Recreational Infrastructure in Kingston

sports, leisure, Kingston, OntarioThe dog days of summer may be hard to imagine when it snows in May, but I can already picture myself frolicking around on the new splash pad at City Park in a few months.  The splash pad and rink at Market Square, as well as the pending renovations of the Leo Lafleur waterpark and Richardson Beach represent some of the most exciting recreational infrastructure upgrades in the Limestone City.  While our fearless council recently pledged an unknown amount of financial support to deliver an aquatic add-on to the Invista Centre, I can’t help but wonder where this future project ranks amongst the community’s long wish list of recreational and leisure projects.  What sort of upgrades and additions would you like to see happen in Kingston?  Better yet, what type of amenity would increase your level of physical activity and improve your lifestyle?

What recreational infrastructure does Kingston need most?

  • Bike Lanes (394%, 71 Votes)
  • Something Else Entirely (100%, 18 Votes)
  • Accessible Beaches (89%, 16 Votes)
  • Skateboard Park (33%, 6 Votes)
  • Indoor Aquatic Centre (17%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 114

Loading ... Loading ...

We’ve added the catch-all “something else entirely” to this poll.  If you selected that option over all the others, please take a few seconds to jot down the dream recreational project you’d like to see the city embrace.  Comments on the current direction, or lack thereof, of recreational projects and spending are also welcome.  Special thanks to Josh Jensen for today’s sporty photo.

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...

25 thoughts on “Recreational Infrastructure in Kingston

  • Corrections has never said they plan on disposing of it, with the thought being in the long term it will be used for expanding prison capacity. Its highly unlikely this would ever be offered to the city "Free" like the parcel in Barriefield, which even that is only free if its used for housing, not parkland.

    I would certainly be against any thought it would be preserved free of development. It is by far the best opportunity for significant density smart growth in the city, combating sprawl. There would be lots of opportunity for park space there, and trails along the water…between the development. Its a huge space, larger then lemoine point, the population could never make significant use of it. Notwithstanding, who would want to use what is mostly open field when you've got the rideau trail adjacent, soon to be redone Lake Ontario Park, and Lemoine point not much further down the road.

    Prime opportunity (if it ever does come available) for very green residential and commercial development, and cost effective use of existing infrastructure.

    • A major reason for combating sprawl is to preserve agricultural and sensitive lands. The land surrounding Collins Bay Pen is exactly that. The farm is home to some of the best agricultural land in the province and is intertwined with sensitive wetlands. It is home to deer, fox and coyotes and is an important site for migrating birds.

      To me the point to curbing urban sprawl is to protect land like this from development. This land could become incredibly important as a recreational/conservation area for the city and its schools. I was lucky enough to spend time at a conservation area outside of Thunder Bay a few years ago. This park (Kingfisher Lake) is a preserved site with a small number of educational facilities and hiking/skiing trails. This site is used by local school boards and provides an excellent educational experience for students. I have no doubt local schools would make use of this park as they do Gould Lake and the Little Cat Conservation area.

      There is no such thing as green development. Any development is harmful to the earth (green developments just harm the earth less) and this site is no different. If you ignore the fact that pollution, litter and garbage will wind up in the wetlands from any development you must consider the immense cost and impact of providing services to this site. Water, sewage, hydro and roads would need to be built. This site would be torn up and destroyed. How do you propose the large animals inhabiting the area make due with suburbs and strip malls invading their homes? It wouldn't be long before the deer were either killed or moved and the coyotes were driven out of the area.

      If you want prime areas for green residential and commercial development look no further than the empty lots along upper Princess St… the North Block area surrounding the KRock Centre, the Nortel land in and around the RioCan Centre, etc. There are countless areas in the city that are currently underdeveloped that provide a much better solution to urban sprawl than paving over agricultural and wetlands. These other sites already have services installed and are on existing transit lines/roads with commercial and social services nearby.

      If you want to curb urban sprawl fight to save lands like the prison farms and demand that the city focus on filling underdeveloped lands with high-density mixed-use developments.

