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Interesting point, Louis. I hope the auditor additionally includes the market value of in-kind donations by way of community group email endorsement. If Ms. Watson is truly interested in clarification and transparency, and not as others have suggested simply flailing about desperately trying to seize some sort of victory for her ousted, precious left-of-centre Mayor, then she should welcome a full audit of all monetary AND in-kind donations made on behalf of any and all candidates ... and that would have to include the value of emails sent by the Guelph Civic League and similar groups in support of specific candidates. Im not sure Ms. Watson is prepared to go down that road, though. Regardless, it's ironic that Farbridge supporters had no problem with the former Mayor's attack ad during the election but are eager to waste tens of thousands of dollars on an academic point that will result in nothing. Thanks Susan, I will think of you fondly when my tax bill goes up again next year.
It's ironic that as a champion of preserving heritage buildings, Ratcliffe has gone after the Mayor for promoting a development that actually re-purposes an old abandoned industrial site into residential units in downtown Guelph.
Stephen, again I appreciate your point of view. Yes, absolutely, affordable housing in a serious issue in Guelph and we should all work to see more affordable housing built. But you seem to have missed my point. It is unfair to criticize the McElderry group's opposition to this massive and wrongful student residence because you seem to think they should instead be fighting for affordable housing. One, their opposition to this expensive student rental is not opposition to affordable housing because the proposed residence is NOT affordable housing at all. It is an expensive student rental with monthly rents among the highest in town. It is also an intrusive and massive structure that will have lasting negative impact on the neighbourhood, traffic, transit, etc. And two, had you seen the presentations made to Council a couple of weeks ago, you would have seen that a number of McElderry residents ARE advocating affordable housing, and indeed on this very site. Some are advocating that the unsuitable student residence be modified into an affordable housing development and have called on the actual owners of the site - the Church - to do what is right for the neighbourhood and for the city and sell to either another church to continue to use as community space or to a developer to build affordable housing.
Stephen, I admire your desire to promote affordable housing in Guelph, but this particular discussion is not about that. It is about a proposed over-sized, student residence development that is entirely inappropriate for its intended site. It would create traffic, transit, exhaust, shading, crowding and noise problems. In fact, it would place several houses completely into shade for almost the entire day and turn the intersection into a dusty wind tunnel. It is simply the wrong type and size of development for this site. Do not confuse the proposed student residence with affordable housing. It is not. Read the literature about this proposed Solstice 3 development and the previous two Solstice 1 and 2 developments by HIP. They are anything but affordable. In fact, they represent some of the highest rents that students will pay in the city. They would offer nothing to the pool of affordable housing. Nothing. They are expensive student residences. Indeed, several McElderry residents did speak to Council two weeks ago and indicated great support for affordable housing, even on this site. Perhaps you did not see that. But they possess no expertise, nor working capital, to actually build affordable housing. They are not housing developers and it is misdirected to expect that they can build affordable housing any more than you or I can. They are simply opposed to the size and design of this particular wrongful development in their neighbourhood. If you wish to place responsibility onto anyone to build affordable housing, place it onto HIP and the Church where it belongs. HIP actually possesses the capacity to build affordable housing, but has instead chosen to build profit-driven, expensive student rentals. None of their developments add to the pool of affordable housing. They are the builders and they have let down the community. And by simply selling to the highest bidder, ignoring the negative impact on its former neighbours, the Niagara Anglican Diocese and Bishop Bird have also let down the community. The Church could easily decide to sell to an affordable housing developer, but it has decided not to do that.
Oh, and be careful folks ... the good Bishop likes to sue people who don't agree with him ...
Allt is absolutely right and I am grateful he has met this issue head-on. I would also add that the church selling to the highest bidder is self-serving and entirely dismissive of its neighbour's well-being. Bird's response to the community was selfish and condescending and he must be called on his hypocrisy. The Anglican Church of Canada has long been accused of being the Church of Money, and his cute response certainly supports that notion.
Virginia Gillham's letter does a much better job of dismissing the value of branch libraries than it does supporting the value of the central, downtown main library. It's ironic that she does not see that. She should be careful that cost-cutters do not turn her words back on her, and close branches. I do not think that anyone is claiming there is no value in a central, downtown main library. Obviously there is. What Gillham and her Friends have failed to demonstrate however, is whether the cost of such a facility is good value for the money. It is nonsense to compare Guelph with Halifax, a city three times larger and operating under a budget nearly four times greater than Guelph. Gillham and her Friends seem completely out of touch with the fiscal realities of our city. Perhaps they should visit the library and check out a book on "how to budget and live within your means".
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2015 on A case for a new downtown library at 59 Carden St.
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. 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 ...