Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food Security, City Challenged and Downtown Traffic

When in Rome (attend the UN Food Security Summit)

Ever the world traveller since being elected last fall, our Member of Parliament, Frank Valeriote, is jet-setting again, this time accompanying Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda as part of the Canadian delegation to the World Summit on Food Security in Rome. The summit ran from November 16 to 18 and was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as part of the international community’s efforts to address the devastating effects of rising food prices in developing countries.

In a press release, Valeriote said that his previous experiences in international development and his efforts to help develop a comprehensive national strategy for Canada’s own food safety were amongst the reasons he want to be a part of this conference. “I know through consultations towards the creation of a national Canadian food policy that there are few areas of more critical importance in the lives of people everywhere,” said Valeriote. “I believe it is absolutely essential that the developed countries take real action to ensure that the world’s poorest regions have the tools they need to increase their own agricultural productivity. Food must be accessible, affordable and nutritional to all nations and helping developing countries create and maintain food security strategies is something to which Canada can make a significant contribution.”

The State of our City is Challenging

Mayor Karen Farbridge delivered a “State of the City” address to the Guelph Chamber of Commerce last Thursday, and while it was positive overall, the Mayor noted that it was a good time to re-examine the way City Hall gets things done so far as budgeting in the midst of tough economic times. "The State of the City address is an opportunity to pause and reflect on the progress we’ve made throughout the year, and look ahead to the year to come. It’s particularly timely to reflect on this now, as we head into one of the most challenging Budget years in recent memory," said Mayor Farbridge.

The Mayor highlighted the city’s day-to-day commitments to the people of Guelph before tackling the delicate financial picture for the coming year. Facing an $8 million decline in revenue for 2010, the Mayor said that there were some tough decisions ahead. "Even in good economic times, it would be unacceptable to pass on an impact of this magnitude to City taxpayers. It would be unthinkable in the difficult economic times families are experiencing right now," she said. She added that through the 2010 Budget process, Council is prepared to make the tough decisions necessary to protect taxpayers, maintain the City’s excellent AA credit rating, and keep the City’s finances sustainable over the long term. You can see the presentation for yourself on the City of Guelph website at

Downtown is losing precious traffic

It was brought to the attention of Downtown stakeholders at a meeting last week that Wyndham St doesn’t attract nearly as many cars as it used to. A survey of the amount of traffic between 1990 and 2007 shows a significant drop in the amount of cars that pass through the core. Apparently this is a huge problem, not being able to drive through the downtown with limited interruptions from traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. So-called “barriers” like the all-way stop in St. George’s Square were to be addressed at the meeting. It’s interesting that we’d be talking about ways to increase traffic in the same week that a report was released saying that traffic jams cost Toronto $3.3 billion a year in lost productivity. Call me an iconoclast, but I think it’s nice that there’s one area in town where people can’t drive like maniacs. Already, there are times where crossing Douglas St is like taking your life in your own hands, but I guess that’s what some of us get for walking.

No comments:

Post a Comment