Ward 3 Councillor June Hofland has announced through a Council Notice of Motion that the fenced in off-leash dog parks located at Bristol Street and Peter Misersky should be closed just weeks after they are to open for public use.

City Council unanimously approved the construction of these two fenced in parks. Misersky Dog Park opened to much fanfare because there has been pent up demand for fenced in dog parks in Guelph for years. It was the only fenced in off-leash dog park in the entire city so many were using it. Council was made aware of further mitigation measures in February to make the experience better. These measures may include the moving of a fence, soft close gates, trees installed for buffering, better monitoring of the site through bylaw and technology, better signage and changes to hours of operation.

The Bristol Street fenced in dog park is currently under construction. We are waiting for the final construction to be completed at this location so that we can open both facilities at the same time, which will be very soon.

In the middle of May the Province announced that during Phase 2 of COVID-19 re-openings that dog parks could be used. Since then, many off-leash dog users in the city have been waiting graciously for these two parks, even though they’ve technically been allowed to be used.

There is also no requirement for the municipality to alter the design of the current off-leash dog park facilities – similar to the entrances to locations like libraries, municipal facilities, shopping centres and other retail locations, it is up to the individual resident to be mindful of sanitizing their hands after touching high contact surfaces like door handles and gate latches. Likewise, it is also up to everyone to maintain physical distancing.

There are also no additional provincial or public health requirements to alter these two existing facilities. City staff have confirmed with Public Health that our off-leash dog park facilities are permitted to reopen under their current configuration with no alterations.

There’s also a couple of outstanding motions from City Council on dog parks.

1. That staff be directed to explore the feasibility of a fenced dog park located in a non-residential area, with the report coming to Council for consideration in the 2021 budget.

2. That staff be directed to report back to Council by the end of Q2 2020 on potential options and costs to lock fenced dog park gates daily from approximately dusk to dawn, which is when the facilities are considered closed to the public.

The first motion will be responded to through an information report in the fall which will provide Council with time to consider any recommendations in advance of the 2021 budget. Info on the second motion has been delayed due to COVID, but staff will report back as soon as they can.

Now that you have that background information, let’s examine the Notice of Motion:

Here it is:

Any member of Council has the ability to bring forward such a motion. This is our process. It will require 7 Councillors to agree to refer this motion for final approval in September. If those 7 Councillors are found, then these facilities will be locked up, closed, sit empty and unused right after they were just opened until info is received on another park.

I certainly will not be one of these 7 votes. There are no concerns from the Emergency Operations Control Group Public Health contact related to the operations of these parks due to COVID-19. NONE. Mitigation measures are being implemented at Misersky and Bristol is about to open. A larger non-residential area park is already being examined and reviewed by staff because of the current approved Council direction to city staff to do so.

The referral motion to another meeting in September will be formally debated at Council on August 24th, but no delegations are allowed as is our process on notices of motions. However, if you want these fenced in off-leash dog parks to stay open as I do, email: clerks@guelph.ca so you can tell Council why.

Thank you,

Mayor Cam

Over the last two weeks I promised our community that I would listen, be intentional and both focused and learn of the issues surrounding systemic racism and intolerance towards our Black, Indigenous and People of Colour community within Guelph. And I have done exactly that.

Conversations have only just begun and I am committed to continue having respectful dialogue on these issues that result in both understanding and meaningful positive change.

I have a dual role. Responding to these issues as your Mayor, and as a member of the Police Services Board. In everything I do, in either position, my desire is to bring about action.

My first step in taking action will occur tomorrow June 18th. I will be bringing forward a series of motions or clauses to the Police Services Board for consideration. You will see them attached.

This is only the beginning.

As Mayor, work is already underway to re-evaluate options through our Community Plan. As more information becomes available I will keep everyone up to date.

My hope is that you see many of your own questions, requests for change and your desire for real action embedded within these motions and clauses. If supported by the Board I believe they will form a foundation for furthering these conversations and taking action.

I’m honoured to be in this position as we make Guelph a role model for other cities on how to embrace our diversity, bring about acceptance for all and eliminate racism in all its forms.

Keep your ideas coming, because I most certainly can’t do this alone. This needs to continue to be a community led journey and we’re all invited. And yes, it may be bumpy along the way, but I’m in it for the long haul. So let’s get going.

Thanks for listening,

Mayor Cam Guthrie

I’ve been indicating this last week that I’d be proposing a motion/amendment for Council consideration at our COVID-19 meeting tomorrow (June 17th) afternoon at 2pm. So here’s all the info I was sent so everyone can see it beforehand. Thanks! Mayor Cam

And here are some further Q&A’s sent from staff I thought I’d post as well:

Please see the new info received today:

Guelph, Ont., March 13, 2020—While there are no confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Guelph Wellington, the City of Guelph’s Emergency Management Team is working with Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health and Guelph General Hospital to prepare for potential cases of COVID-19 in our community.

We have not declared an emergency, but we are using the City’s emergency response procedures, and we are prepared to activate the Emergency Operations Centre if it is needed.

“While we don’t have any confirmed cases here in Guelph Wellington, we understand that people are reading headlines in other communities and becoming increasingly concerned. Rest assured, the whole team here at the City, including our first responders, is working together to prepare and prevent the potential spread of the Coronavirus in our community,” said City of Guelph Chief Administrative Officer, Scott Stewart.

“Based on the advice of Guelph’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer, City staff have decided to close some facilities to the public and cancel large community events. We know these cancellations are disruptive and inconvenient, but we’re all working to support each other and protect the health of our community,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie.

Prevent the spread:

Health officials have provided the following instructions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and other colds and diseases:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • cough or sneeze into a tissue, discard it immediately and wash your hands. Otherwise, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands.
  • stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others
  • avoid close contact – stay one metre (3 feet) from other people.

