The shutdown of city services in the face of COVID-19 is also affecting millions of dollars worth of building projects which will be stalled because building inspections are not being done.
Earlier this week, the City of Guelph sent notices to those with current projects and applications to inform them that building inspections will not be completed in the foreseeable future.
The City of Guelph closed many of its facilities, including City Hall, on Tuesday. That move also shut down building inspections for construction projects across the city.
Construction on many current projects across the city continues, but could be stalled once each of those projects reaches its next phase and a new inspection is required.
Mayor Cam Guthrie noted those projects include large condo developments, new homes, renovations to the Guelph Police Services headquarters to home projects.
“It could be just the general public who needs an inspection in their home or for a deck or anything,” said Guthrie. “Whatever they are, they are all important, but we have to make sure the importance of those projects does not trump the importance of the health and safety of our staff.”
Options are being reviewed by city staff to determine if building inspection services can be restored, said Stacey Hare, corporate communications and customer service with the City of Guelph.
“Our emergency management team is discussing building inspection services and we appreciate there are significant financial implications for the building community,” said Hare.
She noted there are also potential health and safety risks for city employees and even to property owners if inspections are renewed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re reviewing options to determine if and how we may be able to restore some building inspection services. Our decisions will be based on advice from Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health,” said Hare.
Guthrie agrees the health and safety of the public and staff is paramount.
There is this fine line between making sure we have the health and the safety of our own staff and the public at mind, while at the same time making sure we are helping the economy also move forward, too,” he said. “This is the balancing act that we are faced with on many of the decisions that we have been making over this past week.”
He added: “I am very pleased to hear our staff is reviewing next steps and options in regards to the inspection issue.”
Applicants will be advised if there is any further changes to building inspection services, said Hare.