Announcing one of the Biggest Economic Development Deals in Kingston’s History

Today I am absolutely thrilled to announce one of the biggest economic development deals in our city’s history!

Feihe International has selected Kingston as their Canadian base of operations, investing an enormous $225 million in Kingston! With this investment Feihe will be opening a state-of-the-art 300,000 square foot  processing and research and development (R&D) facility on 40 acres of land in the Cataraqui Estates Business Park, located in our west end.

Feihe International is a China based producer of infant formula, known for their technologically advanced manufacturing facilities producing high quality infant formula for North America and Chinese markets. Once constructed, their processing and R&D facility will create 200-250 good paying manufacturing and research jobs in our community. In addition, we expect that over 1000 indirect jobs will be created through the economic impact of their operation here in Kingston. And this impact will extend well beyond Kingston into the entire Eastern Ontario region, as Feihe plans to establish an entire local supply chain of dairy and goat milk producers.

To help put this news into perspective, this represents one of the largest foreign direct investments in Canada, and it is happening right here in Kingston. I especially want to thank and congratulate KEDCO on their tremendous work over the last number of months bringing this deal to Kingston. KEDCO and city staff were instrumental in showcasing why Kingston was the right choice for Feihe International.

Right now the plan is to have a shovel in the ground by next spring, which alone will create 400 construction jobs over the next 2 years as Feihe’s facility is constructed. I look forward to building relationships with our new Chinese business partners and friends, so that we can explore further economic development opportunities from China and help put Kingston on the map globally!

Celebrating Kingston’s Nobel Laureate

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A key part of my ‘smart and livable 21st century city’ vision is to establish Kingston as a global city, to define Kingston as a leader not just in our region, but nationally and internationally. As mayor I am continually amazed and inspired by the individuals and organizations in our community who are recognized for their work not just at a local or provincial scale, but on a global scale.

A perfect example is Queen’s University professor Dr. Art McDonald, winner of the 2015 Nobel prize in physics. To have someone in our community win the most prestigious scientific prize in the world should instill tremendous pride in all Kingstonians. Dr. McDonald’s achievement is an inspiration to all of us, that through hard work and creative thinking we can all have a global impact, both collectively and as individuals.

To celebrate Dr. McDonald’s achievement, I would like to invite all Kingstonians to special public lecture by Dr. McDonald entitled ‘Neutrinos, Nobel and the Nature of the Universe’. The lecture will be held in Memorial Hall in City Hall on Wednesday December 7th at 6:30 p.m. The lecture is free, to register by e-mail at register.neutrinos@queensu.ca or by phone at 613-533-6000 ext. 77623

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Looking Ahead to the 2017 Budget

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City Council will be spending several nights next week reviewing the draft operating and capital budget for 2017. I’ve had a chance to read through the highlights, and I’m very pleased city staff are proposing a budget that limits the tax increase to 2.5% while maintaining all existing frontline services. By finding efficiencies, growing the tax base and securing more grants from the provincial and federal governments, we’re looking to limit operating increases to only 1.5%, with the remaining 1% dedicated to improving our roads and other infrastructure.

The 2017 budget also includes some exciting new investments such as:

  • $2 million towards a revitalized downtown transit terminal
  • $4 million for new buses to expand transit service on Sundays and holidays, and to prepare for the launch of a new express bus route on Montreal Street in 2018
  • $1 million in new investment for affordable housing
  • close to $1 million to implement the Waterfront Master Plan – projects include designs to revitalize Richardson Beach and work on the existing bathhouse,  and the creation of a new waterfront pathway behind the Pump House Steam Museum

Building a smart and livable city is a vision for the entire community, but city hall has to take the lead. With this budget we can make some important investments while still living within our means, and that’s exactly the sort of smart budgeting we should expect in a smart city!

Budget presentations and deliberations are taking place November 21 to 23, 2016. For more information including meeting agendas and documents please visit the City of Kingston website, here

From the Mayor’s Chair – November 15

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 November 15 Council meeting included a re-vote on the Capitol condominium project without the participation of  Councillor Candon, following the integrity commissioners report ,  also resulting from the integrity commissioners findings Council voted to have staff conduct a full review of our policies and procedures related to conflict of interest, Kingstonians will see a referendum question on the 2018 ballot about the use of ranked ballots for future elections and Council passed a 1-year free transit pass pilot project for Ontario Works clients. 

Watch the November 1 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 

Proposing a Referendum on Ranked Ballots

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Earlier this fall the Ontario government gave the green light for any municipality in the province to change its electoral system from the traditional ‘First Past the Post’ system (FPTP) to a ranked ballot system. Details will be presented in a report from staff at our November 15 council meeting.

