I am extremely pleased to have this proposal before us. GMHI, and from it – district energy, dominated and hijacked the first year and a half of work during this term. Knowing now that the best course of action is to set it aside is a great feeling personally, but more importantly it is the right step to take for our community.
This will mean a transfer of functional control of Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Incorporated over to city, the oversight and management of Envida along with the Strategies and Options committee to city management and they will report directly to council.
This work and recommendation has been part of the ongoing work initiated under this term to optimize City assets and increase transparency to the citizens. Examples of this direction include the changes made to Guelph Junction Railway; GMHI and district energy financial disclosure; and an increased focus on asset management.
I wish to thank the collaboration and fresh set of eyes approach on the new GMHI board, including our new CAO and CEO of Guelph Hydro.
In my opinion, the original vision of GMHI never came to fruition. A singular focus on district energy ultimately proved to be a $14 million dollar journey that resulted in no economic and environmental benefits, requiring the city to write-down almost $9 million dollars.
With city council appointing me as chair of GMHI earlier this year, I was not only re-evaluating the operations and transparency of GMHI, but have been further examining possibilities in which we could increase our “fixed” dividend flow up to the city. This currently sits at $1.5 million dollars. It is my intention to request at an upcoming meeting of council that staff investigate and consider that any increase of this dividend in future years go towards our infrastructure deficit.
You can read the report HERE.