My Letter to the Community: Proposed KEDCO Review

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Over the last number of months there has been a lot of interest expressed across the community about how best we can manage our community’s economic development effort. Some of it focuses on mechanisms like KEDCO, or on infrastructure and other ways the city can support economic development. It is clearly a top priority among Kingston residents — a priority shared both by myself and by the rest of city council, as demonstrated by our strategic priority to build a smart economy.

A proposal for a full review process for KEDCO will come before City Council at our next meeting on October 6. The review as proposed would be led by a committee of 10 people: 2 city councillors, the city’s CAO, 2 KEDCO board members and its interim CEO, and 4 members of the public.

City Council will be in charge of this review process – not KEDCO, who will have only 3 representatives on the panel. The 4 members of the public will be chosen directly by City Council’s nominations committee, and a call for applications will be issued by the city clerk’s office in early October, with selection of the public members confirmed by City Council and the review committee as a whole set in place by mid-November. The committee will need some time to do a thorough review, and will be asked to report back to City Council with its findings and recommendations no later than June of next year.

The review committee will be charged with making recommendations directly to City Council on changes both to KEDCO’s operations and its structure. There will be extensive public consultation and opportunity for residents from across the community to provide their input, ideas and suggestions for how to strengthen KEDCO and related economic development activities.

For example, the committee will be able to explore whether Tourism Kingston should be separated from economic development, whether salaries of senior KEDCO employees should be publicly disclosed, what the board structure and annual budget should be, what measures and targets should guide KEDCO and what methods KEDCO should use to more effectively report its results to City Council and to the community.

In my view the proposed review will provide an effective and open forum to address almost all of the issues, questions and concerns raised to date in the community. With respect to concerns about the financial integrity of KEDCO, it is important to note that KEDCO’s books are audited every year by a reputable CA firm here in Kingston, and that there is a finance and audit committee with council representation that meets every month to review every cheque that is sent out from KEDCO.

I believe that to realize our vision to establish Kingston as a smart and livable city, we must have a strong economic development agency that has the full confidence of City Council and the support of the community as a whole. I believe that the proposed review process is a fair and transparent way to identify not just the problems with KEDCO, but more importantly to identify solutions and to establish constructive methods to advance our economic health.

That is why I will be asking all of council to endorse the proposed KEDCO review process at our next council meeting on October 6.

Sincerely,
Mayor Bryan Paterson

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Federal Election – Keeping the Focus Local

The federal election is now well underway and I want to see important local issues front and centre to ensure our community’s key priorities that requiring federal partnership can be achieved.

Over the last several weeks I have reached out to all local candidates in both the Kingston and the Islands and Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston ridings, the two ridings that represent the City of Kingston.  In my interactions with the candidates I asked them to respond to three questions on important issues in Kingston; the Third Crossing, the future of federal properties in our community and what local priorities requiring federal partnership they will prioritize. 

Here are the questions I posed and the responses from candidates from the riding of Kingston and the Islands. (candidate responses are presented in alphabetical order)

Question 1 – The Third Crossing over the Cataraqui River is an important and much needed infrastructure project for the city of Kingston and the surrounding region. Because of the scale of this project, partnership with the provincial and federal government will be essential. Do you support the construction of the Third Crossing, and if so, tell us about what you would do to help secure the necessary funding to cover 1/3 of the cost (currently estimated at approx. $40 million) of the Third Crossing?

Daniel Beals, NDP One of the key traits of a federal representative must be to engage in consultation and collaboration with municipal representatives to get input on key needs and inform decisions. It is true that I have been hesitant about supporting the Third Crossing in the past due to concerns about the true costs of the project and a lack of transparency from our previous city council. After extensive public consultation at the doors of the city and with current councilors and Mayor Paterson, it is clear to me that this is something the people of Kingston not only want, but need for economic development and connectivity. I also have complete faith in our new City Council to proceed with this project in a transparent and accountable manner. Read the full response here…

Andy Brooke, Conservative I support the construction of the Third Crossing. This is more than an infrastructure project. This is more than transportation needs and traffic flow,
more than a financial consideration, more than an east-west connection – it is about the quality of life of our local citizens and ultimately, this region’s ability to attract and accommodate long-term urban growth for new businesses and industry. Once completed, it will have an economic impact far exceeding the cost. The sustainability of our city’s social and economic health – and that of our region – critically depends on it. Read the full response here…

