Ward 6 Town Hall Recap
Last night fellow Councillor, Karl Wettstein, and I held the first Ward 6 Town Hall meeting at the Clair Road Emergency Services Centre (click to download PDFs of our slide presentation) with over 40 residents in attendance. We were also fortunate to have Mayor Guthrie in the audience, in addition to Deputy CAO Derrick Thompson.
We took the opportunity to provide information to the attendees about a number of topics, including the 2016 budget, south end community centre progress, Niska bridge/road progress, roles of councillors and the decision-making steps, Guelph Transit plans, Gordon Street intensification, the latest on Clair/Gordon commercial development, and more. We followed our presentation with some budget trimming discussion before opening the floor to a Q&A session.
Questions from the audience covered a wide range of topics. As expected, the Niska bridge/road development was a hot issue, with passionate delegates expressing their opinions about its future. Many residents also talked about their frustration over what they see as excessive residential development in Ward 6, along with its associated traffic congestion problems and urban design challenges. Council as a whole (and I in particular) was also taken to task for not doing enough to rein in runaway city spending, causing tax increases higher than the rate of inflation (which I have address in a previous post).
On the budget front, we posed the question to the attendees “what would you trim from the 2016 budget to help keep taxes lower?” Answers touched upon reducing sidewalk and road snow plowing service levels, eliminating wasteful department spending, mandating enhanced work efficiency for staff using less money, cutting unused bus service routes/times, cancelling the $50,000 allocated to a goose management strategy, and a few others. Karl and I made notes and will give all suggestions full consideration during our upcoming budget deliberations.
Overall, I’d mark my first Ward 6 Town Hall meeting an unreserved success. We had some great discussions, presented timely information, answered many poignant questions, and met many residents of our exceptional ward. Karl and I also noted several audience tips that will help make our next Town Hall even more engaging and effective.
I extend my sincere thanks to everyone who attended. If you couldn’t make it, I look forward to speaking with you at the next Town Hall or anytime on-line.