News Release

City taking soil samples on site where drums were found

Restoring flow of Howitt Creek until construction resumes

Guelph, ON, Monday, October 20 – This week, the City will begin taking soil samples from the site where construction crews found and removed eight 170-litre (45-gallon) drums of chemicals last month.

Discovering the drums

On September 2 and 3, eight 170-litre (45-gallon) drums of chemicals were found on a construction site near the Wellington/Hanlon interchange. The City contained the liquid and affected soil immediately and notified the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). The City used clean soil to back fill the area. The liquid was transported from the site for disposal on September 5 and affected soil was transported for disposal on September 9 and 10.

Site scans and soil samples

On September 18, the City used electro-magnetic and ground penetrating radar surveys to study the construction zone near the Wellington/Hanlon interchange. The results show seven locations where the City could find large metal objects, and smaller metal objects were also detected along the project route.

“We’re taking all necessary precautions before doing any more digging,” said Kealy Dedman, City Engineer. “Based on the survey results we expect to find large metal objects, and we’ll have a spill response team on site for any materials we need to remove, contain or transport for safe disposal.”

As the regulatory agency involved, the MOECC approved the City’s plan to dig eight test-pits and analyze the soil in the area before resuming full-scale construction activity.The construction zone travels through three historic landfill sites and the City will clean up any materials found in the area as required by MOECC.

The City will report the soil sample results to the MOECC before making any further plans to resume construction of the Paisley-Clythe watermain.

“Our next steps will depend on the results of the soil analysis, and we’ll continue updating the community as we prepare to resume construction,” said Dedman.

Map of approximate test pit locations Paisley-Clythe feedermain

Work near Howitt Creek to begin October 22

Also this week, the City will remove a temporary bypass pipe from Howitt Creek to restore its normal flow until full-scale construction resumes. The pipe was being used to restrict and redirect the flow of Howitt Creek during construction. This practice is common, and was approved by the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA).

On September 21, with the flow of the creek restricted, heavy rain caused Howitt Creek to overflow and send water into the construction site. An Environmental Protection Officer inspected the area. The officer did not see any discharge from the excavated area or evidence of contaminated material flowing into Howitt Creek or downstream, but noted partial erosion of the bank separating the area from the creek.

The City contacted the MOECC about removing the pipe, and a Provincial Officer inspected the area on September 22. The Ministry has approved plans to remove the pipe, install a liner and use clean fill and rock or rubble to prevent further erosion and overflow.

Residents can report spills involving chemicals, oil, paint or any other suspicious materials by calling the Ministry’s Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.


Questions and answers about discovery of drums on construction site

Map of approximate test pit locations (print quality)

Paisley-Clythe feedermain project map (print quality)

Historic industrial and landfill activity near Wellington Street work site

September 15, 2014 Further sampling and tests required before resuming work on watermain

September 8, 2014 - Report identifies mixture of solvents found in buried drums

September 5, 2014 - City removing eight buried drums from Wellington Street construction site

September 4, 2014 - More drums unearthed on Wellington Street construction site

September 3, 2014 - Unknown liquid unearthed during construction near Wellington Street

About the project: York Trunk Sewer and Paisley-Clythe Feedermain

Media Contact

Kealy Dedman
City Engineer, City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2248

Guelph Wellbeing releases reports on state of food security and connectivity in Guelph

Collective impact will be greater if partners work together using data to drive action

Guelph, ON, October 15, 2014 – Guelph Wellbeing has released three important reports on the status of food security, social connectivity, and physical connectivity in Guelph. The reports—co-produced by more than 30 community stakeholders—were released last week and can be found on Guelph Wellbeing‘s website.

The reports paint a picture of life in Guelph as it relates to food security, and physical and social connectivity. They reveal 16% of Guelph households are food insecure; 90% of residents use automobiles over cycling, walking or transit; and 27% of Guelph residents don’t feel connected to their community. Along with these findings is a collective call to action with specific recommendations for improving life for residents in all three areas.

The reports also suggest Guelph is well-positioned to make these improvements, in part because Guelph Wellbeing is a platform that allows organizations to align efforts to bring about positive change in areas the community has identified as priority.

“If you are wondering what Guelph Wellbeing is or why it’s important, these reports give an excellent snapshot,” says Mayor Karen Farbridge, Chair of the Guelph Wellbeing Leadership Group. ”They provide both a status report and a call to action, and they show how we can achieve more by working together.”

