From the Mayor’s Chair – March 21

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 3 minutes or less.

Highlights from the March 21 Council meeting include approval of a proposal to make the City’s fire Training Centre available to the Ontario Fire College, which will bring in additional revenues for the City. Council also approved an expansion to the existing Student Transit Pilot Program to include free transit ridership for youth aged 13 and 14, in response to an identified gap between the free transit offered to children up to the age of 12 and the student pass starting at age 14. Council also received an update on the public engagement plan for the Third Crossing project. Next steps for the Third Crossing process include two open houses at the end of April and a special meeting of Council in June at which point Council will be asked to make the decision to build the Third Crossing, or not. 

Watch the March 21 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE


From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this website

Building a Goat Farming Industry in Kingston and Eastern Ontario

Several months ago China-based Feihe International announced their plans to invest $225 million to build a large infant formula manufacturing facility here in Kingston. This production facility will create hundreds of jobs and generate enormous economic spinoffs in Kingston, with opportunities for local companies to connect into Feihe’s supply chain.

One of the most interesting and exciting opportunities to come from Feihe’s operation will be the expansion of goat farming in our region. Feihe will be North America’s first and only producer of goat milk-based infant formula, and so they will need a substantial base of goat farms to supply their Kingston facility. The hope is to be able to produce as much goat milk as possible in the local area.

To help kick start the expansion of the local goat industry, the Kingston Economic Development Corporation and the County of Frontenac are holding public information sessions on goat farming on March 23. For those who can’t make it to this week’s information sessions, but are interested in learning more, you can get information and the materials from the websites of both organizers – Kingston Economic Development Corporation and the County of Frontenac

In addition to Feihe’s operation provincial trends are showing an increase in demand for goat products, making this an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs who are interested in getting into goat farming. Kingston, the County of Frontenac and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) are partnering together to build this region of the province into a world leader in goat farming. With sustained effort, coordination and planning in the coming years, we can realize the vision to make Kingston and Eastern Ontario a recognized centre of excellence for goat milk production and all things related to goats!

A New Code of Conduct & Conflict of Interest Rules for Council

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On March 29 City Council will hold a special meeting to discuss a new code of conduct and conflict of interest guidelines for members of council. In the aftermath of the council vote on the Capitol condominium development last fall, there has been a lot of confusion about what defines a conflict of interest for a member of council, and how these potential conflicts should be addressed. There has also been confusion about what is and is not acceptable for a member of council when expressing disagreement with members of the public or city staff.

As mayor, I have vowed to resolve this confusion and work with councillors, staff and members of the public to implement a new and improved code of conduct and conflict of interest guidelines. In my view, the new code and guidelines should be clear, reasonable and supported by a simple and transparent process for members of the public to be able to express concerns about perceived breaches of the code of conduct by members of council.

Here is what I am looking for in the new code of conduct:

  • a clear definition of what a conflict of interest is and what it is not
  • a clear standard for respectful conduct by members of council when interacting with the public, while still allowing councilors the needed freedom to express their positions on issues or hot topics
  • a clear standard for members of council to be professional and respectful in dealing with city staff, while still allowing them to disagree with policy recommendations put forward by staff
  • a clear, accessible and easy to understand summary of the main points of the code of conduct available to the community

You can read the draft copy of the new code of conduct here – http://bit.ly/2mwi2JH  I welcome your input and opinions before council addresses this issue later this month.

What is missing in this report are the measures the city can take to provide a clear and easy to follow process for members of the public to bring forward concerns. I feel there is more work to be done on this and look forward to discussing this at the Council meeting on March 29.

Ultimately my goal is to have a code of conduct that is fair and reasonable, and that gives citizens from all professional backgrounds the opportunity to run for City Council, while at the same time preserving the highest integrity in our local government.

 

From the Mayor’s Chair – March 7

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 3 minutes or less.

Highlights from the March 7 Council meeting include discussion and approval of the Official Plan Update, with much of the debate on the allowance for large format retail stores in the downtown, ultimately Council decided to approve certain types of large retail like grocery stores. Council also approved the Revitalization of Breakwater Park including $1.5M in grants which will bump up the renovation work to 2017, and Council approved moving Canada Day celebrations from Grass Creek Park to the downtown for 2017 (see new motion 1) as we mark the 150th anniversary of Canada. 

Watch the March 7 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE


From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this website

Revitalizing Breakwater Park

This week I am very pleased to share the news that City Council has given the green light to start work on the revitalization of Breakwater Park. This linear waterfront park, located along King Street, is enjoyed by thousands of Kingston residents including Queen’s students, KGH patients and families. Breakwater Park is definitely one of my favourite parks in the city, I enjoying taking my boys to watch the boats in the summertime or reading a book on one of the many park benches along the waterfront.

The revitalization plan for Breakwater Park has a number of great improvements, including a sandy beach area, a footbridge over to the swimming pier, upgraded pathways, benches and tables and a new coastline that allows for easier access to the water. This new vision for the park was something that I talked a lot about in my election campaign, especially public access to the waterfront in our downtown, and so it’s great to see this project come to fruition.

Even better news is that the city has received two sizable grants towards the $5.4 million price tag for the revitalization. The federal government has awarded a $1 million grant and Lake Ontario Waterkeepers has contributed an additional $500K. Because of these additional funding sources we can accelerate the revitalization of Breakwater Park and at the same time we can redirect municipal tax dollars toward other park projects in the city. 

With work set to begin later this year, we can all look forward to a new and improved Breakwater Park by the spring of 2018!

Emerging Vision: Kingston Penitentiary & Portsmouth Olympic Harbour

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It’s an exciting time for the visioning process for Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Through the work of the visioning exercise a singular vision for the redevelopment of this incredible piece of Kingston waterfront has emerged.

