A young migrant's hair becomes stuck while crawling under a barbed fence with her family at the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, on August 27, 2015. As Europe struggles with its worst migrant crisis since World War II, Hungary has become, like Italy and Greece, a "frontline" state. So far this year, police say around 141,500 migrants have been intercepted crossing into Hungary, mostly from neighbouring Serbia. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images


There are a handful of people in our city that have been telling me that we shouldn’t be helping any refugees.

To those that are still not hearing my response clear enough and to those that continue to put down the plans that the city, private groups and citizens have – to save people’s lives – I’ll state it loud and clear yet again:


The most common comment I hear is “you should be helping those within our own city, not people from half-way around the world.” –  We aren’t a city of this “OR” that. Guelph is a city where we can do this “AND” that.

I also found a quote last week that sums up this situation perfectly for me:

We are blaming a refugee crisis for terrorism, when we really should be blaming terrorism for a refugee crisis.”

With news growing over the last two months of several local communities, faith groups and now citizens like Jim Estill sponsoring families to come to our city, I felt it was important to explore a city-wide approach to the settlement of these families that will eventually arrive.

This is why on Dec 7th I will be bringing forward a notice of motion for council to consider (on Dec 14th):

“That the City of Guelph explore ways of working within and outside the City of Guelph on resources, services, programs or placement opportunities for refugees.”

This council already has approved $5100 towards helping to sponsor refugees but it’s time (council willing) we think beyond money and start thinking about how our city will embrace them, provide for them and to help them integrate into one of the best cities in the world. If there’s any city that can do this, it’s Guelph!

There are many pictures of this tragedy that have brought me to my knees. This collection of photos is some of them.


I encourage all Guelphites to step up and support such a noble and life saving/changing cause as this.

Thank you,


P.S – An Update: I recently discussed this issue with Lloyd Longfield a few days ago as our federal representative. He is working on this file locally too, and understands the value in coordinating our collective efforts to help those arriving here. It’s great to have all levels of government working on this so well.

Jim Sanders 10th Anniversary of AODA Award 2015 (2)

Here are my notes that I read last night at our council meeting to recognize MR. Sanders.

It’s my privilege to present the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 10th Anniversary Champion Award to Guelph resident, Jim Sanders.

I’d like to provide you with a little background on Jim’s significant achievements and contributions –

In 2009, Jim was appointed Chair of the Province’s AODA Accessibility Standards Advisory Council and Standards Development Committee.

In the words of his nominators, as the Committee Chair, Jim was “masterful in listening to all perspectives and issues and helping the committee achieve its objectives.” The Committee is made up of individuals with disabilities as well as representatives from industry and service providers.

The nominators added, “Jim is truly committed to achieving a fully accessible Ontario by 2025.”

In addition to Chairing the committee, Jim is an active volunteer, accepting invitations across Ontario to speak about the AODA and disability issues in general.

He retired in 2009 after a 42-year career with the CNIB. He worked in four provinces, serving for his final eight years as President and CEO of CNIB National. For many years, Jim represented CNIB as Vice President of the North American/ Caribbean Region and member of the International Executive Committee, The World Blind Union.

Jim was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.

It is truly an honour for me to have this opportunity to congratulate such an outstanding citizen of Guelph.

Congratulations Jim, on receiving such a prestigious award!


Council approves Frozen Water Pipe Policy

City encourages residents to prepare for winter:

Guelph, ON, November 24, 2015—City Council approved a policy for frozen water pipes at last night’s Council meeting. The Frozen Water Pipe Policy was developed by staff following last winter’s unforeseen issues with frozen pipes when 376 customers were affected. In a typical year, less than twenty customers are affected by this issue.

“The new policy identifies the response actions and  service the City will provide for customers with frozen pipes,” said Wayne Galliher, Manager of Technical Services. “Last winter we quickly developed and continued to adjust support resources in response to the record numbers of frozen water pipe reports we received. We have improved, clarified and formalized the support options through the policy, which will form our customer response for frozen pipes moving forward.”

The City has also increased its proactive prevention efforts, which includes expanding the list of customers who will be contacted to run water if and when monitored weather indicator limits are reached.  Last year almost 150 customers were enrolled in this successful preventative program. The 376 customers whose pipes froze in February and March of 2015 have been added to the program, and letters were mailed to the affected addresses at the beginning of November.

Temporary water lines can provide drinkable water

A critical factor in  the policy came from discussions with the Wellington–Dufferin–Guelph Public Health to approve temporary water lines for drinking and cooking in addition to showering, laundry and toilet flushing. The City will be able to verify whether water provided through a temporary hose is drinkable by testing for residual chlorine  and water hardness. The chlorine residual test ensures proper disinfection of water, and the hardness test verifes that the temporary water supply is not softened.

“This new service will help minimize inconvenience to affected customers by providing an alternate supply of water that can be used for all household needs,” noted Galliher.

