More short takes on bridges, budgets and a business plan

Posted October 25, 2013

A bridge too low?

The city takes two years to rebuild the lower section of Wyndham Street including installing crash guards under the CN rail bridge over the street.

Unfortunately, the city brain trust did not measure the distance from the bottom of the crash guards to the newly laid pavement. Result is there have been four collisions with trucks smacking the guards.

This prompted city engineers to close the street trying figure out what the problem was and to put signs up to warn truckers once the real height is determined.

Meanwhile the street is subject to intense investigation until a solution is found.

It only took two years, eh?

When Janet Laird speaks, is anyone listening anymore?

The dilemma of 6,400 condominium residents in the city not having their waste picked up by the new-fangled automated cart collectors, was not helped by comments by garbage poobah, Janet Laird.

Dr. Laird flatly said there is an understanding at city hall that introducing private collection of waste won’t be considered by Guelph. Not until “efficiencies” of the new system are established.

Guess that’s what she has to say seeing she is the author of the $52 million waste management system that doesn’t work. It fails to serve some 6,400 Guelph residences and the organics plant is unable to reach its planned capacity of 30,000 tonnes of wet waste processed annually.

Her response is “we have offered solutions to all condo developments for dealing with the cart system.”  Tell that to the owners. These are the same owners who purchased their property that had been approved by the city officials to receive all services including garbage collection.

Don’t expect this administration to resolve this serious problem, if Dr. Laird has any say.

Coun. Ian Findlay and the Wilson Farmhouse magical business plan

Ian Findlay, ward 2 councillor, is a small business owner downtown. He now proposes to have the city finance $500,000 to renovate the Wilson Farmhouse into a community centre and “green living showroom” for the whole city.

The business case states the conversion will turn a profit of $17,000 a year. Ian please, that won’t cover the debt-servicing let alone the liability insurance and other variable operating costs.

This has to be the dumbest idea for the good councilor to mastermind since his trip to Edmonton a few years ago to study how that city addresses the public human waste problem. Remember the downtown pissoir experiment that barred females from using the temporary facility, only men? Guess it seemed like a good idea at the time. Ka’ching Ka’ching!

Current public interest in Guelph has the “greening” of the city at the bottom of the family bucket list.  There is far more interest in reining in spending, controlling tax increases and stopping the cuckoo ideas that council members keep bringing up.

Findlay’s proposal deserves a decent burial. It may be fun running the city business and spending other people’s money but politically, it can be a dangerous exercise.

Crafting a city budget for 2014 requires tight public scrutiny

We are approaching the last year of this council’s life. Already the staff has stated that the starting point for the 2014 budget is a 3.4 per cent property tax increase. Hey! That’s an improvement over last year when the staff recommended an 8.5 per cent increase.

There is a major cloud hanging over the city’s 2014 budget gyrations. It’s a petition by taxpayers for an audit of the city’s finances and operations. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing received the petition and has revealed that it will investigate to determine what led up to the citizen demand for an independent audit.  The non-partisan GrassRoots Guelph organization, of which the writer is a member, has made serious charges of documented financial mismanagement.

In the event some or all these charges are proved to be accurate by an independent audit, this will severely affect the 2014 budget that is to be wrapped up in late November.

Another factor affecting the 2014 city budget is the judgment that is forthcoming involving five lawsuits over the construction of the new city hall. This could result in a liability of more than $20 million including legal costs.

Any thoughts by the Farbridge administration that the 2014 budget will be a good news budget loaded with promises of money for the minority special interests and base of supporters can be devastating at the ballot box next October.

Is the party over? Turn out the lights.

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5 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

5 responses to “More short takes on bridges, budgets and a business plan

  1. geo

    Did not measure the distance from the bottom of the crash guards to the newly laid pavement.
    A $52 million waste management system that doesn’t work.
    All these City employees making obscene salaries because Guelph fears losing them?
    I would suggest that if we could ever rid ourselves of these pretenders they would struggle to find employment at $12 an hour.

  2. Paul:

    geo:
    Right on. The Mayor has a PHD, so too does Laird. Together they cannot teach a dog to urinate on a fire hydrant. Add the City Engineer to that crowd and Voila – The three Stooges

  3. Another one hit the bridge today, speaking of that, who decided it would be OK to run 50 ton city buses across the Gow Bridge, the one over the Speed b/w Gordon and Edinburgh? That was built for horses?
    Harsh way to preserve our past, no?

  4. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    Paul:Talking of teaching “…a dog to urinate on a fire hydrant…” I wonder if the Fire Department’s ladder truck will be able to navigate the railway underpass? david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

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