The visioning exercise, launched in May 2016, is led by Canada Lands in partnership with the City of Kingston to create a redevelopment plan that will promote tourism, public access to the waterfront and renewal of the harbour area. Over the past year more than 1,000 Kingstionians have provided their ideas and feedback on important elements of the future site including green space, the marina, roads, trails, parking, as well as building locations and heights.

What has emerged is a concept featuring;

  • tourism opportunities through the preservation of the towers, some existing buildings and some sections of the penitentiary walls
  • continuous public access along the waterfront
  • open space for recreation and events
  • adaptive re-use of buildings for commercial, residential and restaurant use
  • new community hub and marina building to replace the existing Portsmouth Olympic Harbour
  • new docks and facilities for the Fire Department and Search and Rescue operations
  • the addition of a mix of low and mid-rise residential buildings

Over the next couple of months this design concept will be further refined before a final design vision is presented to the public in May and then to City Council for formal endorsement. After that, the work can begin to implement this exciting new redevelopment of this landmark Kingston waterfront property.

For more information on the visioning process visit the City’s website at www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/projects-construction/kingston-pen

New Investment in Victoria Park

 

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Final design concept for Victoria Park redevelopment 

 

Victoria Park is one of our city’s oldest and most appreciated parks, a striking green space within downtown Kingston. The park is enjoyed by countless neighbourhood residents, Queen’s students and Kingstonians from across the city. Victoria Park is definitely one of my family’s favourite spots in the summertime for a picnic and some outdoor fun at the playground.

This year Victoria Park will be completely revitalized, with new basketball and tennis courts, upgraded lighting and a new central plaza with more seating and gathering spaces for Kingstonians of all ages to enjoy the park.

This week I was also very excited by TD Bank Group’s announcement of a $500,000 grant towards this revitalization project. This private donation will further enhance the plans for the park, with a new splash pad, a water conservation garden and a diversification of the mature tree canopy. As part of this year’s sesquicentennial celebrations, TD’s Friends of the Environment Foundation is making seven donations of $500,000 across the country, and I am very proud of the fact that Kingston was selected as one of the winners. It is partnerships like this that allow us to do more with existing tax dollars and enhance the livability of our city.

As we pursue more residential development in the downtown, green spaces like Victoria Park will become ever more important in the years to come. Building a great city requires more than just new roads and sewer pipes, and it is exactly these sorts of investments in green infrastructure that will ensure Kingston continues to be an amazing place to live, work and play.

For more information on the redevelopment of Victoria Park visit the City’s website at www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/projects-construction/victoria-park

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Current aerial view of Victoria Park 

From the Mayor’s Chair – February 21

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 3 minutes or less.

Highlights from the February 21 Council meeting include discussion and approval of an application for a zoning bylaw amendment at 1100 Princess Street to allow for the addition of a Tim Hortons, Council also approved a public art project at Lake Ontario Park to commemorate the relationship between the City of Kingston and Alderville First Nation, and finally Council approved a motion to approve the flying of Canadian flags at City Hall at the request of retiring military personnel at CFB Kingston who have served more than 25 years (see New Motion 1 on the agenda)

Watch the February 21 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE


From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this website

Get Engaged! – Draft Public Engagement Framework

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You often hear me talk about the vision for Kingston as a smart and livable 21st century city. This vision aims to move our community forward in all areas, key among them the relationship between City Hall and Kingstonians. I strongly believe promoting and fostering transparency, accountability and participation are key to building a smart and livable city. Within the Council priority to foster open government is a commitment to engaging residents. I am thrilled to see progress on this priority this week with the release of the draft Public Engagement Framework for community input.

The draft Public Engagement Framework lays out key principles of how and for what purpose the public can and should be engaged. Specifically, the framework outlines;

Realistic expectations for engagement

  • The purpose of public engagement is to ensure that all voices are heard and taken into consideration when decisions are being made. Even though all points are considered, final decisions made by Council may not always satisfy everyone who participated in the engagement process.

An approach to planning public engagement programs

  • The draft framework is built on the understanding that public engagement is not a single process, but instead has various levels of engagement based on characteristics of individual projects or initiatives. Not all projects require the same level of engagement and the draft framework helps to determine the engagement techniques based on individual projects, their complexity and timelines.

Tools and techniques

  • Given that engagement will look different for different projects there are a range of tools and techniques. Based on the level of engagement, from information sharing to empowering the public to engage in decision making, techniques can range from public signage, newsletters, open houses, and surveys to focus groups, working groups and referendums.

Implementation and communication of public engagement programs  

  • Communicating the engagement plan is important to the success of public engagement; communications plans are separate and will be created to accompany engagement plans. Also critically important is the need to follow-up with those who participated by sharing the recommendations or decisions made, the reason for the recommendations or decisions and how the public input was used.

 

How can you get involved?

  • Visit CityofKingston.ca/GetInvolved to review Kingston’s draft Public Engagement Framework
  • Provide your input on the Framework through an online survey, open until March 10.
  • Provide your feedback in writing, anytime, by e-mailing LetsConnect@cityofkingston.ca
  • Join the open house on March 8 from 4 to 7p.m. at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.

The draft Public Engagement Framework is important to the future of how the City will seek your input. I encourage you to review the document and have your say. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts!  

Watch: 2017 State of the City Presentation

Each year the Mayor of Kingston is invited to deliver a “State of the City” address at our local Rotary Clubs. This is an important touch point to let Kingstonians know the progress being made and what’s ahead in the coming year.

Thanks to Station 14 I am able to share with you this video of the 2017 State of City presentation, as presented in full, from February 14, 2017.

Watch the presentation here by clicking the image below

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If you are interested in having me present at your association, organization or club please connect with my office at mayor@cityofkingston.ca