Gord, We’ll Miss You

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Today I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Gord Downie. He has had a profound impact on our community. Here in the hometown of the Tragically Hip, I know I am joined by all Kingstonians as we collectively mourn this loss.

Gord was more than just a great musician; in Kingston he was part of our family. He and the rest of the band members have given back so much to our city over the years, and I am thankful for the great memories we have of Gord. The sense of community and gratitude that was felt across Kingston as the Tragically Hip returned home for their final performance was incredible. It’s something we will all cherish together.

On behalf of all Kingstonians, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and to the rest of the band members. Today across Kingston we lowered the Canadian flags to half-mast and tonight we will illuminate City Hall and play music by the Tragically Hip to honour Gord’s memory. I encourage everyone to sign the memory book down in Springer Market Square as we celebrate Gord’s life and the many great contributions he made to our city and our country.

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My Statement on Queen’s Homecoming Weekend

As Mayor, I’m disappointed by the disrespectful and irresponsible actions that took place during this weekend’s Queen’s homecoming celebrations. There is simply no place in our community for this behaviour.

I know the majority of Queen’s students share these sentiments and are embarrassed by the conduct of partygoers this weekend. As a city we continually welcome and value all of our post-secondary students, but we also expect all students to act like any other resident, showing respect and taking pride in being a part of this community.

Unsanctioned parties and excessive alcohol abuse that have accompanied Queen’s homecoming will only be solved through continued collaboration. These problems are complex and require a multi-faceted approach together with Queen’s administration, neighbours, and students.

From a city perspective, one community wide approach we are working on is a nuisance bylaw that focuses on unwanted behaviours like public intoxication, excessive noise and out of control parties. This bylaw is intended to apply to all residents and visitors to Kingston throughout the year. We will be conducting public consultation next month and I ask all residents to provide their input as we move forward.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our paramedics, police and hospital emergency staff who were true professionals and worked tirelessly throughout the weekend. We appreciate everything you do to keep our community safe. I would also like to thank Queen’s student leadership and the many student volunteers who did a great job putting together this year’s ReUnion Street festival, and who worked to clean up the neighbourhood around Queen’s on Sunday morning.

To our broader community, thank you for your feedback as we continue to take steps to address and prevent the disrespectful behaviour associated with homecoming weekend. There is more work to be done on this front and I look forward to working with our partners to address this issue.

Continuing the Kingston Pen Tours in 2018

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This week I’m very pleased to share that the Kingston Pen tours will be back in 2018! The last two years have been among the best years for tourism in our city’s history, and there’s no question that the Kingston Penitentiary tours have been a key driver of this success. This year KP welcomed over 100,000 visitors, up from 60,000 visitors in 2016. People have come from across the province and around the world and once here, visitors have the chance to experience all of the other great attractions and experiences that Kingston has to offer.

The impact to our local economy has been tremendous and I’m thrilled that we can continue this momentum into 2018. Another exciting benefit from the tours is the amount of money raised to support youth employment programs and to help youth facing homelessness or mental health challenges. Half of the net revenues from the KP tours are going to the United Way again this year – an estimated $1.5 million to support youth in Kingston. I also cannot say enough about Correctional Services Canada and the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, two tremendous organizations that helped make these tours a reality.

The success of these tours has clearly shown the long term tourism potential for the Kingston Penitentiary property. Recently, this incredible potential was formally recognized by council. Council approved a vision for the redevelopment of the site which calls for much of the existing property to be preserved in a way that will allow for tours of Kingston Pen to continue into the future. I’m looking forward to welcoming many more visitors to Kingston for many years to come!

Percutaneous Surgery – The Perk Lab – Tour Stop #6

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The Perk Lab is a laboratory for percutaneous surgery. Percutaneous surgery is any medical procedure where access to organs is done through a needle puncture of the skin rather than an open procedure such as cutting the skin with a scalpel. The Perk Lab focuses specifically on image-guided percutaneous and intra-cavity procedures.

The Innovation

The Perk Lab is known as a world leader in open source image-guided intervention research software and systems. I had an opportunity to test out some of these innovative tools when I visited the lab. One of the major accomplishments coming from the lab includes their electromagnetically-navigated breast cancer surgery. Doctors have real-time visualization of the tumour and can remove it in a very unobtrusive way. I also got to test a virtual reality display that you wear which projects CT images through the device onto the patient. This means doctors can visualize the field as they perform needle-based therapy and biopsy as opposed to a freehand technique. This leads to less faulty needle placement attempts followed by repeat CT scans and adjustments. These are just a few of the innovative accomplishments coming from Kingston’s Perk Lab.

The Future

In the Perk Lab there is a real emphasis on having students from various disciplines – engineering, computing, clinical sciences, etc. – working together to further the goals of the lab. They know that pulling together students with different talents and abilities is the best way to foster learning and innovation. The Perk Lab also focuses heavily on collaboration nationally and abroad – with other hospitals, health care providers, organizations, universities, etc. They understand that operating in silos hinders innovation.  The Perk Lab has had incredible accomplishments and I believe they got there by bringing together diverse talent and working towards collaboration. I believe the more we share this goal in our city, the better we’ll move forward together as a community.

The Tour

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.

