City Matters – July 5, 2019 Issue
Kingston's Recognition Statement provides the guiding motto for City Matters: "Let us bring our good minds and hearts together."
Mayor's Task Force on Housing update
By Ted Hsu, co-chair of the Task Force
The Mayor's Task Force on Housing is in its information gathering phase, which will last until the end of the summer. We're reaching out to the public and to stakeholders. One way that you can participate is by filling out our public survey, or our survey for developers and landlords. You can also write in your comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mayor's Task Force has been asked to recommend concrete actions to increase housing supply, which are informed by evidence. If you write to us, please don't hesitate to include details, numbers, and any evidence to not only back up your ideas, but to help the Task Force be convincing if we use your idea. The Task Force also has to report on the overall housing situation. Please don't hesitate to tell us how the housing situation is affecting your life and work, those around you, and in particular how things have changed in the last few years.
What we are hearing
We've got some very interesting submissions which show how housing pressures in different parts of our community are interconnected. What this means is that solutions are interconnected as well.
- A posting to CFB Kingston now has a reputation in the military as a stressful one for young families because of the shortage of housing. Some choose not to live in the city as a result.
- Research at Queen's University is suffering because housing costs make some PhD researchers with families choose to work elsewhere.
- Retirement residences have recently developed waiting lists.
- St. Lawrence College's growth is hitting a housing availability constraint.
Solutions are not easy because we cannot forego the social and economic vitality that come with the military, research, senior, and student populations. Shortages of housing at market prices mean there is plenty of building to do even without considering affordable lower-cost housing.
Unsurprisingly, the most acute shortage of housing occurs at the lowest income levels where residents are forced to spend a very high fraction of income on rent as they seek housing of an acceptable quality, which is only available at higher prices. In that case they inevitably have to compete with students and the rest of us. Whether it is through social stress or economic losses, the housing problem of low income residents is everybody's problem.
Housing is a complex issue. It touches many aspects of people's lives. An improvement in one area may help the whole community. A good idea to improve housing supply could do a lot for your city and the Task Force is looking forward to hearing your ideas and arguments.
Envisioning an Indigenous cultural centre for Kingston
Launched in 2016, the City's Engage for Change project is working to re-frame the relationship between Indigenous/First Peoples and non-Indigenous people in Kingston – especially as it relates to history, knowledge and culture.
From 2016-17, the Engage for Change: YGK Reconciliation Journey:
- held 10 community talking circles;
- partnered with local schools to develop curriculum covering residential schools and the process of reconciliation, and;
- supported community events, performances and celebrations that shared Indigenous history and culture.
The first phase of the project won the Award of Excellence from the Creative City Network of Canada, and the cross-cultural conversations that took place made it clear: more work is needed and the journey is just begun.
Engage for Change moved into a second phase in March of last year with an added objective of establishing a plan for an Indigenous gathering space or cultural centre in Kingston.
"Working together with the Indigenous community in Kingston to create a plan for this space is a fundamental part of Engage for Change and also presents an opportunity to deepen cross-cultural understanding in our city," says Jennifer Campbell, manager, cultural heritage at the City of Kingston.
On July 9, as a next step in this community conversation Engage for Change will host two drop-in engagement sessions to collect feedback and ideas on how an Indigenous cultural centre could operate in Kingston. Open to the public, the sessions will be facilitated by First Peoples Group, a third-party consultancy whose work focuses on bringing communities together to build a more complete Canada.
Come see posters representing potential operational models and offer feedback and ideas to help shape an Indigenous cultural centre tailored to our community.
The 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and the 6 to 8 p.m. sessions will both be at Central Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson St. Express your interest and get a helpful event reminder using the event listing on Facebook.
Find out more about the Engage for Change project.
How do we make municipal discounts accessible to more people living in poverty?
"Municipal discounts were created for our community, and so when it comes to their future, we need input from the community," says manager of social policy and strategic community development Cheryl Hitchen.
The City provides both age-based discounts and income-based discounts to ensure people who live in lower-income households have access to City programs and services. Please note that municipal discounts are separate from discounts offered by businesses as well as other programs, like the high school and post-secondary transit pass programs.
The City is now seeking input on how it should fund making income-based discounts for City-run programs and services available to more people who live in poverty.
"Through public consultation in 2017, we learned 76 per cent of respondents supported raising the income threshold so more people could qualify for income-based discounts," says Hitchen. That consultation also found that 28 per cent of respondents were against discontinuing age-based discounts in order to fund these changes.
"So now, the question is, financially, how should we go about making income-based discounts available to more people living in poverty?"
Please read a short backgrounder about municipal discounts and complete a survey on GetInvolved.CityofKingston.ca by 4 p.m. on July 12. Paper versions are available at libraries, City recreation facilities, City Hall, Kingston Housing and Social Services at 362 Montreal St. or the Seniors Association at 56 Francis St.
Celebrating YGK: Kingston's Airport expansion is complete!
