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State of the City with Mayor Cam Guthrie

Updated: May 26, 2023

February 2, 2023



Guelph, Ontario - Representatives from the Guelph & District Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors, Government and External Relations Committee, and staff attended the State of the City today, hosted by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce.


Guelph's Mayor Cam Guthrie opened by stating that this year's update would be different. In a foreboding tone, he informed the attendees there would be no ice-breaker games, like in previous years, and that the presentation would be much more serious due to what lies ahead for Guelph in 2023.


At the top of the list of major challenges the community currently faces are:

  • Mental health and addictions

  • Homelessness

  • Housing

  • Downtown businesses

  • Making non-profitable things profitable

  • Affordability

  • Tax increase

  • Building more homes

  • Commitment to the province

  • Working collaboratively

  • U of G student housing

Mayor Guthrie also said he wanted to leave a lot more time for questions this year and the questions that came forward definitely had a focus on housing.


“We are in a housing crisis” he declared, calling on everyone to work together. We must do what we can to help get more housing built and that means all types of housing:

  • Supportive

  • Affordable

  • Social

  • Non-Profit

  • Rental

  • Market ownership

  • Etc.

It has to happen and it has to happen quickly, but that development rests on a number of players and a number of layers. The City and development community represent two of the three players that have a major role in solving this issue. The third player is our existing community.


Developers need to have their applications completed and ready for that stamp of approval for either staff or council, if necessary. They have to commit to shovels in the ground as quickly as the approvals come.


But the community cannot continue to uphold barriers to that development such as N.I.M.B.Y.ism. The mentality of "Not In My Backyard" must STOP! More often than not, it is the same recipe of complaints that come from every neighborhood.


We are in a housing crisis. You, me and probably everybody in this room is very comfortably housed right now. It is time to embrace different housing types for different people because communities are made of differences. It is time to embrace YIMBY - "Yes In My Backyard”.


The province is legally requiring Guelph to make a pledge by March for 18,000 new units to be built by 2031 which is 2,000 units a year. We need to make sure that when we make this pledge, which is coming to the council later this month, we actually abide by it. We can only approve developments, we don’t build, so we need to hold ourselves accountable for this initiative and build partnerships with our local development community to ensure they can get those shovels in the ground.

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