The Race is on in the Countryside District By-Election

by-election - May 15 2017

The race for the new councilor of Countryside District is officially underway! Nominations for the by-election officially closed this afternoon, so we can expect to see  election signs start to appear across the rural area of the city. There are seven individuals who have put their name forward to be the next councilor for Countryside! In alphabetical order the candidates are:

  • Ameer Baig
  • Scott Burton
  • Louis Cyr
  • Joyce MacLeod-Kane
  • Gary Oosterhof
  • Karen Pagratis
  • Jeff Scott

This by-election race promises to be very exciting, with lots of opportunity for rural residents of the city to raise the issues that are of the greatest concern to them. I encourage all residents of Countryside to get informed and get out to vote.

Voting day is on Monday May 15 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with an advanced voting day scheduled for Saturday May 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. More information on how and where to vote can be found on the city website at www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/elections

The winner of the by-election will be sworn in as the new Countryside Councilor on June 6 and will then join City Council in making significant decisions on issues including  the Kingston Penitentiary Visioning and the Third Crossing.

Good luck to all the candidates and I look forward to welcoming a new member to our Council in the coming weeks!

From the Mayor’s Chair – March 21

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 March 21 Council meeting include approval of a proposal to make the City’s fire Training Centre available to the Ontario Fire College, which will bring in additional revenues for the City. Council also approved an expansion to the existing Student Transit Pilot Program to include free transit ridership for youth aged 13 and 14, in response to an identified gap between the free transit offered to children up to the age of 12 and the student pass starting at age 14. Council also received an update on the public engagement plan for the Third Crossing project. Next steps for the Third Crossing process include two open houses at the end of April and a special meeting of Council in June at which point Council will be asked to make the decision to build the Third Crossing, or not. 

Watch the March 21 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 website

Building a Goat Farming Industry in Kingston and Eastern Ontario

Several months ago China-based Feihe International announced their plans to invest $225 million to build a large infant formula manufacturing facility here in Kingston. This production facility will create hundreds of jobs and generate enormous economic spinoffs in Kingston, with opportunities for local companies to connect into Feihe’s supply chain.

One of the most interesting and exciting opportunities to come from Feihe’s operation will be the expansion of goat farming in our region. Feihe will be North America’s first and only producer of goat milk-based infant formula, and so they will need a substantial base of goat farms to supply their Kingston facility. The hope is to be able to produce as much goat milk as possible in the local area.

To help kick start the expansion of the local goat industry, the Kingston Economic Development Corporation and the County of Frontenac are holding public information sessions on goat farming on March 23. For those who can’t make it to this week’s information sessions, but are interested in learning more, you can get information and the materials from the websites of both organizers – Kingston Economic Development Corporation and the County of Frontenac

In addition to Feihe’s operation provincial trends are showing an increase in demand for goat products, making this an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs who are interested in getting into goat farming. Kingston, the County of Frontenac and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) are partnering together to build this region of the province into a world leader in goat farming. With sustained effort, coordination and planning in the coming years, we can realize the vision to make Kingston and Eastern Ontario a recognized centre of excellence for goat milk production and all things related to goats!

A New Code of Conduct & Conflict of Interest Rules for Council

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Update

At the special meeting on March 29, Kingston City Council approved the new Code of Conduct, Complaint Protocol, and an Accountability Framework.

With this approval means City Council will be hiring a full-time Integrity Commissioner who will be available to Councilors and the public to advise on if a situation is a conflict of interest, investigate complaints and report to Council on their findings.

An important next step will be the development of an education and communications plan for both members of the Council and the community. I believe the communications and education plan is critical to ensure there is clarity on what is and is not a conflict of interest and the process for inquiring or making a complaint is clear and accessible. I look forward to sharing more information with you in the days to come

On March 29 City Council will hold a special meeting to discuss a new code of conduct and conflict of interest guidelines for members of council. In the aftermath of the council vote on the Capitol condominium development last fall, there has been a lot of confusion about what defines a conflict of interest for a member of council, and how these potential conflicts should be addressed. There has also been confusion about what is and is not acceptable for a member of council when expressing disagreement with members of the public or city staff.