Early this morning, the City of Kingston celebrated the grand opening of the newly expanded Kingston Airport terminal and extended runway.
Considering a St. Lawrence College Downtown Campus Partnership
On Tuesday, July 9, council will consider a report that outlines a proposal for the City and St. Lawrence College (SLC) to partner on the creation of a downtown campus on what is now the Frontenac Lot across from the Leon's Centre – also known as Block 4 of the North Block
If council gives the go-ahead for negotiations, the proposed partnership to redevelop this North Block property at King Street and The Tragically Hip Way would seek an SLC campus that would incorporate:
- an experiential learning and work environment focused on hospitality, culinary and tourism programming.
- public parking.
- a concept for the Walk of Fame along with a public art installation to honour The Tragically Hip.
"Considerable planning work has been completed for the Frontenac Lot as part of the North Block Study and Design in the last 10 years and will help with the development of an SLC downtown campus if council opts to proceed," says Lanie Hurdle, the City's acting CAO. "This collaboration realizes the shared objectives of both organizations to support the economic growth and prosperity of the Kingston Community."
In 2013, council endorsed some key development principles for Block 4, that align with the potential development of an SLC campus on the site, including:
- Development proposals with uses that include a mix of residential type uses, hotel with associated conference space, and ground floor commercial uses;
- Development proposals to be built to a maximum height between six and 18 storeys, subject to the planning approvals required for the site, including an urban design study and Heritage Impact Statements to provide the rationale;
- Development proposals include developer ownership and restoration of the heritage buildings at 19-23 Queen St.
If the report's recommendation is approved by council, City staff will initiate discussions with St. Lawrence College on establishing a downtown campus on this site based on these development principles.
In 2017, council approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and St. Lawrence College to strengthen the relationship and advance collaboration efforts to realize shared objectives that support economic growth and prosperity.
Through its strategic planning process in February 2019, Council reaffirmed its commitment to its partnership with SLC to enable the development of a downtown campus that would focus on tourism, hospitality and the culinary arts.
Introducing the new City-College Opportunities Office
The City-College Opportunities Office is an innovative partnership between St. Lawrence College (SLC) and the City of Kingston. It has identified goals to:
- Develop a collaborative partnership with the tourism and hospitality sector as well as the city at large; and
- position Kingston as a destination for innovative visitor engagement, tourism and hospitality training and customer service excellence.
"At St Lawrence College we are committed to providing exceptional opportunities for our students to connect and to grow - and the strength of community partners like the City of Kingston help make that possible. SLC collaborates with industry, community, and all levels of government to offer innovative programs, and to ensure students are ready for the jobs of the future," says Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St Lawrence College.
While the long-term objective is to establish a globally recognized downtown centre of excellence for tourism, hospitality and the culinary arts, during these early months, the City-College Opportunities Office is consulting with key tourism, hospitality and culinary stakeholders to strengthen partnerships and develop new relationships. Kingston's new Integrated Destination Strategy, along with the Tourism Kingston/Kingston Accommodation Partners' business plans and marketing plans, provide a valuable framework for the development of projects.
One of these new projects is a new St. Lawrence College customer service training program - The Tourism Professional Program - geared to summer tourism ambassadors in response to a direct need identified by Tourism Kingston and the Kingston Accommodation Partners. This program was developed and a series of three different workshops were delivered in May to 68 participants, including summer staff from Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Association, Tourism Kingston's Visitor Centre and the City of Kingston public works and marinas.
Now is the time to change for climate!
Use the City's Climate Action Tool Kit to discuss and decide on actions you, your household – and your business and/or organization – are taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Collectively, we take actions to reduce our impact on our environment and make a difference.
Meet Kingston's Civic Award winners
This year's winners – Patrick Murphy, Nadia Luciuk, John and Heather Price, Terry Snider, Lylia Essaddam, Bibi Imre-Millei and Aidan Tomkinson – were honoured at the Canada Day Civic Ceremony.
Self-serve form offers better user experience and streamlines processes.
new self-serve form is now live on the City's Contact Us page. Submit a request for service or information by clicking on the "Submit a Request" button to complete the form. You may add supporting documents or images. This new form integrates with the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system streamlining the user experience and making it more efficient to process service requests.
The City's Grand Theatre has announced the Grand OnStage 2019-20 season.
Featuring dozens of shows from across Canada and across the globe, the Grand OnStage programpresents a variety of entertaining and culturally enriching choices ranging from dance to theatre, young audience performances to comedy, and world artists to popular music concerts.
New PumpHouse exhibit explores the history of Ontario Street.
Ontario Street: Brewers, Bakers & Boilermakers 1830, now on display at the PumpHouse at 23 Ontario St., focuses on the years from 1830-1970 and the transformation of Ontario Street from a military post and commercial port to a post-industrial wasteland awaiting renewal.
Which government deals with that?
The City works on many issues that affect your day-to-day life – and so do the other levels of government. Not sure which government deals with an issue of interest to you? Check our new government issues page.