Letter of opposition to proposed King Street West development

The following is a submitted letter to the editor on the development being proposed by Kingston Waterfront Development Inc. (owners) and IBI Group Inc. (applicants), which will be discussed at a Public Meeting of the City of Kingston’s Planning Committee on Thursday, Jun. 16, 2022. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.

Artist’s Rendering of the proposed development at 1110 King Street West, in an area known as Cataraqui Bay (as well as Elevator Bay). Graphic via Realtor.ca. in 2021.

I am frankly astonished that this proposal should even be considered seriously.

I am in favour of more housing in Kingston, AFFORDABLE housing that does NOT encroach on others and has no hazards inherent in the construction.

I wish this to be considered as an official document in any related meetings, discussions, and decisions.

I can do no better than the discussion points already circulated, copied below:

1.       Many Kingston people believe that the opposition to this development is only/mostly from the ‘rich, privileged’ residents at Commodore’s Cove, but there are many, many other ripple effects for Kingston residents. Plus, the residents [there] are largely just normal retirees!

2.       The construction would be taking place, not in our neighbourhood, or on our street or beside our building, but right through the middle of the east and west sides of the townhouse property. Most of the construction activities would take place within 20 to 40 metres of existing homes.

3.       It is also a serious concern that all of the gas, electrical, water, and sewer utilities, as well as the communications utilities, are under the two parking lots, which will become the staging areas for massive amounts of supplies and heavy machinery/equipment.

4.       The estimated construction period of three to five years is, of course, an extremely long time, and the most painful portion of the project for immediately adjacent residents; however, other neighbours will be heavily impacted by it, as well, because of the disruption on King Street West and other streets that lead to it (heavy traffic, noise, dust, disruption of utilities, drilling, hammering, air breaks, back-up beepers, car line-ups, etc.).

5.       There is a real risk that the vibrations from the sheet piles and other piles will cause damage to foundations and other structural elements of existing homes.

6.       There are roughly eight apartments, condos or hotels on the Kingston waterfront to date, which have required major rehabilitation (upwards of $100,000, paid by condo owners, apt. owners, building companies, and/or insurance companies), e.g., Frontenac Village, Holiday Inn, Confederation Hotel (formerly Howard Johnson), Delta Hotel, Harbour Place at 185 Ontario, Prince George Condos, Admiralty Place, and 1000 King Street. In keeping with their locations at the water and land border, the common factors in the instability problem are rough waters, annual flooding, shifting soil, and extremely high winds, which will be multiplied in this instance, because the pier is surrounded on three sides by water. Why would the City allow yet another highrise in this environment?

7.        It is noted that these very same factors played a significant role in the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Florida, along with other contributing factors related to architecture, construction methods, and municipal inspections (as per the series of Globe and Mail articles since the collapse). A $997 million settlement through multiple agreements was awarded to [affected] families in May 2022, and other legal cases are still pending.

8.       When the initial project was proposed to the townhouses’ then-owners in 1988, it consisted of one building with a height of 16 storeys; now it is two buildings, and they will be 24 and 25 storeys high, once the utility floors and the parking floors are factored in.

9.       Nearby buildings will be hugely impacted by shadowing from the buildings, more so in the winter months, when everyone needs every bit of sun possible.

10.   The integrity, suitability, and accessibility of the Waterfront Trail are seriously compromised in the proposed plan, consisting of a very narrow path which is directly beside a 10 foot drop to the water on one side, and car traffic on the other, and which includes stairs and tight corners.

11.   These two towers will house 343 units that are currently offered for sale as luxury condos and ROI’s (Return on Investment); it is doubtful if luxury owners or Air B&B clients will be taking the bus or bicycling to their destinations, as touted by City planners; each unit will have at least one, and likely two cars, thus the increased traffic and noise will be felt by everyone along King Street West.

12.   The City, the province of Ontario, and all of Canada require affordable housing in a very urgent way. These two luxury towers are part of the plethora of luxury housing (condo or apartments) in the City of Kingston which have competed, and will continue to compete and to take available resources away from the affordable housing priority: financial and grants, construction materials, time of City staff, time of City Council, construction workers, etc. Neither luxury units or ROI’s will do anything to relieve the affordable housing problem in Kingston.

Mike Cole-Hamilton
Kingston resident

Share your views! Submit a Letter to the Editor or an Op/Ed article to Kingstonist’s Editor-in-Chief Tori Stafford at [email protected].

2 thoughts on “Letter of opposition to proposed King Street West development

  • The answer to number 6 is greed. Our council seemed very proud of patting themselves on their backs because they recognized the environmental crisis in this community, but as this letter says they are encouraging expensive condos, not the housing needed in this community. The city’s defence of this project is that planning permission was granted for one high rise in the 70’s and so the rules can’t be changed??? Why not? We are much more aware of the costs caused by environmental malpractice here, BC etc so let’s stop being ruled by bureaucrats who are reluctant to change. We need some creative thinking that moves with the critical issues of the time.
    And, no, I do not live on this site so am not directly affected.

    • Tall concrete towers and large parking lots are excellent at holding in heat and not letting it escape at night. These are the causes of Heat Island Effect, which can increase the temperature across a neighbourhood by over 10degrees Celsius. (Kingston is predicted to be one of 15 Canadian cities to suffer Heat Island Effect next—Star, April 19/22) Urban forests and wetlands do the opposite— respirate cool moist air at night to bring down the region’s heat. This proposed project is directly across King St. West from one wetland, and directly beside another! Wetlands are critical. “ Healthy wetlands – critical for climate mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity, and human health and prosperity – punch above their weight in terms of benefits,” says Leticia Carvalho, Principal Coordinator for Marine and Freshwater at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Making sure that they continue to deliver vital ecosystem services to humanity requires… their prioritization, protection, restoration, better management and monitoring.”. All of this dredging and building and future extra traffic will definitely affect the health of these 2 wetlands, as well as the residents in the townhomes. Shocking even to consider this. -Jerri Jerreat

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