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Posts Tagged ‘Municipal Politics’

We’ll be continuing our municipal election coverage during the second hour of Royal City Rag (9-10 a.m.) on October 16.

Community activist Laura Murr will be joining us for the second of our issues based discussions, this one focused around “The Real Cost Of Growth”, an issue that is barely getting a mention in a campaign clogged by discussions of fiscal accountability and candidates trying to out do each other with rash promises of zero tax increases and tax moratoriums.

Few people seem to understand that growth, especially residential growth costs the city money because of infrastructure costs, and few seem to realize that the cost of that growth will be born by the current taxpayer base. The city will grow, and the current city residents will pay for it through higher taxes.

Guelph is scheduled for a development boom under the provincial growth plan, Places To Grow, with a population increase from 115,000 to a staggering 165,000 by 2031. All these people will need somewhere to live, never mind work. Say hello to some large scale residential development and extensive infill.

Places to Grow mandates intensification within current limits which is is a good thing to curb sprawl but it is important to realize that infill development costs FOUR times as much as green field development. The taxpayers of Guelph will have to pay for this smart growth even if city services are drastically curtailed to make tax increases palatable.

Some interesting facts about Guelph:

Population growth

  • From 2001 to 2008, Guelph population went from 106,170 to 119,909
  • From 2001 to 2006, Guelph’s population growth was 8.3% – the average Ontario growth was 5.7 %
  • From 2006 to 2008 , Guelph’s population grew by 4.3% – the Ontario Average was 2.3%
  • In total Guelph grew  by 12.9% from 2001 to 2008  –  the Ontario Average was 9.3%

Numbers are taken from the BMA Management Study Municipal Study 2008

Land Area

  • Guelph Land area is 87 square KM.
  • Guelph population density per square km = 1,355 persons. In the BMA report this is considered to be high density.
  • Guelph has a higher population density than Hamilton, Whitby, Oshawa, Burlington,Oakville, Markham

Consultant CN Watson has indicated that growth will cost between a 4.5 to 5.0% increase in property taxes each year in order to pay for the so called soft services in the Capital Budget required by new residents and businesses. This amount is not recoverable through development charges.

“While I do not have the specific statistics you are looking for readily available, the Council has taken the position to recover the costs of growth from development charges, to the extent permitted by the Development Charges Act.  There were some losses of revenue through phase-in strategies before recovering full rates, to help developers transition, and through a few exemptions to promote certain types of growth.  There are also certain costs like waste management that are impacted by growth, but are not recoverable through the Development Charges Act.”
– Margaret Neubauer, CFO/City Treasurer (by e-mail)

Want to understand more about the real cost of growth? Then tune in tomorrow. It should be a fascinating discussion.

As always we’ll wrap it all up with some great music. You won’t want to miss it!

Royal City Rag, Saturdays 8-10 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Royal City Rag live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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We were pleased to welcome Norah Chaloner (from the Council of Canadians, Guelph Chapter and Guelph Urban Forest Friends) and Judy Martin (Sierra Club and Guelph Urban Forest Friends) back to Royal City Rag on October 9.

Both Guelph Urban Forest Friends and the Council of Canadians, Guelph Chapter have sent questionnaires to candidates with respect to issues they see as very important for voters to consider before heading to the polls on October 25.

Tree Protection
Guelph Urban Forest Friends is a local group that advocates for better protection of urban trees and canopy. We make delegations to City Council, hold events to raise awareness about the importance of urban trees, and distribute information about the many benefits of trees, and the threats to trees, through our web site.

We have serious concerns about the continued loss of mature trees in our City and hear frequently from upset residents about tree removals. We are submitting these questions to candidates for City Council and respectfully request your response by October 18. The responses we receive will be posted on our web site and e-mailed to our list of some 500 supporters.

The responses from candidates to the questions from Guelph Urban Forest Friends regarding tree protection can be found here.

CETA, Cities and Water
With 80 per cent of Canadians now living in urban areas, our cities and towns are a foundation of the social economy, innovators of public policy, environmental first responders, and stewards of our shared waters. Across Canada, we need to support municipal leaders who will who understand that progressive economic and environmental policy should be fostered. We can’t let the future we want for our communities be threatened by international trade regimes and privatization.
 
In Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations, the EU is trying to restrict or ban municipalities from applying local preferences or local hiring conditions on public contracts, from directing projects to social enterprises and low-income communities, and from favoring the purchase of local foods in public buildings. Even the right to choose the public delivery of essential services such as water and electricity is threatened by CETA. For more information on CETA, see our website: http://www.canadians.org/CETA.
 
