News Release

City develops four possible scenarios to fund downtown parking

Public invited to attend open houses, take survey to inform Parking Master Plan

Guelph, ON, September 4, 2015 – The City of Guelph is seeking public input on four possible funding scenarios to pay for existing and future parking needs in Guelph’s downtown.

“Parking impacts all Guelph residents and is an important factor in growing and developing our city. To support the economy and growth targets in the downtown, we need to build new parking spaces, maintain existing parking infrastructure, create supportive policy, and plan for future requirements,” says Ian Panabaker, corporate manager, Downtown Renewal.

He adds, “The scenarios—developed by staff using consultant recommendations and information gathered at public meetings in 2013—have the potential to fund existing and future parking needs.”

In late 2012, the City initiated a Parking Master Plan project to focus on Guelph’s downtown and surrounding areas in an effort to improve parking. Public parking inventory downtown has not increased since 1983, when Guelph had a population of 70,000. As a result, today, on-street parking and parking lots in the downtown core are at capacity.

By 2031, the number of people who work and live downtown will double from 8,000 to about 16,000. Between 1,300 and 1,700 additional parking spaces will be needed for people living, working, and visiting the downtown. These new parking spaces will be created by replacing downtown parking lots with a series of parkades, starting with 350 new spaces at the Wilson Street lot followed by 250 new spaces at the Neeve Street lot.

Currently, the downtown parking system is funded through tax-supported dollars, parking permits, and daily and short-term user fees. On-street parking does not generate revenue and its enforcement is paid through a cost recovery program from tickets issued. There are no funds for new parking infrastructure.

Staff will report to Council with program recommendations and a financial strategy at the end of 2015. The Parking Master Plan will enable the City’s Downtown Secondary Plan and align with the Province’s Places to Grow Act.

Funding scenarios

  • The first scenario includes an increase to the City’s contribution and keeps current user pay rates and free on-street parking. This scenario provides funds for new parking infrastructure without increasing user rates, but has the largest tax implication.
  • Scenario two includes an increase to the City’s contribution and user pay rates, and introduces parking permits in the periphery area. On-street parking in the core remains free. There is a large tax implication with this scenario.
  • Scenario three is a blended model that introduces paid on-street parking and periphery parking permits while balancing user pay with City contribution. There is minimal tax implication.
  • Scenario four is a user pay model that reduces the City’s contribution, increases user rates, and introduces paid on-street parking and periphery parking permits. This scenario has the least tax implication.

Survey

During the month of September, members of the public are invited to drop in to one of six open houses to speak with City staff about the Parking Master Plan, learn more about the proposed funding scenarios, and provide feedback via a survey, which is also available at guelph.ca/parkingsurvey.

“The City is looking to better understand stakeholder preferences and feedback will be used to create a financial strategy for parking infrastructure in Guelph’s downtown,” explains Panabaker.

Parking Master Plan Open Houses

Thursday, September 10
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
West End Community Centre, 21 Imperial Road South

Friday, September 11
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Carden Street

Monday, September 14
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
Clair Road Emergency Services Centre, 160 Clair Road West

Tuesday, September 15
2–8 p.m.
Stone Road Mall, 435 Stone Road West

Wednesday, September 16
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
Victoria Road Recreation Centre, 151 Victoria Road

Friday, September 18
5–8 p.m.
Evergreen Seniors Community Centre, 683 Woolwich Street

For more information

Cameron Walsh
Project Director
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
519-822-1260 extension 2462
cameron.walsh@guelph.ca

Ian Panabaker
Corporate Manager
Downtown Renewal
Business Development and Enterprise
519-822-1260 extension 2475
ian.panabaker@guelph.ca

City to present Niska Road, bridge designs September 10

Guelph, ON, September 4, 2015—The City of Guelph is asking for community feedback on proposed designs for Niska Road and the bridge over the Speed River. A drop-in style open house will be held from 5 to7 p.m. on Thursday, September 10 in the Kortright Presbyterian Church gymnasium at 55 Devere Drive. City Staff and consultants from R.J. Burnside and Associates Limited will be on hand to answer questions and speak with community members.

“We’ll share the results of environmental studies and the design concepts we evaluated, and discuss the preferred designs for Niska Road, the bridge and the intersection at Downey Road,” noted Don Kudo, Deputy City Engineer. “We hope people from the local community and beyond will come out and join us.”

