Thursday, September 24, 2009

Downtwon Vacancy, Water Levels and New Blood

Downtown Guelph’s got (lots of) room

While the New City Hall represents three stories of awesomeness for city employees, the buildings that used to house city offices downtown are singing the vacancy blues. The biggest big empty is the some 27,000 square feet of office space that were used by 100 city employees at 2 Wyndham Street at the corner of Wyndham and Carden, owners have yet to find someone else to lease the space. “It is something that we have just created, so it is a new situation,” David Corks, the city’s downtown economic development manager, told the Guelph Tribune last week.

It’s a problem that will only get bigger as time goes on, as Old Quebec Street will loose 13,000 sq. feet of occupancy when renovations to the Old City Hall as the new provincial court house are complete. One recent bright spot is that much of the 77,000 sq. feet of space in the future rebuilt and retrofitted Gummer Building has been tentatively agreed to be occupied by the Co-operators, moving 150 employees from an office on Scottsdale to downtown. The Gummer Building has been having difficulty with getting funds for completion due to a lack of potential occupants and no construction has been done on the site all summer. Meanwhile, the owners of 2 Wyndham say they have the option of going residential since the building was formally a hotel, but their preference would be to still have some kind of commercial interest on the first floor.

Water level dips first time this summer

For the first time this summer, Guelph’s water use program went to Level 1 Yellow last week after going on to nearly three weeks without any rainfall. According to the Grand River Low Water Response Team (GRLWRT), the central portion of the Grand River watershed, which includes our own Eramosa River, has seen hotter, drier weather and a lack of significant precipitation recently. “As a result, river flows in the Eramosa River have dropped to about half of what they would normally be at this time of the year,” said a City of Guelph press release. “There is little precipitation expected over the next week and Environment Canada is predicting warmer temperatures and below normal precipitation over the next few months.”

At Level 1 Yellow, there are no further restrictions placed on water use, although the GRLWRT would like to see all residents decrease their use by 10 per cent in order to conserve. So you can still water your garden, fill your pool, run your fountain and take the Slip N’ Slide for a spin, but compliance on lawn watering is now mandatory. Waterworks staff and City By-law Officers will increase enforcement of the Outside Water Use Program now and residents who fail to comply with the City’s “reduce outside use” guidelines can face a fine of $110. For more information on the program visit the City’s website here

Conservatives looking for new blood

The call has gone out, and the Conservative Party of Canada is looking for someone to answer and run in the next Federal election for Guelph. Time is running out though because nomination papers have to be received at party headquarters in Ottawa by September 29th at 5 pm. The nomination process is open to all party members and anyone that’s interested in nominating someone or nominating themselves is asked to contact the chair of the selection committee, Neil Ruton, at The nomination meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 20th, although if an election is called before that the meeting date will obviously be moved up. If anyone’s interested in signing up to become a member of the Conservative Party, membership forms are also due on September 29th and are available at

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