Your Feedback: Potential New Downtown Condo Development

One of the most important debates we are going to have as a community this year will centre on condominium development proposals and what these will mean for the future of our downtown skyline. To help get this community conversation going, I’d like your opinion on a proposal by Homestead Land Holdings that is expected to come forward at the February 18 Planning Committee meeting. The Homestead proposal is for two 20-story condo towers along Queen Street.

Here is a drawing of the first proposed condominium tower and office building complex that would be located on Queen Street between Ontario and King Streets (where there is currently a surface parking lot).

Homestead - 1

Here is a drawing of the second proposed condominium tower that would be located next to the Goodlife Fitness building at the corner of Queen and Wellington Streets (also currently a surface parking lot). Note that the four story red and white brick building, seen on the right hand side of the image below, is a proposed parking garage half of which would be for public parking use in the downtown.

Homestead - 2

To get an idea of what the developments might look like from the street, here is an image of the street view looking up Queen Street from the intersection of Queen and Ontario Streets.

Homestead - 3

And finally here is the street view looking down Queen Street towards the water.

Homestead - 4

So, what do you think?

From the Mayor’s Chair – January 26

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 January 26 Council meeting include; an application from the Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA!) to declare the downtown a tourist zone, allowing the option for retail shops to open on all holidays, was approved with the next step in the application is a public meeting will be held March 9. Council also approved a motion asking staff to look for greater opportunities for secondary students to gain work experience with the City of Kingston.

Watch the January 26 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair here

From the Mayor's Chair -

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

The New DASH System: Keeping You Better Informed

 

DASH graphic 2016

One of the key elements of the Smart and Livable 21st Century City vision is to utilizing technology to find efficiencies in city processes and to make it easier for residents to stay up to date with what’s going on both in their neighbourhoods and across the city. A great example of this is the new online development-and-services hub, called DASH, a system that tracks new development applications in Kingston.

The DASH system aims to enhance transparency by allowing Kingtonians to view development proposals across the city. Interactive maps show the specific properties where current development applications are being processed. Maps also highlight where the city has plans for new residential, commercial and industrial development, as well as the neighbourhoods in the city where you are permitted to install a secondary suite in your home without needing re-zoning approval.

The DASH webpage – www.CityofKingston.ca/DASH – is very user-friendly, taking only seconds to quickly zoom in on areas of interest to you. For example, below I have included a screen shot of current development proposals in the downtown core. On the website you can click on each of the blue dots to get more specifics about what is being proposed for that property.
DASh screenshot - Jan. 2016

I encourage you to check out this great new feature. Allow DASH to help you learn more about what’s going on in Kingston and stay engaged as we move our community forward.

 

The Third Crossing: Critically Important & Achievable

This week City Council awarded the contract for the preliminary design work for the Third Crossing, which is a critical step to getting the proposed bridge shovel ready. This decision has sparked renewed conversation about the project and I am happy to see Kingstonians getting engaged. In light of the community buzz, here are my thoughts on why the Third Crossing is both critically important and achievable for Kingston.

North End Revitalization

First, and perhaps most importantly, the Third Crossing will aid in the revitalization of the north end of the city by creating a transportation corridor to connect the north end with the east end. This corridor will bring more activity to the north end and unlock its enormous redevelopment potential. In this way, the Third Crossing will encourage intensification and redevelopment inside the city core which makes sense environmentally and financially.

Connectivity

Second, the Third Crossing will make it easier for cars, bicycles, buses, and pedestrians to get from one side of our city to the other. This in turn will ease traffic congestion in the downtown, improve emergency response times and provide a detour route for Hwy 401, avoiding the creation of traffic chaos in the city core.

Financial Considerations

The funding for the Third Crossing will be shared by all three levels of government, requiring partnership to share the estimated $120M price tag. The city’s $40M share is entirely manageable and has already been included in the city’s financial plans for the future.  When put into context, this $40M investment actually comes in significantly lower than other recent infrastructure spending such as the $80M approved for the widening of John Counter Boulevard and $85M for a new waste-water treatment plant. It’s also important to note that only half of the city’s share will come from taxpayers, with the other half paid by developers through the collection of development charges.

As we move ahead making the Third Crossing shovel ready, I look forward to continued discussions with both the provincial and federal governments on the importance of their partnership on the Third Crossing project. I am very pleased to have both MPP Sophie Kiwala and MP Mark Gerretsen advocating for us on this file. The Third Crossing aligns with the vision to be a smart and livable city. After many years of discussion and debate, it’s time to get this bridge built for the advancement of our community.

Third Crossing - projected site location

An aerial view of the proposed Third Crossing location, represented by the yellow line

For more information on the Third Crossing please visit the City of Kingston website at www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/projects-construction/third-crossing

From the Mayor’s Chair – January 12

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 January 12 Council meeting include; award of contract for the preliminary design work of the Third Crossing,  approval of a partnership with the Limestone District School Board and Kingston Frontenac Public Library Board to create community spaces at the new secondary school in Kingscourt, and approval of a lease bringing a nursery school to Rideaucrest Home.

Watch the January 12 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair here

From the Mayor's Chair -

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

Looking Ahead to What’s Coming in 2016

Happy New Year Kingston! As we look forward to the coming year, there is no doubt in my mind that 2016 is going to be an exciting year for our community. Here are a few things to watch for:

1. Downtown Development

This year it is expected City Council will be asked to make a decision on at least two downtown development proposals; the Capitol project, a proposed 20 story development on the site of the former Empire Theatre, and a pair of proposed high rise Homestead buildings at Queen and Ontario and Queen and Wellington. I expect discussions about these proposals and, more importantly, what these proposals could mean for the future skyline of Kingston, will be one of the big conversations of the year.

2. Visioning Exercise for Kingston Penitentiary

This year will provide an opportunity for all Kingston residents to offer their input, ideas and opinions about the future redevelopment of the Kingston Penitentiary site and the neighbouring Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. This will be a critical community exercise shaping the future of this prime Kingston waterfront destination.

3. New Youth Employment Strategy

Work has already begun on a made-in-Kingston youth employment strategy, aimed at making our city a leader in helping young people find work and start successful careers in our community. Input, ideas, focus areas and objectives continue to be gathered from employers, employment agencies, and of course youth themselves. I’m looking forward to sharing the recommendations expected to come forward later this year.

4. Waterfront Master Plan

This year City Council will be presented with a plan to invest in Kingston’s waterfront. We will have to make strategic decisions about when, where and how much to invest as we set out to improve and expand public access to this great natural asset.

5. New and Improved KEDCO

Over the next few months a committee of local business people, city councilors and community members will be working with economic development expert Brock Dickinson to formulate a set of recommendations on changes to our local economic development agency, KEDCO. I look forward to the opportunities the review process presents to create a new and improved KEDCO that will be innovative, effective, transparent and results oriented as we look to grow a smart economy in Kingston.