Segments of Niska Road including the bridge will be improved to meet current road standards and address deterioration and increasing maintenance costs of the bridge. The bridge underwent repairs in late April to keep it in service while the City continued the environmental assessment for a permanent solution.

The first open house, held in November 2014, collected public feedback on the proposed alternatives for the road and bridge. Feedback was also collected through an online survey and meetings with a Community Working Group that included several members from the local neighbourhood. Results from all methods of feedback were combined for evaluation.

Of the options presented for the road:

  • 47 per cent of respondents supported road reconstruction;
  • 40 per cent supported a do–nothing approach for the road; and
  • 13 per cent were in favour of repaving.

Of the options presented for the bridge:

  • 34 per cent supported a new, two–lane bridge
  • 25 per cent agreed with a do–nothing approach for the bridge
  • 20 per cent wanted the bridge closed to vehicular traffic
  • 18 per cent preferred replacing the existing bridge with a new, one–lane bridge; and
  • three per cent wanted the bridge removed.

Due to the condition of the bridge, the do–nothing approach is not a viable option for consideration. Do–nothing options are always presented as part of environmental assessments.

“Guelph is a growing and vibrant city that needs a modern, efficient transportation network to ensure people’s safety when walking, cycling and driving,” said Kudo. “As Guelph’s transportation network grows, people will see changes in their neighbourhood. These changes are an inevitable part of planning, and building a growing, thriving community.”

For more information about the Niska Road environmental assessment and proposed improvements to the bridge and road, please visit guelph.ca/niskaroad.

Media contact

Laura Mousseau, Communications Officer
Corporate Communications and Customer Service
519-822-1260 extension 2463
laura.mousseau@guelph.ca

Construction begins on Fusion Homes’ Metalworks

Invest in GuelphFusion Homes

Guelph, ON, September 3, 2015 – A new crane will soon be dotting downtown Guelph’s skyline as Fusion Homes officially broke ground today on its Metalworks development. A year after The Metalworks’ brand launch, construction has begun on the first 133 units in a development that will include more than 600 condominium units and townhomes when all five phases are complete.

The Metalworks’ first phase is 70% sold out and construction is expected to be complete in early 2017. When the first phase is complete, the City’s tax revenue on the property will increase 36 times over its current level.

“This is not just for the residents of The Metalworks, not just for people in the downtown and the Ward; we are creating something for the entire city of Guelph,” says Fusion Homes Chief Executive Officer, Lee Piccoli. “What started as a single vision has been transformed into something spectacular through the help of all our partners, the City of Guelph, and the Neighbourhood Association. The Metalworks would not be what it is today without the hard work and insights of many different people.”

“I am thrilled to be part of this milestone for downtown Guelph,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie, who participated in the groundbreaking. “The Metalworks development gives new life to an underused riverfront property in the heart of our downtown, and it will bring hundreds of people to live, work, and play here.”

The Metalworks is located on the site of the former W.C. Wood plant, which operated there from 1956 until 2010. The site’s industrial heritage dates back to the 1830′s, when the land was home to a distillery that was part of Allan’s Mill. It later was the site of a series of hardware and metal products manufacturers.

Fusion Homes collaborated with the Ward Residents’ Association throughout the planning process, holding regular meetings to ensure designs were compatible with the character of the historic neighbourhood.

“This moment is the culmination of years of policy work, planning, and collaborative efforts around downtown revitalization, brownfield redevelopment, heritage, and neighbourhood engagement,” says Mayor Guthrie. “This is the moment the work pays off, as we see underused land being transformed into something that will have a major positive impact on our whole community.”

This large and complex development is a significant outcome of the City’s economic development strategy and Downtown Guelph Community Improvement Plan, which includes policies, tools, and tax-increment based incentives to promote downtown renewal.

About Fusion Homes
Fusion Homes was established in 1999 by Lee Piccoli to create a new home builder company that would offer the highest level of customer service, fresh designs, premium quality features and finishes, underscored by an abiding commitment to integrity. Today, thousands of families live in a Fusion-built home in one of the company’s landmark communities across Southwestern Ontario. Fusion is currently building in Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Tillsonburg, London, and now in the heart of downtown Guelph. In the history of the company, Fusion Homes has never missed a closing date. Fusion Homes has been named Ontario Builder of the Year by Tarion Warranty Corporation and has received the Tarion Award of Excellence for Customer Satisfaction in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. For more information, visit fusionhomes.com.

