A Night to Remember

 

1 - Hip bannerAugust 20 – The Tragically Hip Day in Kingston – is a night that I, along with all Kingstonians, will always remember. As I reflect on the night I am filled with pride and gratitude.3 - BWB

I am grateful to Gord, Paul, Rob, Gord and Jonny, our hometown boys who became national music icons, but who have never forgotten their Kingston roots. Stories shared over the weekend remind us of the substantial impact the band has had on the lives of Kingstonians, and countless local causes they have supported over the years. Each story shared with me a reminder of their humble and giving nature. On behalf of Kingston, thank you! Gord, you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for showing us what courage looks like.

20160820_Hip_203801AI am overwhelmed with pride for our city. I am so proud of the spirit of celebration and heartfelt appreciation shown by Kingstonians. You set the tone for a national celebration for our hometown boys.

This was a true community effort, from the staff at our award-winning K-Rock Centre who helped put together a concert for the ages to partner organizations like the Downtown Kingston BIA, Kingston Accommodation Partners who contributed funding to help make this event possible.

I am so proud of the incredible team who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, taking care of the thousand details required to pull off the greatest outdoor concert viewing our community has seen. From event planners, public works crews, facility managers, police officers, bus drivers, customer service representatives, firefighters, paramedics, public works crews, photographers, sound technicians, utilities crews, and so many more – there are so many who played a role in making Saturday’s event a great success. Together we have a great team and I couldn’t be more proud.

There is no doubt that Kingston was in the national spotlight this weekend as we welcomed home The Tragically Hip. The weekend showcased our hometown pride and love for our iconic hometown boys. Thank you to the band, Kingstonians and everyone who played a role in what I will always remember as an truly incredible community celebration. Together we have showcased to the entire country what an incredible city we have.

Bryan 

Advocating for Kingston & Eastern Ontario

Earlier this week I was in Windsor attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference. The AMO conference is the largest annual municipal gathering in Ontario with over 1,700 municipal leaders in attendance –  a great chance to compare notes and share ideas with other mayors from across the province. Ranked ballots, Uber and Airbnb, and preparing for the legalization of marijuana were a few of the hot topics of conversation.

AMO-logo2-bigger

As the Mayor of Kingston and Chair of the Eastern Ontario Mayor’s Caucus, the conference is also a great opportunity for me to meet with provincial ministers and advocate for provincial investment both in Kingston and across the region. One of my key goals was to bring attention to the Third Crossing,  critical infrastructure for our community and region. I was able to meet with several government Ministers and leaders of the opposition on the status of the  Third Crossing project and how we can prioritize this in Eastern Ontario. In particular, I had some great conversations with the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Infrastructure and look forward to continuing discussions as the project nears shovel ready status next spring.

I also had an opportunity to talk with several ministers about key city priorities like affordable housing, public transit and economic development funding for businesses in Kingston, and I think that there is great potential for future provincial funding in all of these areas.

By the way, there was one other big topic that came up in almost every conversation with every mayor, provincial minister and other elected officials. The Tragically Hip concert here this Saturday! There’s no doubt all eyes will be on Kingston as we celebrate,  show our support and pride as the hometown of the Hip! For full event details please visit www.cityofkingston.ca/HipInKingston

From the Mayor’s Chair – August 9

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 August 9 Council meeting include an update on Kingston’s new integrated tourism strategy from Kingston Accommodation Partners and Tourism Kingston, the introduction of the made-in-Kingston Youth Employment Strategy,  and Council approval of a plan to reduce the speed on Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard 

Watch the August 9 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

Community Benefits & the Proposed Capitol Condo Project

Capitol - rendering - Aug. 2016

Rendering of the proposed Capitol Theatre development, 223 Princess Street 

A new feature has been added to the debate over residential intensification in our downtown: community benefits.

Community benefits, outlined in the provincial Planning Act, are additional offerings provided by a developer that can be included when amendments to zoning are being pursued to allow more height or density.  A city is responsible for negotiating community benefits and any benefits would ultimately require council approval.

Over the next week Kingstonians can offer their input on potential community benefits for our downtown as part of the proposed Capitol Theatre condominium tower, 223 Princess Street.

