Deep Water Dock

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A question I’ve heard often over the years is if it’s possible to have a deep water dock that would allow cruise ships traveling through the Great Lakes to stop in Kingston. I think Kingston would be a very attractive place for cruise ships to land for a day. Every cruise ship would mean hundreds of tourists an afternoon to shop and visit restaurants in our downtown, which would provide a big boost to our local economy.

At our last meeting, City Council voted to explore the possibility of building the existing Queen Street dock into a deep water port for cruise ships. Some preliminary analysis from staff suggested smaller cruise ships would be able to dock at Crawford Wharf at the bottom of Brock Street, but larger cruise ships would require a new, longer dock. The best spot for a new dock would be as close to the downtown core as possible, and so the Queen Street dock seems like an ideal location.

This is also the perfect time to look at the future of the underutilized Queen Street dock as the province is now moving forward with a plan to expand and revitalize the Wolfe Island ferry terminal next door. This expansion is designed to accommodate a second ferry that is scheduled to be added between Kingston and Wolfe Island in 2020. What’s really exciting is that a new ferry terminal combined with a deep water dock for cruise ships could completely transform this part of Kingston’s waterfront into something incredible, both for residents and tourists.

There’s still lots of work to be done on this, including market analysis to understand what the potential demand for cruise ship landings might be in Kingston, but I for one think this is a great opportunity for the city, both to attract more tourists and to improve our waterfront!

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From the Mayor’s Chair – November 7th

From the Mayors Chair

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 2 minutes!

One of the big topics on the agenda at the November 7th Council meeting was the potential for a deep water dock for cruise ships. Council decided to move ahead with the plan to look deeper at this possibility and also do more market analysis to understand what the cruise ship industry could mean for tourism in Kingston. Council also heard a presentation from the Association of Municipalities Ontario on a province wide push to increase the HST by 1% in order to fund infrastructure needs for cities and town across the province. Kingston currently funds its infrastructure needs out of a 1% property tax levy. Council decided to endorse the plan but also agreed that should the 1% increase in HST ever happen, that the City would then look at reducing or eliminating the 1% property tax levy. Finally, Council passed a motion to make naloxone kits available in all city facilities and to endorse further distribution in partnership with KFL&A public health.

Watch the November 7th edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE

Pay for Parking with Your Smartphone

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When I talk about the vision to make Kingston a smart and livable 21st century city, people sometimes ask me what I mean by a “smart city”. Well, one of the most important ways to make Kingston a “smart city” is to harness new technology that will improve services for our residents. A great example is this week’s launch of a new way to pay for downtown parking, using only your smartphone!

Most of us can probably remember times we’ve been huddled in front of a parking payment machine on a cold, snowy day, fumbling to insert a credit card, push the right buttons and wait for what seems like an eternity while the machine prints out a ticket to put on the car dashboard. Or what about that time you were eating at a restaurant or sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office and had to rush out to the machine to top up your payment? Well, now you can pay for parking at any downtown parking lot in Kingston from your smartphone using the Honk Mobile App.

I downloaded the app on my smartphone this morning and it’s very easy to use. Once you open up the app you just sign up for an account and enter your vehicle and credit card info. The app lists all the parking lots in the downtown, so all you have to do from this point on is select the lot where you want to park and choose how much to time you want to buy. It’s convenient, it’s fast and it’s easy – exactly how services in a smart city should be.

Right now the Honk Mobile App can only be used for parking lots in the downtown so you still need to use payment machines for on-street parking. However, if all goes well with this new way of paying by smartphone, I’m hopeful that soon this option will be available everywhere in downtown Kingston.

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What’s Your Idea for Kingston?

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I’m a big believer in the importance of two way communication between City Hall and residents. It’s vital that the city (and the mayor!) provide regular updates to the community on what projects we are working on, what decisions are being made at City Council and what changes people can expect. However, it’s equally important that the city regularly hears the opinions, questions and ideas of all Kingstonians.

I enjoy when a resident stops me on the street or in the grocery store to offer a great idea about how to make the city better. Now you can submit your idea for Kingston to a new online forum called “What is Your Idea”. The forum is part of the city’s new Get Involved webpage which you can find at: GetInvolved.CityofKingston.ca. Posting on the forum not only ensures myself and other city staff know about your idea, it also gives all Kingston residents a chance to see your idea, share it on social media, and vote on it. Creative ideas have already been posted about a city wide bike rack registry, how to improve Cataraqui Woods Park, and suggested locations for tour bus parking in the downtown.