The reports also highlight recommended actions community organizations and partners can take to make improvements. Examples include pooling resources; coordinating efforts to support existing programs; gathering and sharing data to develop more targeted programs; advocating for policy change; and working together to secure resources such as cold storage for vegetables to help decrease hunger in our community.

“These reports provide highlights of the great work underway in our community and the amazing people and organizations doing the work,” says Brendan Johnson, Executive Director, Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition. “They also tell us where the community sees the need for change. Part of the beauty of Guelph Wellbeing is in the diversity of voices at the table—organizations working together in new ways to make our city an even better, more inclusive and resilient place for everyone.”

Using a collective impact approach, the organizations involved in Guelph Wellbeing expect to make a positive change by focusing on specific actions. They will then measure progress with the intent of moving key indicators in a positive direction.

Guelph Wellbeing will release an affordable housing report later this fall, and an impact report that shows the work organizations are doing to move the needle on important wellbeing indicators in June 2015.

About Guelph Wellbeing

Guelph Wellbeing explores how to proactively, efficiently and collaboratively address our community’s needs. It is guided by the City of Guelph and a Community Leadership Team chaired by the Mayor and including City staff and twenty volunteer representatives of Guelph’s social service, healthcare, law enforcement, education, youth and business communities.

Guelph is Canada’s first municipality to align with the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, a pan-Canadian initiative focused on community wellbeing. A catalyst for new partnerships and cross-functional community initiatives, Guelph Wellbeing is attracting local, national and international attention.

For more information

Louise Daw
Project Manager, Guelph Wellbeing
Community and Social Services
519-822-1260 extension 6521

Scandinavian experts to help implement Guelph District Energy System

Media release originally issued by Ramboll

Danish Ramboll is opening an office in Guelph from where the 11,000 person strong company will pursue opportunities in the growing market for district energy services in North America and provide expertise to Envida Community Energy Inc. in support of the City of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative.

The implementation of the first city-wide district energy network in North America is well on its way in Guelph, located 100 km west of Toronto, Canada. Presently, according to the Canadian Urban Institute, district energy represents only 0.29 per cent of total sales of energy in Canada. But in Europe district energy is widespread. Guelph will provide an excellent doorway for Ramboll to access a growing North American market.

In Copenhagen where Ramboll’s head office is located, 98 per cent of the buildings are heated with district energy and one million people are supplied with low-carbon heat from what is one of the world’s largest district heating systems. For more than 30 years, Ramboll has been the Metropolitan Copenhagen Heating Transmission Company’s main consultant, providing consultancy assistance during all stages of the project from planning and design to operation and maintenance of the city-wide system.

Now, Ramboll will apply some of this know-how to support district energy development in Guelph. Pernille M. Overbye, who is heading Ramboll’s North American set-up within district energy, says: “Guelph has set up ambitious targets in its District Energy Strategic Plan, and we are delighted to help the City achieve those targets.”

Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge says: “We are thrilled to welcome Ramboll to Guelph and we welcome their expertise as we implement our district energy plans. Our city aims to be a gateway to the untapped North American market for district energy, and the arrival of Ramboll is an important step in that effort. This is further proof that Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative is not only a smart energy strategy—it’s a smart and effective economic development strategy.”

Ramboll already has offices in Houston and Portland, and opening an office in Guelph is another step towards fulfilling Ramboll’s strategic ambition to establish a significant presence in North America to support the company in developing its portfolio and sustain the company’s growth. Initially, projects commissioned to the Guelph office will be staffed through short-term secondments with employees from Ramboll offices in Europe or through employment of local resources.

For more information, please contact Pernille M Overbye, Ramboll at

About Ramboll

Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. The company employs more than 11,000 experts and has a significant presence in Northern Europe, India and the Middle East. With more than 200 offices in 22 countries Ramboll emphasises local experience combined with a global knowledge-base. The company constantly strives to achieve inspiring and exacting solutions that make a genuine difference to its customers, end-users and society as a whole. Ramboll works across the markets: Buildings, Transport, Environment, Energy, Oil & Gas and Management Consulting.

