Another Step Forward for Queen’s Homecoming

This week I’d like to give a shout out to Kingston Police and the Queen’s Alma Mater Society (AMS) for their great work in making this past weekend’s Homecoming festivities a safe, fun and positive experience for students, alumni and the wider Kingston community. The weather certainly helped too, but that should not discount the importance of the AMS’ Reunion Street festival. The executive team at the AMS did a great job putting together a professional large-scale event that was attractive to both students and alumni. Below is a picture from this year’s festivities on Queen’s campus. In past years we would have seen this crowd on Aberdeen Street and I am pleased it was instead energetically and respectfully crowded at a sanctioned event while Aberdeen remained relatively quiet.

ReUnion Street Festival concert - Homecoming 2015 - Steph Crosier

View of the crowd at the ReUnion Street Festival – photo courtesy of the Kingston Whig Standard

Aberdeen Street early Sunday morning 2 - Homecoming 2015 - Steph Crosier

View of Aberdeen Street, early Sunday morning – photo courtesy of the Kingston Whig Standard

 

I also had a chance to swing by the Kingston Police command post established for Queen’s Homecoming. While there I heard about all of the work and precautions taken by police officers throughout the evening to monitor the neighbourhood, to keep any large crowds from forming on the streets and to issue fines for illegal behavior.

Kingston Police HQ - homecoming 2015 - Step Crosier

Kingston Police command post – photo courtesy of the Kingston Whig Standard

Relations between the city and Queen’s University have certainly come a long way over the last number of years. Thanks to the great work being done by police and the AMS, among others, we can spend less time talking about street parties and more time talking about opportunities for town-gown collaboration!

Bryan

A Smart and Livable Solution for Downtown Parking

Strengthening the vitality of the downtown is one of my top priorities as mayor.   I have heard from Kingstonians, and I agree, that one of the keys to the continued vitality of the downtown is more residential development. That’s of course because more downtown apartments or condos means more people living right downtown creating a solid customer base for downtown businesses

One of the big challenges with building more residential downtown is we can end up losing space for parking, which is another ‘must have’ for getting customers to downtown shops. So this week, City Council approved an innovative way to get more residential development while at the same time preserving parking spaces. The city is  partnering with a local developer to include a public parking garage, owned and operated by the city, inside a new residential condo development.

Now, the really innovative part of this idea is what the parking garage will look like from the outside. Instead of a multi-story concrete block (you know the kind because we have a few in our downtown), we will be looking at the construction of a fully enclosed and windowed parking structure, aesthetically sympathetic to surrounding buildings such as the Smith Robinson and British Whig buildings pictured below.

British Whig building

British Whig building

Smith & Robinson Building - 1

Smith Robinson building

It’s important to note that this new public parking garage will only go ahead if and when City Council approves the rest of the residential condo development on the property. I think we are definitely on the right track when we can combine parking, residential development, walkability and an attractive streetscape in the downtown – that’s the way to plan a livable city!

From the Mayor’s Chair – October 20

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

Highlights from the October 20 Council meeting include; discussion of a city partnership with a local developer to build a public parking facility in the downtown, an update on the the open government workplan and a progress report on how we are building our smart city vision by investing in technology. 

Watch the October 20 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.

Getting Involved in Your Community: Apply for a City Committee or Board

City of Kingston Committee Recruitment - apply now!

As mayor I have the great privilege of meeting and interacting with local volunteers every day. I am continually impressed by the wealth of knowledge and talent among Kingston residents and the willingness to use those talents toward the betterment of our community.

City Council has set forward an exciting vision to make Kingston a smart and livable city. To be successful it will require a collective effort, where we all work together to realize our full potential as a community.

One important way that you can help us build a smart and livable city is by lending your talents to a city committee or board. It’s not a big time commitment – often just one meeting a month. It’s a great way to connect with other like-minded people in the city and contribute to making Kingston an even better place to live!

Right now there are openings on a whole range of committees – KEDCO, the city’s heritage committee, the housing and homelessness committee, our city’s environmental advisory forum – to name just a few. So, whether you have a background in local history, economic development, environmental issues or housing and social services, there is bound to be a committee that can benefit from your skills, experience and passion.

To find out what boards or committees might interest you, please see the list and short descriptions below. Once you know what committees you’d like to apply for, follow this link and fill out the online form.

Thanks for putting your name forward to serve on a committee or board and helping to make Kingston a smart and livable city!

Appeals Committee The Appeals Committee deals with property standards orders and building code matters across the city. Members of the committee hear appeals from property owners on these issues and then make judgments accordingly.

Belle Park Working Group The Belle Park working group provides City staff with advice on the programs and services offered at Belle Park Fairways. This working group will provide feedback related to the following Belle Park functions; maintenance, programming, events and potential partnerships, advertising and marketing opportunities, and capital renovations or upgrades.

Housing and Homelessness Advisory Committee The Housing and Homelessness Advisory Committee provides advice to Council regarding housing and homelessness related policies, directives and strategies – including the implementation of the Municipal Housing Strategy and the 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.

Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum (KEAF) Members of the Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum (KEAF) provide feedback and advice to assist the City in preparing its environmental strategy. KEAF plays an important role in supporting the community vision of becoming Canada’s most sustainable city.

Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) Board of Directors KEDCO provides leadership to drive economic development and tourism marketing in the City of Kingston. Board members play an advisory role, reviewing expenditures and providing feedback to help guide the economic development activities pursued by KEDCO.

KEDCO Review Committee In response to recent interest expressed in Kingston’s economic development, a committee is being formed to conduct a review of KEDCO’s mandate, operations and structure of the organization. In its review process, this committee will ensure the organization is delivering services that are of value to the city and aligned with City of Kingston Strategic Priorities.