  • When the farm stops operating the animals attracted to the farming wont be there, though its not an argument that makes sense when the option would be sprawl the size of the city outward into habitat that makes more sense for animals (eg see talk of bounties on coyotes in urban areas) It will quickly be knee high weeds There is no way anyone is preserving it as a farm, its closing because it doesn't make sense (even with it being property tax free with inmate labour). It is the perfect spot to live…you could live car free there easily, while that would be near impossible with the growth option proposed of adding thousands of houses east of the causeway. The city could effectively offer transit, while transit can't make sense to the city outskirts, and the arterial roads and services are already in place. When you look at how many millions the city will spend on the already park like, already owned, much smaller lake ontario park…there is no way the city could ever turn that into a space anyone would want to be. Developers have to provide for park space which would pay for keeping space around the wetland, and maybe some sportsfields near center 70.

    We already have a much more desirable large, treed, area down the road in Lemoine Point…and Lake ON park, and the section fo the rideau trail right beside correction. There is only so much space the population can make use of.

    Though since corrections has made no mention of making it available through the controversy of closing the farm, and the city has talked of wanting some of the land made available for ages, its likely all moot as corrections is keeping it.

    • Corrections has actually stated that they don't intend to sell the land. Which is nice, but that definitely suggests that the rumour of a "superprison", if not actually planned, is being looked at. Otherwise, why would Corrections need to hang on to 100 hectares of prime land in the middle of the City of Kingston?

      Fine, they want to close the farm. Short sighted and counter-intuitive, but that's what the Feds seem to be about. Lease the land out to area farmers that want to use it. It's definitely productive and letting it go fallow does nothing productive.

      The LAST thing that should be going in there is some massive subdivision. I'd rather have a supermax prison.

      • Agreed. I honestly can't see cash-strapped Corrections holding onto land they aren't going to use down the road. If they don't move forward and build that super prison no one wants (fingers crossed), it makes total sense to lease it or sell it off eventually.

        • I wonder if they've considered the impact that not having the farms will have on the prison populations. I'm told that working on one of the farms have always been viewed as a "perk" by the inmates. Something that they can earn. Take that away and what happens?

          • I'm guessing they'll simply have to find another carrot.

          • The worrisome thing is that so far no new "carrot" is planned. Which means that life in prison will be even more meaningless and deprived than usual…..and there's plenty of evidence that this leads to increased unrest and violence in the prison system. And the creation of even more hardened criminals exiting the system….and being parolees in our city.

            I think "short-sighted" does not even begin to describe the closures. Whether or not we empathize with the prison experience, providing inmates with access to meaningful activity actually benefits everyone in the long run.

          • Giving inmates meaningful activity, rather than simply allowing them to stew in their cells, bodybuild, and "compare notes" with other criminals, is a good idea. If anything, the concept should be expanded, not cut back. It may make all the difference with criminals in the early stages of their lives. So might giving them real punishments, instead of the joke, revolving door sentences I see in the Whig's court reports. No wonder we seem to see the same individuals named, over and over again…

            As for parolees staying here, we should go back to the old way of doing things: "here is your one-way bus ticket back to where you came from; don't let Kingston's door hit your __s on the way out". There are already far too many ex-cons camped out here, along with their dysfunctional welfare famiies.

  • Perhaps the City should consider putting money aside for something different…. there is a slight chance that the prison farms will be shut down and the land could be sold at some point. Perhaps the City should consider putting money aside for the possibility of this land coming up for sale. (I am totally in support of NOT closing the Prison Farms, but alternate plans should be made on the chance our cries will be ignored by our all mighty leader).

    If the City could purchase this land and turn it into a conservation area/park Kingston would become home to one of the largest urban parks in North America.

    This land needs to be preserved, and what better way to ensure its survival than to purchase it so as to prevent development from occurring?

    If the farms do close people will be upset. The perfect opportunity exists for our city to lobby for this land to be converted to park space (either under federal control or via a gift to the city?). The federal government could use it to show the people of Canada that they aren't simply going to sell the land to the highest bidder to try and make some quick cash.

