A few words about a living wage

Today at the city council Corporate Services Committee meeting, a motion to direct staff, in partnership with the Poverty Task Force, to investigate making the city an official supporter of a living wage, was defeated 3-2 with councillors Mackinnon, Billings and Mayor Guthrie voting against it. I believe that we missed an opportunity to take a leadership role in addressing poverty elimination.

Paying a living wage in my view should be an obligation. A civic responsibility. It should be a matter of course. It is the right thing to do. It is going to cost us money as a corporation to achieve the status of a living wage supporter, but it will cost our society more in the long run if we don’t.

We are so fortunate in Guelph. We are prosperous. We have low unemployment.We have a high quality of life. If you look a little deeper, the ‘we’ in that statement does not mean “all of us”. It means the privileged who have jobs that pay benefits, who don’t struggle every month to pay rent and buy food and look after their families. Look beneath the surface and you’ll see that our income gap is widening. People are being left behind, and when significant numbers are left behind, we cannot thrive as a community.

If you are NOT making a living wage, you are not contributing with your taxes. Instead you are drawing on services, you are COSTING the city and the province money. You are not contributing as consumers to our local businesses because you can’t afford it. You are not able to engage with your community because you are struggling, sometimes with two jobs, and you haven’t got the luxury of free time. You are not as healthy as your counterparts who ARE earning a living wage. You are not as productive in your job as those making ‘enough’. You are not as loyal to your employer, nor do you feel that you have a stake in your employer’s success.

We gain so much when we DO pay a living wage. When our workers prosper then we prosper. It’s as simple as that. There will be some who would say that we cannot afford to do this. I believe we can’t afford not to. It will be a short term burden to rectify this unjust inequity, but in the long term we will reap the rewards of this with a safer, healthier, better off and more equal populace. Really if we as employers cannot afford to pay a living wage, we shouldn’t be hiring!

It’s the right thing to do. It could be a central part of a long-term plan to address the income gap in Guelph. The example we can set to the city’s employers would have a ripple affect that would contribute immeasurably to our civic wellness. I feel positive that as a corporation we can find a way to pay a living wage to all our employees that is economically feasible, visionary and successful.

Our mayor feels that wages should be left to the ‘free market’ to sort themselves out. He says that the ‘left’ always makes the living wage a ‘moral and ethical’ issue, when it should be a strictly business decision. In this case I disagree. It is the free market that is responsible for our huge wage gap. The ‘free market’ allows executive salaries to soar, while wages of regular workers goes down. When a corporation is only driven by a desire for a greater profit, the default is to lower wages, not raise them. And yet, some innovative companies are realizing that paying a living wage pays back in many ways. We can do this in Guelph. We can set an example.

It’s the right thing to do.



Filed under Uncategorized

City adds extra buses for summer service

some good news. In my opinion, which isn’t that humble really, I think cutting the frequency of our buses for the summer was one of the biggest mistakes council made at budget time, and we have to take collective responsibility for it. Looking to improve this situation come NEXT budget time in the fall. We thrive more as a city the more ridership we have on public transit, and we won’t increase that ridership until we keep the service reliable and frequent. James
Guelph, Ont., June 28, 2016 – The City of Guelph will add buses to busy routes starting Monday, July 4, in an effort to improve Guelph Transit service for riders.
Additional buses will run weekdays at various times on the following routes:
  • 2A/B West Loop
  • 3B East Loop
  • 5A Gordon
  • 8 Stone Road Mall
  • 10 Imperial
  • 11 Willow West
  • 13 Victoria Road Recreation Centre
These extra buses will allow residents to make connections at Guelph Central Station and the University Centre, and reduce pressures on various routes.
It is anticipated that these additional buses will improve service for riders; however, delays due to construction, detours and traffic congestion may result in unexpected or unavoidable service delays and missed transfers.
The additional buses will be in place from July 4 to September 2.
Regular weekday peak and off-peak service will return on September 6.
For details regarding the service changes, visit guelphtransit.ca.



Filed under Uncategorized

Open House at the Homewood tomorrow about their development plans

Hi folks- Here’s an important Ward 2 issue. The Homewood has extensive development plans that includes severing off the woodland part of the property, and expanding across Delhi Street… Homewood is hosting an open house tomorrow ( Thursday June 23rd )at 7 pm. 150 Delhi Street in the gymnasium. ( Entrance at the north end of the Delhi property).

I will be there, and I hope to see some of you Ward Twovians out as well. James


Open House – Thursday June 23rd 7 – 9 pm

150 Delhi Street – Gymnasium [entrance at North end of Delhi property]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tool Library opening in Guelph

Here’s a great new community initiative. They could use your help!
here’s the note from the new group, based in the Trafalgar Building on Woolwich Street — James
Hi Guelph. Good news!

Our very own tool lending library is nearly ready to open its doors! General household tools, garden equipment, kitchen appliances, and art and craft tools will be available for anyone in Guelph to borrow for free with a $40 membership. Our star items so far are a large $600 table saw, a $1100 portable cider press and fruit crusher unit and a $1500 rototiller. We have wheelbarrows and dehydrators and rakes and more!

The Guelph Tool Library needs a bit of help though. We want to make a big push for donations to bolster the selection of goods you can borrow. Everyone has things they rarely use, gathering dust in a basement or garage. Why not share them? We’ll store and maintain them, and when you do need it, you can still borrow it!

The sort of things we’re seeking in good working order include art easels, blenders, sewing machines, power drills, post hole diggers, stockpots, slow cookers, pressure washers and appliance dollies.

