Fiscal turbulence, unity the mayor's message at first Guelph, Ont. city council meeting

Expect a bumpy ride for the next couple of years.

That is what third-term Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie said in his speech to city council at Tuesday’s inaugural meeting at city hall. With the proposed legislation by the province on new housing, Guthrie expects it will stretch out what remaining resources the city has left.

“I think coming out of the pandemic exposed a lot of issues,” said Guthrie after the meeting. “A lot of what we do in the city is wrapped around capital work: infrastructure, repair, replace, or build new. With the constant inflationary issues, labour shortages, material issues, those will play out over the next couple years.”

Guthrie was the first to be sworn in by clerk Stephen O’Brien then the 12 councillors took their turns collectively.

One of the seven returning councillors, Rodrigo Goller, echoed Guthrie’s comments especially around the proposed legislation regarding housing.

“I think we are going to have a difficult time doing what is being proposed,” said Goller. “But looking at the council that we have, I think we are positioned well to have very fruitful discussions, conversations, and find a path forward that benefits the city.”

Councillor Ken Yee Chew, one of five who are new on council, said, “We have big fight ahead of us just to see how we can respond to the province in light of new legislation regarding housing and how it will impact the city and the city staff directly. So we have our work cut out for us.”

Another point that Guthrie wanted to get across during the meeting is unity.

“None of us are better than the other,” said Guthrie. “We are Team Guelph. And that is why it is important to acknowledge the new councillors that and I know that the eight of us that are returning are going be welcoming them and helping them along the way.”

“Our constituents, our citizens don’t see beyond ward boundaries, they see Guelph as Guelph,” Yee Chew said. “It all starts with the culture of unity and I think we can get a lot done.”

Guthrie believed as mayor, it was important to have him address the two main points in his inaugural speech to the councillors that will be making important decisions over the next four years.

“Disagreements are fine, but we will not choose division. I think it was important for me to set that tone.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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