Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Big Short

Jason here. It was a very short meeting. 8.48 yes, that is right – 8, not 9 or10. We began with a feel- good presentation by jimmy Hassan who in deeply- accented English said that it was a big deal for him to speak before Council. He was following up on his suggestion that Council endorse having apprentices from high schools. They did. This has the potential of relieving Councillors of the heavy burden they carry. I hope that they are organized enough to take advantage of it. Hassan was after a not-very enthusiastic appeal by Doug Richie, the CEO of the BIA appealing to Council to pass the BIA as a ‘tourist district’.

The meeting had two focuses. One on the declaring the BIA a tourist area, to allow retail establishments to open , if they want to, on Good Friday, Christmas day and New Year’s Day.. There will be a public meeting on the possible opening- and that was passed. When it finally comes back to Council, expect a motion to include the entire city. The second focus was on Councillor McLaren’s very lengthy proposal re climate change. This (climate change) and what the city can do to help was sent to KEAF, which is interesting as the City employs Paul McLatchie as director of Conservation and Sustainability. This motion was not sent to him. Obviously Councillors expect McLatchie and KEAF to work together as they will. I wonder if KEAF will just ask for a report from McLatchie or dig in and do the research itself. This (KEAF) one of the committees that the CAO wished Council would disband as staffing has made it redundant. The mayor stepped in (although he should have made his opposition to whom to send the motion to as an amendment to the original motion) It passed anyway- . The first part on Climate Change and the second part (to whom to send the motion) was not passed. I don’t know enough of the protocol on New Motions to make a judgement but I expect this to be on the agenda at the next Council meeting.

 

Richards Wins

Aside from the inductees into the sports Hall of Fame- and I will admit, I had not heard of any of them, the meeting was just a prelude to the main action, which of course was, the giving of the contract for the preliminary design of the third crossing to Richards, at much more than the second company which answered the RFP? What were we getting for the extra? That is the question that Councillor Candon expressed so eloquently. What followed was a very intelligent debate on how the City plans for the future. Of course the city will have to stand in line for federal or provincial funding. Councillor Hutchison was ruled out of order when he tried to insert the question of ‘do we really need it’ and’ what are the long-term effects’. Sprawl was all Jason heard before he (Hutchison) was cut off. In the end, the vote was seven for the high bid, 5 against. It was clear during the debate that Councillors had not been given enough information on the first go- round they were struggling with the issue. It would be interesting to know what was in the minds of those who voted ‘no’. Was it the cost? Was it sprawl? Was it ‘we don’t need it’? The 3rd crossing has never had a good airing. What is the proper place to debate the Third Crossing and the Wellington Street Extension? Perhaps during debate of the Transportation Master Plan. Council has a habit of letting these large studies go by while paying some attention to the overall, paying little attention to the details. In this case the TMP (transportation Master Plan) was hung up on statistics for future ridership on buses. Is council doing its job? Probably not. The TMP was deferred, so maybe the debate will happen yet. Watch for it, it should be a blockbuster. The deferral does beg the question on why the preliminary design for the bridge went ahead of the TMP. When was the deferral of the TMP to take place? When we are ready for it, and not before! The Transportation Master Plan UPDATE 2015 outlines rules for congestion and road buildings in spite of being deferred is a major piece of work.

The Greening of the Brown

November 19, 2015– The Greening of the Brown

Hello All:

I’m a new voice on this Blog and my name is Karen Pagratis. I’ll be reporting on the Planning Committee meetings of Kingston City Council. ‘Cause planning is where its at, at least in this decade, in this great and growing city of Kingston.

The Planning Committee consists of 6 City Councillors, one of whom acts as Chair. Unlike many other municipal committees it includes no members of the general public. However it’s meetings are open to the public to observe and address. Meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of the month in Council Chambers commencing at 6:30 pm.

The current Planning Committee consists of Councillors: Kevin George (Vice-Chair), Jeff McLaren, Jim Neill, Lisa Osanic, Laura Turner and Liz Schell who is Chair of the group.

The Greening of the Brown

Tonight’s meeting was brief and to the point, in fact two of the councillors weren’t even in attendance. The usual public meeting consisting of by-law amendment requests took place without much to report, except for one possible anomaly. Then we had a succinct update on Brownfield Administration.

The small subdivision (5 houses) at 530 Maple Lawn Dr., (north of the 401, just east of Battersea) by-law amendment requests were passed, after some pertinent questioning, quickly and unanimously as were some minor requests for 809 and 829 Development Drive.

Its interesting to note that although Councillor Richard Allen does not sit on the Planning Committee, he is often to be seen observing the proceedings when issues concerning Countryside District arise, such as this evening with regard to Maple Lawn Dr.  The same cannot be said for some other councillors who seem to be more than happy to allow city staff to deal with any pesky planning questions that may arise in their districts.  For instance the zoning amendment request which passed the most quickly, and completely, without challenge or question, was that of the proposed Shoppers Drug Mart to be erected on a residential corner in the District of Pittsburgh.  Not only was the councillor not in attendance, but this rather large, and presumably important issue was not even been “bumped up” to the Planning Committee for discussion.  Apparently there are no residents of Pittsburgh who have an issue with a large box-style drug/convenience store being located on the corner of Grenadier and Hwy 15.  It’s surprising that not even those on Windfield Cres., the immediate neighbours behind the building, have any questions, not to mention misgivings, concerning traffic, noise, parking or light pollution.  Moreover this location is just across the street from where the new east side Community Centre is to be built, right beside LaSalle Secondary School.   Without Planning Committee review and the forum it provides for residents to state their concerns, this zoning by-law will move right along to City Council for all three readings without a challenge.  Curious.

Kingston’s Brownfield Community Improvement Plan (CIP) has been in effect since 2005 and has recently been amended to include one additional project area, the Williamsville corridor. The principle objective of this program “is to provide tax based incentives for brownfield properties so that a level playing field is created in comparison to greenfield development opportunities”.   In 2014 the City adopted a sliding scale approach in determining the level of financial benefit that any given brownfield project might be entitled to. Thus, properties with profound amounts of contamination would remain eligible for full benefits, while properties with lesser degrees of environmental encumbrance would receive proportionally lesser amounts of municipal benefit.

Paul MacLatchy, Kingston’s Director of Environment & Sustainable Initiatives, reported that Kingston’s Brownfield plan has been a success on a number of scales. Of course formerly vacant or under-utilized land has been redeveloped into industrial/commercial space, residential units and additional waterfront property, but it has also created new full time job equivalents and increased long-term annual property tax revenues of approximately $3 million per year. All at an average rebate cost of approximately $1.35 million per project. (These figures consider the 8 projects which have been approved so far, and the 4 projects pending approval.) In addition the sliding scale approach has been applied to 2 new proposed projects in Williamsville, “to ensure that the level of municipal tax benefit … was consistent with the actual environmental liabilities requiring remediation”. This certainly sounds like a win/win for all concerned, and kudos to the City.