A question I’ve heard often over the years is if it’s possible to have a deep water dock that would allow cruise ships traveling through the Great Lakes to stop in Kingston. I think Kingston would be a very attractive place for cruise ships to land for a day. Every cruise ship would mean hundreds of tourists an afternoon to shop and visit restaurants in our downtown, which would provide a big boost to our local economy.
At our last meeting, City Council voted to explore the possibility of building the existing Queen Street dock into a deep water port for cruise ships. Some preliminary analysis from staff suggested smaller cruise ships would be able to dock at Crawford Wharf at the bottom of Brock Street, but larger cruise ships would require a new, longer dock. The best spot for a new dock would be as close to the downtown core as possible, and so the Queen Street dock seems like an ideal location.
This is also the perfect time to look at the future of the underutilized Queen Street dock as the province is now moving forward with a plan to expand and revitalize the Wolfe Island ferry terminal next door. This expansion is designed to accommodate a second ferry that is scheduled to be added between Kingston and Wolfe Island in 2020. What’s really exciting is that a new ferry terminal combined with a deep water dock for cruise ships could completely transform this part of Kingston’s waterfront into something incredible, both for residents and tourists.
There’s still lots of work to be done on this, including market analysis to understand what the potential demand for cruise ship landings might be in Kingston, but I for one think this is a great opportunity for the city, both to attract more tourists and to improve our waterfront!
Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 2 minutes!
One of the big topics on the agenda at the November 7th Council meeting was the potential for a deep water dock for cruise ships. Council decided to move ahead with the plan to look deeper at this possibility and also do more market analysis to understand what the cruise ship industry could mean for tourism in Kingston. Council also heard a presentation from the Association of Municipalities Ontario on a province wide push to increase the HST by 1% in order to fund infrastructure needs for cities and town across the province. Kingston currently funds its infrastructure needs out of a 1% property tax levy. Council decided to endorse the plan but also agreed that should the 1% increase in HST ever happen, that the City would then look at reducing or eliminating the 1% property tax levy. Finally, Council passed a motion to make naloxone kits available in all city facilities and to endorse further distribution in partnership with KFL&A public health.
Watch the November 7th edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE
When I talk about the vision to make Kingston a smart and livable 21st century city, people sometimes ask me what I mean by a “smart city”. Well, one of the most important ways to make Kingston a “smart city” is to harness new technology that will improve services for our residents. A great example is this week’s launch of a new way to pay for downtown parking, using only your smartphone!
Most of us can probably remember times we’ve been huddled in front of a parking payment machine on a cold, snowy day, fumbling to insert a credit card, push the right buttons and wait for what seems like an eternity while the machine prints out a ticket to put on the car dashboard. Or what about that time you were eating at a restaurant or sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office and had to rush out to the machine to top up your payment? Well, now you can pay for parking at any downtown parking lot in Kingston from your smartphone using the Honk Mobile App.
I downloaded the app on my smartphone this morning and it’s very easy to use. Once you open up the app you just sign up for an account and enter your vehicle and credit card info. The app lists all the parking lots in the downtown, so all you have to do from this point on is select the lot where you want to park and choose how much to time you want to buy. It’s convenient, it’s fast and it’s easy – exactly how services in a smart city should be.
Right now the Honk Mobile App can only be used for parking lots in the downtown so you still need to use payment machines for on-street parking. However, if all goes well with this new way of paying by smartphone, I’m hopeful that soon this option will be available everywhere in downtown Kingston.
I’m a big believer in the importance of two way communication between City Hall and residents. It’s vital that the city (and the mayor!) provide regular updates to the community on what projects we are working on, what decisions are being made at City Council and what changes people can expect. However, it’s equally important that the city regularly hears the opinions, questions and ideas of all Kingstonians.
I enjoy when a resident stops me on the street or in the grocery store to offer a great idea about how to make the city better. Now you can submit your idea for Kingston to a new online forum called “What is Your Idea”. The forum is part of the city’s new Get Involved webpage which you can find at: GetInvolved.CityofKingston.ca. Posting on the forum not only ensures myself and other city staff know about your idea, it also gives all Kingston residents a chance to see your idea, share it on social media, and vote on it. Creative ideas have already been posted about a city wide bike rack registry, how to improve Cataraqui Woods Park, and suggested locations for tour bus parking in the downtown.
The Get Involved website is also a one stop shop for providing your input on a whole range of current city projects. All you need to do is sign up once and then you can quickly and easily provide feedback on any listed project. Right now that includes everything from a survey on the city’s new bike share program, to ideas for revitalizing Richardson Beach, to input on the Vision Zero road safety program. I encourage all Kingstonians to sign up, get involved and provide us with your input and ideas to help make Kingston better!
Canada’s very first hybrid cardiac ablation procedure has been successfully performed right here in Kingston. This is a procedure meant to treat patients with atrial fibrillation – the most common type of irregular heart rhythm. This innovative hybrid procedure is far less invasive for patients than many of the traditional approaches.
Here in Canada, atrial fibrillation affects approximately one in four people. Cardiac ablation procedures are used to restore normal heart rhythms by creating scars inside the heart which prevent abnormal electrical signals from moving through the heart tissue. Traditionally this is done by inserting long, flexible tubes with wires into the heart through the groin or by using more invasive surgical approaches that often require opening the chest and stopping the heart.
Dr. Bisleri and Dr. Glover showed me the new technique and tools they are now using to treat atrial fibrillation. With the new procedure, a cardiologist uses digital technology to map the inside of the heart while the surgeon performs ablation on the outside of the heart using a specialized device. It requires just three keyhole incisions to navigate to the heart which means patients heal faster, they stop or reduce their use of medication, and they spend less time in the hospital during the procedure and have fewer admissions following treatment.
I think it’s exciting that this cardiac mapping system technology is being used in Kingston. A less invasive procedure means better care for patients with atrial fibrillation and also means inpatient beds are freed up for others that need care. Dr. Bisleri and Dr. Glover are passionate about this technology but also about the research that accompanies their work. They are looking at how lifestyle, diet, and exercise can help control the risk factors that lead to atrial fibrillation. It’s great to see leading edge health care initiatives like this being developed in Kingston!
If you know of a fresh or innovative approach being taken by a community group, organization or business, I want to hear about it. Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram by following @MayorPaterson and the hashtag #MITour.