Yes to Transit Investment, No to a Transit Tax

At a special meeting this week City Council was presented with a draft plan to expand Kingston Transit service over the next five years. The plan includes some great new initiatives, such as a new express bus route on Montreal Street, and higher frequency service on existing express bus routes – bringing the popular 501 and 502 routes to  7 1/2 minute service. However, the plan asked Council to approve an additional 0.5% annual tax increase (on top of the existing 2.5% property tax rate) in order to pay for the proposed new services.

kingston-transit-5-year-plan

I fully support continued investment in transit. But I also believe we need to live within our means, and in my view that means we need to keep to our goal of a maximum 2.5% increase per year.

To build a smart and livable city we must spend money on key investments in our community. That’s why I’ve supported the airport expansion, the widening of John Counter Boulevard, more affordable housing and funding increases to transit over the last few years. What’s important about these previous investments is we’ve been able to hold the line at 2.5%.

After a long night of discussion on the proposed transit plan, I was very pleased City Council voted to send the plan back to city staff to develop a new version to fit within the 2.5% tax increase. This might require delaying some of the new transit services or scaling back other changes until we can get some additional tax revenues from new growth and development in the city. But that’s how a budget should work; you stay within your limit. I vote yes to more transit investment, but no to a transit tax.

Asking for an Integrity Commissioner

City Council’s vote to approve the Capitol condominium project last Tuesday evening was an important decision, both for the future direction of downtown development and for the future of our city. For this reason, it is very important that all Kingstonians have full confidence in the integrity of the vote itself and the process in which council came to its decision.


As Mayor, I take the integrity of council and the transparency of our decisions very seriously. In order to settle any remaining questions regarding Councillor Candon’s participation in the Capitol debate and the final vote on this project, I will be bringing forward a motion to our October 4 council meeting calling for the hiring of an Integrity Commissioner. This will be an independent and arms-length investigation, to review this matter in greater detail. I have spoken with Councillor Candon about this and he is in full support of this review and has also agreed to second the motion.


Although we, as a council, will have issues that divide us, we are united in our view that the trust of Kingstonians in the integrity of our decisions is critically important. My hope is the hiring of an Integrity Commissioner to review this matter will demonstrate the importance of maintaining this trust.


Thank you to all those who took the time to share your thoughts and opinions with me on this issue. I have heard people on all sides and I look forward to continuing to work together in building a smart and livable city.

Mayor Bryan Paterson 

5 Reasons the Capitol Condo Approval is Good News for our Downtown

After more than a year of community discussion, debate and several design revisions, the proposed Capitol condominium development was approved by City Council at our September 20th meeting. Here are 5 reasons why this is good news for our downtown. 

  1. The future residents of the Capitol will shop downtown. Estimates suggest spending by the future residents of the condo will support over 100 full time jobs in the downtown core. This will help limit the number of empty store fronts on Princess Street.
  1. The Capitol adds to the diversity of housing options for residents, both current and future. Condo living is an attractive housing option that appeals to both young professionals and older residents looking to downsize with the opportunity to live, work and play downtown.
  1. The Capitol development will serve as a catalyst for more redevelopment along Queen Street, contributing to a stronger and more vibrant downtown.
  1. With more residential intensification in the downtown, there will be less pressure to expand existing suburban areas, which are more car dependent. With everything in walking distance, we will see fewer cars on the road and reduced greenhouse gas emissions overall.
  1. The Capitol will bring with it a number of community benefits, including more public parking, affordable housing units and a community studio space to strengthen our local cultural scene.

From the Mayor’s Chair – September 20

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 September 20 Council meeting include approval of the Capitol condo project at 223 Princess Street, the sale of the former Bailey Broom Factory on Rideau Street for redevelopment, and approval of a commemorative stone in Market Square to highlight The Tragically Hip concert  on August 20th. 

Watch the September 20 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE

From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this web

Fresh Made Daily – Building Kingston’s Tourism Brand

 

This has been a big year for tourism – from the national spotlight of The Tragically Hip concert, to the Amazing Race episode, to the Kingston Penitentiary tours, and our award winning festivals and events!  Building on this exciting momentum is the new collaborative tourism brand for Kingston – ‘fresh made daily’. This new branding is a fresh approach to describe Kingston and attract visitors. Have a look at the video below for a showcase of this new branding in action.

video-patios-of-kingston-screenshot

Another key part of Kingston’s new tourism brand is a newly designed website, www.visitkingston.ca, created through a great partnership between Kingston Accommodation Partners and Tourism Kingston. The new website is a great first impression for visitors to Kingston! Check it out here

visit-kingston-website-screenshot

So what does ‘fresh made daily’ mean? ‘Fresh’ means Kingston’s new approach to tourism. ‘Made’ symbolizes our local attractions that highlight culture and creators. ‘Daily’ refers to the timelines and events that are constantly evolving in our community.

This has been a fantastic year for tourism in Kingston and I look forward to continuing to build our tourism brand, inviting more visitors to experience all we have to offer!  

p.s. – Don’t miss great local events and activities – check out the events calendar on the Visit Kingston website here www.visitkingston.ca/happenings

Innovative Redevelopment of a Former School

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School closures can be difficult for any community to deal with, but with some creative thinking at the city level we can turn a negative into a positive by encouraging smart redevelopment. A good example of this approach is with the former St. Joseph/St. Mary Catholic School at the corner of Brock and Napier Streets in the downtown.

Earlier this year the City purchased the property from the school board with a goal of redeveloping the site, and just this week City Council approved a concept plan to bring new life to the site. While there is still public consultation to come and details to be worked out, the future use of the property is shown below.

671-brock-street-concept-plan-amended

As shown in the concept plan, the new vision for the property will incorporate both parkland and affordable housing, both of which are important priorities for our city. The parkland is a great addition to an area of the city lacking in green space. And the affordable housing units in this location will aid our larger goal of pulling affordable housing away from the Rideau Heights neighbourhood and integrating it throughout the city.

This plan also includes a creative element that is being tried out for the very first time. The city will sell off a portion of the site for private development, which will provide revenue to invest back into the affordable housing component and funds to acquire additional parkland in the downtown. This sort of innovative redevelopment is exactly what a smart and livable, 21st century city is all about! Stay tuned for more details on this exciting redevelopment project.

 

 

From the Mayor’s Chair – September 6

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 September 6 Council meeting include debate and discussion about the future of the the former St. Joseph/St. Mary Catholic School located at 671 Brock Street,  approval of the exterior look of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library branch at 130 Johnson Street as the branch gets ready for upcoming renovations, and appointments to the Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Visioning Community Working Group

Watch the September 6 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE

From the Mayor's Chair -

For previous From the Mayor’s Chair segments visit the media tab at the top of this web