The Proposed Scotiabank Centre: A Great Story for the Downtown

One of the most interesting items on our September 1 City Council agenda is a proposal for a new Scotiabank Regional Banking Centre at the corner of Princess and Wellington Streets. If you are trying to picture this location in your mind, it is currently three vacant store fronts –a rather sad sight in our vibrant downtown. The proposal coming forward to build the Scotiabank Regional Banking Centre will be a huge boost for the downtown, bringing more jobs and economic activity into the core of the city. But it’s also going to greatly improve the streetscape of our downtown corridor, Princess Street.

The interesting twist is that in order for this new development to go forward, City Council must allow the owners to demolish the existing building. Now in a city like ours, where history and heritage are vital to our identity and character, demolition of a historical building is not something that we take lightly. But unfortunately in this particular case, there is no way to restore the historical facade of this building because the original stone was damaged beyond repair when it was covered by a 1970s era yellow stucco surface – the surface that can been seen today.

So if City Council blocks demolition of the building we get this (current view of the buildings):101-109 Princess - current view - Aug 2015

And if City Council allows demolition of the building we get this:101-109 Princess - proposal - Aug 2015

The choice is pretty clear in my books. This is one case where demolishing a historical building, hidden beneath an ugly 70s –era exterior, leads to a much better result. I will be asking City Council to approve demolition – so that we can improve the visual appeal and character of our downtown.

Frulact – A Big Win for Kingston’s Economy

Frulact

Today I am very pleased to welcome Portuguese manufacturing company Frulact to Kingston – and yes, this is the big announcement I was referring to the media a few weeks back. Frulact is a food processing company that specializes in the production of fruit based products. I am delighted that they have chosen Kingston as their Canadian base of operations as they expand their business into the North American market.

Without question, this investment is a big deal for Kingston. Frulact will bring up to 50 new jobs and over $15 million in investment to our community. It will also contribute to the growth of an agri-food cluster here in Kingston. Attracting a European manufacturing company like Frulact shows that Kingston can compete in a global economy and this investment helps to put our community on the map with other overseas companies looking at North America.

This is also a big deal for Ontario. According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), this is one of only a handful of successful foreign direct investments in the agri-food industry over the last few years.

As Mayor, I want to personally thank all those who have been involved in making this success a reality for our community. In particular I would like to recognize KEDCO and City of Kingston staff who have worked on this project, OMAFRA, the Canadian embassy in Portugal and of course the senior management at Frulact for choosing Kingston.

This is a proud day for our community and I look forward to further wins for our city and for our economy in the days ahead.

Advocating for Provincial Support for City Council’s Priorities

Amo Conference 2015

This weekend I will be heading to the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Niagara Falls. This annual gathering provides a great opportunity for elected officials from cities and towns across Ontario to hear from the provincial parties and to discuss key issues with provincial government ministers.

For my first trip to the AMO conference as Kingston’s mayor, I’m going to be asking for provincial support and investment to help us achieve City Council’s strategic priorities. Here’s a list of some of the things I’ll be talking about with the provincial government:

  • Funding for the Third Crossing
  • Investment into Kingston’s airport expansion
  • Support for increasing the supply of affordable housing in the city
  • Funding for the expansion of transit and active transportation options
  • Investment in technology infrastructure and related utilities to advance our smart city vision

In short, I’m looking forward to making the case for provincial investment in Kingston and hearing from my counterparts from across the province on the challenges and opportunities municipalities are facing. Not only am I representing our community, but in my role as the chair of the Eastern Ontario Mayor’s Committee I will be joining leaders from across the region to advocate for initiatives that will serve Eastern Ontario as a whole.  By achieving our vision to be a smart and livable city, all of Eastern Ontario will be strengthened. By realizing our potential as a 21st century standard setting city, we will make the entire province look good.

I look forward to updating you when I return.

From the Mayor’s Chair – August 11 Council Meeting

Missed Council but want to stay engaged with the hot topics? Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, a segment with Station 14 where I break down the latest decisions of Council.

Watch the August 11 Council meeting edition here:

From the Mayor's Chair - July 14

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

Let’s Make Local Issues Central in Federal Election

As the federal election gets underway its important to see local issues front and center to ensure Kingston’s key priorities requiring federal partnership can be achieved.

Kingston City Council recently approved a set of strategic priorities for the next four years, several of which involve partnership and collaboration with the federal government. As the parties look to unveil their platforms in the coming weeks, I look forward to dialogue that focuses on the issues as they relate to our community. Topping our list is affordable housing, the future of federal divestitures like the Marine Museum and Kingston Penitentiary, as well as funding for infrastructure projects like our airport expansion and the third crossing.

I will be reaching out to all local candidates over the coming weeks to share Kingston’s priorities. This is one way I hope to build relationships to ensure our community goals can be achieved through collaboration with our next MP and whichever party forms government following the election.

The election period officially began on Sunday, August 2 and will run until Election Day, scheduled for Monday, October 19.