About Invest in Guelph

Invest in Guelph represents the business development outcomes associated with the City of Guelph’s economic development strategy, Prosperity 2020. The purpose is to position and promote Guelph, Ontario as an investment ready and responsive community. For more information on the services provided by Business Development and Enterprise at the City of Guelph please visit guelph.ca/biz.

For more information:

Peter Cartwright
General Manager
Business Development and Enterprise
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2820
Peter.cartwright@guelph.ca

Andrew Monachino
Marketing Associate
Fusion Homes
519-826-6700 extension 284
amonachino@fusionhomes.com

pictures left to right Larry Kotseff of Fusion Homes, Maria Pezzano of Ward Resident's Association, Mayor Cam Guthrie, Lee Piccoli and Neil Hallock of Fusion Homes

Pictured left to right Larry Kotseff of Fusion Homes, Maria Pezzano of the Ward Resident’s Association, Mayor Cam Guthrie, Lee Piccoli and Neil Hallock of Fusion Homes

Safe Semester starts September 11

Guelph, ON, September 3, 2015 – The annual Safe Semester program, designed to create a safe and enjoyable environment in Guelph’s downtown for all patrons including students, starts September 11.

The program will run every Friday and Saturday night until October 3. New this year, it will also run on the busy Halloween weekend—October 30 and 31.

“Downtown Guelph is a major destination within our city and Safe Semester helps ensure a vibrant and safe downtown experience for residents, visitors and students,” says Ian Panabaker, corporate manager of Downtown Renewal, City of Guelph.

“As the new school year approaches, we have again teamed up with many partners on our Safe Semester plan in anticipation of an increase in demand for our services,” says Chief of Police, Jeff DeRuyter. “It’s our goal to continue to make Guelph an excellent and safe community.”

The Downtown Late Night Task Force leads the Safe Semester program and works to reduce conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers getting in and out of the downtown, and to prevent littering, public urination and other nuisances. It includes representatives from the City of Guelph, Guelph Transit, Guelph Police Service, Downtown Guelph Business Association, University of Guelph, the Downtown Residents’ Neighbourhood Association and several downtown businesses.

What to expect downtown on weekends

September 11 to October 3, and October 30 and 31

On Fridays and Saturdays between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.:

  • Macdonell Street will be closed to traffic from the Macdonell parking lot to about six parking spaces west of the West Parkade.
  • Wyndham Street will be closed to traffic between Carden Street and Cork Street.
  • One accessible portable washroom will be placed at Guelph Central Station.
  • One taxi stand will be located on the north side of Carden Street across from Guelph Central Station.
  • All parking lots will remain open and accessible.

Cars parked on the closed sections of Macdonell Street and Wyndham Street after 10 p.m. will be towed and impounded at the owner’s expense.

Late night bus service

Guelph Transit offers late night bus service, funded by the undergraduate and graduate student associations at the University of Guelph. The service starts on Saturday, September 5, with buses traveling from Guelph Central Station to the University of Guelph and surrounding area. Late night service will run from 12:30 a.m., until the last bus leaves the University Centre at 3:30 a.m.

For more information

About the Safe Semester project
Constable Mike Gatto
Guelph Police Service
519-824-1212 extension 7253
mgatto@guelphpolice.ca

About road closures and parking
Rob Barr
Supervisor, Traffic Engineering
Transportation Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2044
rob.barr@guelph.ca

City lowering Speed River water levels on September 8 to install water pipes

Gow’s Bridge closure to continue into fall

Guelph, ON, August 31, 2015—The City of Guelph will be opening the Wellington Street Dam on September 8 to reduce water levels in the Speed River at Gordon Street. Lower water levels are needed to safely install 180 metres of water pipes as part of the York Trunk Sewer Paisley-Clythe Feedermain project.

“The dam will remain open for the rest of the year while crews install the pipes,” said Majde Qaqish, a City project engineer. “Affected businesses have been advised of the water level change and we’ll complete the work as quickly as possible.”

To minimize the disruption to businesses using the Speed River, this portion of work has been delayed until after the Labour Day long weekend. As a result, Gow’s Bridge remains closed until this water pipe installation and subsequent Guelph Hydro work, can be completed. Gow’s bridge is expected to re-open by late fall.

