Downtown Guelph Business Association chief surprised, but not shocked by council decision

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“The mayor is responding to certain voices he hears and I think he may be confusing the voices he hears with the will of the majority,” said Marty Williams.

The mayor could have avoided some embarrassment if he had only asked, said Marty Williams, executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association (DGBA).

Instead, at the request of Mayor Cam Guthrie, council spent time Monday evening drafting a motion directing staff to prepare a report outlining the process involved in reviewing the governance, operations and mandate of the DGBA, including how it could be dissolved.

“It’s a little embarrassing, I think, to know that they are asking a question that there is already an answer for,” said Williams, who supports the idea of ​​a review. “I could have explained that to him. Everything is contained in the Municipal Act, which comes from the province.

The Council’s motion for a report on the review process was approved unanimously, but only after the deletion of language specific to the dissolution process. Several councilors suggested this could be interpreted as assuming the result of a survey of DGBA members and city staff said it would be included in the report anyway.

The disbandment process is “fairly straightforward,” Williams said, explaining that it would start with a survey of DGBA members and, if there is enough support for the disbandment, submit a petition to the city asking the advice to take action.

By presenting the motion on Monday, officially presented by the Council. Rodrigo Goller, Guthrie, said he had been asked several times what the disbanding of the DGBA would entail and that he would like a staff report to help answer those questions.

“The mayor is responding to certain voices he hears and I think he may be confusing the voices he hears with the will of the majority,” Williams said, adding that he had learned of the mayor’s intention a few hours before the council session.

“It was a bit of a surprise, a bit of a… ambush is probably too harsh a word.”

The reconsideration motion was not on the board’s agenda made public before the meeting, although another issue from the DGBA was – appointing a replacement for the board. Dan Gibson’s seat on the board, which went to Goller.

Staff should report in time for the December 6 committee of the entire meeting.

The DGBA is currently conducting a membership survey to get feedback on what the organization does and how it does it.

“We really want, coming out of the pandemic, to do what we can to best help members, but at the end of the day we are limited because we are a BIA,” said Williams, referring to the areas of business improvement, as they are called in provincial legislation. “All of our efforts are aimed at creating the zone in which to do business, not removing the cost to a sole proprietorship. “


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