Recognizing the challenges facing the Rideau Heights neighbourhood, in 2013 the City of Kingston and the Kingston and Frontenac Housing Corporation (KFHC) started a neighbourhood revitalization planning project to improve the social housing properties and park spaces with the goal of creating a healthier, safe, and thriving community. KFHC is the largest social housing provider in Kingston and serves 501 households in the Rideau Heights neighbourhood. Areas targeted for improvement include housing, parks, pathways, streets, and community facilities.
The regeneration planning process
As part of the planning process, a team of qualified professionals was assembled with expertise in sustainable neighbourhood planning and design, affordable housing development, community consultation, civil engineering, and land development and construction costing. In support of the detailed technical work, the regeneration planning process also incorporated a comprehensive community consultation program including a variety of events and consultation strategies to ensure all stakeholders had an opportunity to participate in the visioning and planning process.
To ensure the development of the plan reflected the experiences and goals of the community, the following seven Guiding Principles for Regeneration were developed early in the process based on community input:
Create an affordable, safe, and healthy community
Utility costs hurt affordability; people need to feel safe in neighbourhood parks;streets should be clean. These issues should be tackled to make a healthy community.
Connect the community
Connections throughout the neighbourhood and to local services are a key part of what makes this a good neighbourhood.
Support the community
Share information and promotion of programs that support residents including local and affordable programs for children and families
Enhance parks and public spaces
Parks and public spaces are a big part of what makes Rideau Heights a good place to live. Parks should be enhanced to make them more usable for residents. Improvement should support spaces for residents to gather, socialize, and grow.
Get the little things right
It's important to fix immediate problems such as neighbourhood cleanliness and property maintenance issues that affect residents' utility costs rather than only focusing on longer planning.
Build trust through visible success
Achievable goals for neighbourhood improvement are important to help build the trust of residents in the regeneration process and should be implemented in the near future.
Achievable realistic planning
Neighbourhood improvements should start small and increase over time through planned phases of work.
The regeneration plan
The recommended plan that will guide the revitalization of the neighbourhood while continuing to maintain the City's social housing commitments was presented to City Council and the KFHC Board of Directors in the fall of 2015. The 20-year+ plan outlines an exciting long-term vision for the area's social housing and parkland properties and reflects input from area residents and best practices for neighbourhood renewal. It will be regularly re-evaluated to stay current.
Key features include:
- the new Rideau Heights Community Centre;
- enhancements to Shannon Park and other recreational spaces;
- redistribution of social housing to other areas of the city;
- the introduction to the area of mixed-income housing options including market rental and ownership homes;
- changes to improve access for waste handling and emergency services;
- improved transportation connections across the community; and
- improvements that offer enhanced sightlines to support passive neighbourhood surveillance and safety.
New community centre & Shannon Park redevelopment
Beginning in 2007, conversations about the need for a new community centre and improvements to the public park spaces in Rideau Heights have involved local residents, neighbourhood organizations, social service providers, and the City of Kingston. These discussions developed strong support for the creation of a community hub which would include improved recreational and community gathering spaces and supporting facilities. A partnership between the City of Kingston and the Limestone District School Board was created to plan, design, and construct this new social and recreational hub for the community which will be located immediately next to Rideau Heights Public School. To design the new community centre, the City worked with a professional design team and community members to prepare detailed plans to guide the construction of the new community centre and park improvements.
The development of the community centre and the renewal of Shannon Park represents an early stage of neighbourhood regeneration in Rideau Heights.
- November 2012 - Rideau Heights Regeneration Background Report
- January 2014 - Community Consultation Event
- May 2014 - Shannon Park Redevelopment Community Consultation
- December 2014 - Proposed Concept Alternatives - Shannon Park Redevelopment
- Preferred Shannon Park Conceptual Redevelopment Plan
- March 2015 - Council Report - Project Update and Consultation Schedule
- April 2015 - Recommended Rideau Heights neighbourhood revitalization plan
- November 2015 - City staff report to Council and adopted Rideau Heights Regeneration Strategy