One of 10 awarded $250,000 on road to $10 million prize!

VIDEO of Prime Minister Trudeau announcing winners: Click Here!

Guelph, Ont., June 1, 2018 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced finalists in the national Smart Cities Challenge today, with the Guelph-Wellington County entry named one of 10 in its population category and awarded $250,000 to further develop its bid for a $10 million prize.

The Guelph-Wellington bid is entered in the category for communities with populations up to 500,000, which drew more than 100 proposals. It was developed in partnership with the University of Guelph, Conestoga College and dozens of other experts, entrepreneurs, innovators and community champions.

As a finalist, Guelph-Wellington will continue work with partners in the bid to win one of two $10 million prizes to be announced by the federal government in spring 2019.


“This is a huge step on our road to becoming Canada’s first circular food economy. It’s a testament to the incredible talent and expertise in food and agriculture that exists in our region. I want to thank all the partners who helped us make it to the finals, and I look forward to working together in the months ahead to clinch the $10 million prize. Guelph will then be truly living its motto – the City that makes a difference, locally and globally.”

–      Cam Guthrie, Mayor, City of Guelph

“Our community has the expertise and experience to create a food economy that is more efficient, more productive, more sustainable and more equitable for everyone. We are eager to solve a complex social problem and the Smart Cities Challenge is a critical element of a solution.”

–      Dennis Lever, Warden, Wellington County

“I look forward to continuing to champion Guelph-Wellington’s Smart Cities Challenge, which combines our local and regional food expertise in a way that meets the Government of Canada’s goals of sustainability, support for vulnerable people, investing in science, and promotion of Canada as a source for innovation that solves local, national, and global challenges using data and connected technology.  An already excited and committed group of people will be all the more determined to put a plan together that will be world leading.”

–      Lloyd Longfield, MP Guelph

“We are intent on creating a sustainable food system and addressing an issue that’s important locally, nationally and internationally. We are honoured to have this opportunity to draw on a rich resource of unique expertise here in Canada’s agri-food hub, in the heart of the Toronto-Waterloo Innovation Corridor.”

–      Derrick Thomson, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph

“This funding will enable us to create a substantial positive impact on developing systems and products that will be useful around the globe.”

–      Scott Wilson, Chief Administrative Officer, Wellington County


Guelph-Wellington County Smart Cities Challenge entry

Guelph-Wellington is where food problems are solved. With a rich tradition of designing practical, creative solutions to address food issues, this hub is home to more than 1,600 food businesses and entrepreneurs, and more than 40 agri-food research institutes and organizations.

The Guelph-Wellington circular food economy vision is to increase access to affordable, nutritious food by 50 per cent, create 50 new circular businesses and collaborations by using waste as a resource and increase circular economic revenues by 50 per cent, all by 2025.

More information about the Guelph-Wellington circular food economy proposal can be found on

Media Contact:

Cathy Kennedy, Manager, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations

City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2255

Jana Burns, Director of Economic Development
County of Wellington
519-837-2600 extension 2525

The Process of planning Guelph’s last green-field land in the south end (better known as the Clair/Maltby Secondary Plan) has been a long one to date:

  • 3 years.
  • Pro-active engagement from city staff.
  • Stakeholder meetings
  • Town halls
  • Council meetings
  • And more….

Today, the long awaited Phase Two report and recommendations have been released from our professional city staff to have considered at an upcoming special council meeting on June 14th and then ratified on June 25th.

There’s many results contained within this report (found by clicking HERE) but the top two that most people will certainly be interested in are:

1. Removal of Rolling Hills properties in its entirety – including the ones fronting onto Clair Road and “pushing” it for further studies to 2022.

2. Removing the road connection through the rear Marcolongo property as Gordon Street can handle projected transportation/mobility needs.

So how did we get to these recommendations?


The city must follow processes and these often include looking at many options that are required under the professional standards of our planning staff, through Provincial policies and more.

