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FYI: during this meeting, local resident Michael Soligo provided a very detailed presentation which debunked the developer's claim that the residence would have minimal impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. He noted with great precision the negative impact of shadows, traffic, exhaust, noise and wind on nearby homes, the actual intersection, public transit, and the whole of the neighbourhood. Oh, by the way, Michael Solingo is the CEO of engineering firm RDWI - arguably, THE world leader in site impact study. To put it bluntly, the City got a detailed six-figure, impact study for free, and the developer got schooled. I hope Council was listening. It is now plainly obvious that a structure this big would have a devastating impact on the neighbourhood. That's not opinion, it's fact.
Steve, surely you are not suggesting that cyclists pay the full, direct costs of constructing bike lanes, are you?
Well said, Phil. Counsell was a leader in the true sense. He was willing to, and indeed did, forfeit his political career for what was right for Guelph. That he continued to so strongly advocate for the River Run Centre while being unfairly criticized by Joe Young during that campaign is testament to his character and leadership. And in the end, while he may have lost that election, he won, indeed we all won, because the River Run Centre was built. Guelph is a better place because of Mayor John Counsell. Thank you, John. Rest in peace.
Toggle Commented Mar 18, 2015 on Paying tribute to John Counsell at 59 Carden St.
Maggie's right. Folks didnt vote for Guthrie. They voted against Farbridge ... because of a steadfast refusal to accept responsibility for the costly Urbacon mistake and for running an unethical campaign. But Maggie's still wrong about who was ultimately to blame for Urbacon. That Loewig might have signed the letter which triggered the fiasco and eventual wrongful termination Court ruling does not negate common sense that the Mayor either knew about the decision to fire Urbacon and agreed with it, or more importantly that, as his boss, she ought to have known about such an extraordinary decision. Claiming later that Loewig was a renegade acting alone is belied by the fact that the Mayor so publicly praised him for his "exemplary leadership, integrity, and commitment to public service" six weeks after the wrongful firing, and awarded him a new 4 year contract at more than $195,000 a year. Hardly the sort of treatment one would expect to be given to a renegade city employee that unilaterally fired the general contractor on the single largest capital construction project in recent history without the Mayor's nod. All that said, I do still enjoy a good dose of Maggie and encourage her to keep posting.
stephen, it is investors that are snapping up these units because these projects are being marketed as a great way to make money off students. http://cms.realwebleads.com/webeditor/images/18478/CondoPDFS/Solstice-Condos-Brochures-and-Floor-Plans.pdf Again, not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. But Im not sure how this sort of development could be modified to take profit out of the equation, or that anyone would be at all interested in investing.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2015 on Danger - hot chocolate ahead at 59 Carden St.
Let's be clear. This proposed development is NOT "affordable housing". Far from it, in fact. It is a for-profit, private student residence with monthly rents well above what might be found elsewhere. Yes, of course it would increase the supply. But it would not increase the supply of "affordable housing".
Toggle Commented Mar 4, 2015 on Danger - hot chocolate ahead at 59 Carden St.
Susan Watson, perhaps within your circle of friends, $10,000 is a trivial amount of money that can be forfeited easily to make a symbolic gesture. For most of us hard working folks, that represents a great deal of money and very few regular people could be reasonably expected to leave it on the table. By the way, how's your campaign going to raise money to save the Petrie Building? We haven't heard much about that lately.
I have a feeling that the organizers were shamed into changing this from a political fundraiser into charity (albeit, a strange one). Regardless, I would suggest the best way for Karen Farbridge to ensure a Liberal victory in the next federal election is to let someone else run. Surely, she is intelligent enough to recognize the strong opposition to her in town. We have already had a referendum on Karen Farbridge, and she lost. The real question becomes whether she is willing to do what is best for Guelph, collect her accolades now, and retire from political life.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2015 on Party palooza at 59 Carden St.
I think a lot of folks in Ward 5 felt that Burcher was not providing adequate representation, and were pleased that she did not seek re-election. But whatever, she is no longer a member of Council and it is moot.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2015 on Bueller, Bueller? at 59 Carden St.
