Monthly Archives: September 2015

KEDCO KEDCO KEDCO

Jason here. Transparency- what does it mean? KEDCO has been accused by Kingston First, of lack thereof. I suppose that it means that the number of jobs that have been created should be documented, what they are and who fills the jobs. Then, and only then, will Council be able to decide if the money spent on KEDCO is money well spent. I think this is a job for the CAO? Are the jobs all small business? Then that gives direction. Has money and time been spent on attracting the BIG Gorillas of the world or will they come (or not!) anyway? Is this time and $ well spent? The CAO has kept his hands off KEDCO, treating Garrah more like a partner than one of his team. Time to step in I think! First, is KEDCO aligned with the Strategic priorities of the city?  Probably not. As the City is firmly on the path to sustainability and KEDCO represents only one pillar- Economic- one wonders if Council can support KEDCO at all. Be prepared for a motion to declare KEDCO dysfunctional from Councillor Hutchison, seconded by Councillor Neill.

What is the CAO going to do with non-statutory advisory committees? We will find out on Dec.1, for that is when the fireworks have been referred to. To merge, or eliminate them is what. It stands to reason that some committees over time lose their way, lose quorum or fail in their core role which is to advise Hence, the near-campus neighbourhood and KEAF will be put to bed- the latter because their role has been taken over by in-house experts, the former was said to be dysfunctional.  I have no knowledge of the near campus committee, but it seems that the items that should have been on their agenda were well worth talking about. Perhaps the AMS has taken over.

This happens when individuals are appointed as representatives of a group. They carry the group approach with them. All we need are individuals of good intent. What do you make of the merger of the Heritage Committee and the Museums and Collections advisory committee. Is the Heritage realllly devoid of culture? What becomes of designations that have been lagging? .

All in all an interesting meeting capped by a motion on safety by the mayor. May he remain so careful about the ideas he adopts.

 

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Faux better than nothing

Faux better than nothing

The city has dealt with the contradiction inherent in ‘ where history and innovation reside’ and it is an eloquent compromise indeed, only possible because of the willingness of the owners of 101-109 Princess St to compromise. For let’s face it, the only ‘listed’ buildings could have been demolished and the city could have been left designating an empty hole. What we have, might not be to everyone’s taste, but it is better than any alternative. We have a signed easement which guarantees that the replacement building will be of limestone veneer, that the windows will look like heritage, That the roof will be like the current roof (not 18 storeys) Forgotten ( as perhaps it should be) are the facts that the current owners were the ones who put on the horrible stucco and the bank was the same one that replaced a George Browne corner with an uneventful one in the name of ‘progress’ and one of the few remaining blocks of limestone. It will be interesting to see if the presentations ‘ by Dossett on the lane and the inappropriateness of the glass and steel first two storeys have any affect on the architects. My bet is that it will. I do hope that the promise of the Bank to centralize its operations downtown will be fulfilled.   There is no guarantee. This is a major triumph on the part of the heritage committee. It may be ‘faux’ but at least it preserves the appearance of an historic city.

 

Of interest was the unanimous recommendation to NOT sell Hydro One. This was a deferred motion of Councillor Neill’s having been deferred while the Mayor talked with the provincials re infrastructure funding. This- infrastructure funding – particularly the third crossing, have been on the mayor’s to-do list since he ran. The unanimous passing of this motion involved a belief that turning Hydro One into a public company would increase hydro costs. It also expressed a view that private companies were less costly than public companies, which is another indication of how this Council leans, whether they know it or not. The motion to ask KEDCO to come and discuss the road ahead for KEDCO given the uproar caused by the resignation of the head (Garrah) and the lack of transparency at KEDCO.was interesting.

 

 

Among the four presentations at the beginning of the meeting was Ritchie, head of the B I A
Richie must feel somewhat pressured as his tenure is longer than Garrah’s, although his tenure has not been publicly questioned as- as Garrah’s  – by a group of ‘interested’ citizens,although one of those citizens- Bernie Robinson was a not very successful previous head of KEDCO. Garrah was brought in to clean up KEDCO. Now his time at KEDCO is being challenged. Perhaps the questioning goes with the job. An interesting meeting, marked by a request from Councillor McLaren that the cost of plowing snow and sanding in Kingston  east be compared to the cost of doing it ourselves. Although we were assured by Keech (the head of public works.) that the cost was in line with previous costs, the answer from the staff was less than firm. This is a horse which McLaren has chosen to ride- expanding city services where possible, eventually this will raise the old union vs private enterprise debate which we have been through before. Wait for it!