My Commitment to You

Let me begin by thanking you for your confidence in me to serve for another term as city councillor in Ward 5.   Thank you to my fellow candidates — Scott Butler, Bob Senechal, “Jim” Galatianos, Alex Green and Cathy Downer — for respectful and civil campaigns that focused on important city issues.   It was a great opportunity for all of us to challenge the status quo, bring forward new ideas, and share our passion for building a great city.

Recently, the Guelph Tribune published comments made by me on election night, within minutes of learning that our current mayor had been defeated, that make it seem that I am not a team player.  I spoke about “feeling pretty good” that the new council would include seven “progressive” faces.   I have no intent to play divisive politics for the next four years.  My role as a city councillor is to think independently, collaboratively and to engage in active and frequent consultation with constituents of Ward 5.

Later the same evening, I also said “A mayor’s responsibility to council is to build a team and build trust, that’s going to take time and then we all have to roll up our sleeves…we have an amazing city.”    In this spirit,  I have already spoken to our new Mayor-Elect Cam Guthrie and pledged by commitment to build a strong team at City Hall, and to work collaboratively with all new and returning members of Council.

I make the same pledge to you.  Divisive politics has no place in City Hall, it only hurts our community.  The campaign is over and we have work to do.

My commitment to residents of Ward 5 and all citizens of Guelph:

  1. to work collaboratively with all members of council,
  2. to respect and actively listen to diverse opinion on all issues,
  3. to proactively seek public input on city and ward issues,
  4. to actively communicate with residents through multiple media formats,
  5. to be open and inclusive of new councillors, new ideas and new perspectives.

Let’s all collectively work together to make sure that the media, desktop critics and anonymous social media trolls, never veer us off our path to keep Guelph united, strong and caring.

LP

 

 

 

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Re-Elect Leanne Piper Campaign Website

As your current councillor, I will continue to post Ward 5 related information here on this site.

If you are looking for my RE-ELECT LEANNE PIPER campaign website, please visit me over at leannepiper.ca

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Gow’s Bridge Closure Update

Frequently Asked Questions about the closure of Gow’s Bridge…

Q:  Why is the bridge closed? 

A:   The bridge is closed to vehicles as result of the York Trunk Sewer and Paisley-Clythe Feedermain project.  This is a major infrastructure renewal project and the area under the roadway will be excavated and sewer, watermain and storm sewer replacement will occur. 

Q:  What exactly is the part that is closed?

A:   Only the section of McCrae Blvd on the NORTH side of the river is closed, technically speaking.  The bridge will remain open for south bound vehicles to exit Royal City Park and go over the bridge to Water Street.  This is a temporary reversal of the current one-way bridge traffic.

Q:  How long will the bridge be closed?

A:  The bridge and roadway will be closed until mid-August.

Q:  Can cyclists and pedestrians use the bridge?

A:  Yes, the bridge is open so that cyclists and pedestrians can cross and then meet up with the Royal City Park trail between McCrae Blvd and Gordon Street (eastern portion of the park only).  The park trail between McCrae and Edinburgh is closed on the north side of the river.  The trail on the south side of the river is open.  

Q:   Is park access open on the north side of the river?

A:  Yes, the park access road on the north side of the river is open to pedestrians and cyclists — but only on the EAST side between McCrae and Gordon.

Q:  Where can I find further information?

A:  Go to the City website HERE for further information.

Here is a MAP of the traffic impacts.

YorkTrunkDiagramforWeb

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Mayor Karen Farbridge Recognized for Leadership

We often don’t recognize how well-regarded our city and our Mayor are until we leave the city limits.  The Canadian Urban Institute knows that great cities are no accident.  Leadership at all levels — politicians, staff and community — work together to develop and achieve great things.

Mayor Karen Farbridge has championed Guelph’s interests for well over a decade, much of it paying off this term.  Read about the City Builder Award that will bestowed upon our Mayor by the Canadian Urban Institute.

Congratulations Karen!

