Posted August 29, 2012
Coun. Leanne Piper piously told her council colleagues at the beginning of the month that she did not support Coun. Guthrie’s motion to conduct council and committee meetings during August.
Her explanation was that she would not stop working during the August council stand down, but would be busy serving the needs of her constituents.
Well, we now discover what Ms. Piper’s “constituency” work is. The University of Guelph employs her for all of university on-campus student housing, as manager of residence admissions and marketing
“We’ve been able to honour the guarantee of a residence that goes with the offer of admission to the university,” she is quoted as saying in the public prints.
Most universities and colleges maintain a housing registry as assistance to students.
Is this the same Leanne Piper who joined her council colleagues in not attacking the housing abuse many residents in her ward are experiencing? She voted not to take the matter to court because it would involve a possible litigation with the Ontario Civil Rights organization.
The question is why residents in homes zoned for single families face conversions of homes to student housing. Some have up to eight to ten students crammed into homes in the middle of a single-family neighbourhood.
Perhaps she’s not listening to the protests of homeowners in her own ward who are seeking to have their areas free of parties, junk left behind and frequent visits by police.
I guess if you are in charge of residence admissions and marketing, your primary job is to make sure the incoming and returning students have a place to put their head down.
Keep in mind that Guelph councillors are basically part-time (but not the Mayor). They are able to hold other jobs so long as they can meet their commitment for service by those who elected them. Every four years citizens have the right to determine whether, or not, they have been served.
Is Coun. Piper in a conflict of Interest here? If she is placing students in those areas where private student housing interests are located in single family zoned areas, then she is in conflict?
Or is this a sham ?
She is sworn to uphold the bylaws of the city. Even if she only “manages” to put students in accommodation on campus, her position as a member of Guelph council is jeopardized.
Recall the brouhaha over the company that wanted to build a twin hi-rise student residence on the site of the hotel at the corner of Stone Road and Gordon Street? The university opposed that proposal, as did council. It is now in the hands of the OMB.
Guelph council has the following councillors with ties to the University: Maggie Laidlaw, Lise Burcher, Leanne Piper and Mayor Karen Farbridge. That’s close to one-third of council.
Is that not a conflict not only for Piper but Burcher, Laidlaw and the Mayor herself?
The irony of Coun. Piper’s career on Council is that she, at one time, agreed with the writer that the so-called bed tax per student of $75 in lieu of property tax was out of date and unfair.
I presume now that she is an employee of the university; she will remain silent on that subject.
What! Another conflict of interest?