Province confirms additional environmental assessment is not required!

Guelph, ON, March 21, 2017– The City has received the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glenn Murray’s, decision that a higher level of environmental assessment (EA) is not needed to move forward with the reconstruction of Niska Road and replacement of the bridge.

We’re very pleased Minister Murray is satisfied with the level of environmental assessment we’ve undertaken to thoroughly study the Niska Road area and fully understand our community’s concerns,” says Kealy Dedman, the City’s General Manager and City Engineer. “We’re now ready to proceed with the much needed improvements to Niska Road that support Guelph’s safe and efficient transportation system.”

This project was originally approved by Council in December 2015. We were then, and still are now, confident in the City’s processes and plans. Council thanks staff for their tireless work along with the engagement from the community. I am extremely pleased that the Minister’s decision has reaffirmed that confidence,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “It is unfortunate that we’ve lost two construction seasons while awaiting this decision initiated by the Part II Order requests. I believe I speak for many within the community, especially now that the bridge has been closed due to safety concerns, that I’m glad that we can finally move forward.”

As the Niska Road project progresses, it will incorporate the following work as planned and budgeted by the City, and reaffirmed as needed by the Minister:

  • A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) will be completed before the detailed design stage and  reviewed by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport;
  • As part of the public consultation, the final HIA will be provided to interested community members and made available on ca/niskaroad;
  • and the community will be consulted on integrating cycling lanes into the final design.

The final design will also be available on before construction starts.

The next steps for the project include conducting the HIA to inform the design for the Niska Road bridge, and starting the natural heritage study. The natural heritage study will look at ground conditions and groundwater levels, and will inform how the City will reduce impacts from construction on the natural landscape including recommendations for wildlife crossings.

We will be updating environmental studies and conducting ongoing environmental monitoring as we work toward a detailed design for the road and bridge that meets our community’s needs and respects the natural and cultural environment,” added Ms. Dedman. “The environmental and heritage studies will be our focus for the next four months, and we look forward to sharing a proposed design this fall.”

The City issued its notice of completion for the Niska Road EA to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) last February and responded to concerns outlined in four, Part II Order Requests filed by community members, in April and May, 2016. The Part II Order requests asked for a higher level of assessment—more environmental studies and community consultation—than was already completed and planned.

The Niska Road Bridge was closed at the end of February due to safety concerns about its condition and vulnerability to further deterioration from high spring water levels. The bridge will remain closed until construction of the new bridge is complete in 2019.

The estimated cost for the recommended improvements to the road is approximately $2.1 million and the bridge is $2.4 million. A total of $450,000 was been approved in the City’s 2017 capital budget. There will be no additional cost to conduct the HIA or natural heritage studies, which were already planned and budgeted.

To date, the City has invested more than $650,000 on the Schedule C Project Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for Niska Road.

The Niska Road study extends from the Downey Road to the City limits.

For more information about the Niska Road environmental assessment and approved improvements to the bridge and road, please visit

For more information:

Kealy Dedman, General Manager/City Engineer

Engineering and Capital Infrastructure Services
519-822-1260 extension 2248

I’m always so excited to be opening up new stores and businesses in Guelph! Today was a unique one though! It wasn’t a retail store or a manufacturer, it was a Guelph startup called Givesome that is helping change the way people give money to charities!

So I asked how Givesome works while I was there today, and I decided to video Jay talking about what they do and to offer a challenge to all of Guelph to help out some local charities!

Here it is:

Guelph is always known for being so giving so this initiative is right up our alley! It ties in well with our 3 Things for Canada plans throughout this year too!

Take care,


Guelph celebrates 9th solar energy installation!
Guelph, Ont., March 17, 2017 – The City of Guelph now has nine solar photovoltaic systems installed across the city, as part of the City’s commitment to generating more local, renewable electricity in support of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative and the Corporate Energy Management Plan.

“Last week clean solar electricity started flowing from the City’s ninth photovoltaic system, located on the roof of the Lyon Park pool building,” explains Alex Chapman, manager of the newly created Climate Change Office. “These types of projects further Guelph’s position as a solar energy champion.”

 Solar photovoltaic systems have been installed at the following City-owned facilities:

· Lyon Park pool (301 York Road)

· Guelph Fire Headquarters (50 Wyndham Street South)
· Fire Hall #3 (115 Stone Road West)
· Fire Hall #5 (380 Elizabeth Street)
· Lawn Bowling Club (124 Gordon Street)
· City of Guelph Operations building (45 Municipal Street)
· River Run Centre (35 Woolwich Street)
· Speedvale water tower (461 Speedvale Avenue West)
· Guelph Youth Music Centre (75 Cardigan Street)
The electricity generated from the systems is sold to the Independent Electricity System Operator as part of the MicroFIT program, adding electricity into the provincial grid. Each system produces slightly more electricity per year than that used by an average Ontario home. Total revenue generated from the nine sites since 2014 is $91,000.

The systems are owned by Envida Community Energy Inc., with the exception of 745 Cardigan Street, which is owned by the Guelph Youth Music Centre. These partnerships allow the City to work with community organizations to generate revenue that is invested back into the community and the City.

“By generating clean electricity from solar panels installed on the roofs of City buildings and land under the Speedvale water tower, Envida Community Energy Inc. is proud to be contributing to community well-being,” says Pankaj Sardana, Chief Executive Officer of Envida Community Energy Inc.

“It’s hard to believe it has been almost three years since our decision to install ‎solar panels, generate power and move to renewable energy,” says Gabriella Currie-Ziegler, Executive Director of the Guelph Youth Music Centre. “Our mandate is to enrich the lives of children and youth through music and the arts, and within that, help to create a better future. Solar energy helps ensure a better tomorrow and that’s important to us.”

Guelph Youth Music Centre is celebrating a free “Solarversary” event this Sunday, March 19 at 1 p.m. Visit the GYMC Solarversary and Orchestral Performance webpage to register.

For more information:

Alex Chapman, Manager, Climate Change Office 

Facilities Management

City of Guelph

519-822-1260 extension 3324

During this ongoing Strong Towns competition it’s been a pleasure to learn more about the other cities we’ve been put up against! A radio station in Lafayette Louisiana had me on their show yesterday alongside the Mayor of Lafayette, Joel Robideaux.

Take a listen and you’ll hear many similarities between our two Towns!

Click HERE!


Help develop design standards for townhouses and midrise buildings

Join us for a public workshop!

Guelph, Ont., March 16, 2017 – The City is developing new standards for townhouses and midrise buildings that will include building design, building height, landscaping, public and open spaces, parking and property access. Attend a public workshop to help us establish these draft design directions.

Workshop participants will have an opportunity to work in smaller groups to discuss and provide input on key design elements for townhouses and midrise buildings. Join for one of two sessions:

Wednesday, March 22

3:30-5:30 p.m. or 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Guelph City Hall, Room 112

Please register your attendance by Tuesday, March 21. If you require assistance with registration, please call Planning Services at 519-837-5615 extension 2459.

The resulting built form standards will enable design excellence for townhouses and midrise buildings across our city. In keeping with the City’s Official Plan, establishing a standard for design excellence will improve Guelph’s livability, sustainability and attractiveness and shape its distinctive identity.

For more information

David de Groot, Senior Urban Designer
Planning, Urban design and Building Services
519-822 -1260 extension 2358