Breezy Breakfast Radio Hour
Episode 49:  Open Mic

Episode 49: Open Mic

June 24, 2021

This week, we returned to the open mic, a lightly moderated breakfast where we encouraged all attendees to bring forward local issues.  Hot topics were:
The Ontario Reformatory Lands, including what a Part V heritage designation does and does not do,
AND
The results of the Ward Boundary Review, including the recommendation of 8 wards with 1 full time councillor per ward.

 

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Episode 48:  The Library and the Baker Street Saga

Episode 48: The Library and the Baker Street Saga

June 15, 2021

Hi, Tanya Gevaert here!

While reading about the history of the Guelph Public Library, I came upon the following: “A movement had been put forward to erect a separate building at the turn of the century but had come close to a standstill because of lack of funds and a suitable location. The mayor, Mr. John Kennedy and the Council of 1902 donated part of the park which formed Nelson Crescent and in the spite of the objections of the citizens over this use of park lands for a building, the building of the new Library commenced.”

Lack of Funds? Trouble finding a suitable location? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Talk of a new main public library started in 1995. The proposal to buy the Post Office was squashed in 2005. The Chief Librarian noted that the Baker Street lot offered the city an opportunity to build a library for the 21 st century while invigorating downtown.

Three preliminary concepts for the Baker Street parking lot were presented to Council in 2008; however, the new library was not included in the 2010 capital budget. In March 2012, a report recommended that a 90,000 square foot 21 st century facility be built with all the typical library components, along with community meeting spaces, green space, and state-of-the-art Archives. (Sound familiar?)

Fast-forward to 2021. Guelph has an opportunity to work with Windmill developers, a company committed to erecting zero ecological footprint buildings. Their mixed-use projects are LEED Platinum certified; their motto is “People + Planet + Prosperity.” The perfect partner for a “green” city.

Their vision of the Baker District includes the new Main Library, residential and mixed-use buildings, and open public space.

It’s been a long and winding road, and we’ve arrived at the same place as we did in 2008. The time has come for Guelph to make a firm commitment to revitalize the downtown core with the new Main Library as a solid anchor.

On June 11, our guests were Steve Kraft (CEO of GPL), Scott Butler (Chair of the GPL Board), and Stephanie Guy (Project Manager, City of Guelph). We heard about the new Main Library and the Baker District Redevelopment. It was the perfect way to get prepared for the Council Report and Presentation on July 21.

 

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Episode 47: A visit from OPIRG Guelph

Episode 47: A visit from OPIRG Guelph

June 9, 2021

On the Breezy Breakfast of June 3, 2021 we were joined by Mandy Hiscocks - Coordinator of Organizational and Policy Development and Natali Euale Montilla (Rosa Amarilla) - Coordinator of Volunteer Programming and Community Engagement - from The Ontario Public Interest Research Group Guelph.

OPIRG has a very long history in Guelph. It has encouraged many community campaigns ranging from promoting organic gardening and reducing pesticide use to the Campaign for Disinvestment in South Africa, to the ongoing Rivers Cleanup and now the campaign for Fossil Free Guelph.

Nationally, THE “PIRGs” were ‘launched by “public interest” activist Ralph Nader in the early seventies as a means to harness the energy and talents of students to help solve pressing social and environmental problems. The OPIRG Guelph chapter was founded at the University of Guelph in 1976 following a visit that Nader made to Waterloo in 1974.’

OPIRG is an organization that determines its activities democratically. It works to ‘strengthen the link between the University of Guelph campus and our surrounding community. While OPIRG is campus-based, the goal is to inspire and involve students, faculty, and other staff in addressing issues of environmental and social justice in the community. Much of the local work involves collaborating and networking with individuals and groups in the Guelph area to build partnerships with like-minded organizations.'

OPIRG has been the cradle of many who became prominent in the Guelph Community: Peter Cameron was there from the start. Former Mayor Karen Farbridge was at the helm for some years before becoming mayor. It was influential in establishing the Hillside Festival.

As Public Interest Founder Ralph Nader expressed to former OPIRG stalwart the late Carole  Milligan:  “Once you are an activist, you will never be lonely again”. If you’re inspired by OPIRG’s vision there are many types of activism that you can get involved in: from writing articles, becoming a Board member, joining an Action Group or even proposing new projects and initiatives.

Listen in on this episode to hear Nat and Mandy outline how OPIRG kills boredom - creates life long opportunities for community building while working for social and environmental justice everywhere.

 

 

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Episode 46: the Reformatory Lands

Episode 46: the Reformatory Lands

June 1, 2021

Have you ever wondered why there is so much activity - cars, bikes, pedestrians - on the south side of York Road near Elizabeth Street?  Guelph's Ontario Reformatory Lands is one of the most picturesque places to take a walk, hike, meditate, and soak up nature's beauty.  Along the way, you'll pass by Heritage trees, fieldstone walls, ponds, and the old reformatory buildings.

These lands are owned by the provincial government, and Guelph's own Yorklands Green Hub wanted to purchase a 70 acre parcel of this land.  Alas, this is no longer possible, as the provincial government has decided to sell the entire property in a one shot deal.  For this week's breakfast, recorded on May 27, 2021, our guests from the YGH focused on the Natural and Cultural Heritage designation of these lands.  In short, a higher designation will provide the OR lands with better protection:  some of the lands might even remain in the public realm.

Norah Chaloner will kick things off with some introductory remarks.  Susan Ratcliffe will describe the Cultural Heritage value of the OR lands and will give an introduction to the Natural and Cultural Heritage designation process.  David Alton will discuss the benefits of a Part V designation and how it fits with the Guelph Innovation District Secondary Plan.  Alex Smith will bring it all back home by investigating City Staff's recommendation of a Part IV designation, rather than the stronger Part V designation.