These options, considerations and explorations of what may or may not work can often feel extremely uncomfortable. So for those that have had to go through it with us, I applaud all of you. Especially those within the Rolling Hills neighbourhood. I’ll admit that some of what we’ve gone through together I didn’t enjoy too much either – So many questions, unknowns, anxiety and opinions. Yet the journey has brought us to what we have before us today and my hope is that there is some relief given to many.

My blog post from last week provides further Q&A’s regarding how the city is engaging the environmental monitoring and other processes that are being undertaken with these lands. You can read that by clicking here: Q&A’s

I’ve said many times over many years, (as both a councillor and as Mayor), that Guelph needs a full range of housing types in our community. From small to big we are all a part of the community and we contribute to what makes our city great.

The process to date also confirms that we care about what neighbourhoods say, care for our environment, water, transportation needs and how we plan out what our city will look and feel like in the years to come as we welcome new Guelph’ites to our collective doorstep.

There’s more to do. It’s a process. Let’s keep moving through it together.

Feel free to email me your thoughts on the report:

Take care,


Ward 1 Councillors Dan Gibson and Bob Bell, along with Mayor Cam Guthrie, are hosting an open public meeting to discuss driveway widths and street parking in Ward 1. Several residents have received letters from the City saying that their driveway width does not comply with the current zoning by-law and they are not permitted to park two cars side-by-side in their driveway.

If you are one of those residents, or a neighbour concerned about driveway and street parking, please come to this meeting to gain information and talk about next steps.

Thank you,


The letters to the editor, the social media posts, the emails and the phone calls have started to ramp up prior to the June 14th special meeting to discuss the Clair/Maltby secondary plan. I fully understand why. This land use planning for the last “green field” space in our city is a big deal.

There are some common themes that have emerged regarding those that are choosing to reach out to myself, Council, city staff and the public:

1. The process is too fast

2. Developers are getting their way

3. The city doesn’t care about the environment

I want those directly impacted by this planning exercise, and those that have a keen interest in it, to know that these concerns (in my opinion) are false.

I still do not know how I will vote on either June 14th or at the ratification vote on June 25th. I have yet to see the final recommendation report from staff. The public sees the report at the exact same time as I see it. I have yet to hear from delegates and I have yet to hear from my council colleagues surrounding this issue.

And so, I’d like to share with the public a Q&A that Council received from staff due to the increase in questions around these issues above:

Dear Mayor Guthrie and Councillors,

We have received a number of inquiries asking for information regarding the Clair-Maltby timelines, so to ensure that you all have the same information, please find below a detailed response. I’ve attempted to set the context for the response by including parts of the questions/inquiries.

Project Initiation Timing – was this expedited due to pressure from the development community or as part of OMB settlement discussions?

No. It was part of our Department’s work plan to begin this project in 2015 – and we brought forward a project initiation report to Council in June 2015 to begin the Terms of Reference phase of the project. The Terms of Reference phase included community engagement and review of a draft version of the terms of reference by interested stakeholders before it was presented to Council and approved in December 2015.

With respect to OMB settlement discussions that occurred in late 2015/early 2016, we did commit to making the project a priority for the City, which is included in current OP policy (see below), and to retaining our consultant team by April 2016 to get the project started. We did retain our consulting team within that timeframe and to date, have made the project a priority.

Applicable OP policies: Special Study Area policy for Springfield Golf course – “The completion of the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan is a priority for the City.”

10.2.6 Secondary Plan policy – “The Clair-Maltby area, with boundaries generally identified on Schedule 2, is the only remaining greenfield area in the city that has not been comprehensively planned. The completion of a Secondary Plan for the Clair-Maltby area is a priority for the City and the Secondary Plan will be incorporated into the Official Plan through an amendment upon completion. The Secondary Plan will be prepared by the City in consultation with landowners, stakeholders and the community and approved by City Council.”

Timeline for completion/Reducing the project timeline:

When the project was being initiated in June 2015, City Council made general comments encouraging staff to find efficiencies with respect to the timeline where possible.