“We’ve had a few challenges along the way,” noted Qaqish. “The unusually cold winter, the discovery of the drums and the difficulties experienced with drilling and tunnelling under Gordon Street changed the original plans for this complex project. This caused delays and we greatly appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete these important improvements to essential City services.”

The York Trunk Sewer Paisley-Clythe Feedermain is a $30 million, multi-year infrastructure project. It is the City’s largest watermain and wastewater sewer infrastructure project. The City’s 2009 Water and Wastewater Servicing Master Plan identified the projects as priorities in order to meet Guelph’s existing and future water and wastewater servicing needs.

Construction of the first phase began in 2014 and is still underway. This phase involves the installation of 2,200 metres of water and sewer pipes. To date the City has installed 90 per cent of the water pipes and 90 per cent of the sewer pipes planned for the first phase.

For more information

Majde Qaqish, P.Eng, Project Engineer
Engineering and Capital Infrastructure Services
519-822-1260 extension 2225
majde.qaqish@guelph.ca

City’s credit rating remains stable

Guelph, ON, August 27, 2015 – On Tuesday, Standards & Poor’s Rating Services (Standards & Poor’s) announced that the City of Guelph’s credit rating continues to be strong and remains at AA+ with a stable outlook.

“This is the third year that Guelph’s credit rating has been issued at this level,” said Janice Sheehy, general manager, finance and city treasurer. “The reaffirmed AA+ rating reflects the City’s positive financial position.”

According to the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Direct Research Update the rating reflects Guelph’s “very strong economic fundamentals, exceptional liquidity position and low debt burden.”

The credit rating highlights Standard & Poor’s view that Guelph has a very predictable and well-balanced financial framework which demonstrates the City’s strong financial management practices. Those practices include a robust set of financial policies, annual audited statements, transparent, and detailed operating and capital budgets.

Guelph has a strong economy, which—coupled with its management practices—has resulted in a very low level of contingent liabilities, low debt levels and strong liquidity.

“This is great news for our city,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie. “It’s nice to have a third party, with an independent perspective, affirm the city’s commitment to sound financial management. I now look forward to further strengthening our financial policies and making decisions that move us up the rating ladder.”

The Standards & Poor’s website offers further information about changes to Guelph’s credit rating and the Ratings Direct Research Update.

For more information on the City’s budget, visit guelph.ca/budget.

Guelph's credit rating for the past 5 years. 2011 - AA, Stable; 2012 - AA, positive; 2013-2015 - AA+, with stable outlook

About Standards & Poor’s Rating Services

Standard & Poor’s is a leader in independent credit risk research and market intelligence including credit ratings, indices, and investment research. It has offices in 26 countries and more than 150 years of experience.

For more information

Janice Sheehy
General Manager, Finance and City Treasurer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2289
janice.sheehy@guelph.ca

 

Guelph deputy CAO accepts expanded role in Sault Ste. Marie

GUELPH, ON, August 24, 2015 – Al Horsman, Guelph’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services, will leave the City of Guelph next month to join the City of Sault Ste. Marie as its new Chief Administrative Officer.

“Al informed me of his decision today,” says Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert. “While we’re all disappointed, we understand his wish to evolve his own career and take on an expanded role in Sault Ste. Marie.”

Al joined the City of Guelph in 2012.  Since then, he has provided leadership as Chief Financial Officer and most recently in his role as Deputy CAO with oversight of infrastructure, planning and enterprise activities including environmental services; planning, urban design and building; and engineering services. Among his key achievements are two successive credit rate increases in 2013 and 2014; attraction of increased investment and development in the Hanlon Creek Business Park and downtown; and implementation of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. (GMHI).

“On behalf of our executive team and City staff, I extend my sincere thanks to Al for his many contributions to the City of Guelph,” Pappert says.

In the interim period, Derrick Thomson, Deputy CAO of Public Services, will oversee Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise with support from senior management.

Al’s last day with the City of Guelph is September 11, 2015. He begins his role in Sault Ste. Marie on September 28.

For more information

Tara Sprigg
General Manager, Corporate Communications and Customer Service
519-829-0981
tara.sprigg@guelph.ca

City introduces program to reduce radon gas exposure

Guelph, ON, August 20, 2015 – Starting September 1, the City will implement the Radon Gas Mitigation Program for all new buildings constructed in Guelph.

“Radon gas exists everywhere, including in Guelph,” explains Rob Reynen, Manager of Inspection Services, Building Services. “The Radon Gas Mitigation Program aims to address potential exposure to radon gas and reduce health risks to building occupants in our community.”