Because CETA and other new trade deals put public water at risk, the best way to protect water is for cities and towns to become “Blue Communities”. This happens when a community agrees to adopt water commons framework that:

  • recognizes water as a human right
  • promotes publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services
  • bans the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events

The responses from candidates to questions from the the Council of Canadians, Guelph Chapter regarding water protection and the proposed Canada European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) can be found here.

Listen to the Show:

Music:
Dave and Ken Hills, Pipeline Blues (Demo)

Royal City Rag, Saturdays 8-10 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Royal City Rag live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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We’re going back on the municipal election beat during the first hour of Royal City Rag on October 2. Erinn White, President of the Guelph Labour Council will be joining us to chat about the role of labour council within the city as well as politcal endorsements and contributions. It should be a very interesting interview.

Later on in the first hour we’ll be talking about Blog-o-gate, the scandal that is currently afflicting the Karen Farbridge Re-election Campaign. If you don’t know about this, you really need to check out www.voteguelph.ca and read this post about Dirty Campaign Tactics.  It seems her campaign manager, former city councillor Cathy Downer, has been found to be not only posting anonymously on the Guelph Mercury city council blog 59 Carden St but doing so under FIVE different aliases.

Not only was she using these five different identities (Mark, Patty, Bob, ‘Hide & Seek’ and ‘Real Facts’) but, believe it or not, she even had a couple of them contradict each other on blog postings to increase the effect of the point that she was making.

As Downer has already admitted to using the five aliases to post anonymously on the Mercury blog leaves this matter in no doubt. The question is what do we do about it?

Is it a serious issue, or, as Downer has claimed,  just someone posting anonymously on a blog that doesn’t really have any rules?

We’ll have a lot more to say about this on the show tomorow and on CFRU 93.3fm’s Municipal Election Radio on Tuesday from 7-9 a.m.

For more on CFRU 93.3fm’s Municipal Election Programming, visit www.voteguelph.ca.

In the second hour, we’ll be previewing the Guelph Studio Tour with local jewellery designer and crafter Michelle Miller, potter Iris Dorton and painters Michelle LeBlanc and Larry Lawrence. The Guelph studio tour takes place from October 15-17. For more information on the studio tour visit www.guelphstudiotour.ca.

As usual we’ll wrap it up with some fun music. You won’t want to miss it!

Royal City Rag, Saturdays 8-10 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Royal City Rag live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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We gave the second hour (9-10 a.m.) of Royal City Rag on September 25 over to municipal election coverage, replaying an interview with Mayoral candidate Ray Mitchell. Ray joined us on Municipal Election Radio (Tuesdays 7-9 a.m. on CFRU 93.3fm) on September 21 for an interview regarding his reasons for running for council and platform.

Ray may not be everyone’s idea of a mayoral candidate but he did step up to the plate, and is making an effort to raise issues that do need an airing. You may also not agree with everything he says but like all of the candidates in this election he deserves an opportunity to make his case. It was a good interview, and if you missed it, you should definitely check it out. For more on the municipal election campaign visit www.voteguelph.ca.

The three other mayoral candidates have been lined up for interviews on Municipal Election Radio (Tuesdays 7-9 a.m. on CFRU 93.3fm; Scott Nightingale is scheduled for September 28 (8-9 a.m), David Birtwistle will be with us on October 5 (8-9 a.m. ) and Karen Farbridge will be our guest on October 12 (8-9 a.m.).

Listen to the show:

Music:
Mary Gauthier, The Foundling from The Foundling
Thrift Store Owner, Barmitzvah Brothers from Lets Express Our Motives
Tex Fletcher, The Old Grey Mare from Riding The Range
Vote For Mr. Rhythm from The Complete Ella Fitzgerald

Royal City Rag, Saturdays 8-10 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Royal City Rag live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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The Guelph Mercury weighs in on Guelph’s water conservation strategy. Yes to more conservation, no to a pipeline to Lake Erie!

Candidates Need To Talk About Water
Guelph Mercury, Editorial
September 20, 2010

There’s a sobering chart in the just-issued annual report of the city’s water conservation and efficiency public advisory committee.

The line graph plots the city’s annual water production against its population growth. The population line is ever rising in the 1998-2010 statistical illustration. The water production is a much flatter line – trending down, with the final year tracked providing the lowest volume flow of water.

During the last civic election campaign, there was some talk of a previously floated remedy to this dilemma – the option of tapping Lake Erie via a pipeline.

So far, the issue of providing a sustainable water supply for the municipality has produced little campaign talk. That might change with the emergence of the water conservation report. It would be good if it did.

The city is set to launch a terrific-sounding pilot program related to this policy area.

