The Marine Museum is a valued institution that plays an important role, alongside many other Kingston museums, in highlighting our local history and culture. Back in January the federal government sold the waterfront property including the Marine Museum and dry dock to Jay Patry Enterprises. This week we learned that the Marine Museum has been given a deadline of August 23 to either negotiate a lease with its new landlord, or find a new home. Although it appears the door is still open for the museum to stay where it is, this will require a successful negotiation between the museum and the landlord.
My hope is that a deal can yet be reached between the two parties which would allow the Marine Museum to stay in its current location. Should this not be possible, a new location might be the outcome and this is why Council previously discussed the matter and made plans of how we could best offer our support. Last year Council authorized $50,000 in special funding to be made available to the Marine Museum to develop a plan of action in the event they need to move locations.
I hope creative ideas and discussions continue with all parties to find a viable path forward for the museum. I believe the city has demonstrated our commitment to supporting both parties in finding a solution while at the same time recognizing our responsibility to manage limited municipal tax dollars.
At this week’s council meeting, City Council took the final step to get the Third Crossing project ‘shovel ready’ by approving the development of a business plan for the project.
The development of a business plan will include a cost-benefit analysis, weighing the benefits against the expected construction and maintenance costs. The business plan will also finalize financial details to prepare the Third Crossing to be put out for bids from construction firms.
With the approval of this phase (see summary of project phases below) of the project we expect to see the Third Crossing ‘shovel ready’ one year from now. When the project is shovel ready City Council will then be in a position to formally request funding from the province and the federal government to make this project a reality. In the meantime, I will continue engaging as many provincial and federal ministers as I can, to inform them about this critical infrastructure project and what it will mean for Kingston.
The Third Crossing is the largest single infrastructure project ever considered for Kingston, and so it’s very important to me that all residents in our city have a chance to learn about the details of this project and provide their input. The City has an updated the Third Crossing project page on the city websitehere. This new page has been designed to keep you informed as the project progresses and identify opportunities to provide your ideas about elements of the project, find this under the ‘consultation’ tab of the site. I am looking forward to the public open house in September when the draft design concept for the bridge, roadway and landscape will be presented!
Here’s a quick overview of the project phases:
Phase I: Environmental assessment and the action plan (2009 to 2013)
Phase II: Preliminary design (February 2016 to May 2017)
January 2016: Contract awarded for preliminary design
Phase III: Business plan (May 2016 to March 2017)
April 2016: Business Plan development approved
Phase IV: Detailed design
This plan will be developed if council directs staff to move forward with the project.
The Ontario government recently announced municipalities will have the option of using a ranked ballot for future municipal elections as part of the changes proposed to the Municipal Elections Act. If passed, Kingston would have the authority to use ranked ballot voting as early as the 2018 municipal election.
Changing how our voting system works is an important decision. We need to understand the pros and cons of moving to a ranked ballot, and most importantly, have discussion and debate across the community. So, to kick start that debate, I’ve included a poll to gather your initial thoughts on this potential change.
The poll is below, but first a quick overview of what this change means…
Right now we use the ‘first past the post’ system, which allows you to vote for one candidate on the ballot and the candidate with the most votes wins.
A ranked ballot system allows you to rank the candidates, from your most preferred to least preferred. To win, a candidate needs 50% +1 of the votes. If no candidate gets 50% +1 of votes, after the first count of the ballots, then the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and their votes are redistributed based on the second choice selected on those ballots. This process continues until one candidate wins by 50% +1 of the votes.
Here is what the ranked ballot process can look like (images provided by the Ontario Government, for more information visitwww.mah.gov.on.ca/Page11118)
In this example apple would win in a ‘first past the post’ system with less than 50% of the votes and pear would win with 50% +1 in a ranked ballot system.
So what do you think?
Please note: this poll will close on Thursday April 21 and restrictions have been put in place to prevent repeat voting.
This week is National Volunteer Week, April 10 to 16, a time to recognize and celebrate volunteers in our community. Kingstonians donate their time and talents everyday across our community making positive impacts in the lives of others, and this week we say thank you!
I encourage all Kingstonians who know or benefit from the positive contributions of a volunteer to take time to show your appreciation. Nominate a volunteer making a lasting positive impact for the 2016 Mayor’s Awards for Youth Volunteerism and First Capital Distinguished Citizen/Honourable Achievement Awards. The deadline for nominations is April 15. Award presentations will be made at the City of Kingston’s Canada celebrations on the front steps of City Hall. For more information and the nomination form please visitwww.cityofkingston.ca/Awards
To all the amazing volunteers across our community, thank you for all you do!
One of my priorities as mayor is to make it more convenient for residents to provide their input on important issues.
What has become the norm for seeking input is holding open houses at city facilities, hoping people come out and provide their feedback and comments. But what if instead we have open houses in places where people are, rather than asking them to make a special trip to participate? What if we had opportunities for residents to engage in family-friendly places and provide giveaways as a way to thank you for your time and feedback (sounds pretty convenient for young families like my own!).
Well, this month we are going to try exactly that! The city has two very family-friendly open houses planned seeking your input on the city’s official plan update.
On Sunday April 17 from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Artillery Park Aquatic Centre you can learn more about the Official Plan update and enjoy a FREE adult and family swim (11:45am to 1:15p.m.)
Or, on Sunday April 24 from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the INVISTA Centre you can provide your input and enjoy a FREE skate on the RONA ice pad from 12 to 2 p.m.
When you’re looking for something to do on Sunday afternoon, why not bring the family out for a swim or a skate, and while there let us know what you’d like to see and help share our city!