LP

Posted in 2014 Election | 1 Comment

A Race to the Bottom: Public Sector vs. Private Sector

Ontario’s economy shifting from “stable full-time jobs to shaky part-time jobs”? Toronto Star

“The wage and pension divide between public and private sector is growing.” Globe and Mail.

The latest election trend demonizing public sector workers is disturbing.   Perhaps it’s the ‘Rob Ford’ effect, but it appears that the wages and pensions of public sector workers will be fodder for the upcoming municipal election debate. For it to have any traction, there must be a wedge, a crisis, and demon to hate, so that a candidate can come in and solve it all. The solutions are usually the same old tricks — privatize public services, cut jobs, slash benefits, get tough with unions, open a snitch line to ‘out’ all the abusers and turn full-time jobs into part-time positions.

How does this help our community? Well, it doesn’t.

Public sector workers are our neighbours who live in and contribute to our community. They are the skilled, hard-working citizens who pick up our waste, process our ‘biosolids’, maintain our parks and trees, fix our potholes and plough our streets. They deserve respect. And a living wage.

The gap between a public sector and private sector job used to be the other way around. The recession economy has shifted the paradigm. The result has been to protect corporate prosperity, but has done little for private sectors workers who have seen frozen wages, layoffs, off-shore production, and pension and benefit erosion. The widening gap is not because the public sector is out of control, but because the private sector isn’t keeping pace.

Rather than focusing on the race to the bottom, why don’t we look at it another way…

What if we focus on creating a local economy that attracts and retains employers who offer stable and quality jobs?

What if we create value-added jobs and policies that support local business and economic development?

What if increase the value of public sector investments (capital and labour) so that we lower operating expenses (ie. increased transit ridership)?

It’s time to stop the race to the bottom by blaming the public sector.

LP

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“Why Didn’t You Just Say That in the First Place?”

Yesterday, in response to a question from a local resident, I tried to explain that “Tax-Increment-Based Grants” (TIBG) were not giveaways, nor are they paid for by current taxpayers.

TIBGs are the most misunderstood term in the world. We really need to invent a new word for TIBGs. As part of the conversation, I gave an example of a vacant property paying $1000 in taxes per year in its current undeveloped state. Then, after it was fully developed, it would generate $32,000 in taxes per year (32x its current value). Then, after it is built and we get the tax revenue, we give some of it back to the developer for a fixed time (eg. 5 years) to offset their cost of cleaning up the vacant lot. After that, we keep all the revenue and the money goes back to lower tax increases across the whole city.

She responded, “So you’re just giving the developers back their own money?”

“Yes, exactly,” I said.

Well why didn’t you just say that in the first place?” was her response.

It’s that simple.

LP

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Rental Housing Licencing Update

LEANNE’S 2014  ELECTION SITE CLICK HERE

In a surprise twist, City of Guelph staff are recommending that licensing of rental housing be abandoned, and that the city continue enhanced enforcement and education initiatives in its place.

The Rental Housing Licensing report is to be presented to the Planning, Building, Engineering, and Environment (PBEE) committee on Monday, May 5 at 2:00 pm.  Any member of the public who wishes to comment or speak to this report should contact the Clerks office at clerks@guelph.ca.  

Read the full report here.

Although there has been success with enhanced pro-active enforcement in the last two years, licensing was never intended to deal with tenant behaviour issues (noise, property standards, garbage, etc.).  We have by-laws for these concerns.  Licensing was intended to protect tenant health and safety, and prevent neighbourhood destabilization.  Licensing is a different tool with its own distinct purpose, separate from by-laws.

There are great landlords in Guelph who comply with regulations and offer safe, clean and affordable housing to our citizens.  However, there are others who knowingly and willingly rent sub-standard accommodations to the most vulnerable in our community, and should be held accountable.

Without right of entry to inspect, and in the absence of prohibitive fines for the those who knowingly rent illegal accommodation, the abandonment of licensing is simply the status quo.  We owe our tenant-citizens better.

I would love to know what you think?   Abandon the idea altogether?  Defer licensing, and then pursue right of entry and stiffer fines?  Or full steam ahead on licensing?

LP

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