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Posts Tagged ‘Guelph Civic League’

James Gordon

James Gordon CD Release
Friday February 26 at 8.00 p.m.
Guelph Little Theatre, 176 Morris Street, Guelph
Tickets: $18- available at the door or at the Bookshelf

My Stars Your Eyes: “12 new locally grown, organic, fair trade songs”

James Gordon is never at a loss for a lyric. Famous for having written a thousand songs and as a “go-to guy” when a local organization or your national broadcaster needs topic-specific music, James is the one they count on to deliver the appropriate message.

In this special fundraising CD release concert, James will be joined onstage by Jeff Bird, Evan Gordon, Geordie Gordon and Jude Vadala

James is donating all proceeds from the concert to the Guelph Civic League in support of their upcoming ‘Vote Guelph!’ campaign for this year’s municipal election. If you’d like to join the Vote Guelph team, email info@guelphcivicleague.ca or phone 519-780-5030.

“My Stars Your Eyes” is available on Borealis Records

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Celebrate the season at this first-ever collaborative event with all your favourite green-minded, socially conscious organisations.

Participating organisations include:

Enjoy complimentary appetizers and grooves by DJ Dino.

Tuesday December 15, 8:30 p.m. Upstairs at the Albion

Admission: a non-perishable food donation for the Guelph Food Bank

More information: Arlene.slocombe@gmail.com

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We were back on air with a busy Royal City Rag on December 5. Apologies to all our faithful listeners for being missing in action this past two weeks.

In the first hour of the show, Annie O’Donoghue, President of the Guelph Civic League joined us to chat about the current municipal budgeting process and some suggested improvements that would allow citizens to feel more involved in the decision making process. She also reminded everyone  about their opportunity to hear Mayor Farbridge deliver her State of the City address at 10 Carden Street on December 10 at 5.30 p.m. A question and answer session will follow her presentation.

Listen to Hour 1:

Royal City Park

In the second hour we played some powerful audio from the Friends of the Royal City Park Community Tree Vigil that took place on December 4.

On November 23, Guelph City Council approved an Operations Dept. plan to remove 52 mature trees from Royal City Park. 

The removal of the trees, including some of the heritage veteran silver maples, and the potential for the loss of 5-7 more trees per year for the next 20 years will permanently alter the character and beauty of the park. 

35 people attended the vigil to commemorate the trees and talk about how they will be personally affected by the avoidable loss of yet more of our green heritage.

Guelph Urban Forest Friends have long been advocating for our urban trees, including a stronger protective tree bylaw and a separate urban forestry department with a certified forester to more effectively manage tree maintenance and coordinate public education on the value of our mature trees. For more information on GUFF, visit their website at www.guffguelph.ca.

Listen to the audio from the Royal City Park Community Tree Vigil:

Later in the hour we talked to Simon Irving, Artistic Director of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra about their upcoming holiday season performances; The Snowman on December 13 and Dreams of Vienna on January 1. Tickets for both shows are available from the River Run Centre.

Listen to hour 2:

Music:
Lindisfarne, Winter Song from Nicely Out Of Tune
Jennifer Noxon, Other Side Of Winter from Let It Snow (Compliation)
James Gordon, There Is No Silent Night from Mining For Gold
Roxanne Potvin, No Love For The Poisonous from No Love For The Poisonous
Good Lovelies, Maybe This Time from Under The Mistletoe
Katherine Wheatley, 99 Feet Of Snow from Habits and Heroes
James Gordon, Another Silver Maple Comes Down from Nine Green Bottles
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Walking In the Air from The Christmas Album (Compilation)
Kevin Breit, Sunnyside Up from Folkalarm

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We’re back on air with a busy Royal City Rag on December 5. Apologies to all our faithful listeners for being missing in action this past two weeks.

It’s budget season at City Hall. After receiving citizen delegations regarding the budget for 2010 on December 8, city council will vote on the final budget for the city on December 15.

In the first hour of the show, Annie O’Donoghue, President of the Guelph Civic League will join us to chat about the current municipal budgetting process and some suggested improvements that would allow citizens to feel more involved in the decision making process.

In the second hour we’ll be talking to Simon Irving, Artistic Director of the Guelph Symphony Orchestra about their upcoming holiday season performances. We’ll also be playing some audio from the Friends of the Royal City Park tree vigil that took place on December 4.

Should be a fun show. Join us on Saturday 7-9 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm or after the fact via the website.

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Judy Rebick is coming to town on October 14 to introduce the award-winning film Fierce Light and to do a ‘Guelph-launch’ of her latest book, “Transforming Power”. The event is co-hosted by Guelph Civic League, The Bookshelf and 10 Carden with guest Judy Rebick.

