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Guelph mayor points finger at U of G for student housing shortage

Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie in a file photo at the 2024 State of the City address. Ken Hashizume/CJOY

The mayor of Guelph has weighed in on the lack of student housing at the University of Guelph.

Cam Guthrie said he is “quite disappointed” at the university for putting students in a position where they might not be able to find a place to stay during the fall semester.

The university issued a statement on Tuesday which said because of the higher-than-expected number of students accepting their offers to attend this fall, there will only be student housing available for 85 per cent of all students, both new and returning.

“I was not aware and neither were city staff were informed at all until we were given a heads-up on Friday,” said Guthrie in an interview with Global News.

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“Our first official meeting with them where we actually found out the numbers and some of the other impacts was on Monday.”

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Those numbers include 1,350 students who are on a waiting list for student housing.

Guthrie said that the lack of available housing in Guelph affects not only students attending the university but all the other residents of the Royal City.

“We already have a supply problem overall,” he said. “Our current residents are trying to find places to live, and newcomers to Canada and their families are trying to find places to live. This is going to exacerbate that issue.”

Guthrie added that the large number of people going to the U of G this fall is going to put a strain on transit, social services, and other important community programs. He pointed the finger squarely at university officials for creating the problem and expects them to actively find solutions to this issue.

“I have made it clear that we need to be meeting weekly on this issue,” he said. “So that we can get updates about what they are doing to find solutions. And we’ll have to wait to hear from them to determine what the next steps would be.”

A spokesperson for the students told Global News that he is intends on organizing with student leaders on an advocacy campaign on the matter.

The university, in response, said they have increased capacity at its four area student residences on campus and have extended their lease agreement at the former Days Inn hotel on Gordon Street.

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