Winner of ‘The Robert Munsch Award’ is announced

The Guelph Public Library, along with the generous donation of the Friends of the Guelph Public Library, are proud to announce the winner of “The Robert Munsch Award.” This year’s recipient wrote the best short essay or position paper discussing the place or impact of the writings of Robert Munsch in English Language Children’s Literature. Congratulations to Nadine Lincoln for her award winning paper, “Spunky Female Protagonists in Munsch Narratives.” Nadine, a recent Master of Library Science graduate from the University of British Columbia, received a cheque of $1,000 from the Friends of the Guelph Public Library in honour of her lively, well-focussed essay written from a personal and female perspective.

“Robert Munsch is Guelph’s most famous living citizen and Canada’s best-selling author. He is our hometown hero. We are thrilled to celebrate his stories and add to the body of research about Bob and his impact on Canadian kid’s lit” said GPL CEO, Kitty Pope.

Thank you to judges Mary Rubio PhD in Literary/Theatre Studies and professor at the University of Guelph, GPL’s children’s librarian Ben Robinson and information librarian, Karen Cafarella as well as to Friends of the GPL Chair, Virginia Gillham. A special thanks to everyone who entered the writing challenge. Entries were received from across Canada and as far away as Kansas, United States.

To read Nadine’s winning paper, visit:

For more information about the Friends of the Guelph Public Library

Virginia Gillham, Friends of the GPL Board Chair

For more information about the Guelph Public Library

Steve Kraft, CEO
519-824-6220 extension 224

Education Minister and Mayor Farbridge walk to school with Guelph students

Guelph, ON, October 10, 2014 – In celebration of International Walk to School Month, Education Minister, the Hon. Liz Sandals, Mayor Karen Farbridge, Guelph Police Service and City of Guelph staff walked to school with students, teachers and parents from Holy Trinity Catholic School and Ken Danby Public School.

The event—intended to promote walking and cycling as part of a healthy lifestyle and road safety in school zones—saw students and adult chaperons walk along Grange Road during the morning rush hour.

Upon arrival at O’Connor Lane Park, participants enjoyed apples as they listened to remarks from dignitaries including Hon. Sandals and Mayor Farbridge.

“Our government’s long-term goal is for children and youth to have 60 minutes of physical activity each day. In urban areas, walking or cycling to school and home again can be an important part of daily physical activity,” noted Hon. Sandals, member of provincial parliament for Guelph.

Mayor Farbridge added, “Walking to school is good for health and well-being, good for the environment, and good for our community. It’s also a lot more fun for children than sitting in traffic. Despite this, a whopping 42 per cent of children in Ontario are driven to school. The City of Guelph supports walking to school with such initiatives as school crossing guards at key intersections, and reduced speed limits by every elementary school in the city.”

Acting Deputy Police Chief Howard McGarr, who was unable to attend the walk, said members of Guelph Police Services are excited to work with community partners to educate and promote the health, environmental and safety benefits that can be achieved through walking and cycling to school. “We can all work together to increase safety in school zones. As a motorist it is your responsibility to obey the elementary school zone speed limits, always remain alert and avoid distracted driving.”

“By choosing an active way to get to school on foot or by bike everyone gets exercise, including those parents who walk with their children. It also means there’s less car traffic and congestion around schools and that’s safer for students, parents and teachers,” said Mark Bailey, chair of the Upper Grand District School Board.

“We know that a healthy body contributes to a healthy mind. Both contribute significantly to positive learning outcomes. Walking to school is a great way to add movement in your day. The rewards are immense. They extend to your mind and learning and overall well-being,” explained Tamara Nugent, director of Education, Wellington Catholic District School Board.

About International Walk to School Month

International Walk to School Month (IWALK) takes place each October, and is a global annual event promoted by Active and Safe Routes to School Canada. It is a celebration of active transportation.

General themes promoted during the month include: increasing daily physical activity; improving safety; enhancing the environment; reducing levels of crime; developing community cohesion; promoting social interaction; and reducing traffic congestion, pollution and speed near schools.

About school zone speed limits

In 2014, the City implemented reduced speed limits in 45 school zones, including all public, catholic and private elementary schools. Speed limits on arterial roads are 40 km/h and are in effect on school days from 8 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. Speed limits on collector and local roads are 30 km/h and are in effect at all times.

For more information

Jennifer Juste
Transportation Demand Management Coordinator
Planning Services
519-822-1260 extension 2791

Your vote makes a difference

Gearing up for the 2014 Municipal Election

Guelph, ON, September 30, 2014 – In just a matter of days, Guelph residents will be able to cast their vote online for the first time. The City of Guelph has made it easier for residents to vote for the next City Council and School Board Trustees this year with online voting, an extended advanced voting period and vote anywhere options.

