Tag Archives: Civic

Kingston City Council Meeting Commentary – April 1, 2014 #ygk #ygkc

Jason’s Commentary on the April 1st Kingston City Council meeting

Jason here. Just when you expect to hear something – it doesn’t happen. NOTHING, was said about the $35,000,000 the province will provide for a new secondary school. Jason expected to have Council reiterate, or not, that the Memorial Centre was NOT available. Nothing of the sort occurred. Perhaps it is too soon, after MPP Gerretsen’s announcement. Perhaps we can expect it at the next meeting. It has been said before, but the talker (Councillor Neill) certainly would not let that deter him.

What we did hear was a lot about the potential neurological effects of cell phone towers. Cell phone towers are a federal responsibility and it is hard to imagine a situation in which the municipality would have no input. But this is the case here. The Council chambers were full of, I assume, Calvin park residents who thought that the tower was too close to schools. And they are correct. The question was put to staff, to survey other municipalities, to see what, if anything could be done. An interesting aspect this question was the assertion that Guelph and Oakville had put a moratorium on such towers. The mayor explained that this was not the case (he must have checked). Those cities might want to place a moratorium, but they have no power to do so. This is an issue that will not go away. The city has to, and will, produce a cell tower policy. It, of course, will satisfy no one.

On the technological front, Council agreed with a staff recommendation to allow Dominion Voting Systems to provide, for the 2014 municipal election, with the possibility of using the same system in 2018 (telephone and internet voting) for the advance poll. This is an interesting move – and a small one – into on-line voting – voting should lend itself to the internet, but a risk free system has not yet been devised. Councillor Schell asked if there will be a phone number for those having trouble with the system. Yes, there will, and I bet it will be used a lot! Jason promises to test it.

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Kingston Memorial Centre park and fairground

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Kingston City Council Meeting – March 18, 2014 #ygk

Jason here. I think that everyone on Council wanted to save turtles, but the issue was sent back to the committee. This Is a good time to wonder if the committee system is working. Set up to fill an obvious need for some forethought, the system was designed not to rob Council of making important decisions- and this was certainly an important decision. As the mayor reported- would it not be more useful to give the amount of money involved. ($62,000) to a homeless shelter? Perhaps committees should give options instead of voting on controversial issues. However, if u have an an environmental issue you wish to pursue it is wise to pursue it at this committee- members;Neill, Glover,Berg, Hector, Hutchison. It does not include the biggest environmentalist- .councillor Osanic, and in a left/ right views it is fairly well balanced.

This,appearances to the contrary, is an important issue that when it finally comes to a vote, will show Councillor’s colours. We will have red light cameras to catch offenders who run red lights, IF we can find 10 intersections that merit them. This perceived safety measure is designed to,put money in the city’s kitty, as infractions would more than pay for the cost of the cameras plus installation (so the report says) But we won’t have a question on the ballot in the upcoming municipal election on whether future elections should be on a city- wide or ward basis. The most noticeable aspect of this acrimonious debate was Councillor George’s dislike of Councillor Neill’s Williamsville emphasis. He, Councillor George, thought this emphasis is at the expense of the rest of the city. One could just as easily say that Councillor George was ignoring the inner city. Is this a left/ right split or an inner city/ west end split? It will be interesting to see where the votes fall when Pittsburgh is divided into two when the population there builds up. Councillor Scott voted ‘no’ to the referendum seeing no advantage for the rural part of the city. Thus the question was lost.

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Kingston Civic Election nominations to date #ygkc #ygk

As of March 18th 2014 four candidates have been nominated for election to City Council on Monday October 27th. Full details of the nominations can be found at the following link:

http://www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/elections/candidates/list

The City of Kingston Elections Office will update the list of nominated candidates, until nominations close on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. The candidates list is not final until the nominations are certified by the City Clerk prior to 4 pm on Monday, September 15, 2014.

Kingston City Council Meeting – January 21, 2014

Kingston City Council Meeting – January 21, 2014

Jason

Jason here. That was the shortest Council meeting on record.  We shut down at 8:30 p.m. – a miracle. The question is WHY? Why did the mayor introduce a motion to have 3 (later changed to 4) meetings of council, structured as Town Hall meetings in the outer areas of the city. We know he was impressed with moving Council meetings during the time when the Council Chamber was  being outfitted with new Information Technology, but those meetings were not structured as Town Hall meetings, where anyone can say anything to the mayor and Council. Does he feel that a significant proportion of Kingstonians are disaffected? Are they? Are they convinced that the inner city usually determines what goes on in the Council? In spite of the fact that they talk a lot, the inner city councillors usually lose votes. Is the perception different? How about the City Hall itself? It IS the centre of downtown. Nothing can be done about that. It is an historic structure that took former Councils a long time to pay off. What will Councillors hear at these non-downtown meetings? A lot about taxes; a lot about snow and the condition of the streets. Maybe it is time to address the procedural by law and have regular meetings of this type outside the downtown.  Would that make everyone feel better? I wonder if inner city Councillors would talk as much during the moved meetings. Time for everyone to understand MPAC. The assessed value of a home is a function of how much it is sold for. So, recent buyers will influence people who have been there a long time and resent justa-comes. Understanding MPAC, of course will not influence the tax rate that is set by City Council. Perhaps Council will be convinced that 2.5% increase is too high. The tax rate has been reduced from 3.5%.. This is the real meat of a Councillor’s task on Council. How do we keep an eye on the future while keeping the present affordable? Is homeownership a luxury? It is in many countries. Owning one’s own home has been the foundation of Canadian democracy. It is hard to change and we probably won’t

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Kingston City Hall, 1875