Kingston Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corporation (Town Homes Kingston) Town Homes Kingston provides safe, affordable, mixed income housing at seven city locations. Members of this board oversee the operations of Town Homes Kingston.

Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee The Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) is legislated by the Province of Ontario under the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001 (AODA). This committee reports to Council on accessibility issues by providing valuable perspectives and advice on the challenges and opportunities for people living with disabilities.   

Municipal Heritage Committee The Municipal Heritage Committee provides feedback and advice on matters of cultural and built heritage. Members of this committee share a passion for conserving the City’s rich heritage and bring with them various levels of experience and knowledge in archaeology, heritage conservation and city planning.

Taxi Commission The Taxi Commission is responsible for the licensing, regulation and governance of taxi drivers and owners in both the City of Kingston and the former Ernestown Township.

From the Mayor’s Chair – October 6

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 October 6 edition includes; discussion of the Princess Street reconstruction – Big Dig 3 – award of contract, council endorsement of the KEDCO review process and a preview of the new integrated tourism strategy from Kingston Accommodation Partners. 

Watch the October 6 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.

An Exciting New Tourism Brand for Kingston

This week City Council was presented with a bold new tourism brand for Kingston. This re-branding plan will help to define how we market Kingston as a top rated tourist destination.

The creation of this new tourism brand is part of a larger effort by the Kingston Accommodation Partners (KAP), Tourism Kingston (KEDCO) and other key stakeholders to bring all local and regional tourism operators together under a single, integrated tourism strategy. It’s all about how we define and showcase Kingston to potential visitors from across the country and around the world.

Personally, I think that the proposed new tourism brand is absolutely fantastic. It’s a celebration of what is unique and special about Kingston. It’s about elevating the everyday experiences of Kingston. It’s about telling our story by using a fresh new perspective to showcase the culture and amenities that already exist. In a word, this new tourism brand is about authenticity – giving visitors a window into what life is really like in Kingston.

Explaining this new tourism brand is pretty difficult to do in words, so here’s a video that was put together by KAP that does a great job of conveying what Kingston’s new tourism brand is all about.

Please note – this video is not a finished product, instead it was created to animate the desired look and feel of the new tourism marketing brand.

Federal Election – Keeping the Focus Local – second edition

As I posted last week, 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.

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 I have received to date from candidates from the riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston.

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?

Phil Archambault, Liberal The Third Crossing is a large infrastructure expenditure in the transportation category while KP and the Marine Museum site may have potential as a blend of tourism and mixed use.
I would be inappropriate for me to decide on percentages of funding for various projects of
different types because each should be considered on its own merits and as they relate to
overall funding envelopes. I will fight for our fair share of these funds regardless of final
attributions.

Anita Payne, Green The Green Party is committed to dedicating one percentage point of GST revenue to municipal infrastructure projects. Kingston’s Third Crossing project would be one that I would support for such funding, provided that the bridge includes safe access for pedestrians and cyclists.

Scott Reid, Conservative The City of Kingston, and its surrounding area, contains more infrastructure of federal importance than most other cities its size, from the crossings of the Cataraqui River and Rideau Canal system, to the local correctional infrastructure, national historic sites, and the Royal Military College, to name a few. Clearly, the proper maintenance and handling of federally-important infrastructure, whether they be properties or roads, highways, and bridges, requires that representatives of all three levels of government can work cooperatively and are engaged in open communication. Read more 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?

Phil Archambault, Liberal A Liberal government is committed to working with all levels of government and with the citizens of Kingston and area for the benefit of the entire region.
The Third Crossing, the importance of the historic Marine Museum site and especially the
transformation of Kingston Penitentiary to an iconic tourist attraction are all priorities. It is up to the residents of the Kingston area and, in the case of KP, especially those in Portsmouth Village to have their say on how any reconfiguration of these assets will benefit their neighborhood, their community and their city. Read more here…

Anita Payne, Green As MP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, I would support Nathan Townend’s proposal for a tourism hub around a distillery district on the former Kingston Penitentiary site as well as a deep water port and international sailing centre. In Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, I would work with local farmers to re-open the prison farm at Joyceville. It was a mistake for the Conservative government to shut down a facility that was making a profit, providing local food and making a positive contribution to the rehabilitation of inmates.

Scott Reid, Conservative There exist formal legal obligations on the federal governments to maintain certain key elements of sites and buildings that have been designated as historically important. In the case of the Kingston Penitentiary, for example, a fair number of on-site buildings are historically significant. I would hope to ensure that, in any sale and redevelopment of the site, the plan would take steps to retain certain heritage structures, perhaps including the front gate, the main dome and the north cell block, for example, so that the site both continues to provide a link to that historical legacy while also serving the needs and wishes of the local residents. Read more 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.

Phil Archambault, Liberal If elected, my job is to make sure the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston gets its fair share! And I will!

The Liberal plan will have three distinct eligibility areas:
1. Public transit infrastructure
2. Social infrastructure
3. Green infrastructure 
Read More…

Anita Payne, 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.
The Green Party will invest in a sustainable economy. A revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend system will encourage investment in renewable energy and create local businesses to retrofit all buildings for energy efficiency. A Green Venture Capital Fund will support viable local green business startups. Read more here…

Scott Reid, Conservative The federal government is of course rather active in the areas that you mention, be it through transit and infrastructure funds, the federal tourism strategy, programs through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or FedDev Ontario. However, my personal interest lies more in assisting our rural communities with the particular needs that they have, and I hope to focus my energies on the non-governmental side of life in the rural areas of Kingston that I will be representing. Read more here…