By Gerry Barker
It was bound to happen sooner or later. This week, our intrepid Councillor James Gordon, representing Ward Two, has wandered off the page to promote another issue on non-civic importance.
You see James was elected to represent the people in his ward not ask council to approve issues over which he nor council have any jurisdiction or interest.
Last summer he protested about the amount of water Nestle was legally removing from the same huge underground aquifer that supplies the city of Guelph with its water.
Council spent time and political capital to ask the province to step in and stop a commercial company from, dare I say it, draining the aquifer. His crusade caught the eye of Premier Wynne who pledged a full scale investigation about private enterprise pumping water from underground supplies that municipalities depend on for public water.
Let’s talk about Guelph and its use of aquifer potable water in which Coun. Gordon has raised a red flag. His concerns are an exercise in pure politics that mesh with his views and concerns about climate change, the environment and now, about how we should treat refugees/
The actual figures of water use in a city of 121,000 are buried somewhere in the files if the water department and usage is seasonal. As estimated, lets try to calculate the amount of water taken every day for 24 hours that the Guelph wells are pumped to meet the demands of 55,000 households and businesses.
The variables are complicated. Much of the housing built in the past 30 years come with at least two toilets, four sinks, two bathtubs with showers, two outside water hose connections, ice making refrigerators, hot water tanks and laundry units to wash clothes. Commercial water demands vary depending on the size of the enterprise.
Have to go with averages here, as our experience does not fit the average.
Multiplying 55,000 times an average of 100 litres per household per day, not including seasonal or commercial use, that comes to 5,500,000 litres a day seven days a week, 365 days a year. And as the city expands, demand for more water increases.
Now, how much is Nestle drawing from the aquifer to fill its bottled water inventory?
Statistically, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to how much water Guelph is removing daily from the massive subterranean aquifer.
Moving on this week, Coun. Gordon asked council to name Guelph as a “Sanctuary city” for refugees to settle safely with local support. This description has come out of California where the state capital, Sacramento, has been identified as a Sanctuary city for mostly Mexican illegals by the Trump administration.
Gordon’s move attempts to capitalize on a U.S. political situation regarding immigration and a ban on Muslims arriving from seven identified countries.
Canada is already a proven sanctuary for more than 40,000, mostly Syrian refugees admitted in just over a year. The U.S. in the same period admitted less than 4,000.
What strange political bedfellows. President Donald Trump and Guelph Councillor James Gordon. Trump determined to stop immigration and Gordon trying to encourage it,
Heck, Canada is a country of Sanctuary for refugees. You don’t have to go too far back in our history when Canada accepted some 68,000 Vietnamese boat people escaping the communist takeover of their country. The same occurred with the arrival on shores of the Sri Lankan refugees who escaped the terroristic tactics of the Tamil Tigers.
Mr. Gordon should reflect on our history of Canada’s massive refugees, programs since 1945 when we welcomed thousands of European refugees called Displaced Persons (DP’s). But to our great benefit were the thousands of Italian immigrants who chose Canada as their new home.
Those newcomers’ skills, energy and work ethic are reflected as Canada’s charter membership in the G7 group of World Economic powers.
Yet, here is our councillor using political opportunity to create a problem that is being conducted professionally by the Federal Government. Isn’t he mimicking the Trump administration tactic of creating a problem usimg an Executive Order to create a solution?
All I ask Mr. Gordon to do is start working as a councillor and not to obtain the NDP nomination for the upcoming Provincial election next June.
Your performance as a councillor is highlighted by voting for a widening of Speed vale Avenue from Woolwich to Manhattan Circle. You voted to spend $14 million to move the power lines, widen the street to allow bicycle lanes and reduce the vehicular lanes from four to two with a centre left-hand lane.
The staff did not recommend this. Mr. Gordon received more than 150 e-mails protesting the proposal, yet he voted for it.
The day he has the city pick up our sorted garbage, that the city refuses to do, then we will reassess his responsibility to the residents he represents.
His lack of concern about his electors should send a strong message that he should not run in 2018 because his idealism is getting in the way of reality.
After all, shooting the breeze regularly in a downtown restaurant does not equivocate your responsibility to all Guelph citizens.