There's 11 in a Baker's Dozen (?)

You have to read till the end of the newsletter to get that reference.

Welcome to the Guelph Politico Tip Sheet, a twice-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 Tuesdays and Fridays.

The six people competing to be the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party were all in Guelph on Sunday afternoon for the first of six debates before the March 2020 leadership convention. The topic was small town and rural affairs as the candidates were asked about perspectives on the economy, education, and the environment. You can recap the live tweets or watch the original live stream on Guelph Politico.

The University of Guelph marked the 30th anniversary of the attack at L’École Polytechnique with a moving ceremony that saw 14 female engineering students lay white roses at the permanent memorial to the Montreal Massacre in the Thornbrough building. The U of G also announced a new initiative to promote and advance the work of women in engineering fields.

The City of Guelph is asking for help collecting non-perishable food and cash donations in support of the Guelph Food Bank. The eight annual “Stuff an Emergency Vehicle” event will take place at the Zehrs on Paisley Road from 9 am to 3 pm this Saturday.

Also in the News…

Animal rights activists with Guelph Cow Save and KW Animal Save protested in front of Cargill Meat Solutions on Monday to protest Bill 156, which is technically about increasing fines on people who trespass on farms, but animal rights advocates see it as an attack on their right to gather evidence of animal abuse.

A Guelph man was charged with two terrorism-related offences on Friday stemming from time he spent in Turkey. Ikar Mao, 22, was charged by the RCMP with participation in activity of terrorist group and leaving Canada to participate in activity of a terrorist group.

That weird smell in the river by the Royal Recreation Trail last February? That was 4.4 million litres of sewage that leaked out in a spill that’s believed to have been caused by two failed bypass pumps when construction was happening on nearby Armstrong Ave. The pumps and bypass pipes were replaced, and the incident is still under investigation.

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Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield asked about homelessness in the House yesterday.

Kansas City (the Missouri one, not the Kansas one) now has free transit after city council directed the city manager to spend $8 million to eliminate the $1.50 fare, and become the first U.S. city to make public transit free for all users. The move could save frequent users about $1,000 per year.  

Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was on-hand for the official unveiling of her portrait at Queen’s Park last night. The portrait by artist Linda Kooluris-Dobbs features Wynne in a light pink suit and running shoes standing next to her former desk in the Premier’s office.

In case you missed it, you can hear Ward 3 Councillor Phil Allt’s appearance last week on Open Sources Guelph on the Guelph Politicast channel.

December 9 – Regular Council Meeting.

This meeting was straightforward. After passing the one consent agenda item for the Sign Bylaw Variance for 350 Speedvale Ave W, City Clerk Stephen O’Brien demonstrated for council the new and improved agenda management system, which will go into effect in January. The only real news came out of the closed meeting on the mandate for collective bargaining with the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Mayor Cam Guthrie said that council gave staff the clear direction to enter into a fair and reasonable negotiation where staff are compensated appropriately, but with a deal that’s still affordable for citizens.

December 9 – Planning Meeting.

Decision Report 1657 and 1665 Gordon Street Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment – Councillor Dominique O’Rourke had a couple of follow-up questions before council voted on the recommendation. She expressed concern about how the number of parking spaces had gone down while the number of units had gone up, but staff made the point it was to make more room for trees, and the development was still within bylaw on parking. Councillor Rodrigo Goller asked if there was a report done about whether staff engaged the developer about making some of the units affordable, and staff said they don’t require a report on a development this small. The decision was approved 12-1.

Statutory Public Meeting Report 1871-1879 Gordon Street Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment – Councillor O’Rourke expressed concerns about the shadow impact study on nearby Brock Road Nursery, but the architect for the project said the nursery will be unaffected. O’Rourke also asked if staff could update the transit plan for south of Poppy Drive before the decision report comes back to council.

Commercial Built Form Standards – Some on council expressed concerns about passing these new guidelines before the completion of the comprehensive zoning bylaw review, but staff said that  the approval of the guidelines is separate from implementation of the bylaw, and will provide discussion points for staff to carry on with the review, which is still a few year away from completion. Councillor Christine Billings suggested deferring the motion, but that vote was defeated 3-10.

Councillor Dan Gibson expressed concern about staff’s dealings with Loblaws, who sent notes in a nine-page letter with their thoughts on the standards. Staff said that they think Loblaws concerns were addressed in a one-on-one meeting, and they haven’t heard otherwise in a formal communique. Gibson urged caution with some of the standards outlined because suburban communities have been planned for 50 years with the car in mind, and they can’t be made walkable overnight. The standards were then approved 9-4.

December 11* – Special Council Meeting – Workshop on Transportation Master Plan and the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw.

There will be no delegations at this meeting. Though it’s open to the public, this is a council workshop.

*Council goes on Christmas Break after this meeting. The next council meeting is Committee of the Whole on January 13.

The Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation is holding a Winter Cycling Workshop at 7 pm this Thursday at the Fixed Gear Brewing Company at 20 Alma Street.

Check out Ed Video’s Holiday Haunt this Friday at 404 York Road at 7 pm. (In case you didn’t know, it’s Friday the 13th.)

Got something you need to fix? Check out the December Repair Café at the Church of the Apostles at 86 Glasgow this Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.

Ward 2 Councillor James Gordon will perform with his musical friends at the Heritage Hall at 83 Essex Street this Saturday at 7 pm. Get your tickets here.

Coming up this week on the GuelphPoliticast, it’s time to celebrate because it’s the 200th episode of the podcast, and the special guest is Mayor Norm Jary. We’ll recap Jary’s long-running career on city council, how he managed to wear two hats as a newsman and a mayor, and we get his thoughts on modern politics and his legacy.

Get the latest edition of the GuelphPoliticast on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, tune in to CFRU at 2 pm for another episode of End Credits. This week, Chris Aitkins from Nightmare on Film Street co-hosts as we review the family dramedy Marriage Story. We’ll also talk about Mena Massoud’s audition difficulties, new trailers, the latest on the Snyder Cut, and whether a TV show can be one of the best movies of the decade.

Then, Thursday at 5 pm on CFRU, it will be a new episode of Open Sources Guelph as Scotty Hertz and I look at the latest news in the Province’s fight with the teachers, talk about what’s going on with the U.K. election, and we’ll have interviews with the six Ontario Liberal Leadership Candidates.

Listen to all these shows any time by subscribing to the Guelph Politicast channel on your favourite podcast app at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

No council meeting for the next couple of weeks, so we’ll start rolling out the end of the year recaps next week.

In the meantime, let’s set a holiday mood with the Baker’s Dozen (even though there was only 11 of them).  That’s the joke in the headline.

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And finally, feel free to reach out to be by email at adamadonaldson [at] gmail [dot] com, or find me on Facebook, Twitter, and, of course,!

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