Media watch points to the funny, the absurd and the misjudgment

Posted September 7, 2013

Scott Tracey nailed it in his regular Friday column in the Mercury about how adding bicycle lanes on repaved streets are squeezing space for vehicles. This is a favourite talking point with (GS). It began more than seven years ago when Norfolk Street was rebuilt, a job that took three years to complete.

The result was a narrowing of the street between Paisley and London Road, from four lanes to two lanes including bike lanes. With few cyclists using the street during rush hour, it has resulted in long line-ups of vehicles.

It’s the old story; you cannot pour a pail of water into a narrow necked bottle without spilling it. Its yet another expensive legacy project that will take a ton of money to fix, if ever.

Sigh! It’s another case of city mismanagement.

* * * *

The Tribune ran a nice story about GrassRoots Guelph (GRG) and its opposition to Karen Farbridge’s almost seven years of city administration. GS is one of the founders of GRG and supporter of the ever-growing organization that is dedicated to increasing voter participation in the 2014 civic election.

Then the paper ran a cartoon showing two fully armoured knights facing off with lances poised. One is labeled Guelph Civic League and the other, GRG. It’s an interesting depiction but not accurate. We believe the Civic League is moribund and has morphed into a front organization called 10 Carden Street, that espouses the “amazing” policies and strategies of the Farbridge administration.

GRG’s main thrust is informing people of the back stories of the unbridled spending the Farbridge administration has foisted on the city and its stakeholders. In the coming months GRG, through an innovative communication program, will reveal how the city finances have been recklessly mismanaged and common sense abandoned.

Don’t count on that happening with the Guelph Civic League, or whatever is left of it.

* * * *

The most recent financial muck-up featured in the Mercury is how the city is now on the hook for a $500,000 mortgage on the domed indoor soccer pitch. Five years ago, Mayor Farbridge opened the indoor playing field, built on city property, and guaranteeing repayment of the mortgage.

Now, the two soccer organizations that operate the facility say they cannot maintain the financial obligations because the dome pitch is not air conditioned and it’s unused for five summer months of the year. One organization refuses to guarantee the mortgage while the other is a guarantor.

Again, this is another example of the city getting into a project without a risk/reward analysis accompanied by a business plan. You’ll recall the advocacy of a business plan for every capital expenditure, by former chief financial officer Margaret Neubaur. That was one of the reasons she was terminated. She got in the way of the administration’s version of fiscal management.

This ranks right up there with the financial screw-up of renovating the Farmer’s Market in which city staff under estimated the cost by $330,000.

Is there an end to all this?

* * * *

It is noted that in August, there were 12 collisions between bicyclists and motorists in Guelph. Does this not send a message that perhaps the whole city bicycle plan should be revisited with the emphasis of licensing bicyclists or anyone else that uses the public roads?

* * * *

The Mercury community editorial board has a number of writers who lean sharply to the left. It would serve the reader better if all members were identified in a more complete manner such is the case with other columnists in the paper.

* * * *

Shameless plug department: GrassRoots Guelph is off to a flying start. It is a news and commentary outlet for all the people to share their ideas, suggestions and beefs about city government. It is in favour of helping to elect fresh, qualified candidates who will return the city administration to common sense, fiscal responsibility and transparent operations. Send your name, address, email and telephone info to We will get back to all who send their information. Look for regular reports and the GRG NOW newsletter sent to all members soon.



Filed under Between the Lines

3 responses to “Media watch points to the funny, the absurd and the misjudgment

  1. I’m a cyclist and a motorist. I believe in the rules of the road.The fact that our tax dollars have been spent to accommodate/appease the cyclists here in Guelph, I would suggest fines and penalties when cyclist run stop signs and lights, ride on the sidewalk, no signals etc.

  2. Kenneth L. Budd

    In my day the bikes had to go to the police department and pass a test with light front and rear and sounding device (ie bell) and get a licence.
    Seeing bikers on the road at night is very difficult since most are wearing dark clothing and not even reflective tape. Perhaps issuing fines could be turned over to our by-law officers, they are normally not seen in this city.
    That is if we even still have them?

  3. contact me re grassroots Gerry, you have my email – Boomer

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