Hall Monitor: Split Pot

Kingston City Council Meetings, #ygkcOur dutifully elected council and city staff once again took to Council Chambers for our regular council meeting last night, and they introduced the electronic voting component. Like usual, the agenda and addeds are available on the city website.

While we heard a lot off the top of the meeting on we, quite surprisingly, had nobody to speak about the two biggest items on the agenda, a development at Princess and Victoria and the casino referendum. In addition to those two items, council confirmed a lot of contract awards last night, recognized the hard work of volunteers, the committee and transit during the Scotties, allocated some childcare and homelessness prevention funding and updated a few policies like the Welcome Gift it provides as part of it’s contribution to the Kingston Immigration Partnership. There was much debate on zoning bits on the new potential student housing complex at Princess and Victoria, including the number of units, bedrooms and parking spaces, but the zoning item passed (with a bedrom limit of 485 and no parking space change) and the final development file has been “bumped up” to Planning Committee – meaning that they, instead of Grant Bain, the Director of Planning and Development, will make the final decision.

The big item, of course, was the debate on if a referendum should happen on the gaming facility – which was going to be ruled out of order, but was then amended to make it “more in order” and allow the debate. The amendment, in it’s core, changed the item from “Let’s have a referendum” to “Let’s have a referendum if a gaming facility proposal actually comes to Kingston”. After much debate, and some heated comments from the Mayor towards the end about how the staff have been treated during the recent debates, the item lost, and council has chosen not to allow a referendum. Councilors in favour of the referendum item were councilors Downes, Glover, Hutchison, Neill and Mayor Gerretsen; opposed to it were councillors Berg, George, Osanic, Paterson, Reitzel and Scott. Councilor Hector was out of town on city business and councillor Schell declared a conflict as her son works for OLG.

While the new voting system wasn’t without it’s hiccups, it was certainly fun to see it up and running – I’ve got some software to write, apparently, to keep up. We also did pretty well with the stream, though audio seemed to have disappear after the wi-fi drop towards the end – at least I dropped the echo before that! One step at a time, I suppose. The full archive from the tweet stream is below. Council next meets on Tuesday, March 19th.

