The latest song and accompanying video from The Gertrudes titled Anglin Bay focuses on the City of Kingston’s contested Wellington Street extension. The project would see Wellington Street shoot up past Bay Street, snaking through the Inner Harbour district until its eventual connection with John Counter Boulevard. Widespread public concern pertaining to the project stems from how it would drastically shrink the amount of greenspace at Douglas Fluhrer Park, impact public access to our waterfront and increase traffic flow in the neighborhood.
The video for Anglin Bay features a cast of mini-Gertrudes, who make their way to Douglas Fluhrer Park for an epic jam, which amounts to equal parts celebration and protest. Full-sized band member, Josh Lyon, outlines his personal connection to the park, as well as his opposition to its destruction to make way for a road extension:
I spend a lot of time walking by the river in Douglas Fluhrer Park alone in quiet reflection, or feeding the ducks or spotting turtles and snakes with my kids. For many folks in our neighbourhood, this is one of the only spots where you can get away from the busy streets and hustle and bustle of downtown. It’s great to see people fishing down here, using the river for boating, using the pathways for biking and jogging, dog-walking, and so on. The city should continue to honour Douglas Fluhrer’s vision for parks in the city, and not fall prey to the urge to create more roads only to later regret it, as many cities have done once they realize the value of their waterfront later on. Green space and exercise have been connected to better mental health and quality of life in urban populations, whereas adding roads has consistently been shown to simply lead to more traffic in the long run, and not ultimately improving traffic flow. Hopefully our song and video can show people who see the park only as a potential traffic corridor the value of it as it is.
Considering the city’s history of selling off large swaths of waterfront land for condos and private use, Douglas Fluhrer’s waterfront park remains one of Kingston’s last tracks of centrally located, publicly accessible greenspace. As the City continues to collect feedback pertaining to the Official Plan for the Wellington Street extension, let them know your thoughts about saving the park and stopping the unnecessary expansion by writing: [email protected] (until Thursday Nov 5th).
For more information, check out Wellington X, a community group opposed to the extension through Douglas Fluhrer’s waterfront park.