Guelph, Ont., February 7, 2019 – In his 5th annual State of the City address, Mayor Cam Guthrie spoke of the collaboration between City Council, staff, local businesses, organizations and citizens, which makes Guelph a better place to live and work.
Taking his theme from the TV show “The Office,” the mayor premiered a made-in-Guelph version of the show’s opening credits, featuring Guelph City Council.
He highlighted a number of initiatives that rely on partnerships and collaborations, including the Community Plan, Smart Cities challenge application, Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness and Community Safety, and the Baker Street redevelopment.
“The role of cities has grown and become more complex over the years,” Mayor Guthrie said. “We’re not only building the roads, picking up the garbage, and giving swimming lessons. We’re tackling food security and homelessness; forging innovative partnerships; and finding new ways of doing things in order to maximize efficiency and value.”
The mayor addressed the housing challenges that Guelph is experiencing, including high prices and lack of availability for homeowners and renters. He stated that the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan, which will determine the development of the City’s last greenfield, will be an important step in easing the supply issue. A proposed redevelopment of the former IMICo property at 200 Beverley Street, which would include affordable ownership and rental units, would help fill a gap of affordable housing.
To address the homelessness crisis, the Mayor’s Task Force is proposing five priority actions: provide permanent supportive housing for 15 chronically homeless people; re-open a supported recovery room; fund the Welcoming Streets initiative; re-start an addiction court support worker program; and make system and service improvements such as evening, weekend, and holiday hours for services.
Looking ahead, Mayor Guthrie highlighted a number of key priorities for this term, including a review of Council composition and Ward boundaries, a move to four-year City operating and capital budgets starting in 2020, and the start of construction on a new south end community centre and new main library.
He concluded by calling out organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the University of Guelph, and the Task Force for Poverty Elimination for being deserving of a “Dundie Award,” which were famously presented on The Office by Michael Scott. Just as the characters on The Office adapt, evolve, and build relationships in times of uncertainty and change, the community of Guelph continues to work together to meet challenges and seize opportunities.
“Relationship-building is one of Guelph’s great strengths. I see it every day. My challenge to you today is, let’s keep the momentum going. Let’s keep talking, and listening, and learning from each other. When we work together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish,” the mayor concluded.
The State of the City address is an annual event hosted by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce.
The full text of the mayor’s speech and the slides can be found at guelph.ca.
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2558