Let's be careful about this. What this same developer proposed in an earlier project on Gordon at Arkell turned out to be very different from what is actually being built. While the original design plans were wonderful, the actual building is becoming a regrettable eyesore. At the very least, if the City does allow this new project to be constructed, it must ensure the developer does not commit the same 'bait and switch', by placing firm restrictions and penalties on variances. The City must force this developer to respect the engagement and approval process. As an aside, Im very pleased to see Susan Watson advocating private fundraising. I look forward to her undertaking similar campaigns herself to save the many heritage buildings she so strongly wishes to protect. Together, your own and your friends' personal donations of an equivalent $1600 will go a long way to saving the Petrie Building downtown, Susan. Congratulations.
Keep in mind, part-time versus full-time (salary), is also likely to affect the sort of person willing to seek office. Im sure there are a lot of very well qualified folks who might wish to run, but could not afford to devote that much time and energy for what now amounts to part-time pay. Presently, many councillors essentially serve at their leisure as they already have well paying and flexible jobs. That may or may not be a good thing, I don't know.
Frank, PLEASE reconsider. Please do not step down. You would win re-election easily, even against Kovach. The last thing we need is another volatile debate over the polarizing Karen Farbridge or Lise Burcher and I am afraid that neither would stand a chance against Kovach. Farbridge should show some personal integrity and run for her Green Party. I would support Craig Chamberlain or even newcomer Scott Butler over either Farbridge or Burcher. Farbridge and Burcher have alienated way too many people in town to stand any chance of winning, and would pave the way for an easy Conservative victory.
Take a drive out along Columbia St W. in Waterloo between the university and King Street to see what these developers would like to do in Guelph. By any standard, it is shocking. Dozens of cheap, low-rise student rentals, built right up to the road. The look is sterile, institutional, and surely bound to begin falling into disrepair sooner than later. Student ghetto, with emphasis on ghetto. These buildings have destroyed the character of that neighbourhood. This proposed Soltice 3 development could also destroy the wonderful, residential nature of the Kortright neighbourhood. Want proof? Look at the Soltice 1 development under construction in Guelph on Gordon at Arkell. Originally proposed as a beautiful condominium development with sweeping, curved balconies and pitched to the City (and original buyers) as being designed to respect the adjacent natural wetlands. But it was switched to one of these ugly, sterile, institutional boxes built right up to the road. The classic developer's bait and switch scam, I think. The City and residents have every right to demand responsible and respectful development at the Kortright site. Despite what others will surely say that this is a nimby issue, it is not. There is place for a building to house students on this site, but it's a matter of forcing developers to build responsibly and not turn this great neighbourhood into another cheap, ugly student ghetto like that on Columbia St in Waterloo. And given Soltice's record in Guelph, that may only be avoided by preventing them from building anything here, or placing severe development penalties for any site and aesthetic changes from the expected wonderful proposed design. Let's not allow more bait and switch development in Guelph. Build it right, or don't build it.
Indeed it is, Tony L !! Merry Christmas. :)
Toggle Commented Dec 17, 2014 on Separating church and state at 59 Carden St.
Can people please try to contain their comments to the specific topics? This topic is about the Niska Road situation, not the other proposed, infill development downtown. This Niska Road discussion is not about parked cars or mandated spaces, it is about unnecessarily widening a road, building a new bridge, and installing a new traffic light at Downey/Niska to temporarily facilitate some commuters who wish to cut through neighbourhoods rather than use existing arterial roads actually designed for such traffic. By any account, the costs, financial and otherwise, far outweigh the benefits. Niska road is not a nimby situation. It is about a decision to spend millions of dollars on a temporary fix to a mild inconvenience. And besides, by the time anything actually gets done here, access to Downey Road from the Hanlon will likely have already been shut down and any new bridge on Niska will become just another costly and unused white elephant.
Once the Hanlon interchange at Stone Rd and overpass at Downey/Kortright are complete, it would be senseless to have widened Niska to facilitate commuter traffic en route to #24. I drive along Downey Rd most mornings, and I would guesstimate that 80% of all cars that turn on to Niska have just come from the Hanlon. In a few years, those cars will be unable to do that because they will be unable to exit the Hanlon at Downey Rd. They will be forced to leave the Hanlon at Stone Rd. Rather than forcing those people to double back through residential areas to get down to Downey/Niska, it would make much more sense to continue Stone Rd westward and build a new bridge over the river there. That area just west of the "end" of Stone Rd is already designated as roadway, have a look. It's already clearcut, triple-wide, all the way down to the river. Of course that would require slashing thru forest on the west side of the river and that would be equally senseless. So, maybe let's just not build any new bridges, and make people drive to Wellington and get onto #24 there ... you know, like the official City and Provincial plans dictate ... and prevent people from cutting thru residential neighbourhoods to save five minutes.
