About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pissoirs Pulled

From the City this morning...

Downtown Guelph's two open-air pissoirs, installed as a pilot in Guelph's downtown core, were removed today.

The pissoirs at the Macdonell Street municipal parking lot and at the corner of Carden and Wyndham were installed for an eight week trial period as part of a three-pronged approach developed by the Downtown Night Life Task Force to curb urination on public and private property in the downtown core. The Task Force includes representatives from downtown businesses, the Downtown Guelph Business Association, Guelph Police Service, the University of Guelph and the City of Guelph.

Guelph City Council approved the $8,400 pilot project, which covered rental and maintenance costs of the two pissoirs. An additional $4,200 from downtown stakeholders went towards a public education campaign that included posters for downtown establishments and signs for the pissoirs.

City staff monitored the level of use, the number of by-law infringements and number of calls for maintenance during the pilot. Staff will report to City Council on the assessment of the pilot project in the coming weeks.

I'm more interested in that first part of the review, given what happen to me Tuesday night. Well, "happened to me" is not entirely precise, but it was more something I witnessed. I was heading to the Red Brick Cafe on Douglas for a late-ish night caffeine fix when I saw some guy in a hoodie and baggy pants peeing against the wall of the Scotiabank.

Hopefully, what the infringement report will attest to is that slobs will be slobs and trying to placate them by saying "if you've got to pee outside, at least do it in this bowl we've set-up." Hopefully, this is the last we'll hear of this unseemly experiment.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Would you vote for this man?

Guelph's Conservatives hope you will, because this man, Marty Burke, has been acclaimed as their candidate in the next Federal election scheduled to happen between anytime after the minute you read this sentence.

Mr. Burke is a 49-year-old Air Canada pilot, married for 20 years to his wife Trish who together have three children aged 9, 17, and 19. Additionally, Burke was a 23 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, a pretty important ace card as the Harper government faces ongoing criticism about action in Afghanistan. “There’s a certain amount of pride in your country that goes with being in the military,” John White, president of the Conservative Party riding association, told the Guelph Mercury yesterday.

A riding association press release said that Burke had expressed that he looked forward to being part of a party that offered Canadians economic recovery, environmental protection and ethical leadership. Of the candidate himself White said that “He’s energetic [...] He’s well-spoken and he’s in touch with several of the communities within Guelph.”

The question is this though: is he more in touch with Guelph than Liberal incumbent Frank Valeriote, who's well-liked, been involved in several community groups, boards and committees. And perhaps more importantly, Valeriote has the life-long Guelphite label working for him; Burke meanwhile moved to Guelph in 2000.

Burke does seem like an affable fellow, but the question is: will he be able to colour the last bit of Liberal red Conservative blue on the map of southwestern Ontario? The last two local Conservative candidates, Brent Barr and Gloria Kovach, were two people with a lot of crossover potential to reach non-Conservatives and independents. However, the core problem remains the same, I think: the man at the top. The people left to reach aren't fond of Stephen Harper and his policies, and the new face for Royal City Conservatives might not be able to change that.

Time will tell.