Guelph Factor 2023
There was a time many moons ago, when the city of Guelph was prominently known to have been very anti-business and anti-development. Select city council members and city staff would often introduce so much bureaucratic red tape that to even get a Walmart approved was a hefty hurdle.
Elections and campaigns against the Guelph Factor were won and lost and the notorious “Guelph Factor” subsided into the abyss. All was whole again, or is it?
Today, in 2023 we’re seeing a trend of developers opting to bypass local processes and heading straight to the upper tiers of governments to get much needed work and development done in our Guelph community. That Guelph Factor has seemingly resurfaced.
From endless heritage designations, discussions and debates, that requesting even an extra parking space in a development can seemingly add months of delays to a project – if it’s even approved at all.
And as Premier Doug Ford had recently stated in response to Mike Schreiner, “There’s 444 municipalities in this entire province. Guess who has the lowest housing starts? It’s his riding of Guelph.”
The province had to step in to assist growth in Guelph. They recently made several motions that is not up for debate, as Mayor Cam Guthrie recently said “Why is it that developers and third parties had to go around the city and actually lobby the government on things? Has anyone ever really thought about that for a second? Maybe it’s because we’re the problem. Maybe it’s because we’re causing issues in our areas in how we speak and how we vote on certain things.”
The new development proposal in the works at 140 Hadati Rd by Dotty Lake Retreats Inc., recently filed an appeal with the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), pointing to city council’s lack of decision.
It’s becoming evident in the development community that in order to get things done, in order to build homes, it may at times be best to go straight to the top and bypass the Guelph Factor.
Some city councillors may have various arguments, but at the end of the day, it has resulted in Guelph having one of the lowest housing starts and some of the highest taxes in all of Ontario.