Judy sums up the theme presented in both the film and her book this way, “This convergence of the spiritual and political is a theme of my book and of Velcrow’s film and it is a powerful movement  emerging.”  

Velcrow Ripper, the director of Fierce Light is in high demand across Canada and is now in the U.S. leading workshops on spiritual activism.  He describes his approach this way: “Spiritual Activism is the coming together of spirituality, and activism. It is not about any form of dogma, it is simply activism that comes from the heart, not just the head, activism that is compassionate, positive, kind, fierce and transformative.  It focuses as much on what we are for, as on what we are against.  It is rooted in an understanding of interdependence, and works to end of the suffering of all beings, even our opponents.  Nothing could be more inspiring and more rewarding than being the change we want to see in the world, within and without.”

Rebick_TransPower[1]According to a review of Transforming Power by Anama Leadership: “Judy Rebick’s new book Transforming Power captures the new paradigm of leadership and social change – from top-down, power-over, externally-directed models to one where power is shared, collaboration is possible and power comes from the inside out. Judy aptly chose the subtitle “from the personal to the political”, laying out the case for social change leaders and organizations to focus not just on external power inequalities but also on the way we re-create and perpetuate these external dynamics in both our professional and personal relationships.” 

Judy will introduce the film “Fierce Light” at 7.00 p.m. and then launch  “Transforming Power” at a reception in the Green Room. 

The Guelph Civic League’s grassroots values campaign is featured in Judy’s book.  She was also the keynote speaker at GCL’s 2008 conference “Communities in Action”.

Members of the Guelph Civic League executive will also discuss ways for people to get involved in the year leading up to our next municipal election while 10 Carden will celebrate its imminent incorporation as an independent not-for-profit supporting social change.

Fierce Light with Judy Rebick “Transforming Power”
Wednesday, October 14 at 7.00 p.m. Doors open at 6:30.
Bookshelf Cinema (Reception to follow in the Green Room)

Rebickweb

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Bob Gordon

Bob Gordon

The Elephant In The Living Room Is Green
Bob Gordon, Freelance Journalist/Royal City Rag Contributor

In the wake of the occupation of the land slated to become the Hanlon Creek Businesss Park (HCBP) and the ensuing injunction hearings I contacted a variety of Guelph civic and environmental organizations.

I did not contact the organization known as LIMITS nor did I speak to the occupants themselves. In both cases, their positions seemed self-evident. They want the construction of the business park to be permanently deep-sixed.

I did however contact local Sierra Club representative Judy Martin, the Guelph Chapter of the Council of Canadians (CoC-Guelph) and the Guelph Civic League (GCL). Co-Chair Norah Chaloner (with Dave Sills) responded for the CoC-Guelph as did President Annie O’Donoghue on behalf of the GCL.

None of these organizations expressed support for the occupation.

However Norah Chaloner noted that “the action taken by these young people lead to the revelation of information that was not being made available to the public…. the two letters from MNR to the city, dated May 25 and July 31, strongly advising against continued development.” Judy Martin concurred, “We believe the protesters brought attention to an important matter.”

Chaloner and Martin were also united in the view that both the Minister of Natural Resources, Donna Cansfield and Mayor Karen Farbridge should accept the conclusions of the MNR’s Guelph District office and stop work until appropriate investigation of the Jefferson Salamnder issue could be conducted.

Looking to the future, on August 17, Annie O’Donoghue stated, “GCL’s position is to urge the city to bring all community stakeholders together to seek a collaborative solution to the issues surrounding HCBP.” The GCL has continued to take this approach.

On September 22, the Guelph Mercury published an open letter from the GCL to the mayor that continues to espouse this consultative approach. “We would like to invite Farbridge to re-engage the community within a collaborative process that addresses any legitimate citizen concerns and reinstates community cohesion.”

The bottom-line is five community organizations have significant concerns with the situation as it now stands and the plans for the HCBP in there present form.

Even a group such as the GCL that believes “the Hanlon Creek Business Park has the potential to strengthen our economy and increase job opportunities while protecting the environment” has concerns.

The mayor firmly rejected any further dialogue.

The real story here is the ‘silence of the Greens.’

Repeatedly, throughout August, I contacted various members of the Green Party requesting information or answers. They simply refused to reply or respond.

Speaking in Guelph on September 10, Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May declined to comment on the HCBP issue specifically, “Yes, it’s important to protect moraine, wetlands and old growth forest. On the other hand, this is an issue I think I’ll defer to the local Greens.”

