CITY VIEW – Some magical moments in the city soap opera

Posted July 13, 2013

There were some interesting developments this week at one Carden Street and up the road in the local daily’s newsroom.

The first was the announcement that after almost a year in planning, the city had finally found a contractor to renovate the downtown Farmer’s Market. Huzzah! As my mother used to say as she found a five-dollar bill on the street.

Refreshing your memory, last fall city staff persuaded council to approve spending $170,000 renovating the Farmers Market in the 2013 budget. Step one was to relocate the market to Exhibition Park from June 15 to August 31, 2013. Choosing one “favoured” contractor to bid on the project followed that step. Oops! He wanted $500,000.

Staff informed council, not to worry, the additional funding would come from other lifestyle projects in separate “envelopes.” That’s like paying Peter with Paul’s money. Astonishingly, council went along with it but insisted on re-tendering the project. That was unsuccessful as contractors bid the job up as high as $750,000.

Let’s try that again and this time they trimmed the project back and found a contractor to finish the job on schedule, it is alleged.

So a project that was planned in 2012 exceeded its approved budget line item and during the following seven months failed to engage a contractor to complete the job.

It’s magic! The day has been saved. The question remains, whose loopy idea was this in the first place?

One has to chuckle over headlines. Often they create more trouble that the underlying story. It happened this week in the local daily’s six-part series on waste management.

On page one Thursday, the series’ page one headline was “Switch to cart system smooth so far.” That was followed the next day on page one with a news story heading: “New waste carts a disaster for condominium owners.”

Another magical moment.

The third magical moment was the announcement of ardent cyclist Coun. Maggie Laidlaw that she would not run in 2014. A long-time member of council, Maggi made her mark and spoke her mind. My favourite was her statement predicting there would be no cars on Guelph’s Streets within 20 years. I think that was made six years ago so we have only 14 years left in that Nostradamus moment. We’ll miss you Maggi.

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10 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

10 responses to “CITY VIEW – Some magical moments in the city soap opera

  1. joseph phelan

    Hopefully as Maggie rides off into the sunset on her bicycle she has Farbridge on the back of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(Toting some recyclables of course…)

  2. David Birtwistle

    Gerry:Who’s the “…We…” in “…We will miss you Maggi…”?!
    david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

  3. When helping hurts— we agree that government should stay out of the business of picking winners, right? Why are the elect, who we expect to build roads and dispose of sewage, subsidizing their favorite kind of vendor? How’d ya like to be a struggling downtown grocery merchant?

  4. You’ll miss Maggie? NEVER have I witnessed a more out of touch, disrespectful and arrogant council member in our city. She said once that someone had thrown a half eaten hamburger at her as she rode her bike on Gordon St.-should have been a whole meal.

    • Boomer: Maggie is the first of a wave of changes coming to council, before the 2014 election. The rumour mill is popping with names that could be seeking relief from the Carden Street soap opera. Mayor Farbridge could move to seek a higher calling such as President of the University of Guelph or the NDP nomination in the next provincial election. Looks like Coun. Cam Guthrie is looking to replace her leaving Ward 4 open. If the mayor steps aside the early morning line is Coun. Leanne Piper stepping up to replace her. That will open Ward 5 for a newcomer. There could be as many as seven ward positions open by election day. That could result in a major shift in how the city is managed.

    • joseph phelan

      Too funny…someone tossing a burg!!!!! Would have loved to have been there. Gee, I miss all the fun!!!!

  5. Great..Farbridge can mess up the UofG. Save us from Piper, that CAN’T happen.

  6. geo

    The U of G can not be taken seriously when it speaks of major changes to it’s curriculum if Her royal Highness is going to run the show.

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