Mark Gerretsen, Liberal As your next MP I am committed to being a strong advocate of this council priority and to working with you to ensure the best business case is put forward to make federal funding a reality. Part of building a strong proposal involves connecting the dots – leveraging the work this council has already completed, helping the city create the best application that aligns with federal priorities and the program criteria and building relationships with federal officials in Ottawa. I will also actively work with our Member of Provincial Parliament to ensure we’re pressing our respective governments to keep this project at the forefront. Read the full response here…

Nathan Townend, Green Yes, I would support the Third Crossing if it had guaranteed provisions for public and active transportation. As MP I would motion to shift 1% of GST (without raising taxes) for projects and programs in Canadian municipalities who currently carry an unfair financial burden because of the difference between the services they provide (lots!) and the monies they receive (not much!). Read the full response here...

Question 2 – There are a number of federal properties in Kingston the federal government is looking to divest, such as the Marine Museum property and the former Kingston Penitentiary site. If elected as our MP, what role would you play in working with the Kingston community on the future of these important sites?

Daniel Beals, NDP One of the key aspects of these properties is that they are owned by all Canadians, and it is very important to me that their future development and
usage would maintain elements of public ownership and public access. This is
especially important when it comes to waterfront access for all community
members – something that is in limited supply in our city. Read the full response here...

Andy Brooke, Conservative Without pushing a specific project or limiting the dialogue, suffice it to say that we cannot permit this incredible economic opportunity sitting right on the waterfront to be entangled in federal bureaucracy once decommissioning is completed. As an engaged Member of Parliament, I would ensure that once the decommissioning is completed and it is handed over to Canada Lands Company, no entanglement in federal bureaucracy occurs. While there will be challenges since an historical designation makes redevelopment harder; that said, they are not insurmountable.  Read the full response here…

Mark Gerretsen, Liberal KP is a historical piece of our community full of possibility waiting for a community vision to bring it to life. This site has unlimited potential with many opportunities like expanding the existing sailing activities in Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, creating a world class museum and maintaining public waterfront access (as part of the City’s Waterfront Master Plan). However, we need to ensure any development represents a community driven vision that respects, preserves and compliments the unique characteristics of the site and surrounding area. Read the full response here…

Nathan Townend, Green As MP I would champion the revitalization of Kingston Penitentiary as a distillery district that would include an international sailing centre, deep water dock and space for local restaurateurs, local brewers and local artisans to sell their goods. It would be mixed with sustainable residential development for all income levels. Read the full response here…

Question 3 Many local priorities require federal partnership and participation, such as investment in affordable housing, transit, tourism and economic development. Tell us about your local priorities and about any specific Kingston projects that you plan to focus on as MP.

Daniel Beals, NDP Tom Mulcair and the NDP have announced some excellent initiatives that I believe are the keys move Kingston forward. One of the main priorities I would focus on is national Affordable Housing Strategy and an Affordable Housing Act that recognizes housing as a right. This will ensures federal participation in helping municipalities to build secure, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians. This is especially important for
Kingston where we have over 1600 people on the affordable housing waiting list. Read the full response here…

Andy Brooke, Conservative It’ll start with open and non-partisan dialogue. Practical politics undergirded with transparency accountability. As your Member of Parliament, I will meet each month with the Mayor and the Member of Provincial Parliament. Communication – the human connection – is the first key to success. We will endeavor to meet no less than three times a year with community leaders and representatives from private, public and community sectors. Whether this unified approach is the beginning of a “Team Kingston”, or a round table, the labeling makes little difference at this juncture. It will tackle specific growth projects.Read the full response here…

Mark Gerretsen, Liberal First and foremost, if elected as the Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, I am committed to advancing the priorities set out by the cities of Kingston and Frontenac Islands. Aside from those, there are several issues I have worked on over the years that I feel passionately about. Locally those would include building more affordable housing, investing in infrastructure renewal, caring for our seniors and providing new economic opportunities for our young people. Read the full response here…

Nathan Townend, Green The Green Party plans to implement a National Housing Strategy to end homelessness and subsidize private developers to include affordable housing in their projects. We would develop a National Transportation Strategy; re-invest in national rail systems; and increase federal funds to public transit, pedestrian, cycling, and car-sharing infrastructure in towns & cities. We would fund “Green Cities” initiatives to reduce sprawl and conserve energy and water. Read the full response here…

Reviewing Economic Development in Kingston

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Over the last year Kingstonians have raised an increasing number of questions and concerns about KEDCO, Kingston’s economic development agency. Concerns and questions have centered on a lack of transparency to the public, a call for more accountability to council and taxpayers, and how KEDCO compares to economic development agencies in other cities.