As a reminder of the difference between the two systems – Under FPTP, each voter selects one candidate (one vote for mayor and one vote for a district councillor) and the candidate with the most votes wins. In a ranked ballot system, each voter ranks candidates from most preferred to least preferred. When ballots are counted in the ranked system the winner must achieve 50% +1 of the total vote. This means if there is no candidate with 50% +1 after the first vote count the candidate with the fewest votes has their ballots redistributed among the remaining candidates. This redistribution continues until a candidate gets 50%+1 of the total votes and is declared the winner.

Under the new provincial rules, Kingston can proceed with a ranked ballot system in the next municipal election (set for fall of 2018) only if City Council passes a bylaw by May 1, 2017 – which is less than six months from now. In my view, there is simply not enough time between now and next May to sufficiently inform the community and seek their input on such an important decision.

I am proposing instead that we put a referendum question on the ballot in 2018, asking Kingstonians directly whether they want to stay with the FPTP system or switch to a ranked ballot system in future municipal elections beginning in 2022. That way, every Kingston voter can have a say on this important decision, and we will have almost 2 years (rather than just a few months) for education and information to be shared with all residents. This information could be shared in a variety of ways, and we could even form a representative citizens group that studies the issue in depth and makes a recommendation on which system they believe would work better.

For these reasons, at our November 15 council meeting I will be putting forward an amendment to the staff report on ranked ballots asking for a referendum question in 2018. I believe that changing the way that we elect local representatives is a rare and important occasion where direct consultation is needed.  We look to Kingston voters to elect a mayor and 12 councillors every four years and we should also look to them to choose their preferred system to elect them.

As this important community discussion kicks off I hope you will share with me your thoughts and ideas.

Bryan 

From the Mayor’s Chair – November 1

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 November 1 Council meeting include receiving the integrity commissioners report outlining the investigation into Councillor Candon’s participation in the Capitol condominium project vote (for more information read my statement on the report here), Council approved a 5-year affordable housing plan for investing in affordable housing, and Council also passed a motion to establish a working group to provide input on all former school sites that are expecting to becoming available for acquisition within the next 2 years. 

Watch the November 1 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 

My statement on the Integrity Commissioners findings

As mayor, the conduct and integrity of our city council is of upmost importance to me. Our community needs to have confidence in the decisions we make.

On October 4th I brought forward a motion, supported unanimously by council, to hire an integrity commissioner to conduct an investigation as to whether Councillor Adam Candon breached the Code of Conduct for members of Council, with respect to the development application for 223 Princess Street, known as the Capitol condominium project.

Today council received the integrity commissioners’ report on the findings of her independent investigation.

It is the opinion of the integrity commissioner that Councillor Candon inadvertently breached section 2.4(c) of the Code of Conduct in the matter of the Capitol condominium project.

Given the findings of the integrity commissioner, I am immediately bringing forward a notice of motion to tonight’s meeting to allow council to reconsider the Capitol project at our November 15 council meeting. A reconsideration will allow a re-vote without the participation of Councillor Candon.

I believe this is the appropriate and necessary action to correct this situation.

This situation has highlighted the shortcomings of our existing policies and procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest.

I will, therefore, also be bringing forward a motion at our next council meeting asking for a full review of the policies and procedures related to conflict of interest and the Code of Conduct for members of Council. My expectation is a review will bring forward changes to clarify the actions that should be undertaken by members of council to avoid conflicts of interest and a transparent method for proactively addressing complaints from the public.

The motion will also ask that the city retain an integrity commissioner on an on-going basis.

I believe this situation demonstrates the need for an integrity commissioner who will be available at the request of council at all times to provide valuable independent and arms-length assessments when a conflict of interest question arises.

On behalf of council, I want to thank the integrity commissioner for her work.

As your mayor I am committed to leading the change to prevent this from happening again. I look forward to an open dialogue with the community as we work to make these changes.

Mayor Bryan Paterson 

The Integrity Commissioner’s report is available on the addendum for the November 1 Council meeting, herehttp://bit.ly/2fdhbdk

 

Marking 2 Years on the Job: My View from the Mayor’s Chair

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Although hard to believe it’s been 2 years since being elected your mayor, it’s certainly been busy and exciting as I work to make Kingston a Smart and Livable 21st Century City!  To mark the halfway point, I wanted to provide both a review of the last 2 years, and a preview of what to watch for in the next 2 years.

With so much work and progress made over the last two years it’s difficult to capture it all. Here are the highlights, as I see them from the mayor’s chair.