“Elections are one of the most important vehicles residents have to ensure their interests are represented at council. The changes we have introduced are making voting more accessible, convenient and fair for everyone,” says Tina Agnello, Deputy City Clerk. “The addition of advanced online voting means residents can vote from anywhere, at any time. For those who choose to vote in person, the voting locations meet full accessibility standards and some offer accessible voting devices.”

Between online voting, extended advanced in person voting and Election Day, residents will have 19 days or 442 hours to have their say.

During the advanced, in-person, voting period, October 15 to 19, residents will be able to vote at any one of three locations within the city. On Election Day, October 27, residents can vote from any location within their ward.

“We have recognized that residents may not want to vote at the voting location closest to home. It may be easier to vote close to work, a child’s school, the gym or grocery store. Providing multiple voting locations to residents is another way we have opened up the electoral process to engage the community,” says Agnello.

Residents who placed themselves on the voters’ list throughout the summer will be receiving their voter notification cards in the coming days. These cards provide detailed information on when, where and how to vote throughout October. For those who registered after September 19, voter identification numbers will be emailed, usually within one business day.

Residents can still get on the voters’ list through the City’s website, Registration is open until October 24. Residents who do not get on the voter’s list can still vote in person during the advanced voting period (Oct. 15-19) or on Election Day (Oct. 27).

Election security and accuracy

“We have taken numerous steps to ensure the integrity and security of the voting process. From establishing and adhering to predefined security protocol to undergoing strict logic and accuracy testing for both the internet and in-person voting options,” says Agnello.

The City will be using a test set of ballots, which will give them a known outcome, to ensure complete confidence in the accuracy of the voting systems. When testing the vote tabulators, used for in person voting, adequate safeguards are taken to ensure that the system, or any part of it, that is used for processing and tabulating votes is isolated from all other applications or programs and that no remote devices are capable of gaining access to the system.

The testing phase includes testing the vote tabulators (diagnostic testing), memory cards (used for storing and transferring votes), ballots and reporting of results.

If an error is detected in any test, the cause is determined and corrected. The test will be repeated until an errorless count is confirmed. At the completion of the testing, the entire voting system is locked down prior to the start of the voting period. No system, code or configuration changes can occur during the lock down or once voting has started.

Voting Options

Vote online from anywhere, on any platform, at any time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 12:01 a.m. to Friday, October 24, 2014, 11:59 p.m.

To ensure you have time to register and vote, it is recommended that residents begin the process by 11:30 p.m. and begin voting by 11:59 p.m. Residents who begin to vote prior to 11:59 p.m. will be given 15 minutes to complete their ballot. City staff will be on-hand the evening of October 24 to assist residents where required.

Residents are also encouraged to watch the online voting presentation video on for a demonstration of how the online voting system works.

Advanced voting locations – residents can vote at any location within the city.

All advanced voting locations will offer accessible devices for voting: hand held touch pad, paddles, and sip and puff.

Date & time:
October 15 and 16, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
October 17 and 18, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
October 19, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Guelph City Hall, 1 Carden Street, Room 112
Evergreen Seniors Community Centre, 683 Woolwich Street
Stone Road Mall, 435 Stone Road West, 2nd Floor, Unit R2

Election Day voting – residents can vote at any location within their ward.

Date & time:  October 27, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Election Results

The City will host an Election Results Evening on October 27 beginning at 8 p.m. in the Gallery at City Hall. A seating area with coffee, tea and cookies will be provided for residents mingling and viewing the results. Unofficial election results can also be viewed live on or the City’s Twitter (@cityofguelph) account and Facebook page. It is anticipated that results will begin to be posted around 8:30 p.m.

Official results will be released on Tuesday, October 28.

Residents looking for more election information or needing assistance can contact the City at 519-837-5625 or visit

For more information

Tina Agnello
Deputy City Clerk
Corporate and Human Resources
Office of the City Clerk
519-822-1260 extension 2811

For media inquiries
Alison Thompson
Communications Officer
Corporate and Human Resources
Corporate Communications
519-822-1260 extension 2252
226-821-2944 (mobile)

Fire Prevention Day in Guelph is October 4

Guelph, On, September 30, 2014 – The Guelph Fire Department is hosting its annual Fire Prevention Day on Saturday, October 4.

