Marking 2 Years on the Job: My View from the Mayor’s Chair
Although hard to believe it’s been 2 years since being elected your mayor, it’s certainly been busy and exciting as I work to make Kingston a Smart and Livable 21st Century City! To mark the halfway point, I wanted to provide both a review of the last 2 years, and a preview of what to watch for in the next 2 years.
With so much work and progress made over the last two years it’s difficult to capture it all. Here are the highlights, as I see them from the mayor’s chair.
Creating a Youth Employment Strategy: a plan to make Kingston a leader in skills development and fostering employment opportunities for our young people
Approving the Airport Expansion: expanding the existing terminal and lengthening the runway to allow for better air service in and out of Kingston
Completing the K&P Trail: extending the trail through the urban core of the city in time for Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, 2017
Launching a Visioning for Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour: in partnership with the Federal government, this is a key step to a redevelopment for this signature piece of waterfront
Adopting the Waterfront Master Plan: an ambitious 30 year plan to invest $2 million per year in waterfront improvements in locations such as Confederation Basin, Breakwater Park and Richardson Beach
Exploring Innovative Ways to Communicate: keeping Kingstonians informed with the From the Mayor’s Chair bi-weekly videos and hearing from residents across the community with the Chats with the Mayor campaign
Charting the Future Development of the Inner Harbour: the North King’s Town visioning exercise is engaging the public in the creation of a plan to spur redevelopment of brownfields and explore alternatives to the Wellington Street extension
An Exciting Year for Tourism: the new ‘fresh made daily’ tourism brand, opening Kingston Pen for tours and, of course, The Tragically Hip concert in Market Square.
Getting the Third Crossing Shovel Ready: with a preliminary design and a business case in development, this long talked about bridge project will be ready to proceed by next year
Investing in the Downtown: the 3rd phase of the Princess Street reconstruction (the Big Dig) is complete, residential developments are coming forward and one has been approved (the Capitol condo project)
Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship: a partnership with Innovate Kingston to transform the old Portsmouth Town Hall into incubator space for new tech companies, and a new economic development agency to promote new business growth in the city
Holding annual tax rate increases to 2.5%: finding $1M in savings each year to hold operating increases to 1.5%, plus 1% toward capitol investments
So, what’s coming in the next 2 years?
Watch for the results of the current public engagement efforts: a new vision to guide the redevelopment of Kingston Penitentiary and Portsmouth Olympic Harbour
Following the completion of the preliminary design and business case: a council debate on whether to proceed with the Third Crossing
Addressing homelessness, revitalizing Rideau Heights and expanding our affordable housing supply will bring further investments in affordable housing
Making Kingston a leader in innovation will see new initiatives to support innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth
Continuing to plan a livable city with expansion of express transit service and investments in active transportation
Showcasing our vibrant culture and rich history as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, right here in the nation’s first capital
More than anything, over the past two years I have enjoyed meeting and working with Kingstonians as we build a stronger community together. Looking ahead, I am most excited to enhance Kingston’s position as a leader in innovation with several exciting projects to come. Thank you Kingston for two great years, I am proud of the progress made and I look forward to the next two years of hard work and collaboration.