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It's a shame that we could have paid for much of South End Recreation Centre instead of all the waste and wrong-doing on the City Hall project. But I think we are well beyond the blame game now. We all know who is "at fault", no point in dwelling on it. We should just focus on acquiring a full accounting of the costs, clarify the process to hopefully avoid another costly fiasco, and then just move on. I do have concerns as to whether our current CAO can be impartial in such a process, though.
Some fantastically ignorant posts here. Well done. :)
Well, now you have my interest, stephen ... what are your designs and developments of applied physics. Sounds fascinating.
I like pizza ... ... just waiting to see if stephen s copy/pastes 15 pages of something barely related to tell me that I'm wrong ... ;)
I guess Ms. Stachurski of Charming Media should make an attempt to identify individuals in promotional photographs that she releases to the media from now on. Im also curious if the subjects were made aware that their images would be distributed to the media.
Come on Phil, grow up. Talk about needlessly stirring the pot.
Shame on the ill-equipped members of the Citizen's Compliance Audit Committee for enabling this costly vendetta. The names of the President or Business Manager (Gerry Barker) and Authorized Representative (Linda Murphy) for the Grass Roots Guelph Voter Association are both clearly identified on Tolhurst's financial statement. Just as the names of the individuals who hold similar positions are listed on the statements of (most) other candidates who received donations from unions and numbered corporations. Indeed, had Watson really wanted to do good, she should have requested an audit of Andy Van Hellemond's financial statement ( posted on the City's site at http://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/FinancialStatement_AndyVanHellemond1.pdf ) which seems to incorrectly identify two corporate donations as "individuals", not as "corporations". As such, neither contains the names of the corporate contact people. One $250 donation is from an anonymous numbered corporation. A quick google search of the listed company, "1266304 Ontario Inc" indicates it is associated with Fusion Homes. How is it that Van Hellemond - who was actually elected - seems to have gotten away with failing to disclose a donation from Fusion Homes? Frankly, Van Hellemond's statement seems to contain errors more worthy of an audit than Tolhurst's. Are the current members of the Citizen's Compliance Audit Committee the same members who signed off on Van Hellemond's apparently problematic financial statement? If so, they should step down now. I urge Council to seriously consider the dangerous precedent this will establish if they agree to cover the cost of Watson's personally motivated and frivolous audit. Let the Watson/Digby's pay for this witch hunt on their own. They can afford it more than the City can. It does not benefit the people of Guelph in any way.
John, it's not worth it. There is no reasoning with him.
Toggle Commented May 28, 2015 on Some negative trendspotting at 59 Carden St.
Thanks for your posts, new in town. You provide a very interesting background context to Susan Watson's campaign here. Marg raises the central point here, though. Councillors who received donations from Susan Watson or her husband, Dr. Ian Digby, absolutely must recuse themselves from voting on whether Watson will have to pay for this audit. A quick survey of the 2014 election campaign financial statements indicates this would include: James Gordon ($250), June Hofland ($1000), Mike Salisbury ($250), Leanne Piper ($500), and Cathy Downer ($500). That's five of the twelve elected councillors (Personally, I didnt bother to look at those unelected ... the irony, eh?). I would presume that none of these five councillors can vote on that decision, else they would clearly be in a conflict of interest. Yes, Joanne, as others here have already suggested, perhaps this is worth your attention in your continued coverage of this issue.
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 ... http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/bishop-sues-blogger-for-defamation
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. 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.