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Environmental Programs and Projects

We are working to clean up historically polluted City properties.

Former Belle Park landfill 

Used as a landfill from 1952 to 1974, Belle Park covers 44 hectares along the west shore of the Cataraqui River, extending out to Belle Island. We are committed to responsibly managing the land and have implemented measures to monitor and control environmental impacts, including groundwater interception wells, clean soil covers and regular monitoring of water sources. 

Land quality and brownfields 

Brownfields are abandoned or unused industrial or commercial areas. They have been or are perceived to have been contaminated by past activities. They can be as small as abandoned gas stations or as large as empty factories. Kingston, like many other places, has some of these sites.  

Most brownfields are in older parts of the City which makes them good candidates for in-fill style redevelopment. However, cleanup can be complex and expensive. To encourage remediation and redevelopment, the City of Kingston offers incentive programs for developers.

Coal gasification plants

Like many older communities in Ontario, Kingston had a coal gasification plant downtown that was active from the 1800s to the 1950s. Until the arrival of natural gas, this plant processed coal to produce gas for heating and light, but it left coal tar in the ground. In 1999, we spent over $2 million cleaning it up by removing dirty soil and water. We also found coal tar deep in the limestone bedrock, which could not be taken out. This material is deep and stable and so does not pose a significant risk unless disturbed.  Any new development on these sites needs to follow provincial rules for assessing the deep contamination and making sure that projects can proceed safely. 

Emma Martin Park

Emma Martin Park sits alongside Kingston's Inner Harbour, along the Cataraqui River. It once housed factories but now serves as a public park. It is the neighbour to a rowing club and a restored Woolen Mill bustling with businesses.

Emma Martin Park faced polluted soil and groundwater problems due to its industrial history, which could potentially harm the river. To solve this problem, we installed a barrier which acts like a powerful filter that removes dissolved metals from the groundwater before it flows toward the river. 

Excess soil management

The Excess Soil Management Program re-uses soil from city projects, diverting it from the landfill and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Our large-scale beneficial soil re-use site on Venture Drive will help keep over 120,000 m3 of soil out of landfills and other sites and avoid over 2,700 tonnes of GHG emissions over the next three years. 

Managed forests for carbon sequestration

Creating managed forests is a powerful way we can mitigate the effects of climate change. With the help of Trees Canada and the CRCA, the city planted over 40,000 seedlings at two locations in 2023. The chosen sites maximize opportunities for capturing and storing carbon dioxide to prevent release into the atmosphere. A further 10,000 trees are scheduled for planting soon. Once mature, these trees can remove and store up to 230 tonnes of GHG emissions per year and provide many other environmental benefits. 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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