    Think about the fantastic conservation and recreation possibilities available with this land. This type of opportunity will only happen once. Never again will a chunk of urban land like this become available. If it does the City must act.

    If I was going to suggest a recreation use for our tax dollars, it would be to save towards a potential purchase of this land. If the government doesn't close the farm or decides not to sell the land then we have cash in the bank to begin some other major recreational project in future years.

    • I couldn't agree with you more. When the Prison Farms close, it would be fantastic to see the surrounding land transformed into an urban conservation area (my previous thoughts on this subject). Sort of like Central Park in New York City, but a little less central, a lot less developed and no hot dog vendors. Complete with a few amenities to accommodate things like cross country skiing, trails for hiking/cycling, etc…, it would be an amazing asset to set Kingston apart from other communities. Instead though, I'd bet the farm (puns rule!) on this land being transformed into more industrial, and residential space. Save for the wetlands, the rest of this space is prime real estate for developers who are looking to build inside the city, as opposed to expanding on the fringe. I would pledge my full support to any Mayoral candidate who ran on the basis of protecting this land from development.

      • I believe your comments were referenced in a facebook group supporting the idea of a 'new urban park in Kingston, Ontario'. This group has been around for a while and is there to raise support for an idea like this if the prison farms are shut down.

        I too would have to consider any mayoral candidate proposing we protect this land.

  • I note that in the poll, 63% of votes for "recreational infrastructure" are in favour of bike lanes… I trust these will not be put on major routes, which are already slow and congested enough. Bike lanes that affect traffic patterns on main streets are not "recreational", and should not be represented as such…

    Or is this simply an agenda to choke off the streets that others are trying to use to get to and from work via car? Where exactly on our narrow, inefficient network of streets do these people propose to put bike lanes without either taking away present vehicle lanes, or parking?

    Traffic in this city is messed up enough already without bike lanes, thank you very much.

    • Point taken re: the distinction between commuter bike lanes and recreational ones, however I am sure there are instances where commuter avenues are also used for recreational purposes. Kingston is an older city and so we have to work with and around the infrastructure that already exists. That is to say designated bike lanes, whether for commuters or the recreational set, would not be viable on each and every street.

      The city owns lots of little bits of land land between the road, sidewalk and our respective property lines. Perhaps that would give the room required for commuters? The more I think about it, the more I envision a blended commuter/recreational bike lane scheme, with a layout that is similar to bus route coverage. Just enough to get you around the city, but not enough to negatively impact the flow of vehicle traffic.

    • While I support bike lanes I understand that it's difficult to get around the city even by car lots of the time. But, if we urge city planners and council to consider implementing bike lanes during new road construction/maintenance then we can create a more robust transportation system that is more inline with being a sustainable city. I think it's important to note that by adding well planned transportation features like bus routes and bicycle lanes that vehicle congestion may improve not to mention our health, environment, and tourism.

  • "If you want to curb urban sprawl fight to save lands like the prison farms and demand that the city focus on filling underdeveloped lands with high-density mixed-use developments."

    Who the heck wants to live near Riocan, upper Princess, or North Block???

    I don't understand some of the thought processes here. Block off any useful land close to the city from development, forcing people to find new lots farther away, and then complain about "urban sprawl"… People want single family houses, not high density housing and "mixed use developments".

    Why is this so hard to grasp?

      • Sorry Harvey,

        You are absolutely right; that comment was indeed meant for him…

        It's hard being the opposing voice in here sometimes :)

    • "Who the heck wants to live near Riocan, upper Princess, or North Block??? "

      The prison farm land surrounding Collins Bay Pen isn't anymore of a 'desirable' location in comparison to the RioCan centre… its only a couple blocks away from it and would feature a breathtaking view of Dupont.

      "Block off any useful land close to the city from development, forcing people to find new lots farther away.."
      Empty lots scattered along Princess St. between Division and Bath and in the North Block area are pretty much as close to the city as you can get. There is a huge development potential in these sights.