The OR designation decision will be made at the June 14th council meeting.  This lively presentation will inspire you to make a delegation!

 

This breakfast was co-moderated by Tanya Gevaert and James Gordon.

 

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Episode 45: Youth Takeover

Episode 45: Youth Takeover

May 26, 2021

Hi everyone, James Gordon here:

As part of the organizing team behind Breezy Breakfast, I’m thrilled that we continue to grow our list of participants each week. We now have 275 subscribers, and many more check us out every Monday morning at 9 am on CFRU or listen to our podcast. We are reaching out to a real diversity of interests and voices in our community. If there’s one area where we are under-represented, it’s in our youth. As the senior member of the Breezy Gang, I’m sensitive to that!

On Thursday, May 20th, we gave our gathering over to a vibrant group of young people. Our guest moderator is Indigo Kim, an activist and high school student here in Guelph. She’s assembled a team of her peers who will speak to their concerns, their experience with education during COVID, climate change, the need for gender-neutral bathrooms, and other issues that affect them.

 

This session was moderated by Indigo Kim!

 

 

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Episode 44: MP Lloyd Longfield

Episode 44: MP Lloyd Longfield

May 18, 2021

Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield joined to field questions and discussion points from the Breezy audience on Thursday, May 13.

Tempers may have flared at times in this rapid-fire round of questioning that included discussion on housing, the BDS movement, climate action, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This session was co-moderated by James Gordon and Tanya Gevaert.

 

Episode 43: Open Mic!

Episode 43: Open Mic!

May 11, 2021

Every once in a while, we do these open mics to allow more space for all attendees to steer the discussion respectfully and collectively. Attendees set the tone, and the Breezy organizers lightly moderate to make sure everyone can engage on what matters to them.

 

This open mic brought up the long-term care crisis, upcoming agenda items at City Hall, and more.

 

This session was moderated by Dustin Brown.

 

Episode 42: Honouring the National Day of Mourning

Episode 42: Honouring the National Day of Mourning

May 5, 2021
In honour of the National Day of Mourning on April 28th, this Thursday’s Breezy Breakfast mourned workers killed and injured on the job, and discussed how to prevent future loss.
 
We were joined by a suite of guests from the local labour movement:
 
Bonny Durtnall, a local labour historian who outlined some history of workplace dangers in the Guelph area; Wayne Samuelson of the Labour College of Canada, who offered a broad perspective on Health and Safety in Ontario; Barrie Fowlie of Guelph, current director of Workers United Canada Council and International Vice President of Workers United, who discussed his 40 years of efforts to improve workplace safety; and Sarah Neath, United Food and Commercial Workers Compensation Representative, who spoke on safety issues in grocery stores and food preparation facilities, especially as these are compounded by COVID-19.
 
Please listen in on this important Breezy Breakfast to remember those who have been lost on the job, and think about how we can prevent tragic loss of life going forward.
Episode 41: For Disability Justice

Episode 41: For Disability Justice

April 27, 2021
Disability activists have been working in Ontario and all across Canada for decades to improve their living conditions and social supports. The pandemic, of course, made things worse -- reliance on expensive delivery services increased, while people with disabilities were cruelly excluded from programs like the CERB. In Ontario, the provincial government even chose to deduct CERB dollars from ODSP recipients, so that they wouldn't see any gains in monthly income.
 
Disabled people in this province face abundant systemic barriers: poverty wages through Ontario Works and ODSP; a narrowed housing market due to inaccessible units; and an overall anti-disability stigmatization that creeps into all corners of public and private life. A better, more just, accessible world is possible. To make it happen would require a significant re-thinking of city planning, health care, governance, and community.
 
For this Breezy Breakfast, recorded on April 22, 2021, we hosted a panel of local disability activists: Erin Caton, Mike Greer, and Christina Faith Cameletti.
 
 
Erin Caton is a project manager, business owner and the chair and founder of the Environmental Sensitivities Coalition of Canada. She founded the ESCC to provide a collective voice in conversations about accessibility after realizing that people with Environmental Sensitivities are often left out of discussions.
 
Mike Greer is a disabled activist and Chair of the City of Guelph Accessibility Advisory Committee, as well as an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation. Born with a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, he learned to adapt and deal with many challenges over the course of his life. Mike has a strong interest in motivational speaking and accessibility advocacy, with a goal to help organizations better understand the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. He holds a degree in Information Technology and has worked for the past nine years as an IT sales professional.
 
Christina Faith Cameletti is a lawyer in Guelph with a general practice focusing on real estate law, wills and estates. Christina has had an episodic disability since childhood, and has volunteered and advocated for Disability Rights since she was 7 years old, for organizations like the Arthritis Society, Easter Seals Canada and the AODA Alliance. During law school, she interned at ARCH Disability Law Centre, a specialty legal clinic in Toronto that advocates for accessibility, disability rights and policy reform.
 
Episode 40: 2050 is Too Late

Episode 40: 2050 is Too Late

April 20, 2021
The city has two climate change targets for 2050: Net Zero Carbon (for the entire community) and 100% Renewable Energy (for the corporation of the City of Guelph). Last September it released its first Sustainability Report on how we’re fighting climate change. Unfortunately, it showed that our greenhouse gas emissions went up between 2018 and 2019. Not a good start, to say the least.
 
This approach to targets leaves little or no accountability for current decision makers. And technically, nothing needs to be done until 2049. We could also just buy carbon offsets instead of cutting greenhouse pollution. All of this leaves the door wide open to prolonged fossil fuel use.
 
Will we be able to meet our climate change targets? At this Breezy Breakfast, recorded April 15, 2021, Evan Ferrari from eMERGE Guelph joined us to discuss.
 
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