Thursday, May 5, 2011

Post-Election - Madness and McCrae

So Who Won the Election?

I don’t know. My deadline for Echo is on Thursday and the election was on Monday. If you want all the election results and other stuff go to Guelph Politico at This edition of Guelph Beat, meanwhile, is all about local, municipal stuff not even remotely to do with anything falling under the federal portfolio.

Guelphites Like Value for Money

Two-thirds of Guelph residents say they get good value for their municipal tax dollars, while satisfaction with City services is high, with a majority saying they are satisfied with all services in a list of 11. This according to findings of a citizen survey conducted for the City of Guelph by Environics Research Group, and a City press release issued last week.

More than 80 per cent of residents surveyed expressed satisfaction with parks and trails, police, garbage collection, fire protection, and library services. Satisfaction with sports fields, ambulance services, snow plowing, and arts and heritage services ranged from 70 to 79 per cent. Additionally, 64 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with road maintenance, and 57 per cent said they were satisfied with public transit, though one-quarter of respondents said they were unable to express an opinion about this service (meaning that don’t use the bus and they don’t have an opinion to offer).

So what other insights did the City gleam from the survey. High tax rates/tax increases is the most important issue facing Guelph according to the slim majority (12 per cent), with urban development/expansion (11 per cent) as a close second. Five in ten residents (51 per cent) indicated that fees and taxes should be lowered even if it means a small reduction in services, while about four in ten (37 per cent) believe that inadequate services need to be improved even if it means a small tax increase. Also, 83 per cent of residents who have contacted the City of Guelph over the past year said they were satisfied with the service they received, which is up from 60 per cent satisfaction in 2008.

To see the full results at this link: here.

City to Health Unit: Peace Out!

Fed up with the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit’s unilateral pursuit of new facilities, Guelph’s City Council voted to begin the process of pulling out of the unit and forcing its dissolution. Mayor Karen Farbridge will seek a meeting with the wardens of Wellington and Dufferin counties “to commence a discussion of the process for the dissolution of the health unit.” In a special resolution endorsed unanimously, the City effectively said that they have “concerns with regard to the governance” of the health board.

This move is a follow-up to a temporary injunction last month imposed by Justice Joseph Fragomeni, who wrote that the city “would suffer irreparable harm” if the project proceeded before some “serious questions” were answered. The question is about $17 million for new facilities, both here and in Orangeville, the entire cost of which is being put on the shoulders of the municipalities. The province is supposed to kick in 75 per cent of the cost for all Health Unit expenses, but they’ve opted out of funding the new facilities, and the health unit put it to council that they will precede regardless.

Speaking of the province, Guelph MPP Liz Sandals told the Guelph Mercury that the province can take over a health board if there are concerns over its management. But she said that isn’t the case here. “Quite frankly, the Ministry of Health has not been considering dissolving the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health unit.”

Needless to say, there’s more to come on this issue.

McCrae Pushes Poppies and Arthur Currie

McCrae House will be hosting its annual Poppy Push Plant Sale and fundraiser this Saturday, rain or shine, at the Water Street museum from 8:30 am till 1 pm. Poppy varieties available at the sale include Oriental and Allegro perennials and, of course, the “Flanders” corn poppy. Perennials from the historic garden will also be available for purchase. Volunteers that tend the historic garden at the museum will be on hand to talk about the various plants there, all of which were found in Guelph between the years 1850 to 1880.

At 11 am, McCrae House will open up its doors for its new exhibit “Remembering Arthur Currie.” Sir Arthur Currie is recognized as a brilliant military tactician who was knighted in 1917 after capturing Vimy Ridge and he became the first Canadian to attain the rank of General in 1919. After returning from the war he became Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University in Montreal. This exhibit looks at the life of Arthur Currie and his connections to John McCrae. Admission on Poppy Push day to McCrae House is by donation.

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