The Get Involved website is also a one stop shop for providing your input on a whole range of current city projects. All you need to do is sign up once and then you can quickly and easily provide feedback on any listed project. Right now that includes everything from a survey on the city’s new bike share program, to ideas for revitalizing Richardson Beach, to input on the Vision Zero road safety program. I encourage all Kingstonians to sign up, get involved and provide us with your input and ideas to help make Kingston better!

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Hybrid Cardiac Ablation – Kingston Health Sciences Centre – Tour Stop #8

Heart Tour Stop

Canada’s very first hybrid cardiac ablation procedure has been successfully performed right here in Kingston.  This is a procedure meant to treat patients with atrial fibrillation – the most common type of irregular heart rhythm. This innovative hybrid procedure is far less invasive for patients than many of the traditional approaches.

The Innovation

Here in Canada, atrial fibrillation affects approximately one in four people. Cardiac ablation procedures are used to restore normal heart rhythms by creating scars inside the heart which prevent abnormal electrical signals from moving through the heart tissue. Traditionally this is done by inserting long, flexible tubes with wires into the heart through the groin or by using more invasive surgical approaches that often require opening the chest and stopping the heart.

Dr. Bisleri and Dr. Glover showed me the new technique and tools they are now using to treat atrial fibrillation. With the new procedure, a cardiologist uses digital technology to map the inside of the heart while the surgeon performs ablation on the outside of the heart using a specialized device.  It requires just three keyhole incisions to navigate to the heart which means patients heal faster, they stop or reduce their use of medication, and they spend less time in the hospital during the procedure and have fewer admissions following treatment.                                                    

The Future

I think it’s exciting that this cardiac mapping system technology is being used in Kingston. A less invasive procedure means better care for patients with atrial fibrillation and also means inpatient beds are freed up for others that need care. Dr. Bisleri and Dr. Glover are passionate about this technology but also about the research that accompanies their work. They are looking at how lifestyle, diet, and exercise can help control the risk factors that lead to atrial fibrillation. It’s great to see leading edge health care initiatives like this being developed in Kingston!

The Tour

If you know of a fresh or innovative approach being taken by a community group, organization or business, I want to hear about it. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram by following @MayorPaterson and the hashtag #MITour.

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Third Crossing Update

night rendering - April 2017

This week I want to share an update on the status of the Third Crossing. In June City Council approved the construction of a new bridge across the Cataraqui River, but only once we receive confirmation of $60 million from the federal government. Right now the city and the province have each committed $60 million.

Over the last few months we’ve had very good dialogue with the federal government about the project. I am optimistic that we will secure federal funding in the next few months so we can move forward with detailed design and construction. There have been some suggestions that federal dollars for the new bridge might come with strings attached, such as requiring the city to take over the LaSalle Causeway, but I can confirm that this is not the case. There is a specific pool of federal infrastructure funding available for roads and bridges that the Third Crossing qualifies for.

So what happens now? The current plan for the Third Crossing calls for shovels in the ground in early 2019, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done first. The city has to put out a call to construction companies interested in bidding on the project and complete the final design. To make sure we hit the 2019 target, we need to start this other work soon. One approach the city can take is to put out the call for bids from construction firms in the next couple of months, with the condition that no money flow until the federal $60 million is confirmed. Several other municipalities waiting for federal funding have taken this approach in order to not delay construction and risk increased construction costs. The federal government is supportive of this approach and it ensures that everyone can hit the ground running once all the funding is in place.

I have also asked for a meeting with Public Works Canada to discuss my concerns with the LaSalle Causeway. There have been a number of unplanned closures recently that have caused frustration for a lot of residents. I hope to get more details about repairs and maintenance scheduled for the Causeway so we are all better informed. Travel across the Cataraqui River is a critical need for our community and I will continue to push for both the Third Crossing and the LaSalle Causeway in the days ahead.

Green Chemistry – GreenCentre Canada – Tour Stop #7

GCC

GreenCentre Canada (GCC), located at Queen’s Innovation Park, is a facility for chemistry discoveries in Canada. Technologies sent to the centre are assessed for commercial potential and their estimated environmental impact compared to current technologies. Promising technologies are then developed and taken to market.

