Battery Park

Battery Park, Kingston, OntarioLast Monday, Mayor Rosen and Homestead Land Holdings cut the ribbon at Kingston’s newest waterfront attraction, located on the fringe of the long contested plot of land that was formerly known as Block D.  The re-purposed real estate on Block D has been developed to accommodate three towering condominiums, as well as a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, which is scheduled to open later this month.  Just beyond the parking lots, a set of stairs leads down to a massive compass rose, which is arguably the most prominent feature of Battery Park.  Strangely enough, Kingston’s newest waterfront attraction makes zero effort to accommodate the needs of boaters, swimmers and the like.

The park itself consists of a small series of meandering paved paths, complete with benches, unfinished lighting, trash receptacles, some shady spots and a few grassed areas for recreational purposes.  While Kingston’s waterfront pathway system is considerably choppy and at times non-existent, the paths at Battery Park do a fairly decent job of connecting to adjoining walkways on either end.  Forget the elaborate compass rose, as the connections to adjacent paths are undeniably the park’s most valuable feature.

As mentioned above, Battery Park is bordered by condominiums on one side, and a new, massive tumble-stone shoreline on the other.  Herein lies the rub, which is best outlined by K7 Waterfront:

In the past this 250m of Block-D perimeter was a corrugated metal seawall where boats could tie-up. It was a pretty good place for boat-passenger dropoffs and pickups when the marina’s docks were packed in the summertime. It was a fine venue for model-boat racing. It has been said that many late-summer-night skinny-dips took place there in the hours between closing-time and dawn.

This was, in short, usable shoreline which is in very short supply around here. But that was then.

Despite the heat wave that continued into the evening, last night there were many families out flying kites and kicking soccer balls around, as well as couples who were simply out for a stroll and taking in the view.  It’s great to see Battery Park finally getting used, but I have to agree with K7 Waterfront that the construction of a tumble-stone shoreline behind the pre-existing break wall  is redundant, and it unnecessarily limits the accessibility and functionality of the space.  Sadly, people are too enthralled with the grandiose compass, and they’ve yet to realize that Battery Park could have been so much more!

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

4 thoughts on “Battery Park

  • The tumble-stone was more than likely installed specifically to limit the use of the shoreline. A combination of hand-wringing liability lawyers and a desire to "own" the entire space will do that.

    I was born here and came home again after college. This entire project is a perfect example of how the city continues to disappoint its citizens. It could have been so much more, but they can't see beyond granting exemptions to height restrictions to allow Kingston's favourite landlord developer to build yet more high-rises. Sigh.

    The compass rose IS kind of nice, though.

    • Not sure about the lawyer comment, as there's nothing overly safe about the tumble-stone. From a liability point of view it could be a nightmare for City Lawyers, however Personal Injury Lawyers are likely salivating at the possibilities. Fully agree with your comment about developers though. They have more of a say in this City than council, and the rest of us combined.

  • The Rip-Rap stone shoreline (or tumble stone) as well as the metal sheet pile seawall (or corrugated metal seawall) are both erosion protection measures. The company I work for does some marine engineering around this city of Kingston and it has been my experience that the city believes the rip-rap is a more effective method of erosion prevention due to the fact that the metal wall will eventually corrode and need to be replaced. The big drawback as you mentioned is it makes the shoreline completely unusable, so where’s the trade-off?

    • Thanks for the insight regarding the different capabilities of the materials in question here. So you either get something that last longer and does not permit access (rip-rap, tumble stone etc…), or you go with something a bit less effective, which permits access (corrugated metal seawall). From a recreational and boater's point of view, the corrugated metal option is preferred.

      Having said that, can you comment on the longevity and cost of these options? Specifically, how frequent does corrugated metal have to be replaced, and what is the cost in comparison to tumble-stone?

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