Creating a Youth Employment Strategy: a plan to make Kingston a leader in skills development and fostering employment opportunities for our young people

Approving the Airport Expansion: expanding the existing terminal and lengthening the runway to allow for better air service in and out of Kingston

Completing the K&P Trail: extending the trail through the urban core of the city in time for Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, 2017

Launching a Visioning for Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour: in partnership with the Federal government, this is a key step to a redevelopment for this signature piece of waterfront

Adopting the Waterfront Master Plan: an ambitious 30 year plan to invest $2 million per year in waterfront improvements in locations such as Confederation Basin, Breakwater Park and Richardson Beach

Exploring Innovative Ways to Communicate: keeping Kingstonians informed with the From the Mayor’s Chair bi-weekly videos and hearing from residents across the community with the Chats with the Mayor campaign

Charting the Future Development of the Inner Harbour: the North King’s Town visioning exercise is engaging the public in the creation of a plan to spur redevelopment of brownfields and explore alternatives to the Wellington Street extension

An Exciting Year for Tourism: the new ‘fresh made daily’ tourism brand, opening Kingston Pen for tours and, of course, The Tragically Hip concert in Market Square.

Getting the Third Crossing Shovel Ready: with a preliminary design and a business case in development, this long talked about bridge project will be ready to proceed by next year

Investing in the Downtown: the 3rd phase of the Princess Street reconstruction (the Big Dig) is complete, residential developments are coming forward and one has been approved (the Capitol condo project)

Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship: a partnership with Innovate Kingston to transform the old Portsmouth Town Hall into incubator space for new tech companies, and a new economic development agency to promote new business growth in the city

Holding annual tax rate increases to 2.5%: finding $1M in savings each year to hold operating increases to 1.5%, plus 1% toward capitol investments

So, what’s coming in the next 2 years?

Watch for the results of the current public engagement efforts: a new vision to guide the redevelopment of Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour

Following the completion of the preliminary design and business case: a council debate on whether to proceed with the Third Crossing

Addressing homelessness, revitalizing Rideau Heights and expanding our affordable housing supply will bring further investments in affordable housing

Making Kingston a leader in innovation will see new initiatives to support innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth

Continuing to plan a livable city with expansion of express transit service and investments in active transportation  

Showcasing our vibrant culture and rich history as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, right here in the nation’s first capital

More than anything, over the past two years I have enjoyed meeting and working with Kingstonians as we build a stronger community together. Looking ahead, I am most excited to enhance Kingston’s position as a leader in innovation with several exciting projects to come. Thank you Kingston for two great years, I am proud of the progress made and I look forward to the next two years of hard work and collaboration. 

Tourism Partners Declare Support for Third Crossing

Last month Council received a letter from Kingston Accommodation Partners (commonly known as KAP), expressing their support for the proposed Third Crossing bridge project. KAP is a respected tourism organization that oversees much of the tourism activity in Kingston, and has championed the move toward the new ‘fresh made daily’ tourism marketing brand for the city.

KAP’s letter of support lays out an interesting argument in favour of the Third Crossing. They suggest that by diverting commuter traffic away from the LaSalle Causeway, we can make it easier for tourists to get to and from downtown and the waterfront, where most tourist attractions are located. After this summer’s incredible tourist season, KAP is asking us to consider how a new bridge could make more room for visitors to Kingston’s tourism hotspots.

As I’ve stressed before, the Third Crossing is a huge project and before we make any final decisions on this bridge we all need to understand both the potential benefits and costs. Understanding the potential impacts and opportunities from the perspective of our tourism sector is valuable as we continue this community conversation. Here’s the KAP support letter in full: 

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Exploring Redevelopment Options for KP & POH

We’ve reached an exciting phase in the visioning process for Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. This week public workshops were held to explore and develop potential options for the property. Four options – all with different ways that we could mix heritage, green space, marina access and other new developments – were explored to highlight the full range of possibilities for the KP and POH site.  

Here’s a snapshot of the four options community members explored:

Option 1 – all existing buildings on the KP site conserved, taller new buildings, and existing marina building removed and integrated into a new building.   

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Option 2 – existing buildings on the KP site adapted for re-use, new public street though the site, some taller new buildings and marina building and slips on the east side (instead of existing west side placement)

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Option 3 – heritage buildings on the KP site adapted for re-use, modern buildings demolished, multiple public streets added, new mid-rise buildings and marina building maintained on the west side.  

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Option 4 – some but not all heritage buildings on the KP site adapted for re-use, modern buildings demolished, full grid of streets added, lower new buildings and marina remaining on the east side with a new building.

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Each of these options will soon be posted on the city’s website – www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/projects-construction/kingston-pen/consultation – asking Kingstonians for their comments, likes and dislikes about each. The idea is not to vote on these four options, but rather to create a preferred redevelopment plan that incorporates the best elements from each option.

This is a exciting opportunity for all Kingston residents to help shape the final vision for KP and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, so share your ideas and make your voice heard!