stages filled with music, dance and demonstrations. The building’s historic Winter Fair Wall will serve as a backdrop for Farmer’s Market vendors, community exhibits and displays including the City’s plans for the Civic Square and water feature in front of City Hall. Also, throughout the day people will be welcome to wander through the entire first floor of new City Hall to see Council Chambers, the ServiceGuelph counter and the living wall. Guided tours will showcase accessibility features, the offices of the Mayor and City Councillors and the building’s green features including the green roof. In addition, the City will provide free transit service from 5:40 a.m. to 6 p.m. to encourage people from all over the city to join the celebration downtown.

Recommendations made for City washrooms

An independent report about city-owned public washroom facilities was completed last week, and recommendations have been proposed for each building with respect to the partition walls, privacy screens and attachments. The structural report from Gamsby and Mannerow Engineers were for the public buildings in St. George’s Park, Guelph Lake Sports Fields and Hanlon Creek Park. The inspections were meant to identify any structural deficiencies that could be an immediate safety concern, and how they can be addressed. Because of this report, the City re-opened the men’s and women’s change/washrooms in Hanlon Creek Park last Saturday, but they will continue to keep buildings in St. George’s Park and Guelph Lake Sports Fields closed until upgrades and improvements are complete.

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