Council’s 5 Strategic Priorities for 2019-2022
This week I presented on City Council’s new priorities for the first time. I spoke to a group of Kingston community leaders to get their feedback and to begin talking about how we can make this exciting vision a reality for our city. Now I’d like to share some of this same presentation with you! The graphic above illustrates both the vision and the priorities themselves as a plan for smart growth.
This plan builds on the momentum from the last four years where we pushed forward a vision to make Kingston a smart, livable, and 21st century city. The idea was to put Kingston on the map – regionally, nationally and internationally. Now that our community is hitting the radar in a greater way, we are growing more than ever before. In fact, earlier this month Statistics Canada published a report showing that Kingston was the 7th fastest growing city in 2018!
So how do we harness the growth we are experiencing to create employment opportunities, to invest in new projects, to enhance our environment and to improve the quality of life for everyone in Kingston? That’s where City Council’s new plan for smart growth comes into play. We’ve developed 5 priorities that interconnect in a way that ensures growth in Kingston benefits everyone.
First, we are going to strengthen economic development opportunities by attracting new companies from outside Kingston, growing businesses within Kingston and attracting more people to our city to work in the jobs these businesses provide. More people moving to our city means we will need more housing. That leads to our second priority. We will look to increase housing affordability by facilitating the construction of a wide range of new housing options. In order to connect new businesses and new homes, next we will work to improve walkability, roads and transportation, with a focus on roads, sidewalks and active transportation options. Our focus on active transportation in particular will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will enable us to demonstrate leadership on climate action. As we work to reduce our carbon footprint and enhance green spaces, we will foster healthy citizens and vibrant spaces, including new improvements to our waterfront, rejuvenation of brownfields and investments in the health of Kingstonians. This will enhance our quality of life, which will in turn help us attract new companies and people to Kingston, completing the smart growth cycle.
These are the 5 priorities council has been crafting and a few snapshots of the projects we’re looking at for this term. The next step is to determine the target annual tax increase over the next four years. It’s a very important decision and it’s crucial that we show fiscal responsibility and keep future tax rate increases as low as possible. I am only one of 13 votes around the Council table, but I will be arguing strongly for a move to reduce the annual tax rate increase below 2.5%. Stay tuned as we set a course forward for smart growth in Kingston!
To learn more about council’s strategic priorities, you can find the draft plan at the following link: https://mayorpaterson.wpcomstaging.com/2019/05/01/draft-the-city-of-kingston-strategic-plan-2019-2022/