Overall, I think this is good. Glad to see that the company decided to stay in Guelph. I didnt know they were seriously considering leaving town and in talks with other municipalities. But it's in the old business park on the east side of the Hanlon, not the new Hanlon Creek Business Park on the west side. So presumably, no new building will be constructed, and no construction jobs will be created (one of the central reasons for the new business park). Currently, RWDI is spread out across several buildings and spaces on Woodlawn, so consolidation into one space is an obvious move towards greater structural efficiency. It's unfortunate they did not see fit to build a new building in the new park. That would have been much better for the City. 200 new jobs is fantastic but I would take that number with a grain of salt. Like most engineering consulting firms, it has a revolving front door when it comes to staff retention. People come and go there all the time. And many don't live in town. Overall though, good news. Hats off to Peter Cartwright and Mayor Farbridge for negotiating the deal.
psssst, Greg, the election is over. ... besides, Guthrie wasn't the mayoral candidate who cheated this year ...
I wonder what Cathy Downer would have to say.
stephen, I was referring to the costly Urbacon and related lawsuits resulting from poor decisions by the boneheads on Carden St. I wasn't referring to lawsuits over uncleared sidewalks. perhaps my point was unclear. besides, as others have asked, why do you feel compelled to argue with everyone here?
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2014 on To plow or not to plow at 59 Carden St.
I'd like to congratulate Craig for his gracious behaviour during all of this. Whether he was elected or not, he showed a great deal of class and I hope he considers running again.
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2014 on Hofland wins in Ward 3 at 59 Carden St.
Hmmmm, the sidewalks in my area are cleared pretty well. Of course they are not perfect, it's silly to expect that. But I would suggest that if the City stopped plowing and left it up to residents, it would become a winter-long nightmare in front of many houses and folks would be demanding the City start plowing again. Let's not get into this silly debate over nickel and dimeing various City expenses when tens of millions of dollars are wasted by the boneheads on Carden St. Frankly, I'd much rather my property taxes go towards plowing sidewalks and streets than paying lawyers to fight this or that lawsuit ... or needing to hire new staff to deal with all the folks calling in to complain about their neighbours neglecting their front sidewalks.
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2014 on To plow or not to plow at 59 Carden St.
LOL @ Bruce ... nothing. My criticism of Laird is well established and longstanding. I am glad to see Laird go because of the way I think she has mismanaged waste in this city. Perhaps you are unaware Bruce, but when the new compost facility came on line, there were noxious emissions that stunk up the area. As was widely reported, Laird insisted the odours were coming from other sources. It wasn't until the Ministry of the Environment came in, confirmed what everyone except Laird seemed to know (or was willing to admit), that indeed the plant was emitting noxious odours, and ordered the City to clean up its act, that Laird finally accepted responsibility. That, coupled with an uncooperative attitude towards local residents who for years insisted on further water quality and environmental testing at that and the former Subbor sites, signalled to many folks in town that she had become seemingly secretive and unaccountable. To this day, nobody really knows what sort of toxic soup lays beneath that site. That Karen Farbridge was voted out of office by a majority of the people of Guelph and now that Janet Laird has been a victim of corporate restructuring, isn't because they are women, Bruce. It is because they made mistakes, and their arrogant and dismissive attitude towards the public when questioned about those mistakes.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2014 on Reorganization at Guelph City Hall at 59 Carden St.
Christmas came early. I am very pleased to see Janet Laird gone!
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Reorganization at Guelph City Hall at 59 Carden St.
Stephen, there are many areas in town where the trees are so plentiful it is impossible to mulch all the leaves with a lawnmower. I have several very large, 60+ year old trees and even though I mow/mulch long after the grass stops growing, I simply cannot keep up and have no choice but to rake them to the curb. If I were to quantify the amounts, my yard easily receives 40 extra-large yardwaste bags of leaves, I mulch at least 25 bags worth, and rake the other 15 to the curb. Besides, it's almost impossible to mow/mulch wet leaves, they need to be raked. No responsible property owner should just leave them all there to rot over the winter. Your comment might hold true in new neighbourhoods with few trees, but in older ones, there is an absolute need for leaf removal. I'll gladly bag them up if that's what the City wants instead of raking to the curb, but for many, this issue is more about volume than desire to be environmentally conscious and/or attitude.