In this case, this is how the community benefits would work. If the city decides to allow the Capitol condo tower to be built higher than the existing zoning permits, then the city also has the opportunity to ask for additional community benefits such as:

  • Studio space within the condo development that could be used by community cultural groups for shows and presentations
  • Contribution towards a new public parking garage in the downtown
  • A certain number of affordable housing units in partnership with the City’s Affordable Homeownership Program within the condo development
  • Restoration of the original heritage façade for the Princess Street entrance of the development

There has been some confusion about community benefits, so I’d like to be clear – negotiating community benefits are NOT a trade-off system where the more benefits provided equal more height for a condo. This is not the way the zoning approval process works. The Capitol condo project (including the height) will be considered independent of the community benefits.

The addition of community benefits, such as the options described above, does not force City Council to approve the Capitol project. These benefits are simply an opportunity to enhance a residential development and add value to the community. In my view, we should take this opportunity to add as much to our downtown as we can.

So, what are your thoughts on community benefits for this proposal? Send your comments by e-mail to CBenefit223Princess@cityofkingston.ca by Tuesday, August 9th

 

Preliminary Design for the Third Crossing

One of my key priorities as mayor is to advance the Third Crossing, a project that will connect Kingston’s east end and north end with a new 1.2km bridge across the Cataraqui River. City Council approved a plan to make the Third Crossing project ‘shovel-ready’ and staff have been working to develop the preliminary design, a key part of getting the project shovel ready.

It’s very important to me for Kingstonians to have the opportunity to learn more about the Third Crossing project, and have the opportunity to offer input and ideas in the project’s development. Here’s a great video that explains some of the details of how the preliminary design for the bridge is being put together, please give it a watch to learn more.

video - Third Crossing

What really catches my attention in the preliminary design process is our focus on environmental considerations of the bridge and the development of a multi-use pathway for pedestrians and cyclists. After all, the Third Crossing isn’t about facilitating car travel but enabling us to include all modes of active transportation.

To give your input on the preliminary design please fill out this survey that explores other potential features of the bridge.

Third Crossing - survey

Thank you for all your thoughts and feedback so far.  I look forward to sharing more information with you soon about a public open house in September that will give you a chance to learn more and to ask questions from the staff and engineers working on the project. I look forward to seeing you there!  

Bryan

Advancing Affordable Housing in Kingston

7 Wright Cres - rendering - July 12 2016

Rendering of the potential development at 7 Wright Crescent 

During the 2014 election I ran on a platform to move Kingston forward together. As your mayor I work daily to move us forward by ensuring  we make investments that improve the quality of life across  our community. This includes the investments being made to increase the supply of affordable housing in Kingston, which can include everything from the creation of housing with affordable rents to enabling home ownership.

I am very pleased to share some recent progress we are making on the affordable housing front. First, at our July council meeting, we approved an additional $1.2 million to increase the total number of affordable housing units for the new development on Wright Crescent that will be a mix of both market rent and affordable housing units. This additional investment will allow for more affordable housing units on the site, and will allow many of those units to be offered at even lower rents. The project still needs to go through a formal planning approval process, but the picture above provides a good idea of what it might look like once fully constructed.

This month council also took steps toward another affordable housing project at the corner of Princess Street and Hillendale Avenue. The details of the parcel of land have now been finalized, and next Spring the city will be actively looking for development proposals to build affordable housing on the property.

What’s great about both the Wright Crescent and the Princess/Hillendale projects are their locations and the partnerships that made them possible. Both sites are centrally located within the urban core of the city and along key transit routes. Not only are we increasing the supply of affordable housing in Kingston, but we are distributing it more evenly across the city to create a more integrated and equitable community. Both of these projects were made possible through partnerships, where the city is working with both non-profit housing providers and private developers towards a common goal of more affordable housing.

Working in partnership to move Kingston forward – now that’s what I call a smart and livable city!

 

From the Mayor’s Chair – July 12

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

Highlights from the July 12 Council meeting include discussions on three hot topics; expanding the affordable housing supply with two projects discussed, 7 Wright Crescent and 1316-1318 Princess Street. As well as an agreement for dental services with Kingston Community Health Centre and a plan to celebrate The Tragically Hip with a concert live streaming event on August 20.  

Watch the July 12 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

City to Celebrate The Hip with Live Stream Event

I am thrilled to announce plans for the City of Kingston, in partnership with the Downtown Kingston BIA!,  Kingston Accommodation Partners and Kingston Police, to live stream The Tragically Hip’s ‘Man Machine Poem’ concert in Springer Market Square on August 20.

