The Guelph Civic League has been through many changes over the years, and it seems that the changes aren't done yet with the announcement that the GCL is going on hiatus this summer for retooling.
In a brief posting on the GCL blog, the group says that they are "'going dark' for the summer months to reboot and recharge."
"When we relaunch in September, the GCL will have a vibrant new online presence," the blog post continues. "Our website will be a news-magazine style forum for community debate. Our goal is to provide a space that facilitates respectful conversations on the issues that affect us all. We believe this conversation space will contribute to a more engaged, informed and active local citizenry. Best of all, it will be written by Guelph citizens, for Guelph citizens."
This follows the recent announcement that Andy Best, former vice-president of the GCL, is succeeding Dave Sills as president, who unfortunately had to leave the group due to work-related issues. Former at-large member Kevin Bowman, meanwhile, has been elevated to vice-president.
Now the GCL gets a lot of flack from some members of our eclectic community, seeing it as an appendage of the "looney lefty." Indeed, the GCL was an activist organization that formed prior to the 2006 municipal election as a direct response to the election of a more right-of-centre council in 2003, particularly the mayoralty of Kate Quarrie. Best, for his part, seems to want to dispel the myth that the GCL still swings to the left by promoting a more non-partisan GCL, one whose goals are strictly community engagement and developing a better Guelph for everyone regardless of political affiliation.
"Our new site will be a forum for respectful community debate and opinion - from all perspectives," Best wrote in a post on the 59 Carden St. blog. "We'll be curating content from the community, people's opinions and ideas on, well, any municipal issue that they are passionate about! It will be geared for comments to ensure Guelphites have a dedicated space online to have intelligent conversations about the issues that matter to us all, no matter where we stand."
"Intelligent conversations" is something I think we're lacking in the current political climate, and I think anyone should welcome the opportunity to have a forum that promotes that kind of discussion. Judging from the other posts on the Carden St. blog, I may be alone in that assessment, but I guess we'll see for certain when the GCL website launches again in the fall.