We presented the terms of reference to Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Committee on December 8, 2015. The staff report for the Terms of Reference ( recommended a four year timeline for the project but also indicated that the consultants will be requested to identify opportunities for efficiencies while still meeting the requirements of the terms of reference and all applicable legislative, policy and regulatory requirements.

Accordingly, through discussions with the consultant team, efficiencies were found and the revised timeline was presented to Committee of the Whole/Council in July 2017. Along with the revised timeline, the risks associated with the revision to the timeline were highlighted in the report:

Generally, we worked to begin the groundwater monitoring as soon as possible so that 2016 would be considered a monitoring year, rather than waiting for 2017 to be the first year of groundwater monitoring. This year, 2018, will be the third year of groundwater monitoring and will be used to confirm findings to date. However, as noted in July 2017 report, if unexpected data comes back from this year, the shortened timeline may not be possible to maintain.

To clarify, the reduced timeline does not propose to reduce the scope of the work that was intended to be completed, in particular, it does not compromise the environmental review that was to be undertaken. Rather, it reduced the time we had to prepare for environmental monitoring to begin (i.e. we initially had more time to negotiate property access and dig the monitoring wells) and introduced some minor risks to the Phase 3 timing (i.e. the 12 months anticipated for phase 3 may have to be extended if the data collected this year significantly alters the findings to date).

June Council Decision:

In June, Council will be asked to approve a preferred land use plan as the basis for the next round of more detailed technical work. Council is not being asked to approve a final land use plan that designates lands and will become part of the City’s Official Plan.

The approval of this plan is critical in order for the next phase of the project to begin. The next phase will undertake:

·  detailed modelling and analysis to understand the potential environmental impacts or implications of the plan in order to mitigate those impacts – mitigation could include modifications to the land use plan.

·  Detailed modelling and analysis with respect to servicing, assessing the financial impacts and developing detailed policies.

Essentially, we need to know that Council is generally satisfied with where we are going from a land use perspective, to undertake the next level of detailed analysis. This is with the understanding that the next level of technical information can, and likely will, result in modifications to the land use plan. Staff expect that the plan will continue to be refined and modified as we work through our detailed analysis and develop draft policies for the secondary plan area.

As many of you recall, the project was set up to be an iterative process to allow both technical and community input to inform the project. We will continue to engage the public throughout phase 3 of the project, including meeting the statutory requirements of the Planning Act and the Environmental Assessment Act.

Pushing ‘pause’ – what are the implications?

Pushing ‘pause’ on the process would not mean that additional work would be undertaken to achieve a better understanding of the environmental implications – the work plan and timeline already allow the project team to have the required understanding (at a landscape level, appropriate to a secondary plan) before any final decisions are made. Pushing pause would only mean that project team wouldn’t be focussed on this project for the time that Council determines a pause is necessary.

Thank you,


Once again, the Friends of the Library have been told we must find a new home for the Giant Book Sale.  The timing is particularly tight this time.  We generally feel we must know we have space by the end of May, so we can begin to plan in earnest to start preparations in August.

The sale, by now, is enormous, which makes the search that much more difficult.  For the past several years we have offered over 100,000 books and related items for sale over a three day period.

These are our needs:

We need the space to be donated.  Profits are used to support the Guelph Public Library.  If we had to pay rent, there would be no point in having the sale.   We are a registered charity, and so can offer a tax receipt.  If necessary, we could pay utilities.

We are insured by the City, and we are very responsible tenants who clean up after ourselves.

The past two spaces we have used have been 25,000 sq ft and 30,000 sq ft respectively.  A warehouse, accessible to the public with parking nearby works well.  A loading dock, or other large-vehicle access such as a large overhead door is highly desirable.

In a perfect world, we would have access to the space for August, September and October.  We could probably manage with just September and October.

This has become an iconic community event.  We are hoping that, once again, a community member will come forward and make it possible. If you can help please contact me by email or phone.


Virginia Gillham, Chair

Friends of the Guelph Public Library

(519) 821-5874