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City's 10-year plans for Downtown Guelph underfunded by $26M

City councillors hold workshop to see if the city is 'dreaming and scheming' the right way about downtown
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Mayor Cam Guthrie speaks at a city council workshop on the Downtown Guelph Implementation Strategy Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, at City Hall. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

As it stands the city is $26 million short of the $200 million it will cost to pay for its renewal plans for Downtown Guelph over the next 10 years.

The updated  numbers were presented at a Downtown Guelph Implementation Strategy workshop held for members of city council Thursday night at city hall.

Most of that shortfall comes in the form of “city building,” namely capital funding.

That’s in addition to a $15-$20 million shortfall for city capital projects in the rest of Guelph.

Mayor Cam Guthrie did point out that the financial projections did not include any funding the city may get over the next 10 years from the provincial or federal governments.

“This figure does not include annual operating costs, and also does not include potential partnership and funding sources beyond the municipal contributions,” said the staff report that was a precursor to Thursday’s meeting.

Thursday’s workshop is one of three planned for council. Initially the purpose is to update and set a decision making course for implementation of downtown renewal – developing the criteria that will be used to prioritize and sequence downtown projects.

“Today is about ‘are we dreaming and scheming in the right way?’” said Deputy CAO Scott Stewart.

Around 20 members of the public, most with a vested interest in the downtown core, were in attendance at the workshop, but weren’t able to ask questions or participate in the work groups that councillors broke into.

Councillors did an exercise where they weighted 10 different criteria for downtown development established by staff, including such ingredients as economic development, culture, mobility, community facilities and heritage, capital asset management and health and safety.

They will be working on written submissions on those criteria – and any others they felt weren’t addressed by the list created by staff - individually.



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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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