  • 7:33 PM: We’re up and running at #ygkc. Tonight’s new tech? Digital voting. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:36 PM: We saw the new vote in action on approval of the addeds, approved 12-0 (@DorothyAHector isn’t present this evening.) #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:37 PM: We see a presentation from @MayorOfKingston to Ken Thompson, Host Committee Chair for the Scotties. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:40 PM: We’re hearing all sorts of praise on the Scotties – the committee, chair, volunteers and transit. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:42 PM: We next move to a delegation from the Friends of Belle Park about an update later in tonight’s agenda. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:43 PM: Our speaker is Jacques Menard, speaking of the history of the group; wanting solutions on bringing the park back to sustainability #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:44 PM: Menard says that every mature city has a municipal golf course. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:45 PM: Says that Belle Park is accom. to those of all ages and skill levels at a reasonable price. Not competing with private sector. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:46 PM: He adds that some players, using himself as an example, would be willing to pay more for fees. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:47 PM: Menard ends by complementing staff and says they’re helping provide staff with a course engineer. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:48 PM: @MayorOfKingston comments on a recent walkthough of the park that he had with a citizen who gave him ideas for the park. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:49 PM: The idea was a pilot with a citizen-run board; asks Menard opinion of the idea. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:50 PM: Menard: “It can’t continue as it was”; adds that a working group could bring diverse, knowledgeable backgrounds. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:52 PM: We clear a few headings and jump into the Motions of Congratulations and Condolence. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:54 PM: Congratulations are being passed to various #stoh2013 groups and KCVI’s @frc2809. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:55 PM: Some slight delays on the emotional items as technology gets in the way. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:56 PM: Second vote of the night, we go manual. Item carries and the system is restarted. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:00 PM: Sorry – slight delay on that vote, too, with more technical hurdles. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:01 PM: We’re to “take this opportunity to talk to your neighbour”, according to @MayorOfKingston. Hi @DanielleinYGK! #mayorjokes #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:02 PM: And we’re back to manual until @JimNeill3′s system gets fixed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:02 PM: We clear through report 44, mostly, items a-g and i pass. Mostly contract awards, and an update to staff on Enbridge pipeline. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:03 PM: We’re back to h. Coun. Downes asks about flexibility. Comm. Beach says that they do and will bring in consultants when needed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:04 PM: RT @dorothyahector: @kingstonist am at FCM Board meeting on City Biz #ygkc
  • 8:05 PM: @JimNeill3 asks about scope of consultant work. Staff says plan usually notes consultant use, but some aren’t yet confirmed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:06 PM: Comm. Beach adds to the information, that consultants are already put through standard purchasing/funding policies. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:09 PM: Item h passes and we take a quick, 5-minute recess. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:17 PM: We’re back up and running – seem to have tech issues done. Report 45 next. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:19 PM: Childcare funding item passes, as does the one-time funding for homelessness prevention initiative. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:20 PM: Report 46 from planning is up, with item 2 being separated. Balance (Brownfields 1A and 1B) and 176 Railway pass. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:22 PM: Pair of amendments on item 2 here being proposed by Coun. Glover limiting number of units to 140, and number of bedrooms to 481. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:22 PM: The item is regarding builds at 653-663 Princess Street and 582-604 Victoria Street. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:26 PM: @JimNeill3 mentions that past developments have including total number of units and bedrooms. #ygkc ^TV|
  • 8:27 PM: @JimNeill3 asks for a recorded vote – @MayorOfKingston says they’re all recorded. Neill: “Force of habit”. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:28 PM: Coun. Paterson asks staff why this item has an average instead of the capped number that the amendment proposes. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:29 PM: Staff says the developer asked for 481, and they rounded based on the proposed unit count. Coun. Paterson not in support. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:30 PM: Coun. Paterson adds that there, essentially, is a cap – more “large” units requires more “small” to keep average. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:33 PM: After Coun. Hutchison’s comments on a “half” bedroom, @MayorOfKingston gets clarification from staff. 3.5 is an avg. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:35 PM: @BrianReitzel not in support of the amendment, says that they don’t need to look at an absolute number. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:36 PM: First comment on Referrendum comes from Coun. George commenting on how averages are calculated. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:37 PM: @MayorOfKingston gets clarification from staff on current proposed numbers and bedroom definitions. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:38 PM: @MayorOfKingston likes the hard cap idea; but wants a little extra room for the developers. Last council did this. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:40 PM: Coun. Glover suggests that the max could be changed to 485 for the wiggle room. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:41 PM: Someone just approached staff to a very quick point of order and correction from @MayorOfKingston. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:42 PM: Coun. Glover mentioning that the lack of a precise unit and bedroom number affects much, including parking and parkland. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:43 PM: Coun. Glover mentions that the numbers in the amendment are the same as in the proposal, just clearly defined. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:44 PM: Amendment changes to 485 and we vote. Item passes, 7-5. SB, KG, BP, BR, JS opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:46 PM: Second amendment from Coun. Glover on parking spaces. From .75/unit (105 spaces) to 25% of bedrooms (~120 spaces) #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:51 PM: Coun. Glover adds that more parking is helpful in a student dwelling; students bring cars and need to put them somewhere. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:53 PM: Coun. Paterson asks planning staff about their decision for 105 spaces (.75/unit). #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:54 PM: Staff says that the ratio being suggested here is consistent with other properties along the Princess St corridor. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:55 PM: Coun. Paterson asks about feasibility of this. Staff can’t comment, but confirms that parking would be underground. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:57 PM: Coun. Paterson won’t support the amendment. Staff confirms to Coun. Osanic that they used apartment numbers for this ratio. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:58 PM: Coun. Osanic says she had a car in school and rented a spot from a motel, supports the amendment. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:59 PM: Coun. Glover says that there’s a large difference between a residents and student housing. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:00 PM: Coun. Glover adds that the 25% per bedroom number is the same number Queen’s uses. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:01 PM: Discussion about the procedure for recorded votes. Suggestion is that all votes will be approved with minutes. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:02 PM: Vote on the parking amendment: Loses 7-5; Downes, Glover, Hutchison, Neill and Osanic were the votes in favour. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:05 PM: Coun. Downes asking abt cycling spaces. Staff looking for the numbers, but tells Downes that they aren’t sure if it’s underground. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:06 PM: Coun. Downes says that the city isn’t doing enough for cycling and pedestrians. Need to be designing for people, not cars. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:09 PM: Staff confirms that there is no policy on bike spaces. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:10 PM: Coun. Schell brings forward the number of 140 spots. Staff says that the report asks for 1 spot per unit. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:11 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that neither the city nor developer will get exactly what they want. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:13 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that Queens is expecting 2k more students by 2017; they will need places to live. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:15 PM: We vote on the item, as amended (the unit/bedroom amendment). PAsses. Downes, Glover and Neill opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:16 PM: Coun. Paterson presents the APC after some comedic relief involving Coun. Hutchison. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:18 PM: A little bit of confusion for voting, and we vote for a change to the immigration welcome gift. Passes 12-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:19 PM: We move to a property maintenance item; Coun. Paterson says he has a staff-initiated amendment. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:20 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that this type of amendment should have come through CAO. Coun. Glover suggest it go back to staff. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:21 PM: Motion is now to defer the item back to staff as the amendment is “highly technical”. This could then come via the CAO report. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:22 PM: @MayorOfKingston asks Comm. Beach about why this is coming through a councillor; clerk suggests this is just housekeeping. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:23 PM: Coun. Glover agrees to withdraw deferral, with concern about process. Question is now back on the potential amendment. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:25 PM: @MayorOfKingston asks staff to explain changes. Explains they’re minor typos (like meter/metre) and a map correction. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:26 PM: Amendment carries, 12-0. We move to discussion on the actual motion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:27 PM: Some debate on the wording chosen from Coun. Hutchison. Item says bathrooms need to be “impervious” to water. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:30 PM: @MayorOfKingston suggests instead of debating wording, that this should go back to committee. Coun. Hutchison asks that be done. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:31 PM: The deferral passes 8-4; Berg, George, Paterson and Scott opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:32 PM: The balance of the planning item 2 passes 12-0. We move onto Power Play Sports noise exemption. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:33 PM: @JimNeill3 wonders if there have been complaints. Coun. Paterson confirms that there have been concerns expressed my neighbours. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:34 PM: The Noise Exemption item carries 12-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:34 PM: We move to Misc Business about raising the Autism flag on Apr 2, passes 12-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:36 PM: Misc item 2 is to schedule and relocate the next strategic planning meetings on Apr 29 and 30. Passes 12-0. We’ll be there. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:37 PM: We’re into New motions. First is a “bump-up” to planning of the student housing development in Williamsville. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:39 PM: .@JimNeill3 says that it’s important that public be given the opportunity to witness this decision. Plan Cmtee would allow this. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:43 PM: Comment from @councillorberg; supports the motion, adds that process is being followed without bump-up added. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:45 PM: Coun. Downes says that this plan is a case of details; says councillors know their districts better than planning staff. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:46 PM: Casino referendum debate up soon. Watch the stream live at http://t.co/3K7qIglGvM. #ygk #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:46 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that this project is the exact type of project he likes seeing bumped up under new policy. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:47 PM: Bump-up item passes 11-1, with Scott opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:48 PM: We move into the casino referendum item. Timestamp 9:47pm. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:49 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that there has been conversations with Clerk and Legal about this item being in-order. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:49 PM: The city can only hold one for information, cannot be legally binding. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:50 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that if it’s just for information, it would be for a decision already made and thus out of order. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:50 PM: Amendment coming from Coun. Hutchison that would be “more in order” according to @MayorOfKingston. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:52 PM: Amendments note that the city has already told OLG that they are interested, in principal, of a gaming facility. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:53 PM: And that council would hold a public referendum on any proposal in #ygk if one is presented. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:55 PM: Coun. Hutchison says that an OLG site will no doubt both have benefits and costs. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:55 PM: Coun. Hutchison quotes the recent poll saying that 78% are in favour of a referendum; polling company says they did it right. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:56 PM: Poll was based on residence, gender, age and postal code. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:57 PM: Coun. Hutchison says there’s only one poll that counts – and that’s the election, which would be where a referendum fits. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:58 PM: Coun. Hutchison: Most people in favour of a casino want a referendum, too, but it still can’t be binding. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:59 PM: Coun. Hutchison compares this to the LVEC: hard sides were taken, which isn’t good fothe community. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:00 PM: @BrianReitzel asks who paid for the poll. Staff says that local media says it was commissioned by groups in Gan. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:01 PM: Staff has asked other questions, but hasn’t received official word, only has the word of the local media on this question. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:01 PM: @BrianReitzel says that he feels that his constituents elected him to represent them, so he’s not in favour of a referendum. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:02 PM: Coun. Glover asks why the scale of a referendum would be needed on a final proposal; says that it’s because of the profound impact #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:03 PM: Coun. Glover says that a referendum will give everybody the opportunity to feel included. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:03 PM: Coun. Glover says that since this isn’t binding, it may be an opportune time to trial new voting methods (phone/web) #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:04 PM: Coun. Downes says that this item is “very political”, and says that he feels most citizens are against it. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:06 PM: Coun. Downes asks how the residents can get the “willfully deaf” to listen to the people opposed other than this. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:07 PM: A referendum will, according to Coun. Downes that it will be “politically authoritative”. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:07 PM: @councillorberg is against the referendum as a use of resources. Opportunities have already been available and continue. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:08 PM: @councillorberg says that a proposal for Kingston hasn’t even been brought forward, so this is premature. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:09 PM: @JimNeill3 is in support, but is “not usually in favour” or referendums. Says only 1 person spoke in favour of ref. at pub. mtg. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:10 PM: @JimNeill3 says that they have already had a public meeting, then a public survey (including an extension). #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:11 PM: @JimNeill3 says it reminds him of children who repeatedly ask a question until they get the answer they want. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:12 PM: @JimNeill3 Says we’ve already had a number of objective ways to determine that the majority isn’t in favour of a casino. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:13 PM: @JimNeill3: “Referendum if necessary, not necessarily a referendum”. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:14 PM: Coun. Osanic likes the amendment more than the original item, but would have liked to know it was coming this afternoon. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:15 PM: Coun. Osanic questions the difference between this potential referendum and the public survey previously conducted by staff. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:16 PM: Coun. Osanic voting against the referendum. Made her decision last night. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:17 PM: Coun. Paterson says the referendum is a theoretical good idea. Says both sides feel the “silent majority” is on their side. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:18 PM: Coun. Paterson says the precedent is there, Gan’s casino was decided on a referendum. He is concerned about turnout. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:19 PM: Says the ball right now is in the province’s court. The premiere has said there should be more public input. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:20 PM: Suggests the province delay decisions until after the next municipal elections, so that referendums can be “free”. Wants to wait. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:21 PM: Coun. George says referendum right now is a moot point; is in favor of continuing investigation. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:23 PM: Coun. George was called for the Gananoque poll, opted out as a public politician. Says he’s not worried about next election. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:24 PM: Coun. George says that they have lots of items that could benefit from referendums; suggests tax rates as example. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:27 PM: Coun. Scott says that he sees no reason for a referendum; he has represented his constituents views already. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:28 PM: @MayorOfKingston finds it interesting that councillors have gotten replies from the poll company. Staff and his office have not. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:29 PM: @MayorOfKingston is in favour of a referendum; but not of spending 300k on one. Wants it at time of election. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:29 PM: … adds that a referendum right now is just a popularity contest between the “yes” and “no” camps. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:33 PM: Sorry for the stream drop, lost the wi-fi. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:34 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that he was offended that staff and clerk’s office were trying to be political in “losing” a letter. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:35 PM: He went on to defend the CAO – calling him “one of the most stand-up guys” he knows. Council just renewed contract for 5yr. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:35 PM: @MayorOfKingston said, too, that he ALWAYS shares letters addressed to him and council, but not the ones just to him. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:35 PM: Stream is online again, just in time for vote. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:37 PM: We also heard from Coun. Downes on a “Point of personal privilege”, taking offense to various statements from @MayorOfKingston #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:38 PM: @MayorOfKingston has a binder with communication to him about casino, invites councillors to read if they want. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:38 PM: Coun. Hutchison is citing stats about where people drawn by political stripe fall with regards to a casino. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:41 PM: Loses 6-5. Berg, George, Osanic, Paterson, Reitzel, Scott opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:42 PM: We move to minute confirmation, passes 12-0 and into by-laws. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:44 PM: Adjournment passes. We’re out before 11. Impressive. Adjournment, no surprise, passes 12-0. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:45 PM: Thanks for following along! We’ll have a recap up tomorrow on the site. #ygkc ^TV

Thanks to reneilet for today’s original photo.

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