The Innovation

GreenCentre Canada addresses a unique challenge facing researchers. When we toured the lab we learned that exciting chemistry technologies are being developed across Canada. However, while they often get published they remain in the academic domain and are not developed or brought to market. GCC brings together professionals from different spheres to address this issue. Researchers, industry partners and business professionals come together to assess proposals and then commercialize green chemistry technologies.

GreenCentre has founded a number of spin-off companies such as Forward Water Technologies. In parts of the world where fresh water is scarce, removing salts and minerals from seawater is often the only option available. A costly and energy intensive process, Forward Water Technologies developed a state-of-the-art water purification technology to revolutionize water treatment. Here is an example of a green chemistry technology invented at Queen’s University and then developed and commercialized through GCC.                                             

The Future

Lots of the products we use, things that are a part of our daily lives and contribute to our quality of life, can also cause challenges such as damage to the environment, depletion of natural resources, and human health concerns. The goal of green chemistry is to be safer, more efficient, and more environmentally sustainable. As humans we need to be responsible stewards of the earth for future generations. That’s why I am so proud to see a smart, 21st century company operating out of a smart, 21st century city.

The Tour

If you know of a fresh or innovative approach being taken by a community group, organization or business, I want to hear about it. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram by following @MayorPaterson and the hashtag #MITour.

Gord, We’ll Miss You

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Today I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Gord Downie. He has had a profound impact on our community. Here in the hometown of the Tragically Hip, I know I am joined by all Kingstonians as we collectively mourn this loss.

Gord was more than just a great musician; in Kingston he was part of our family. He and the rest of the band members have given back so much to our city over the years, and I am thankful for the great memories we have of Gord. The sense of community and gratitude that was felt across Kingston as the Tragically Hip returned home for their final performance was incredible. It’s something we will all cherish together.

On behalf of all Kingstonians, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and to the rest of the band members. Today across Kingston we lowered the Canadian flags to half-mast and tonight we will illuminate City Hall and play music by the Tragically Hip to honour Gord’s memory. I encourage everyone to sign the memory book down in Springer Market Square as we celebrate Gord’s life and the many great contributions he made to our city and our country.

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From the Mayor’s Chair – October 17th

From the Mayors Chair

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 2 minutes!

The October 17th Council meeting began with the extension of a license agreement that will allow the “I in Kingston” sign to remain in its current location in Confederation Basin for another year. It has been enormously popular generating over 400,000 social media impressions. Last night council also approved an application for provincial funding that would allow the city to introduce two electric busses into its existing transit fleet. If we are successful in attracting that funding then we will have an opportunity to pilot those electric busses and potentially add additional electric busses in the future.

Watch the October 17th edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE

My Statement on Queen’s Homecoming Weekend

As Mayor, I’m disappointed by the disrespectful and irresponsible actions that took place during this weekend’s Queen’s homecoming celebrations. There is simply no place in our community for this behaviour.

I know the majority of Queen’s students share these sentiments and are embarrassed by the conduct of partygoers this weekend. As a city we continually welcome and value all of our post-secondary students, but we also expect all students to act like any other resident, showing respect and taking pride in being a part of this community.

Unsanctioned parties and excessive alcohol abuse that have accompanied Queen’s homecoming will only be solved through continued collaboration. These problems are complex and require a multi-faceted approach together with Queen’s administration, neighbours, and students.

From a city perspective, one community wide approach we are working on is a nuisance bylaw that focuses on unwanted behaviours like public intoxication, excessive noise and out of control parties. This bylaw is intended to apply to all residents and visitors to Kingston throughout the year. We will be conducting public consultation next month and I ask all residents to provide their input as we move forward.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our paramedics, police and hospital emergency staff who were true professionals and worked tirelessly throughout the weekend. We appreciate everything you do to keep our community safe. I would also like to thank Queen’s student leadership and the many student volunteers who did a great job putting together this year’s ReUnion Street festival, and who worked to clean up the neighbourhood around Queen’s on Sunday morning.

To our broader community, thank you for your feedback as we continue to take steps to address and prevent the disrespectful behaviour associated with homecoming weekend. There is more work to be done on this front and I look forward to working with our partners to address this issue.