The event, open to the public, runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Guelph Home Depot, located at 63 Woodlawn Rd., West. Through educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of testing smoke alarms every month, as well as fire prevention in the home.

Inside the store, children are invited to build a model emergency services vehicle. Outside, residents are invited to check out the antique fire truck, meet and speak to firefighters and Sparky the fire dog, tour Guelph’s fire safety trailer to learn how to safely escape from a smoke-filled home, and learn how to safely put out a fire using a fire extinguisher.

Fire Prevention Week 2014

During Fire Prevention Week, October 5 to 11, the Guelph Fire Department is partnering with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind everyone to test their smoke alarms monthly. This year’s theme is ‘Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.’

“Only working smoke alarms increase the chances of surviving a fire, so make sure to test all of your smoke alarms,” says Matt Valeriote, fire prevention officer with the Guelph Fire Department. “It is one of the easiest tests you’ll ever take.”

Ontario law requires that working smoke alarms be located on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. The Guelph Fire Department recommends the following smoke alarm and safety tips:

  • Test smoke alarms monthly. Consider vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may need assistance maintaining and testing their smoke alarms—let’s make sure to test theirs too!
  • Change the batteries once a year
  • Replace smoke alarms after 10 years
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan with everyone in your household

“The Guelph Fire Department is challenging everyone in Guelph to demonstrate how you test your smoke alarms,” says Valeriote. “Post your photos to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #FPW2014.”

Visit for more fire safety information or to learn more about smoke alarms visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website at

For more information

Matt Valeriote
Fire Prevention Officer
Guelph Fire Department
519-822-1260 extension 2136


City of Guelph warns residents of door–to–door sales scam

Guelph, ON, September 24, 2014 – The City of Guelph and Guelph Police Services have learned that residents are being approached by sales people who claim to represent the City for the purposes of selling water treatment systems. Sales people are asking to enter residents’ homes to view or inspect their water systems.

“City employees do not go door–to–door selling water–related products,” said Peter Busatto, Water Services General Manager. “Any City employee visiting a residence will carry photo identification, and anyone being approached by those claiming to represent the City, or asking to enter their home, should request to see official identification.”

There is currently no mandate, from the provincial or federal government, or the City of Guelph, requiring residents to install additional filtration equipment on their water systems.

If residents are suspicious of any sales people coming to their door, they are encouraged to call Guelph Police Services for assistance at 911 or 519-824-1212 extension 0.

Those wishing to report a visit can call Water Services at 519-837-5627.

For more information

Peter Busatto
General Manager
Water Services
519-822-1260 extension 2165

City planting trees during National Forest Week

Plantings are part of emerald ash borer canopy recovery program

Guelph, ON, September 19, 2014 – In celebration of National Forest Week, September 21 to 27, the City is planting trees as part of the emerald ash borer (EAB) canopy recovery program in the Clairfield West neighbourhood.

Staff will be planting 366 trees including: silver maple, red maple, sugar maple, hackberry, serviceberry, red oak, and tulip tree.

Tree planting will continue until the end of October and will include parks and ash dominated neighbourhoods throughout the city.

“As part of the City’s Emerald Ash Borer Plan we are undertaking canopy recovery tree plantings to replace those trees impacted by EAB,” explained Martin Neumann, manager of Forestry. “City staff is planting trees during National Forest Week to celebrate the importance of our urban forest, and to recognize we all have a role to play in keeping our trees healthy.”

Guelph’s EAB Plan is a component of the City’s Urban Forest Management Plan, which strives to increase tree canopy.

The EAB plan includes the treatment, removal and replacement of City-owned ash trees. While the plan outlines measures to be taken for trees on City property, much of the community’s urban forest is located on private land. Residents can contact a certified arborist to arrange an inspection of an ash tree on their property. If an ash tree does not show signs of EAB infestation treatment is likely still an option.

Information about EAB and the City’s EAB Plan is available at

About the Emerald Ash Borer

The EAB is a highly destructive, non-native, wood-boring beetle that feeds under the bark of ash trees. The City has been monitoring its presence since it was first discovered in Canada in 2002. The EAB was confirmed in the south end of Guelph in the fall of 2011. In 2013, testing confirmed the EAB was present throughout the city. Once established, it is expected that close to 100 per cent of Guelph’s untreated street, park, and woodland ash trees will be killed over the next 10 years.

For more information

Martin Neumann
Manager of Forestry
Public Works
519-822-1260 extension 3337