My position on KEDCO is this: I believe that the agency has done some great work to advance economic development in Kingston, but there is also much room for change and improvement.

KEDCO should be congratulated for its recent success in attracting international companies like Iron Mountain and Frulact to Kingston. But we must recognize that the economy in Canada and in Kingston is changing and competition for attracting and retaining business is steep. The methods and strategies to achieve economic growth are shifting. And so, now is the time to reinvent KEDCO.

At this past Tuesday’s council meeting, KEDCO representatives made it clear to council that they understand the imperative to change. Interim CEO Donna Gillespie announced a review of their mandate, operations and the structure of their organization. This review will be led by a committee made up of city councilors, KEDCO board members, community members and experts that will bring best practices from other communities to the table. The review will also include public consultations to seek feedback from the community. I hope this public engagement will be an opportunity for all interested to share their thoughts on the best path forward.

I am optimistic moving forward and I am looking forward to seeing what comes from this review committee. Ultimately, I want to see an economic development agency in Kingston that is on the cutting edge – not only in its methods and strategies to attract new jobs and investment to our city, but in its ability to communicate its efforts and results to the community.

My vision for Kingston is to be a smart and livable, 21st century city. This vision includes having a strong and innovative economic development agency to put our community on the map as the best place to live, work and do business.

Bryan

 

From the Mayor’s Chair – September 15

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

The September 15 edition includes; KEDCO’s presentation to Council outlining their review process that will begin this fall and invite public input and suggestions, the discussion on providing low income residents more affordable transit options, the decision to spend $2.95 M to complete the preliminary design and financial plan for the Third Crossing of the Cataraqui River.

Watch the September 15 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair 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.

A Local Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Over the last week I’ve received many phone calls and emails from residents and groups across Kingston asking about what we can do as a community to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.  While this is certainly a national issue, in my view this is one of those times where we can think globally but act locally.

To do this, I am encouraging all Kingston residents to offer their support to a local organization called Save a Family from Syria. This local group has brought together several faith-based organizations to raise funds to sponsor the resettlement of Syrian families in Kingston.  In 2014, the group raised $70,000 and successfully resettled a Syrian refugee family in Kingston and is expecting a second family at the end of September.

Additional funds are needed to sponsor more families in their move to Kingston. Every $40,000 raised by the community supports the settlement of a Syrian family in the Kingston community. Funds donated cover the costs of resettlement, living accommodations, clothing, medical attention and help to become employment-ready.

If you are interested in supporting this initiative you can contact Save a Family from Syria directly at info@saveafamilyfromsyria.org and to make a donation you can visit www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/fourriverspresbytery/

Kingston is a generous and welcoming community. Together we can provide a new start, new opportunities and a welcoming home for families in need of support!

Bryan

Council Strategic Priorities – Explore the New Site

 

 

Council Strategic Priorities

In order to realize our vision of making Kingston a smart and livable 21st century city, Council has developed a new 3 year strategic plan. Our strategic priorities create a proactive framework to make real, positive changes to move our community forward. Through this plan we are going to stimulate job creation, invest in key infrastructure projects like the airport and the Third Crossing, enhance our waterfront and urban forest and address key social needs in our city.

The strategic plan itself is divided into our six key priorities;

  • Create a Smart Economy
  • Invest in Infrastructure
  • Plan a Liveable City
  • Green the City of Kingston
  • Advance a Vibrant Waterfront
  • Foster Open Government

Each priority has a number of specific action items to be completed over the next 3 years. I invite you to click here or on the photo below to go the site, scroll down and see all of the initiatives that we are looking to accomplish. As time goes on there will be more details, information and timelines attached to each of these action items. Using this site you will be able to check in on individual projects over time and monitor our progress over the coming months and years.

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All of this is to both inform and engage Kingston residents like you in our plans, so that you can provide feedback, ask questions and understand where we are going as a community. Let’s move Kingston forward…together.

Bryan

From the Mayor’s Chair – September 1 Council Meeting

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

The September 1 edition includes; the decision to allow demolition of 101-109 Princess Street (the future home of the Scotiabank Regional Banking Centre), an update on the progress of the airport expansion and an invitation for KEDCO to present their review process at the September 15 Council meeting.

Watch the September 1 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.