Contact toollibrary@transitionguelph.org<mailto:toollibrary@transitionguelph.org> for item pickup. Support Guelph’s sharing economy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Multi-cultural Festival Starts tomorrow!

Help us celebrate the 30th anniversary of this great Ward 2 event. Official ceremonies and the parade starts at 5:30 Friday at Riverside Park. It’s going to be a great weekend. See you there!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

June is Recreation and Parks month

Be active, stay healthy, get outdoors and have some fun.  You’re invited to celebrate what recreation and parks brings to our community.  Check out the attached calendar of events and you will see, there’s something for everyone. It’s the perfect time to play every day!

June is Seniors’ Month
There is no better time to learn about opportunities, programs and services for seniors 55+. Find out what’s happening by calling 519-823-1291 or visitguelph.ca/events<http://guelph.ca/events/>.

Summer Camps
There’s still time to register for summer camp.  Campers will have an amazing experience participating in a variety of active, creative games, sports, songs, sports, arts, drama swimming and so much more! Everything from Sports ‘N Fun and Museum Camp for children or the youth Extreme Adventure Camp, Camp Comedy and Youth on the Move for youth.  Visit guelph.ca/camps<http://www.guelph.ca/camps> for more information.

We need volunteers!
Do you know someone age 14 or older who is looking to be a positive role model while doing something rewarding and fun with their summer? Are they looking to obtain their required 40 hours of community service?  We have great opportunities for them this summer at our summer day camps! Fully accessible locations citywide, training and T-shirt provided. Camps run from July 4 to September 2.  Training is June 29, 4-6 p.m. at the West End Community Centre.
For more information, please contact the Camp Volunteer Facilitator at 519-822-1260 x 2707 or email Grant.Leemet@guelph.ca<mailto:Grant.Leemet@guelph.ca>.  Visitguelph.ca/camps<http://www.guelph.ca/camps> for more information.

Beat the heat and make a splash!
Splash pads, wading pools and Lyons Outdoor Pool will open weekends starting June 11. See daily opening dates on guelph.ca/recreation<http://www.guelph.ca/recreation>.

Patty Pizziola | Booking and Promotions Coordinator
Recreation Support Services | Parks & Recreation
City of Guelph

T 519.822.1260 x 2618 | F 519.763.9240

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

City, Kindle hosting open houses to discuss potential Brant community hub

Hello Ward Twovians, here’s a last-minute notice…. Two important opportunities if you are in the north east and Brant areas to learn about the possibilities of A Brant Avenue Park Community Hub. I hope you will offer your input.. there will be an ongoing public engagement process with this.’

Guelph, Ont., May 27, 2016 – The City of Guelph and Kindle Communities Inc., are hosting two open houses to hear from residents about a potential community hub within Brant Avenue Park.


The open house sessions, taking place Saturday, May 28 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and Tuesday, May 31 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Brant Avenue Public School, 64 Brant Avenue, are an opportunity for residents to learn more, ask questions, and provide input about a potential community hub and park changes.


Alex Goss, the City’s manager of Community Investment, explains that community hubs—typically located in neighbourhood settings—provide a central access point for a range of needed health and social services, along with cultural, recreational, and green spaces to nourish community life.


“The City is excited to work with its neighbourhood partners to support the potential development of a community hub that could make it easier for area residents to access programs and services without having to leave their neighbourhood.”


In its 2013 report, Addressing Social Determinants of Health in the City of Guelph, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health identified the Brant Avenue neighbourhood as an area of Guelph that lacks employment opportunities, access to food/grocery stores, and agency services and programs that improve community well-being.


Goss adds that Brant Avenue Park was selected as the preferred site because of its central location in the neighbourhood and proximity to Brant Avenue Public School.


“A community hub within the park supports the City’s goal of providing the neighbourhood with a place where people can connect to a wide range of support programs and services. A community hub at this location also aligns with the province’s direction of locating community hubs near schools to build on existing community space.”


Earlier this month, the City purchased two acres of land from the Upper Grand District School Board, located between Brant Avenue Public School and Brant Avenue Park, to potentially accommodate a community hub. The City now owns 4.74 acres of park space in the neighbourhood.


Kindle Communities Inc., a not for profit and socially responsible landlord, is interested in working with the City and community partners to develop and operate the hub building. Preliminary estimates indicate that a hub building could be up to 10,000 to 11,000 square feet in size with another 30,000 square feet for parking, under one fifth of the area of the park. The development may be similar to the multi-service community hub model of the Shelldale Community Centre in the city’s west end, which is also operated by Kindle.


All costs associated with the development of a community hub would be managed by Kindle Communities Inc., who would work with the community and non-profit organizations to determine which services and programs should be offered. The City would then potentially lease the land to Kindle.


Feedback received from the open houses will be reviewed and considered as part of Kindle Communities Inc.’s potential development application. Should a community hub proceed, community members will be invited, at a future date, to help the City create a master plan and unified vision for Brant Avenue Park—a vision that connects the outdoor space with the indoor community hub.


For residents unable to attend the open house sessions, but wish to provide comment, they should contact Alex Goss at alex.goss@guelph.ca.


For more information


Alex Goss                                                      Anne-Marie Simpson
Manager, Community Investment                       Board Member
City of Guelph                                                Kindle Communities Inc.
519-822-1260 extension 2675                            519-824-2410 extension 4810
alex.goss@guelph.ca                                        anne-marie.simpson@fcsgw.org





Michelle Rickard, Communications Officer
Corporate Communications
Corporate Communications and Customer Service

City of Guelph

519-822-1260 extension 2283


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized