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‘Big picture’ politics reaps rewards

Recently, David Suzuki recognized Guelph as one of four Canadian cities leading the way in taking action on climate change (Beacon News, July 24, 2014). This is a huge achievement and deserves to be celebrated.
It follows a series of awards and top honours given to Guelph:
• in 2011, Guelph topped msn.com’s list of “Canada’s next most livable cities”
• in 2013, Statistics Canada identified Guelph as the second safest community in the country, and the safest community in Ontario
• Guelph has been commended for being the first community in North America to work towards developing a city-wide district energy network
• in 2014, Guelph won the Ron Lance Memorial Award for the highest rate of residential waste diversion in Ontario
• Guelph won a 2014 Sustainable Communities Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for its Community Energy Initiative
• the Canadian Urban Institute gave its 2014 City Builder award to Mayor Farbridge in recognition of her “bold vision and leadership in sustainability, community energy, and the revitalization of downtown Guelph.”
What’s important about these awards and achievements is that they don’t happen on their own. Rather, they’re the result of visionary leadership at the top and hard work to take innovative ideas and make them happen. ‘Big picture,’ long-term thinking is a rarity in politics, and it’s what makes a city great. I’ve lived in seven different cities as an adult, and Guelph is by far the most livable of those. I know the reason for that, and I’ll remember it when it comes to October’s election.
Shirley Hunt   Guelph

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