Temporary lines that cannot be approved for drinking and cooking can still be used for bathing, laundry and toilet flushing. Customers in this situation will be provided with vouchers to purchase bottled water for drinking and cooking needs.

Prevention starts at home:

In addition to targeted preventative outreach, the City is advising everyone in Guelph to take action to prevent frozen pipes at home and at work. These simple actions can help protect water pipes from freezing:

  • Insulate water pipes, especially where they enter your home, where they run along outside walls, and in crawl spaces and attics
  • Open doors to basements, laundry rooms and pantries to keep water pipes warm
  • Leave bathroom and kitchen cupboard doors open if your pipes run along an outside wall; take care to remove household cleaners and other items that could harm children or pets
  • Shut off and drain pipes leading to outside faucets
  • Seal air leaks in your home and garage, especially in areas where water pipes are located
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water pipes in the garage
  • If you’re going away, talk to your insurance company about what you can do to protect your home from frozen pipes and leaks while you’re away
  • Be  prepared for any emergency with a 72-hour emergency kit, visit ca/beprepared

For more tips and information about frozen pipes, and to review the City’s Frozen Water Pipe Policy, visit guelph.ca/frozenwater

Guelph, Ont., November 19, 2015 – On Tuesday, December 1, the Public Services Committee will be presented with a staff report about next year’s renovation of the Victoria Road Recreation Centre (VRRC).

The VRRC, which opened in 1975, is being renovated to improve accessibility, security, customer service, and to offer additional programming. Currently, the facility includes a 50-metre pool, smaller teaching pool, one indoor ice pad, fitness room, and multi-purpose rooms.
During the committee presentation, staff will provide an update on renovation plans for the aging recreation facility, including design details, construction timeline, and temporary relocation plans for patrons, stakeholders and employees.
“The Victoria Road Recreation Centre renovation project is more than a makeover. It is a necessary investment that will move the facility from an aging and outdated recreation centre to an updated, more inclusive and accessible community centre. Overall, this project will improve the experience for patrons and employees,” says Kristene Scott, general manager of Parks and Recreation.
The Council-approved budget for the Victoria Road Recreation Centre renovation project is $12.5 million. Construction is expected to begin next spring and the facility will close for approximately 12 to 15 months.
Project highlights
Pool level

· New entrance with multi-purpose rooms, offices, customer service counter, accessible washrooms, and improved pool viewing area

· New heating and filtration system, accessible teaching pool, upgrades to existing 50-metre pool, new change rooms and aquatic office

Arena level

· Renovation of the existing entrance and lobby, new elevator and change room upgrades
· New arena lighting and heating

· Energy efficiency improvements

Upper level

· Upgraded multi-purpose rooms, warm arena viewing area, and additional barrier free viewing space

· New facility storage, custodial space upgrades, and office space

 Parking lot

· Redesigned parking lot to include a drop off at the arena and pool entrances
· New driveway from the arena level of the parking lot to the lower parking lot

· Additional barrier free parking spaces near the main entrance

· Improved lighting and landscaping

Programs and employee relocation

During the renovation period, aquatic programming will be relocated to the West End Community Centre, Centennial Pool, and Lyon Pool. The City plans to open Lyon Pool earlier than it normally does to accommodate public swims and lessons, typically offered at the Victor Davis Pool. To maintain service levels, additional swim and leadership programs will also be added to other facilities.
Ice pad users and adult hockey leagues will have partial access to the facility for evening and weekend practices only starting in late October 2016. Day time, public access, games, and tournaments will take place at other arenas.
Floor rentals, including lacrosse, ball hockey, and roller hockey will be relocated to other facilities throughout the city.
Full-time employees will be relocated to various facilities across the city. Where there is increased programming, part-time employees may also be relocated to other facilities.

Great news for our community!

Take care,


I had a couple of emails today from residents asking me about what’s being done as the removal of the trees are occurring. The same requests went into councillors and city staff. I received this response and wanted to post it here so you can see it.




Thank you for passing on the comment and for the opportunity to respond.Regarding use of herbicide, Hydro One, at the time of the October 22 community meeting, agreed not to use herbicide unless absolutely necessary due to concerns of the adjacent owners. At our site visit to the corridor (on November 3 I believe) which was attended by Hydro One, the City and community representatives, including landscape architect Lisa McTaggart, it was agreed that the use of herbicides would be beneficial in a few locations on the corridor to allow us to leave some vegetation while dealing with the incompatible vegetation growing in the same area.
Yesterday, Neil pointed out to (name removed for privacy) while on site that Hydro One’s mechanical crews were unable to remove certain stumps adjacent to the fence along the properties on Pacific Place. He asked for permission to apply Garlon RTU to these stumps to prevent the resurgence of vegetation and she had no objection.  

Regarding trees along the property line, we are saving what we can. A few mature trees that we had hoped to save, upon closer examination were found to be diseased or have damaged trunks, and therefore a decision was made to remove them. 

Thank you,

Hydro One Staff



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