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Mayor’s Innovation Challenge – Challenge Topics

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Earlier this week I launched a project I’m really excited about – the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge! Now I’m pleased to share the challenge topics, ideas I believe students will be inspired by. Students can choose from:

  • Cultivating creative public spaces – reimagine one of three underutilized spaces in Kingston: Springer Market Square Amphitheatre, Ontario Street from Brock to Clarence, or Portsmouth Olympic Harbour
  • Strengthening active transportation networks – choose one of two active transportation challenges: design a winter ‘skeleton’ cycling network or propose recommendations to prioritize pedestrian use of the Brock and King Street intersection
  • Enhancing local attractions for youth – better integrate our community’s large post-secondary student demographic by developing events, programming, and initiatives that appeal to its interests

Check out the video below for more information on the challenge topics:


You can also check out www.cityofkingston.ca/mic or email mic@cityofkingston.ca

From the Mayor’s Chair – October 3rd

From the Mayors Chair

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 2 minutes!

The October 3rd Council meeting began with the renewal of a partnership agreement with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and Corrections Canada to allow for a new season of Kingston Penitentiary tours in 2018. Council unanimously approved the agreement. Another key topic was a proposed plan to install charging stations for electric vehicles in the city. Council approved the plan so now the city will invest in a number of different types of charging stations. Finally, council discussed a motion calling for naloxone kits to be made available throughout the community to address the opioid crisis that has made its way to Kingston. Council decided it needs more information from public health experts about exactly where kits should be located and what training should be provided to people who might need to use them.

Watch the October 3rd edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE

Introducing the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge

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This week I am very proud to introduce the Mayor’s Innovation Challenge – a pitch competition for Kingston’s post-secondary students! I’m inviting students to help us tackle a complex challenge facing the city. The winning team members will each be offered a paid internship with the city next summer to implement their idea.

Check out a teaser video HERE 

Stay tuned! Next week I’ll introduce our challenge topics and provide all the information you need to sign up!

mic@cityofkingston.ca

World’s First Automated, On-Site E. Coli Detection – TECTA-PDS – Tour Stop #5

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Kingston based TECTA-PDS has created the world’s first fully-automated, microbiology system for on-site testing for E. coli and Total Coliform bacteria in drinking water samples. This innovative technology was originally developed and patented here in Kingston by a group of Queen’s researchers. The company started in 2003 (under a different name) as a direct result of the Walkerton disaster in Ontario and though it operated abroad for a time, TECTA-PDS now runs out of Kingston and almost  all manufacturing is done locally.

The Innovation

The TECTA B16 Instrument can provide E. coli and Total Coliform results in anywhere from 2-18 hours, depending on the level of contamination. It can also provide early warnings of contamination that are sent right to your computer or smartphone. What really sets this technology apart is its accuracy and efficiency, and the machine itself is compact and user friendly. The alternative to the TECTA B16 is human analysis in a lab, which is a far more time consuming process that provides additional room for human error in testing. Accurate and timely results are a huge advantage, particularly when we are talking about something as important as the safety of drinking water.

The Future

There are currently more than 300 TECTA systems in use around the world and their technology is used to test water in more than 25 countries – with those numbers continuing to grow. This unique company is a great local success story and demonstrates how Kingston has the potential to lead the way developing innovative solutions that can have a significant global impact.

The Tour

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.

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Kingston Transit Passes as a Bridge to Employment

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Part of building a smart and livable city is ensuring that no one is left behind. That means finding creative and effective ways to offer a helping hand to those in need. For example, there are people currently living on social assistance that want to find employment but getting to and from the workplace is often a key barrier. That’s where Kingston Transit can come in.

This week City Council formally approved the continuation of a great new program that provides free transit passes to those receiving social assistance in Kingston so that people in need in our community can get to work, to medical appointments, to the grocery store or to school. The program has been made possible through a partnership with the provincial government, where the Ministry of Community and Social Services provides the bulk of the funding to provide the transit passes. After a one year pilot project, the feedback from the free transit passes has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m pleased that now we can continue this program for future years. In fact, the program has been so successful that there are a number of other cities in the province that are looking to introduce similar programs.

As a city we’ve made big investments in our transit system over the last few years. It’s been exciting to see the improvements and the growth in ridership. In fact, Kingston continues to have one of the highest rates of transit ridership growth in the entire country.

The improvement of transit service continues with expanded routes and schedules on Sundays and holidays with plans to introduce a new express bus route along Montreal Street next year. Being able to get from one place to another is critical for all of us. With expanded transit routes and programs like this one, we are ensuring access to transportation is available to everyone in our community.

From the Mayor’s Chair – September 19

From the Mayors Chair

Check out the latest version of From the Mayor’s Chair, where I break down the decisions of Council in 2 minutes!

The September 19 Council meeting began with a discussion on the future of Belle Park. Based on recent public feedback, city staff brought forward a recommendation to close the existing golf course and begin work on a new vision for this waterfront green space in the core of the city. Council voted to close the course and adopt a new plan. Last night Council also voted to approve the continuation of a program that uses provincial funding to offer free transit passes to those living on social assistance in the community. Finally, council passed a motion asking staff to investigate the potential benefits and costs of an access without fear policy. Council will report back later this year.

Watch the September 19 edition of From the Mayor’s Chair HERE