Three examples of how the administration papers over its past mistakes

Posted  November 6, 2013

There are just three so far but get ready for more of your tax dollars to be used to resurrect and re-elect the current administration.

First, there is the $100,000 being spent to a Toronto consultant to create a plan to provide openness and transparency to city operations.

Second, is the abstract Wellbeing initiative in which more than a million dollars has been spent to convince city’s citizens to feel good about themselves, their environment and their civic leadership. “Con” is the operative word here.

Third, is the latest effort to convince taxpayers that after almost seven years the administration is going to expand it efforts to retain and attract commercial and industrial development. Its moniker is, wait, and take a deep breath, “The Grow Guelph Business Retention and Expansion Program (BR+E)”.

Let’s dissect the third example first.  The question begs an answer: Why now? Why after almost seven years in which the city administration has failed to move the needle on commercial and industrial expansion of only 16 per cent of the total city assessment? Why is this suddenly so important?  Because Guelph’s residential taxpayers have the unwarranted burden of picking up 84 per cent of the city’s total assessment.

The City’s Economic Development department has been a disaster when it comes to increasing commercial/industrial assessment to relieve the burden that residential taxpayers must pay.

No amount of Terry Bradshaw videos will help when it comes to a comprehensive outreach plan to generate new business for the city. That was another $25,000 wasted.

To make the Grow Guelph BR+E look grand and all encompassing, the city has attracted some 10 Guelph, Wellington County and provincial “partners” to pool their resources to create this effort. Starting this month, an “outreach business initiative” will survey 100 businesses to “highlight common system issues, improve or design program resources, and economic development strategies in the region.”

This is just another effort by the Farbridge administration to paper over its seven-year failure to not only retain businesses already established in the city, but to attract business to create assessment and jobs.

In that time the city, has approved high-rise condominiums and linked row housing that cannot be serviced by its new $15 million waste collection system.

Now who would be responsible for all these errors in judgment?

Why responsibility falls under Executive Director, Janet Laird, who is in charge of environmental services, planning and engineering.

The city doesn’t have to look too far to discover why commercial/industrial development has stagnated for seven years. The answer lies within its own policies that two independent consultants have separately told the city that it is a bad place in which to do business.

Build more housing units and the residential/industrial ratio will not change. What is needed is a comprehensive outreach business development plan to attract new business assessment. Add to it, a restructuring of the approval process to encourage and assist new business to establish in Guelph.

This latest attempt to mollify the electorate and justify its inability to increase the commercial/industrial ratio is too little too late. It is so abstract that nothing tangible will occur, if ever, before and after the next election.


Let’s address the latest attempt to by the Farbridge administration that it is earnest in operating an open and transparent administration.  Again, after seven years of closed door meetings, manipulation of its message to cover up mistakes, imposing crushing user fees and tax increases across the board and uncontrolled spending of taxpayer’s money, we get to spend $100,000 to tell them how to let the fresh air in.

Why now? Because the great silent majority is slowly figuring it out and are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the way our city is being run.

Sorry Madame Mayor, but that horse is already out of the barn.


Finally, there is the Wellbeing initiative. The local Daily has been tub-thumping about this wonkish $1 million plan in editorials urging people to participate. Usually when that salvage action happens, the best-laid plans are out the window.

There is a terrific critique about this latest Farbridge social engineering scheme. It is meant to divert attention from its sorry management record and woo the electorate. Find it on the GrassRoots Guelph website – – in the newsletter link. It’s worth a read.





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