Ward 5 Blog

 

 

The Learning Curve on Electric Vehicles

July 12, 2017 — My trusted Matrix took its dying breath on the Hanlon a few weeks ago.  Saying good-bye was harder than I thought it would be, because so many memories with my kids happened in that car – road trips, camping, horse shows, and teenagers learning to drive with their G1.   But I won’t miss the roll up windows, the familiar rattles...

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Committee of the Whole 101

May 29, 2017 — Much ado has been made lately in the press about Council’s Committee of the Whole (CoW).  Opinion within Council is divided — some love it, some hate it — but most of the public don’t even understand it.  Here’s the low-down: Any council or board normally has some kind of committee structure.  The purpose of a committee is to review...

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National Planning Conference: Learning how to build a great city

May 15, 2017 — Last week, I had the privilege to attend the 2017 National Planning Conference (NPC).   Each year, city councillors are allocated budget funds for professional development which can be used to attend courses, conferences and/or other learning activities related to our role as members of Council.  Each year, I try to choose something different, based on the needs and challenges facing our...

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Online Voting Reflections

April 24, 2017 — Tonight (Monday, April 24) City Council will make its decision to offer — or not offer — online voting as an option in the next municipal election in the fall of 2018.  On April 5th, at Committee of the Whole, I moved a motion to remove online voting as an option, which passed in a 7-5 vote.  Since that day, members...

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Online Voting is a Complex Question

April 6, 2017 — Recently, Council as Committee of the Whole voted (7-5) against the use of online voting during the 2018 municipal election.  As one of the councillors who voted to pause online voting for 2018, let me assure you that this issue is not black and white. I try to do my homework before I make a decision — on any issue...

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Peeling Back the Petrie: Iconic Downtown Landmark is Coming Back to Life

February 24, 2017 — When Tyrcathlen Partners developer Kirk Roberts bought the landmark downtown Petrie Building in 2015, he knew very well that a heritage restoration would bring a unique set of challenges.  It’s not his first rodeo (The Boarding House Arts and the Granary Building) and he clearly sees both personal, cultural and financial benefit in the restoration of unique heritage structures.  ...

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation….

September 6, 2016 — During the month of August, Council takes a short hiatus to allow both staff and councillors the opportunity to enjoy a break.  But rest assured, there is no such thing as a traditional “vacation” in the life of a city councillor.  The daily constituency work – inquiries, emails, calls, re: city issues, problems, ideas – are part of the job all year...

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Footsteps in Ward 5: Peterson Creek

March 28, 2016 — Ward 5 is filled with special places.  Is there a unique place, person, building, or geographical feature about which you would like to know more?  Email me your question and I will do my best to tell the story… The first installment of our new series “Footsteps in Ward 5” is the story of Peterson Creek.   You’ve probably heard...

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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

February 15, 2016 — I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started noticing the proliferation of mobile signs all over the city, but it was several years ago. A constituent brought to my attention a stretch of mobile sign pollution between Harvard Road and Kortright Road a few years back, and after several calls to our By-law Compliance staff, we have regular monitoring of this...

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Closed Meeting Protocol

February 8, 2016 — I have received a number of questions from constituents about Council’s Closed Session (often referred to as In Camera) meeting rules. Here is a link to the City of Guelph Closed Meeting protocol. The City’s protocol conforms to all requirements under the Ontario Municipal Act.  In addition to this policy, there are also rules about what can be discussed publicly...

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Stuck on Stage 2: Anger at Demise of Guelph Mercury Print Edition

January 30, 2016 — According to Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief when one is faced with the loss of a loved one:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When Metroland Media announced the end of the print edition of the Guelph Mercury, I spent an hour or two on stage 1 (denial) and then quickly moved to stage 2...

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What’s In a Name: Mo, Moe or Mole Hill?

January 26, 2016 — Tradition and names matter in local culture and history.  Urban myths abound in Guelph, whether it be the ghost at the Albion (yes, she exists) or whether John Galt really put his hand on a tree stump when he designed the city (no, he didn’t). We even have our own Guelph pronunciations – it’s “Del-HI” Street and “AR-kul” Road. Here...

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Word of the Day: “Makerspace”

December 22, 2015 — The new buzz word in urbanism is “makerspace”.   It follows on the heels of “placemaking”  which is slightly different.  Placemaking focuses on creating a physical built environment that encourages people to congregate, stay and interact within a landscape.   Market Square is a good local example.  Makerspace (aka hackerspace, fablabs) began as shared space where do-it-yourselfers could go to share communal tools,...

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Hey What’s That Old Building?

December 22, 2015 — Have you ever wondered about the origin of the Drill Hall?  The what? You know, that building across from the Armoury.  The one by the tracks behind the train station.  Yes, it has a name. The Drill Hall (sometimes referred to as the Drill Shed) was built in 1866 in response to the Fenian raids along the Upper and Lower...

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Transit Cuts a Step Backward

November 30, 2015 — Once again, transit service cuts and fare increases are included in the 2016 City of Guelph proposed budget.  It seems that whenever we are looking for savings or revenue during budget season, Transit is one of the first places staff look to offer up big dollars.  This is backwards for so many reasons.  Let me count just a few of...

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Road Diets and Reducing Car(b)s

June 30, 2015 — Council will soon deliberate on how to paint the lines on Speedvale Avenue East.  It is down to two options that are being bantered about, as follows: 1.  Traditional Configuration:  four lanes of car traffic, no centre turn lane, no bike lanes. 2.  Road Diet:  two lanes of car traffic, one centre turning lane, with bike lanes. The debate on...

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Guelph Transit Challenge – Week One Reflections

May 8, 2015 — The first week of the Guelph Transit (GT) Challenge is over!  Here is my progress report and observations: Progress: Despite temptation, I have not used my car, asked for a ride or accepted a ride in a car.  I am 100% car-free! Approximately 50% of my transportation needs have been met through Guelph Transit.  I have been a passenger on...

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Guelph Transit Challenge

May 4, 2015 — It was a sunny 20+ degree day outside when I said “I’ll do it!” to the Guelph Transit Challenge.  Although I am already an occasional transit user, the truth is that my car is my primary means of transportation.  The reasons vary by month:  work requirements, family commitments, weather, etc. Can I shift my 90% (car) and 10% (other) lifestyle in the...

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Grow “Up” and Grow “Out”

April 9, 2015 — As a growing city, we have had several community dialogues over the years to address the question “how do we grow responsibly?”   Guelph was well ahead of its time when we initiated SmartGuelph before the Province had legislated Places to Grow or the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan regulations. In 2009, Council approved a made-in-Guelph growth plan — remember Envision...

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City Streets for People?

February 18, 2015 — Public “rights of way” existed long before the automobile. It’s Heritage Week in Ontario and I have been looking at old photos of Guelph. Here’s one of many that intrigued me from days gone by. This, and many other photos, depict pedestrians, carts, horses, cyclists and streetcars sharing the streets.  No right angles, fluid and unencumbered.  Yes, I know that times...

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