Closures and cancellations:

Based on the advice we received from Guelph’s Medical Officer of Health, the City is closing high-risk facilities and cancelling large community events. The City is waiving cancellation fees and issuing refunds for cancelled programs and events.

Evergreen Seniors and Community Centre:

Closed to the public. All programs and events are cancelled until April 30

March break camps:

Camps at Guelph recreation centres and Guelph Museums are cancelled

Guelph Farmers Market:

Closed to the public until April 30

River Run Centre:

Public events at the River Run Centre are cancelled until April 30. Private or closed events will be assessed on a case by case basis, using criteria provided by Health Canada.

Sleeman Centre:

Public events at the Sleeman Centre are cancelled. Private or closed events will be assessed on a case by case basis, using criteria provided by Health Canada.

Emerge Eco Market and Guelph H2O Go festival:

Postponed until further notice

Guelph Museums:

Open, screening visitors. Events will be assessed on a case by case basis, using criteria provided by Health Canada.

Recreation Centres:

Open, screening visitors. Events will be assessed on a case by case basis, using criteria provided by Health Canada.

Guelph Libraries:

Open, screening visitors. Events will be assessed on a case by case basis, using criteria provided by Health Canada.

Public meetings and events:

Any public meetings or events hosted by the City will be assessed on a case by case basis, using Health Canada’s guidance document: Risk-informed decision-making for mass gatherings during COVID-19.

For example, the City may proceed with events where:

  • Fewer than 250 people are invited or attending
  • Hand washing and hygiene stations are available
  • Participants can maintain a one-metre distance from one another
  • Participants are not older adults or others who may be at greater risk of severe disease

People invited or attending public events are asked to follow Health Canada’s recommendations to protect their health and prevent the spread of colds and diseases.

Flu screening at City facilities:

All City administration offices remain open, though we encourage people to consider online services where possible. We are also asking people not to enter a City facility if they have a fever or cough or are likely to have been exposed to COVID-19. Signs issued by Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health will be posted at all City facilities.

Enhanced cleaning:

The City has enhanced (more frequent or in-depth) cleaning practices in high-touch areas like public computers, public phones, elevator buttons, washrooms, public-facing counters, door handles, and buses.

Updates and resources:

As we receive more information and direction from the Ontario Ministry of Health, and Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health, we will share updates at guelph.ca/emergency and our social media accounts.

You can also subscribe to Alert Guelph or get the app on your phone.

Update on COVID-19: #GUELPH

Some info shared with me today I thought I’d share with all of you:

Thank you,

Cam

With more headlines and global statistics being reported every day, it’s understandable to feel concerned about the potential spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The right information from the right sources can help address those feelings.

It’s important to address your questions about City’s response to COVID-19.

We’re preparing, not panicking.

While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Guelph Wellington, Guelph is preparing for potential disruptions like we would as part of any emergency preparedness plan.

We have not declared an emergency, but we are using the City’s emergency response procedures. Guelph’s Emergency Management Team is working closely with Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health, Guelph General Hospital, and Guelph’s Family Health Team, and we are prepared to activate the Emergency Operations Centre if it is needed.

“Pandemic” means worldwide, not deadly.

“The World Health Organization has characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”

Read the March 11 media briefing from the World Health Organization

Prevent the spread:

In addition to preventing the spread of colds, flus and diseases, we need your help to prevent the spread of rumours, fear and misinformation.

A message from the Public Health Agency of Canada:

“At this time, Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada but this could change rapidly. There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

·       aged 65 and over

·       with compromised immune systems

·       with underlying medical conditions

While a COVID-19 outbreak is not unexpected in Canada, our public health system is prepared to respond. PHAC, along with provincial, territorial and community partners, continues to reassess the public health risk, based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves.”

Get the latest facts from Health Canada

Questions and concerns from the community:

Please use the following information to answer questions about City programs, services and facilities. Please refer people to Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health if they have health-related questions.

Screening at City facilities:

All City facilities remain open, though we are asking people not to enter if they have symptoms or are likely to have been exposed to COVID-19. Signs issued by Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health will be posted at all City facilities. 

Public meetings, events and cancellations:

At this time, Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health has not suggested cancelling public meetings or events. Event organizers renting or using city facilities may choose to cancel their events.

People invited or attending public events are asked to follow Health Canada’s recommendations to protect their health and prevent the spread of colds and diseases. 

Cleaning protocols and personal protective equipment:

The City’s Emergency Management Team is working to provide hand sanitizer stations for the main entrances of any facilities that don’t already have them.

The City’s standard cleaning practices help prevent the spread of colds, flu, and other diseases. Because COVID-19 is now characterized as a pandemic, the City is enhancing cleaning practices in high-touch areas like public computers, public phones, elevator buttons, washrooms, public facing counters, door handles, and buses.

Health officials have provided the following instructions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and other colds and diseases:

·       wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;

·       avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands;

·       avoid close contact with people who are sick;

·       cough or sneeze into a tissue, discard it immediately and wash your hands. Otherwise, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, not your hands.

·       stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.

Screening centre 65 Delhi Street

The Ontario Ministry of Health has directed hospitals to plan for advanced screening centres, and the City is supporting their efforts by providing the space at 65 Dehli Street. The building will allow health professionals to screen for cases of COVID-19 before sending patients to the hospital for treatment.

The centre will not open unless there is a need in the community, we’re simply working to be prepared in the event of local cases.

Weekly updates and resources:

As we receive more information and direction from the Ontario Ministry of Health, and Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health, we will update City Council, leadership and all City staff, and the community.

·       Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health

·       Ontario Ministry of Health

· Health Canada