August 20th will be proclaimed “The Tragically Hip Day” in the City of Kingston with a celebration of the band in Springer Market Square. The event will feature concert-quality audio-visuals and screening designed to expand the capacity of Market Square into surrounding streets for the live streamed concert.

The Tragically Hip are an iconic Canadian band who have made tremendous contributions to our country and the Kingston community in particular, through their music and philanthropy. We look forward to welcoming The Hip home and giving Kingston fans the opportunity to show their love and support of the band.

The community celebration is a free public event, open to everyone, beginning at 8:00 p.m. Kingston Transit will be free after 4:00 p.m. on Saturday August 20 with extended express service offered. Residents are encouraged to take advantage of public transit to minimize congestion in the downtown.

This event is a small gesture to allow our community to come together in a showing of our support. This celebration is going to show what The Tragically Hip means to our community and what I think Kingstonians expect. This event is going to be big and unlike anything we’ve seen before in market square.

KEDCO: It’s Time to Move Forward

Throughout the last year of debate and discussion about KEDCO, my position has always been clear. We need a new version of KEDCO – a new economic development agency with a renewed focus to position Kingston as a leader across the province and the country.

Economic development has changed significantly over the last decade; it’s less about attracting new companies to Kingston, and more about fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. We need to take advantage of the enormous talent and ideas we have right here and create an environment for companies to prosper and create jobs as they grow. We need a new agency to seize this tremendous economic potential.

Last night I along with the rest of council took the first step in creating a fresh start for economic development in Kingston. Collectively we are turning the page and moving forward with a number of transformative recommendations. Among those we will have a separate tourism organization and a newly structured economic development organization (EDO).

Throughout this process I have been impressed by the level of community engagement and the ideas generated on this issue. I’ve heard from thousands of residents, organizations, businesses and community groups with comments, suggestions and improvements. Although there are some differing opinions, one thing we all agree on is the need to move forward and get on with it. And that’s what we’re going to do.

Kingston’s new EDO will be very different from what we had in the past. It will be tied to the strategic vision I have been championing; to make Kingston a smart and livable city. Our new EDO will be arms’ length, but with more control and oversight from city hall. This is a new approach and a recognized best practice across the province.

But we’re just getting started. There is more work to be done as we move quickly to implement the necessary changes and position this new EDO on the frontlines of economic development in Kingston and Eastern Ontario. We will continue to look for feedback as we move into the implementation phase of separating these two organizations and developing their strategic focus.

There is a lot of talent and passion in our community about getting this right and it’s time to harness that energy to move forward. This is an important first step in uniting and moving us toward a common goal – making Kingston a smart, livable, 21st century city!

A New Temporary Home for the Marine Museum – Portsmouth Olympic Harbour

Alexander Henry

On June 29th City Council held a special meeting to discuss the future of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, as they face eviction from their current location on August 23rd. At this meeting City Council approved a plan that will see the Marine Museum move into vacant space at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Council also supported the movement of the museum’s largest artifact, the retired coastguard ship Alexander Henry, from the dry dock on the waterfront and to the Picton Terminal over the next year.

The Marine Museum’s move to Portsmouth Olympic Harbour provides temporary space to showcase their artifacts over the next two to four years, giving time for the museum to explore opportunities for a new permanent location. Many people have suggested to me that the Marine Museum could fit within the future vision for the Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour site, and that is something that can certainly be considered within the visioning exercise now underway.

The disposal of the Alexander Henry has proven to be by far the most difficult piece of the puzzle for the Marine Museum’s future. But while the ship is housed at Picton Terminal over the next year, museum and city staff will be able to assess the potential to sink the ship in the coastal waters of Kingston in order to create a new artificial dive reef.

Using the Alexander Henry to create a new dive site would be an exciting tourism opportunity for the city. But it will also come with a large price tag, and so City Council indicated the city would cover half of the cost of disposing of the Alexander Henry, provided the Marine Museum is able to cover the other half through its own fundraising efforts.

I have consistently stated that the city should be there to help the Marine Museum as it transitions to a new chapter, however the city cannot cover all of these costs alone. My challenge to the supporters of the museum and the community as a whole is to embrace this opportunity. We can move forward together as we work to preserve and celebrate our rich history.