As mayor, I have vowed to resolve this confusion and work with councillors, staff and members of the public to implement a new and improved code of conduct and conflict of interest guidelines. In my view, the new code and guidelines should be clear, reasonable and supported by a simple and transparent process for members of the public to be able to express concerns about perceived breaches of the code of conduct by members of council.

Here is what I am looking for in the new code of conduct:

  • a clear definition of what a conflict of interest is and what it is not
  • a clear standard for respectful conduct by members of council when interacting with the public, while still allowing councilors the needed freedom to express their positions on issues or hot topics
  • a clear standard for members of council to be professional and respectful in dealing with city staff, while still allowing them to disagree with policy recommendations put forward by staff
  • a clear, accessible and easy to understand summary of the main points of the code of conduct available to the community

You can read the draft copy of the new code of conduct here – http://bit.ly/2mwi2JH  I welcome your input and opinions before council addresses this issue later this month.

What is missing in this report are the measures the city can take to provide a clear and easy to follow process for members of the public to bring forward concerns. I feel there is more work to be done on this and look forward to discussing this at the Council meeting on March 29.

Ultimately my goal is to have a code of conduct that is fair and reasonable, and that gives citizens from all professional backgrounds the opportunity to run for City Council, while at the same time preserving the highest integrity in our local government.

 

From the Mayor’s Chair – March 7

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 March 7 Council meeting include discussion and approval of the Official Plan Update, with much of the debate on the allowance for large format retail stores in the downtown, ultimately Council decided to approve certain types of large retail like grocery stores. Council also approved the Revitalization of Breakwater Park including $1.5M in grants which will bump up the renovation work to 2017, and Council approved moving Canada Day celebrations from Grass Creek Park to the downtown for 2017 (see new motion 1) as we mark the 150th anniversary of Canada. 

Watch the March 7 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 website

Revitalizing Breakwater Park

This week I am very pleased to share the news that City Council has given the green light to start work on the revitalization of Breakwater Park. This linear waterfront park, located along King Street, is enjoyed by thousands of Kingston residents including Queen’s students, KGH patients and families. Breakwater Park is definitely one of my favourite parks in the city, I enjoying taking my boys to watch the boats in the summertime or reading a book on one of the many park benches along the waterfront.

The revitalization plan for Breakwater Park has a number of great improvements, including a sandy beach area, a footbridge over to the swimming pier, upgraded pathways, benches and tables and a new coastline that allows for easier access to the water. This new vision for the park was something that I talked a lot about in my election campaign, especially public access to the waterfront in our downtown, and so it’s great to see this project come to fruition.

Even better news is that the city has received two sizable grants towards the $5.4 million price tag for the revitalization. The federal government has awarded a $1 million grant and Lake Ontario Waterkeepers has contributed an additional $500K. Because of these additional funding sources we can accelerate the revitalization of Breakwater Park and at the same time we can redirect municipal tax dollars toward other park projects in the city. 

With work set to begin later this year, we can all look forward to a new and improved Breakwater Park by the spring of 2018!

Emerging Vision: Kingston Penitentiary & Portsmouth Olympic Harbour

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It’s an exciting time for the visioning process for Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour. Through the work of the visioning exercise a singular vision for the redevelopment of this incredible piece of Kingston waterfront has emerged.

The visioning exercise, launched in May 2016, is led by Canada Lands in partnership with the City of Kingston to create a redevelopment plan that will promote tourism, public access to the waterfront and renewal of the harbour area. Over the past year more than 1,000 Kingstionians have provided their ideas and feedback on important elements of the future site including green space, the marina, roads, trails, parking, as well as building locations and heights.

What has emerged is a concept featuring;

  • tourism opportunities through the preservation of the towers, some existing buildings and some sections of the penitentiary walls
  • continuous public access along the waterfront
  • open space for recreation and events
  • adaptive re-use of buildings for commercial, residential and restaurant use
  • new community hub and marina building to replace the existing Portsmouth Olympic Harbour
  • new docks and facilities for the Fire Department and Search and Rescue operations
  • the addition of a mix of low and mid-rise residential buildings

Over the next couple of months this design concept will be further refined before a final design vision is presented to the public in May and then to City Council for formal endorsement. After that, the work can begin to implement this exciting new redevelopment of this landmark Kingston waterfront property.

For more information on the visioning process visit the City’s website at www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/projects-construction/kingston-pen