In May, the Province of Ontario announced an Audit and Accountability Fund in the amount of $7.5 million to support municipalities in finding efficiencies within their organization.
We’ve moved the dial on this over many terms of Council by expanding our internal audit functions, establishing internal service reviews and continuous progress on a cultural change within city hall.
But there’s always more we can and must do.
This is why I’m pleased that we taking advantage of the Provincial funding through an expression of interest on a review of our “Time Attendance & Scheduling performance systems.”
Once a review is completed, it is expected to provide the City with a road map for implementing key deliverables that will result in organizational improvement(s) to the City’s TAS service delivery and realize both cost savings and enhanced capacity to deliver municipal service. The review will also serve as an input into a broader review that the Human Resources department is initiating which is specific to the business processes and technology of our people systems, e.g., payroll and benefits with an objective to identify an appropriate service delivery model that can both enhance and modernize the City’s current system which has remained relatively unchanged for the past 19 years.
The final audit report must be completed and published on the City of Guelph website by November 30, 2019.
I look forward to seeing this audit through, the efficiencies found implemented and more dollars staying in taxpayers/citizens pockets.
Council approves Creation of New Natural Heritage Advisory Committee:
Guelph, Ont., July 9, 2019 — City Council has approved a staff recommendation to create a Natural Heritage Advisory Committee (NHAC) with a focus on supporting environmental initiatives as part of Guelph’s Natural Heritage Action Plan.
“We know from engaging with our community that Guelph values an environment-first approach and recognizes the value in having an advisory committee focused on environmental matters,” says Melissa Aldunate, Manager of Policy Planning and Urban Design. “The creation of a Natural Heritage Advisory Committee will allow City staff to work in partnership with community members to develop policies and plans that nurture and protect Guelph’s natural heritage for the health of our city and everyone who lives here.”
The recommendation for the new committee came out of a review of the City’s existing Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) and River Systems Advisory Committee (RSAC). The review assessed the mandates of these committees and how best to continue to support Guelph’s environmental programs moving forward. City staff and members of the broader Guelph community, including current and former members of the EAC and RSAC, were consulted as part of the review. The review also included a scan of other municipalities’ environmental committees.
The review resulted in the recommendation for a renewed focus and mandate for an environmental themed advisory committee, and that the existing EAC and RSAC be disbanded as of December 31, 2019.
In the fall, Council will consider the terms of reference for the new NHAC, which is to focus on providing input into City plans, policies, strategies and studies related to natural heritage. Pending Council’s approval of the committee’s terms of reference, the NHAC will be instated in early 2020.
The Parks Operations and Forestry team continue to work on the Crane Park Revitalization Project.
During phase one, crews have completed buckthorn removals, graded the parking lot and are now ready for trail widening.
The next phase will be completed in two areas:
· Between College Avenue and Stone Road West to the Speed River
· Between Dovercliffe Road and the main trail
Starting July 15 to August 6, crews will begin widening sections of the trail between College Avenue and Stone Road West to the Speed River. These trail improvements will help improve safety and accessibility, reduce maintenance and protect the Speed River.
Work between Dovercliffe Road and the main trail will happen later this summer and into 2020.
Crane Park will remain open during construction, however, we’re asking residents to stay out of the marked areas until the work is complete. We will restore the natural area by planting native trees, shrubs and wildflowers in 2020, after the trail improvements are complete.
You can read this on the LUMCO website found here:
In response to a number of inquiries from members of Council, here is a quick snapshot of responses to questions about Parkland inventory.
Is there a city-wide shortfall in parkland?
No, there is not a City-wide shortfall in parkland. Our overall target of 3.3 hectares of total parkland per 1,000 residents is being met. However, we are slightly shy on our targets for neighbourhood and community level parks, and so this will be a focus for Parks Planning staff as we bring future neighbourhoods and parks online.
What does the Official Plan say about parkland?
The Official Plan, required by the Planning Act, describes what the City’s Open Space System is and provides guidance on parkland targets for the entire city based on the population of Guelph. The following parkland targets were incorporated into the City’s Official Plan:
Neighbourhood Parks – 0.7 hectares per thousand people
Community Parks – 1.3 hectares per thousand people
Regional Parks – 1.3 hectares per thousand people (encouraged rather than required)
Is Parkland Dedication the only way the City can acquire new parkland?
Parkland Dedication is just one method the City uses to get new parkland. Relying only on parkland dedication through the approval of development applications is not enough to achieve the parkland targets outlined in the City’s Official Plan because of the maximum limit for dedication set by the Planning Act. In the Official Plan, there are three sections that outline ways of acquiring parkland – Section 7.3.4 Parkland Deficiencies, Section 7.3.5 Parkland Dedication and Section 7.3.6 Other Agencies
Why does the 10 year capital budget not show any new purchase of lands for parks?
The capital budget only shows an allocation of funds for those parks that the City is planning to develop and for which we already own the land. Any future land acquisitions being proposed or considered are not included in the capital budget – this is standard for all land acquisitions as it weakens the City’s negotiating position for purchasing of land if it is disclosed publically. Any future land acquisitions would be brought forward to City Council for consideration in a closed session, and not through the public Capital budget document.