Tag Archives: Kingston

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.

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

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

Kingston City Council Meeting – December 3, 2013

Council Meeting- December 3, 2013

– Jason

Jason here. When Council finally started – after 8:30 and reported out from Committee of the Whole, it was to appoint George Rust D’Eye as an integrity commissionerto enquire into the “ Actions and Conduct of a person retained under contract by the municipality and a representative’ (whatever that means). Can anyone with a last name of Rust D’Eye really be named George? Obviously, and that is why his appointment took so long. This is a good point about closed meetings. Clearly whoever transgressed (at least according to the City) needs to have his or her name protected from general circulation.

The most interesting part of the meeting was the final report of the consulting group who prepared the growth scenarios of the City for the future. There was clearly a disagreement between the Consultants and those whom they interviewed on future funding from the Federal Government. The consultants thought the Federal funding would remain stable (armed forces primarily, now that K.P. has closed), those interviewed were less sanguine.

Whatever the views of readers, the consultants thought we were in good shape growing at least. Unfortunately for the City the engines of growth are both in the central part of the city – the university and Hospital. The Official Plan will have to be changed to accommodate the new figures and the City will have to come to grips with the growth engines. Apparently the University is working on a new master plan. It will be interesting to see if the University abandons it’s insistence on concentration of students and academicians. The Queen’s experience is putting a lot of stress on the adjacent areas and has increasing influence on our downtown- as commerce finds moving up (the hill, that is)(west?) on PrincessSt. is better for business. We can expect a contraction in the population in 2035 when deaths exceed births. This is true for all urban areas .In the meantime we can expect our population to grow by 1000 people per year. Growth by 2031 is expected to be 147960 – not including students. Obviously the consultants were not sensitive to the recent O.M.B. decision! Much work to be done here!

Not to be discouraged by the decision by the mayor that their previous motion on a referendum for Pittsburgh and Countryside was Out of Order, Reitzel and Scott introduced another. This time it was to direct staff to look at commercial facilities in the Rideau Town Centre to see if the rules of engagement were in keeping with the village concept or were keeping commerce out of the area. Clearly residents want to avoid strip commercial in the area, but according to Scott they need a large grocery store, a pharmacy and a hardware store. The Rideau Community Secondary Plan was adopted in 2010.It shows commercial in the centre of a low density residential area. Commercial will want to be along Highway 15. Does all of this depend on ‘ the bridge”?Will this discussionmove ‘the bridge’ up on the list of City priorities?Is there any sense in putting it ahead of the railway bridge on Counter Street? We have not heard from the downtown merchants in a while. Is the Wellington Street Extension a plan to keep shoppers in the downtown when ‘the bridge’ is built- assuming that most of the traffic abandons the causeway. I guess that depends on whether ‘the bridge’ has a toll on it. Jason assumes that most people going to work will pay a toll – provided it is not too high, while others will avoid a toll. Lots of interconnected parts here.