City recommends reduced footprint for Guelph Transit and Fleet Services facility

Guelph, Ont., January 26, 2023 – At the February 7 Committee of the Whole, staff will update Council on plans for the Operations Campus to align with a revised facility focus and environmental footprint.

Reducing the City’s environmental impact

Based on Council’s 2021 approval, staff completed environmental and archaeological studies of the future facility site at the corner of Watson Parkway South and Stone Road East. Analysis of the findings to inform planning and design constraints have prompted staff to re-evaluate the size and scope of the project with the aim of preserving more of the site’s topography, natural environment and cultural heritage. As a result, City staff now recommend:

  • moving only Guelph Transit and Fleet Services to the new facility; and
  • upgrading existing municipally owned sites to house services related to roads and right of way, solid waste collections, parks and building maintenance, that were initially included in plans for the new site.

“Right-sizing this project is the best decision moving forward,” affirms Jayne Holmes, the City’s deputy chief administrative officer of Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services. “By condensing the design we’ll reduce impacts on the land while fulfilling our commitment to electrify the City’s fleet vehicles. Updating existing facilities also allows for the work to be done more strategically over time so we can continue to meet current and future operational needs.”

The Guelph Transit and Fleet Services facility project is critical to meeting the service delivery needs of long-term population growth, and for housing the electric buses Council has already approved. It is also a crucial element for meeting the City’s Race To Zero targets.

Even with the reduced scope, the new facility will include space to store and charge the fleet of electric transit buses, as well as provide a consolidated maintenance workshop for all of the City’s fleet, replacing older workshops the fleet has outgrown. The facility will be designed to meet or go above current building standards, striving towards zero carbon building design standards which will reduce energy consumption and expenses, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and support the City’s commitment to the Race To Zero.

Next steps

Detailed building design will begin soon and will be shared in the months to come. The facility will be built in a phased approach over the next several years, and staff will continue to advocate and apply for all available grants to reduce direct municipal costs, which will be funded throughout the multi-year budget approval process.

Guelph Transit going electric; first four buses arriving soon

In an ongoing effort to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050, and to meet Race To Zero targets, the City has already replaced 44 fleet vehicles with fully or partially electric drive units, including three ice resurfacers at indoor arenas. The City will deploy the first four electric buses this spring. This is a big step forward as bus operations account for more than 30 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions from all City activities. While the new Guelph Transit and Fleet Services facility is being built, the pilot electric buses will be charged and stored at the current Guelph Transit facility on Watson Road South. Purchasing electric buses is an important step in the City’s goal to transition more than half of the transit fleet from diesel to electric power by 2028. More information about the pilot electric buses will be shared in the weeks ahead.

Media contact

Jayne Holmes, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2248
[email protected]