Posted July 6, 2014
Ms. Shuttleworth is the municipal reporter for the Mercury and her comments are not supported by guelphspeaks and GrassRoots Guelph.
In the public interest, the following comment is published in the Guelph Mercury blog: 58 Carden Street blog by Joanne Shuttleworth.
“From a focus on community well-being as the lens to make decisions, to the organizational restructuring, to the many personnel changes over the past 10 years, Guelph City Hall is a different animal now.
“And that’s a good thing.
“There are still times when it could function better, but light-years ahead of the quibbling, bickering, and personal attacks of yesteryear.”
Does community well-being include spending millions on waste management including $34 million for a compost processing plant that is three times the size needed for the next 20 years? And then selling two-thirds of that capacity to the Region of Waterloo at 8 per cent of the operating cost to Guelph?
Or having the city install a $15 million cart/bin collection system that fails to serve 13 per cent of the households and businesses in Guelph? Was that a good thing?
Or having three CAO’s and five CFO’s in eight years? This you describe as restructuring but most people would describe it as destructuring.
Or in just eight years seeing property tax increases rise by 35 per cent and water rates by 77 per cent? This has resulted in Guelph having one of the highest tax rates in Ontario. And if the Mayor and her council cohorts are re-elected in October, they will continue to tax us more in order to pay for their past mistakes.
Was the Urbacon decision a good thing?
Or rebuilding the bridge on Wyndham Street that large commercial vehicles cannot pass through? But for more than 20 years previously, those trucks could pass under the bridge.
Or, establishing a holding company – Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc – to control Guelph Hydro, the Guelph Junction Railroad, Envida Corporation and, a real estate company to dispose of city property. This is controlled by Mayor Farbridge and answers to no one. Through this corporation, Mayor Farbridge will be able to sell Guelph Hydro with no input from council or the citizens.
Or closing down a major city construction project by firing the contractor, Urbacon Buildings, and being found guilty of wrongful dismissal? The decision will cost the taxpayers in Guelph dearly. Well-being is associated with this fiasco?
Or planning to build a structure on the Baker Street Parking lot to house Conestoga College, the YMCA and the Library, none of which pay property taxes? Joanne, it seems whenever the city builds something, its costs soar over budget, it is not completed on time and other projects are shuffled into a ten-year capital-spending plan.
Or subsiding hi-rise builders with funds from the Brownfield regeneration reserve and spending millions allegedly revitalizing downtown Guelph? Yet council is unable to solve the problem of rowdyism that plagues the area at night and weekends.
Or resurfacing major roads and then restricting vehicle lanes from four to two to provide for wider bicycle lanes? This is part of the Farbridge council’s war on cars. They actually believe that a combination of public transit, use of bicycles and misguided urban planning will reduce use of automobiles in Guelph.
Finally, Innovation Guelph, another layer of bureaucracy, in which the city staff has developed detailed plans for the former Reformatory lands owned by the Province. This is yet another case where taxpayer money is being spent planning land usage on property the city doesn’t own.
Still think this is a good thing?
Nothing Personal Joanne, but as a reporter your responsibility is to remain neutral covering the news. Such as your predecessor, who mixed reporting with opinion, it is a betrayal to the reader who, expects objectivity and not subjective comments in your copy.