Subsequently, I informed the leader’s executive assistant, Debra Eindiguer that it seemed unusual to defer to a group that refused to comment.

She assured me that a statement from the local Greens would be forthcoming early in the week of September 21-25.

By e-mail I received a response from Guelph Greens’ CEO Tara Treanor that speaks for itself: “How odd. I can’t imagine why Debra would say such a thing – unless she has been in touch with someone other than me (I’m supposed to be the head honcho as much as the Greens have a hierarchy – which isn’t really at all, at least not locally).”

“In any case, we are not in a position to “issue a statement”, not least because it would be about 40 pages long so hardly a statement! I’m sorry to say that Debra was wrong.”

There is an elephant in the living room folks. It is Green. It is confused… and it is very long-winded.

Bob Gordon
bob34g@gmail.com

For more on this and other community issues, tune into Royal City Rag, Saturdays 7-9 a.m. on CFRU 93.3fm.

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The Guelph Civic League is challenging the Mayor and City to reopen the dialogue regarding the proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park development. The City attended a Guelph Civic League facilitated session with concerned community groups on March 26 yet there has been very little dialogue since.

So much for the Guelph Civic League being… as one person who wrote to me put it… “the Farbridge Party“. Kudos to them for taking a stand.

Guelph Needs Openness, Respect
Guelph Mercury, September 22, 2009

Letter from Annie O’Donoghue, President, Guelph Civic League, on behalf of the league’s executive committee

Many citizens contacted the Guelph Civic League this summer to express concerns regarding the city’s handling of two development projects: the Guelph Youth Music Centre parking lot upgrade and the Hanlon Creek Business Park. We realize the two are very different in scope and complexity, but hope to draw your attention to the engagement practices as they relate to the concerns and subsequent outcomes.

We commend Coun. Ian Findlay for his leadership related to the youth music centre. As the ward representative, he intervened once citizens raised the alarm about an absence of real public process. Findlay listened, then supported both local and city-wide input to reduce the environmental impact of the project. We also commend the city staff and Farbridge for publicly acknowledging that a mistake had been made with respect to the process.

Finally, we applaud the swift response in bringing staff and community stakeholders together to share information and develop solutions. We hope this can serve as a successful model for future developments.

The Hanlon Creek Business Park process has not been as smooth. Despite the original public engagement and Ontario Municipal Board processes, community concerns began coming to our attention in late 2008 and have steadily increased. There seems to be significant frustration among various stakeholders surrounding this project exacerbated by recent acts of alleged “intimidation,” vandalism, civil disobedience and property damage. Most recently, citizens have expressed concerns relating to the nature of the city’s responses and the tone of city communications. There appears to be a general lack of clarity regarding the obstacles or avenues for change available, once a development has been passed by council, tendered and awarded.

We at Guelph Civic League believe:

•The Hanlon Creek Business Park has the potential to strengthen our economy and increase job opportunities while protecting the environment,

•Maintaining respectful community dialogue is especially important when contentious issues prevail,

•There should be zero tolerance for verbal abuse, intimidation, vandalism or property damage of any kind,

•Multi-stakeholder collaboration should be solution-focused and open to compromise,

•Civic leaders should clearly account for the city’s capacity to address concerns within the constructs available and

•As a community we share a responsibility to strike a balance between a strong environment and a strong economy.

We appreciate the efforts of city staff and council, respect the parameters of democratic process and applaud our local environmental groups for their ongoing stewardship and advocacy. We believe, given the nature of ongoing concerns, the extent of misunderstanding and a growing sense of distrust and frustration by all parties, further action is required before the Hanlon Creek Business Park work recommences in the spring.

We would like to invite Farbridge to re-engage the community within a collaborative process that addresses any legitimate citizen concerns and reinstates community cohesion. This is not about going over old ground but rather moving forward — seeking solutions where possible and developing better clarity, accountability and understanding around process and decisions.

The Guelph Civic League would be happy to convene a small meeting (between the league’s executive, Farbridge and council representatives) at 10 Carden St. to explore this and/or any thoughts you may have regarding next steps.

If all parties remain committed to a spirit of openness, compromise and mutual respect, we can achieve the same success for the Hanlon Creek Business Park as was demonstrated by the Guelph Youth Music Centre stakeholders. We are counting on the mayor’s leadership to make a difference.

Annie O’Donoghue, president, Guelph Civic League, on behalf of the league’s executive committee

For more on this issue, catch Royal City Rag, Saturdays 7-9 a.m. on CFRU 93.3fm.

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