Guelph, Ont., February 4, 2021 – Mayor Cam Guthrie presented his 2021 State of the City this morning in a first-ever virtual event hosted by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce.
The Mayor noted that, in a year of extraordinary challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Guelph still moved forward on many important priorities:
- Council approved two long-awaited major capital projects: an 88,000 square foot main library on Baker Street, and a 165,000 square foot recreation centre in the South End.
- The 2021 Budget, which Council approved in December, includes four more paramedics, bi-weekly yard waste pickup, red light cameras, a waiving of 50% of business license fees, and a wage freeze for the Mayor, Council, and non-union employees. The tax impact of the 2021 Budget is 2.25%.
- Two supportive housing proposals, at the Parkview Motel and in the Onward Willow neighbourhood, which will go through the public planning process in 2021.
- New community conversations and initiatives to address racial injustice and promote diversity and inclusion, including Council’s decision to join 82 other cities in the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities.
- A patio pilot project that brought new vitality and tourism to downtown Guelph. Council will consider a report in the coming months to determine whether the pilot should be continued.
- Successful advocacy for emergency operating funding for municipalities from the federal and provincial governments during the pandemic, amplified by the Mayor’s role as Chair of Ontario’s Big City Mayors and supported by a strong working relationship with Guelph’s Member of Parliament and Member of Provincial Parliament.
The Mayor saluted citizens, front-line workers, businesses, and organizations for stepping up to help the community throughout the pandemic, and singled out Public Health for their leadership and hard work. He highlighted industries that have shifted to producing PPE and other pandemic-related necessities, and the University of Guelph for their exceptional research efforts. He also called on residents to continue to “Shop Local” to support Guelph’s many small and medium sized businesses.
Mayor Guthrie concluded his remarks with a call to action to embrace kindness in 2021: “This is my vision for 2021 for the City of Guelph: it has nothing to do with a program. It has nothing to do with a building. What my hope is for our city in 2021 is that we are the most kind, patient, and loving community in Canada. I’m asking everyone to please embrace kindness as we head into 2021.”
The full State of the City video can be viewed at https://guelph.ca/city-hall/mayor-and-council/mayors-office/state-of-the-city/
Mayor Cam Guthrie