This week, the community development and environmental services committee will review a proposed incentive plan to encourage new home builders to establish houses that make smarter use of water. The program would see builders be able to achieve rebates of up to $2,460 for installing such things as low-flow toilets and taps, greywater reuse systems, and/or rainwater harvesting systems.

It could be in place by Nov. 1. We hope it is. It appears a wonderful extension of water conservation measures already undertaken by the municipality such as its promotion of the use of rain barrels and encouragements to replace old inefficient toilets with water-conserving ones.

More can be done and needs to be in this area, however. The city is aiming to reduce average daily water use by 8.7 million litres of water, per day, by 2019. That’s an ambitious target and timeframe – before projected population growth during that period is factored into the thinking.

The pilot Blue Built Home Pilot Program is an example of the type of thinking that will be required to meet this goal. We look forward to council candidates adding to the brainstorming about else could be done. Just please, keep the Lake Erie solution bottled up.

For more on this issue listen to Municipal Election Radio, Tuesdays 7-9 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Municipal Election Radio live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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We were pleased to welcome Professor Rob MacDermid from York University to Royal City Rag on September 18 to talk about the Funding of City Politics. Rob MacDermid is an Associate Professor of Political Science at York University and a member of the boards of the Centre for Social Justice and Vote Toronto. He researches and writes about political parties, election campaigns and political finance at all levels.

As part of CFRU 93.3fm’s election coverage we are asking all candidates whether they are willing to report contributions to their campaign before the election takes place on October 25.

The current Ontario Municipal Election Guidelines require only that all donations greater than $100 are recorded and reported in a financial statement, however that information is only made public long after the election has taken place. We do not believe that this is in the public interest. To ensure election transparency, we believe the information on who is donating to individual campaigns should be available to the public before they go to the polls.

This was a great interview, you won’t to miss it.

Later in the hour, we talked to Andrew Noble from the Canadian Cancer Society about why cancer prevention should be part of the municipal election discourse.

The Canadian Cancer Society is advocating for a municipal community right-to-know bylaw that would require local facilities to track and report their use and release of priority toxic substances, provide the public with information on key toxic substances in their communities and provide support for local facilities to help them become more aware of their use and release of priority toxic substances as well as way find ways to prevent this pollution.

They have received some encouraging responses from candidates in other municipalities and are hoping that candidates in Guelph will follow suit and make it part of their platform. They are encouraging voters to raise the issue with candidates during the election campaign.

You can get download  information on the Canadian Cancer Society Campaign HERE.

Music:
Sunnyland Slim, Be Careful How You Vote from Be Careful How You Vote
Andy White, Come Down To The Sea from Compilation

Listen to the show:

Royal City Rag, Saturdays 8-10 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Royal City Rag live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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Councillor Ian Findlay

We are pleased to welcome Ward 2 councillor Ian Findlay to CFRU93.3fm‘s Royal City Rag this coming Saturday, September 14. Councillor Findlay will be joining us during our first hour, 8-9 a.m.

As part of our pre-election coverage, we invited all of the current city council, including the Mayor, to join us on the show for an end of term report. An opportunity for council to discuss the main issues they see facing the city, it also gives us a chance to ask some important questions of them. Check out our previous interviews with Councillor Lise Burcher, Councillor Leanne Piper, Councillor Maggie Laidlaw and Mayor Karen Farbridge. This interview was originally planned for August 28, but had to be rescheduled because of circumstances beyond our control.

In the second hour, we will be giving over the full hour to election coverage.  We’ll be talking to Prof Rob MacDermid from York University about Funding of City Politics. Rob MacDermid is an Associate Professor of Political Science at York University and a member of the boards of the Centre for Social Justice and Vote Toronto. He researches and writes about political parties, election campaigns and political finance at all levels.

As part of CFRU 93.3fm’s election coverage we are asking all candidates whether they are willing to report contributions to their campaign before the election takes place on October 25.

The current Ontario Municipal Election Guidelines require only that all donations greater than $100 are recorded and reported in a financial statement, however that information is only made public long after the election has taken place. We do not believe that this is in the public interest. To ensure election transparency, we believe the information on who is donating to individual campaigns should be available to the public before they go to the polls.

You won’t want to miss this interview.

Later in the hour, we’ll be talking to Andrew Noble from the Canadian Cancer Society about why cancer prevention should be part of the municipal election discourse.

A full show… and hopefully still lots of fun! As always, we’ll wrap it all up with some great music.

Royal City Rag, Saturdays 8-10 a.m. on CFRU93.3fm in Guelph. Remember if you don’t catch Royal City Rag live, you can always pick it up later that day via the CFRU archive or here, on the blog, a day or so later.

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