Radon gas mitigation measures must be implemented in compliance with the Ontario Building Code for certain building permits applied for after August 31, 2015.

As part of the new program, a builder must put in place one of three radon gas mitigation options when constructing a new low-rise residential dwelling in Guelph:

  • Option #1: a rough-in soil gas pipe and mandatory radon gas testing
  • Option #2: a soil gas barrier on the foundation walls and basement floor slab, with voluntary radon gas testing
  • Option #3: a soil gas barrier on the foundation walls, and an active sub-slab depressurization system, with voluntary radon gas testing

Based on the radon gas mitigation option chosen by the builder, a home is subject to either mandatory or voluntary long-term radon gas testing. To encourage home owner participation, the City will pay for all radon gas testing this winter and next.

The City also requires all low-rise residential additions that exceed 20 metres square and multi-residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings to be designed and constructed in accordance with the radon standards in the Ontario Building Code.

The Ontario Building Code regulates new construction only and does not contain retrofit requirements for radon gas.

To learn more about radon gas testing and mitigation in existing buildings, including houses, apartment buildings, schools, malls and offices, please contact Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health or Health Canada.

About radon gas

Radon is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas that forms when uranium in soil, rock and water breaks down. Radon gas seeps into homes and buildings through cracks and holes in floors and foundations.

According to Health Canada, long-term exposure to radon is linked to roughly 16 per cent of lung cancer deaths in Canada, and is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Canada’s radon guideline is 200 becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m3).

For more information

Rob Reynen, Manager of Inspection Services
Planning, Urban Design and Building Services
519-822-1260 extension 2386
rob.reynen@guelph.ca

Guelph welcomes new GM, Environmental Services

Guelph, ON, August 20, 2015 – Ramesh Ummat, current Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipality of the County of Colchester in Nova Scotia, will join the City of Guelph as its new General Manager of Environmental Services on October 5.

“Guelph undertook an exhaustive recruitment process that attracted a number of experienced applicants from across the country,” says Al Horsman, Deputy CAO of Infrastructure, Design and Enterprise. “In the end, Mr. Ummat’s unique combination of experience and education made him the ideal candidate. His track record for innovation and leadership were standout features of his application, and the City looks forward to his stewardship in this new role.”

Ummat has served the community of Colchester in progressively senior positions since 2003. He has extensive design, construction, operations, administration and management experience, and has worked with public municipal infrastructure, transportation, water, wastewater, storm water and solid waste management.

A professional engineer (P.Eng), Ummat has a Master of Public Administration and three engineering degrees including two Master of Civil Engineering degrees.

The General Manager, Environmental Services is a new position, created as a result of a restructuring that was first announced last November. In this role, Ummat will oversee the City’s Solid Waste Resources, Water Services, and Wastewater Services departments.

 

For more information

Al Horsman
Deputy CAO, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise
519-822-1260 extension 5606
al.horsman@guelph.ca

City updating Downtown Zoning By-law

Guelph, ON, August 19, 2015 – The City is undertaking a review to update the Downtown Zoning By-law regulations and downtown commercial zones.

“The purpose of the Downtown Zoning By-law review is to support and sustain a vibrant Downtown Guelph,” explains David DeGroot, Senior Urban Designer. “The review will ensure an updated Zoning By-law aligns with the existing Downtown Secondary Plan and supports appropriate investment and development in our city’s core.”

Topics to be addressed during the review include:

  • Downtown Secondary Plan densities, land use permissions, building heights and other policies, 
  • Urban design regulations and standards,
  • Zoning implications related to cultural heritage, brownfield sites and servicing, and,
  • Recommending private parking regulations, including bicycle parking.

The City will be meeting with agencies, landowners, businesses, stakeholders and community members over the next few months to introduce the Downtown Zoning By-law review and gather feedback. Interested property owners and community members are encouraged to contact David de Groot at 519-822-1260 extension 2358 or david.degroot@guelph.ca.

A discussion paper outlining topics to be addressed as part of the bylaw review will be presented to Council in late 2015. A public open house will be held in early 2016 to gather feedback on the proposed by-law amendment before it is presented to Council for final approval.

For more information

David de Groot, Senior Urban Designer
Policy Planning and Urban Design
Planning, Urban Design and Building Services
519-822-1260 extension 2358
david.degroot@guelph.ca