Monthly Archives: March 2015

A long meeting ! ! !

City council meeting – March 24, 2015

It was a very long meeting with a crowded agenda… Whom do we blame for putting all the important stuff- Transportation Master Plan update, Employment Lands AND the Wellington Street extension on the same agenda? The mayor? The CAO? Whomever, it probably won’t happen again! And it had better not as the meeting concluded a few minutes after midnight.

Those items that were not deferred – The Kingston East Community Centres and the Exchange of lands regarding the Outer Station. The Wellington St. extension, employment lands and the Transportation Master Plan were deferred. There were also several presenters in favour- one opposed to the WSE, although the BIA did say that they would support any alternative to the WSE that guaranteed ingress and egress to the CBD. More later on this you can be sure.

The Outer Station- is soon to be ‘inner’. As the proposal by the developer to move the station to a position near the North St. Building – being renovated seemed too good to be true. The debate was essentially ‘what constitutes heritage?’ Was or IS heritage repairing the station in situ? Or repairing it and moving it? Moving it won.

A very good report on the Transportation Master Plan- reaffirming the importance of cycling and walking, over the car. The increase in funding would be required to take the buses from their current 9% to 15% of total traffic. This is probably not supported by the suburbs who are car dependant but they did not get their act together to overturn it.

The report of the CAO on the WSE is very long and concludes with a request that the Environmental Assessment on the route be redone. The report itself (of the CAO) is quite negative to the cancellation of the WSE, noting how deeply it is entrenched in the planning of the City and ends with a recommendation that the  Environmental Assessment be re-done. Such an EA would examine the alternatives to the WSE. I think that this will be a focal point in the discussions on City Priorities next week. Jason will report on priorities.

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Waterfront?

City council meeting March 2, 2015

As expected, the motion re collaboration between Council and the Boards of Ed passed without comment except from the mayor who remarked that if we don’t like it, we will kill it.

However, the city has a major problem ahead of it and  it is waterfront. With councillor Hutchison’s motion( worked out with the mayor) to kill the Wellington St. Extensions from Bay to Montreal, that puts the extension third in line for expenditure after the Marine Museum/Dry doc and K. P. All merit attention, all are waterfront properties, all are properties the city is on record as determined to protect. It is indeed unfortunate that they all occur at roughly the same time. All, undoubtedly will be discussed as the City determines its priorities in late March. At the very least, the city should secure public access to our waterfront. At the most all properties should become public green  spaces, revenue neutral to the city and perhaps even add a bit to the coffers of the City. After all, one of the priorities embraced for 2011-2014 was the protection and creation of green spaces.  The city has created a Waterfront action Committee and is slowly working its way along the waterfront seeking public input, with a view to presenting the Waterfront Master Plan to the Arts, Recreation and Community policies Committee in the fall of 2015.  The devil, as always, is in the details. The Marine Museum property is very complicated.   If Councillor Stroud. succeeds in carrying the rest of Council to buy the property, the issue is likely to have the weight of the K-Rock centre in dividing the community. Can this Community stand such a division?

This is what Councils are elected to do- to take on difficult issues and decide them.

 

On another subject the ‘mouth’ Councillor Neill moved a motion to have  committees as appointed by council, to meet. The motion was passed over the Mayor’s objection 7/5. Clearly a contentious issue. I think this is mainly a question of K EA F.which has not met since appointed. Allegedly, since staff have no questions for its agenda? Can a committee only meet at the discretion of staff? Councillor Neill was correct. the majority of Council agreed with him.

 

In a final note, Paul Schliesmann, the last vestige of the ‘old whig’ and perennial reporter of all things to do with city hall has had an heart attack. You- you know who you are- the print oriented people who depend(still) on the Whig’s coverage of City Hall, regret his replacement by Elliot Ferguson. But let’s give Ferguson and the Whig a chance.