Council’s Role and Record – Planning and Development

February 16, 2012

Jobs & the Economy

A report is going to committee next week summarizing the changes made to improve our development approvals process and the next steps to further streamline the process.

For background, see three previous posts: Let’s be Candid, Let’s be Candid – Part 2, Let’s be Candid – Part 3. 

Some of the comments of those interviewed to identify issues relate to the role of Council in the development planning process. The report doesn’t give a sense as to whether the comments represent the perception of one individual  or all 59 staff and development stakeholders interviewed. Nonetheless, it is helpful to explore them.

Two comments related to a perceived lack of strategic direction: 

  • A perceived lack of vision for new investment in Guelph
  • A perceived lack of agreed upon criteria for identifying desirable investment opportunities

This is troubling given the extensive collaborative effort with the business community to complete Prosperity 2020, the update to our economic and tourism strategy.

This strategy has informed: 

  • the marketing of the Hanlon Creek Business Park
  • downtown economic development
  • the partnership with the Province on the Guelph Innovation District 
  • the establishment of Innovation Guelph by the Chamber of Commerce
  • the role of the Business Development Office at the University of Guelph
  • new clusters in solar and water technologies
  • the promotion of agribusiness and life sciences through Grow Guelph (a partnership between the City and the University of Guelph
  • the creation of Guelph Connect (a multi-stakeholder community partnership to facilitate business investment in Guelph)
  • and much more

The City’s Local Growth Strategy and related infrastructure master plans have also established the implementation tools to add approximately 50,000 more residents and 30,000 more jobs by 2031.

In this case, I would argue that the strategic direction is there but perhaps the awareness is not. This is an important message for Guelph Connect to tackle.

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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

View all posts by Karen Farbridge

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