Message of the day, and that comes from the freshly vaccinated!
|Adam A. Donaldson||May 4|
Welcome to the Guelph Politico Tip Sheet, a thrice-a-week newsletter meant to “tip” you off about some of the important stuff going on in the Royal City. It arrives directly in your inbox on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.
Committee of the Whole Meeting – May 3
This month’s Committee of the Whole meeting started with an early appearance by the WDG Public Health Director of Health Protection Christopher Beveridge, who ran down the numbers of the third wave, and the vaccine distribution. On the subject of the latter, Beveridge said that public health clinics aren’t even close to capacity because of supply issues, so there’s still room to grow, and that the best vaccine to get is the first one you can get.
Getting into the Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise agenda, a slight change to the Additional Residential Unit Registration Bylaw and the Policy Directions for the Official Plan Review were approved without much objection or controversy.
The big-ticket item this meeting was the business case and staging plan for the City Operations Campus. Gestating since the Fall of 2019, DCAO Stephen O’Brien explained that staff’s findings show that the campus will achieve four out of five Strategic Plan priorities and remains the cheapest of three alternatives including the repair and expansion of current buildings and building new facilities at various decentralized locations.
Many of council’s previous concerns about the project seemed to be resolved by this process including the new location at Watson and Stone Road East, and the piecemeal way the project will be built over multiple years starting with the new transit facility, which comes with $34 million in Federal infrastructure funding. Some on council also want to create some new reporting mechanisms for this project to stay on top of it beyond the annual capital budget approval. Only Councillor Bob Bell was unconvinced and voted ‘no’ on the project.
On the Corporate Services agenda, council debated an amendment from Mayor Cam Guthrie to spend $700,000 of the left-over Safe Restart funding that did not cover the City’s deficit spending from 2020 to fund additional grants meant for tourism groups and community benefit organizations.
Guthrie’s point was that the City had received over $3 million in requests for the original $700,000 in funding offered for these programs after the 2021 budget was passed, and that these groups desperately need the extra help after getting hit by the third wave shortly after the end of the second. Some on council were concerned about spending money so soon after passing the budget, or wanted to wait until the end of year to see what money’s left over, but committee still endorsed Guthrie’s amendments by a vote of 8 to 5.
Click here to see the complete recap of the meeting.
The next meeting of city council is the planning meeting next Monday. You can see the agenda on the City’s website here, and you have until this Friday at 10 am to register with the clerks office as a delegate or send to a correspondence for any topic at the meeting.
For more information on Guelph City Council meetings, from agendas to live-tweets to recaps, you can visit that page on Guelph Politico here.
If you live in a Guelph neighbourhood that starts with the postal code N1K, and you’re over the age of 18, then you are now eligible to get a COVID vaccine under the Province’s new framework for hotspots.
The police must sadly remind you to tell your kids not to take candy from strangers.
Let’s just say that Long-term Care Minister Dr. Merrilee Fullerton did not acquit herself well at her first press conference since an independent report on the conditions in LTC during the pandemic was released.
There are presently no outbreaks in any area hospitals or long-term care homes, but there are a number of workplace outbreaks in area businesses including two car dealerships in Guelph, and the OnRoute outside Puslinch.
Animal rights advocates stole the protest attention from the regular anti-lockdown crew on Saturday afternoon.
For the first time in weeks, the 7-day moving rate of confirmed cases is under three figures. The rate is now 96.8 per 100,000, while the test positivity rate remains disturbingly high at exactly 6 per cent. By the cases, while there were 141 new instances of COVID-19 over the weekend, but the number of active cases is now down to 435 in Wellington, Dufferin, and Guelph.
In other news, the region hit a vaccine milestone on Monday!
In the rest of Ontario, the struggle to reduce the number of active COVID cases continues to be real. While there were 3,623 recovered cases on Monday, but there were 3,436 new cases, which is way fewer that the four thousand daily cases from a few weeks ago, and is doing little to affect the overall case count. There are still over 37,000 active cases of the virus in Ontario right now.
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Check out this COVID-19 vaccine resource information page produced by CFRU.
You may not have notice, but the old reformatory on York Road was transformed into Arkham Asylum over the weekend for the Netflix superhero TV series Titans. (In case you didn’t know, Arkham is where all of Batman’s most famous adversaries are imprisoned.)
The Sign Wars have reached Wellington County. Guelph businesses are being told to prepare their puns for battle.
The City of Guelph’s request to people to stop putting up fairy doors and bird feeders in municipally-owned wooded areas has become a *slight* source of controversy.
The University of Guelph and McMaster University are teaming up to look at the effect of stress in children caused by the pandemic.
Guelph Police Constable John 'Tail Light' Teevens has been added to the list of Ontario police officers who were killed in the line of duty, albeit 75 years later. Teevens was struck by a drunk driver while directing traffic on Upper Wyndham in 1939, but he died as a result of the long-term effects of his injuries in 1945.
Coming up this week on the Guelph Politicast, we will be joined by community activist Susan Watson as we take a little trip into the wayback machine and talk about May 2, 2011. That was the day the robocall scandal swept the nation, a little over one decade ago, and it still remains, in many ways, an unsolved mystery. So what are all the unanswered questions left behind by Pierre Poutine and his allies?
Get the latest edition of the Guelph Politicast on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, tune in to CFRU at 3 pm for another episode of End Credits. This week, Candice Lepage cohosts as we cue up Netflix for another one of their patented haunted house dramas, this one starring Oscar-nominee Amanda Seyfried. We’ll review Things Heard & Seen, and we’ll start a summer movie retrospective starting with the Summer of 1982 (a good year for sci-fi).
Like we say on Earth, “C’est la vie.”