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Cam Guthrie will 'absolutely' be running for mayor in 2018

Mayor reflects on some of the key issues over the past year and some of those to come in 2018

Cam Guthrie will definitely be running for Mayor of Guelph in 2018.

A civic election is planned for Oct. 22 and Guthrie said he will be running for a second term.

“Oh yes, absolutely,” said Guthrie, who defeated incumbent Karen Farbridge by 5,500 votes in the 2014 election.

“I really enjoy being the mayor and I love being the mayor,” Guthrie said.

“But like anybody that comes into a new house, they sometimes open up the cupboard doors and find some surprises. A lot of this term was moving key issues forward but a lot of this term was also cleaning up a pretty big mess.”

Candidates for council can officially register between May 1 and July 27.

Guthrie said the fact that there is an election this year shouldn’t get in the way of council going about its business the right way and not use council chambers as a platform for “electioneering.”

“Often people call it silly season,” Guthrie said.

“But I believe that there are too many key files to be fooling around with electioneering and positioning. We’re supposed to be in this – and I know I’m in this – to make Guelph better and that means Guelph has to be put first.

“I’m going to do that and I’m hopeful that council will do the same when it comes to these files and not let electioneering push out what’s right for Guelph.”

The mayor made the remarks during an interview that looked back on what he felt were some of the key highlights of council over the past year and the challenges to come in 2018.

Service Reviews:

Guelph initiated the first of a series of internal service reviews, starting with solid waste, with the final report due early in 2018. A full service review of Guelph Transit is to be started in 2018.

“That has been something I have been trying to move forward as a councillor in the last term of council and it’s something I ran on wanting to do in my platform for mayor. To see that come to fruition in 2017, and moving forward, that was a big goal for me to try and bring forward and I’m really glad that was brought forward in 2017.”

The’Guelph Factor:’

A term used for the past few years to negatively describe what many feel is a difficulty developers and other businesses find in getting things approved through city hall.

“Having that put to rest with the turning over of a new leaf through a continuous improvement program embedded within the planning, enterprise and development department. Now it is a cultural change within that department.

“That’s a cultural change, when you have continuous improvement … they’re something that don’t get in the headlines, but it’s very important for the city that bodes very well for the entire city.”

The Guelph Innovation District:

The city is moving forward with a process that could see it purchase 243 acres of provincial property to sell for future development.

The mayor also has a meeting set up with the provincial Minster of Infrastructure in January to discuss the larger old jail property along York Road.

“It’s been a long haul on those lands for seven years, so that is one I’m really going to have to be focused on.”

East Guelph

The city’s commercial policy review is due to be finished mid-summer, a preliminary step in implementing Official Plan changes that will hopefully bring more commercial development to the store-started east end of Guelph.

“I’m going to be continually working on this.

“The commercial policy review looks to try and help the inequities that have been so prevalent when it comes to the east end of Guelph when it comes to commercial opportunities.”

South End Expansion:

The Clair Road/Maltby Road Secondary Plan is 12 months into its timeline, a document that will help shape the city as it moves further south in the coming years.

“It’s nice to see that moving along really quickly and being sped up.”

More Infrastructure Funding:

The province and the federal government are expected to deliver a second round of infrastructure funding to municipalities starting this spring.

“We were very successful in the first round …. I know staff is doing a good job of making sure we’re ready for this round, making sure that Guelph’s needs are put front and centre in the other levels of governments’ eyes.”

On Keeping Guelph Affordable:

Guthrie said the city has to work with what are in its control to help keep the city as affordable as possible.

The merger of Guelph Hydro with Alectra, the freeing up of more land for housing and keeping reigns on the city’s budget are part of that, he said.

“I’m really proud that the last two budgets have been very close to the rate of inflation.”

Baker Street/South End Rec Centre:

Detailed design work is taking place on a new south end recreation centre to be ready for if and when the provincial/federal infrastructure money comes down the pipe.

The Guelph Public Library will be presenting its business plan early in February and if approved, that project moves a step closer to reality as part of the ongoing Baker Street project.

“The library is finally moving forward and that is really the Baker Street project. We can’t talk just about the library as a solo project.

“The south end rec centre is finally moving forward. In the spring, maybe into mid-next year, I’ll be able to hold up the actual architectural plans for that. All the detail design work will be done.”

“All these types of projects, that have been talk, talk, talk and talk and report after report  collecting dust on shelves, they’re finally coming together. We’re not talking about a library anymore, we’re looking to build one. We’re not talking about a south end rec centre, we’re looking to build one. These projects have been moved swiftly over the last year.”

Guelph Hydro Merger:

“From an issue that was worked on by council, that would definitely top the list from a process point of view.”

City’s Executive Team:

“2017 saw the executive team composition fully-realized … it’s a fresh set of eyes than what was here three years ago.

“People see the mayor or councillors voting and ribbon cutting, but behind the scenese is staff leading that cultural shift internally.”