      "People want single family houses, not high density housing and "mixed use developments". "
      Not everyone wants single family houses, and an increasing proportion of the population can no longer afford them. Canadians are further in debt than we have ever been, the world economy is in shambles… this is hardly the time to champion suburban sprawl. Not only is it impractical, but it is expensive. The cost of supplying services (water, sewer, hydro, roads, transit, waste collection, libraries, schools etc) are immense. As the true costs of utilities are uncovered to the consumer and gas prices continue to rise in the future the cost of commuting from white picket fenced, inefficient cookie cutter homes is going to continue to skyrocket making home ownership unattainable to even more people.

      "Why is this so hard to grasp?"
      Why is this so hard to grasp? It is hard to grasp because your utopian ideal suburban lifestyle is a relic of the second world war. We now know we don't live in a world which can sustain uncontrolled consumption and growth so we must take that knowledge and actually apply it to our lives. Plopping down relatively cheaply built, energy sucking single family homes is not the way to ensure sustainability in the future. Look at how many cities are going bankrupt just in North America. If these cities had more densely packed populations their services could be more centrally located and they may not be in financial trouble. Governments (at all levels) are selling off profitable ventures for short-term monetary gains in order to avoid bankruptcy, yet people like you continue to feel as though we can continue living our lives they way people did in the 1950s. It can't happen forever.

      We have (or will very soon) reach peak oil and it is widely known that our supplies of many other valuable resources such as aluminum will dry up in the next 50 years or so. It is beyond impractical to ignore these facts so that we can all live in suburban houses with white picket fences. It is time to face the facts… those types of developments were created when it was believed we lived in a world of infinite resources; when gas was cheap and the North American economy was the best in the world. Fast forward to today and we realize we live in a finite world, our energy prices are skyrocketing as our ability to meet demand is crippled, and our economy is unstable at best. These are not the 'boom' years of the 1950s. We know what the future holds for the human species so why not take this knowledge and apply it to our future planning? Suburban sprawl cannot continue.

      Once upon a time a house away from the city core was reality for the elites and a dream for the commoners. Following WWII we found out a way to make the dream a reality. Now the elite in larger cities vie for spaces in urban developments, close to the city core and it's vibrancy. In these same cities the 'commoners' living in their McMansions dream of moving 'downtown' where the commute is shorter and life exists outside of the tube after 5pm.

      People always say Kingston is a little city that thinks its a big city… too bad more people like yourself don't see it that way. Perhaps then you would see the problems with suburban developments.

      • Well, 3aw6, Interesting points you raise, but we definitely agree to disgree :) First; the empty locations we are discussing, are empty for a reason. That would probably be because no one wants them for residential development. I suspect there may also be zoning issues, but I don’t claim to know for sure. I would also suspect that property taxes in those areas would be high to say the least. Maybe someone with a better knowledge of urban planning in this city might have an answer… Next, I don’t know what circles you travel in, but I have lived here for almost twenty years, and have yet to meet anyone whose ambition in life is to live in a one or two bedroom rental apartment or highrise condo. Especially with a family. Maybe the uber-wealthy penthouse set, but certainly no one else…

        “Look at how many cities are going bankrupt just in North America”… They are going bankrupt because of rampant wastage of money on vanity projects, businesses and industry fleeing overregulation and sky high taxes, and bloated bureaucracies enabled by activist city councils and special interest groups, not because of suburbs. LVEC anyone??? 8 ice rinks??? The casino debacle??? Kingston came in 28th out of 29 cities for fiscal management. Go figure… “it is widely known that our supplies of many other valuable resources such as aluminum will dry up in the next 50 years or so”… Rubbish. The resources are out there, including oil. Too bad we are hamstrung from using them by luddite environmental groups who want to throw us back to the eighteenth century. Meanwhile we waste billions on “green energy” scams that require subsidies (and inflated utilitly prices) to work, and still require backup by traditional power sources when the wind doesn’t blow, or the sun doesn’t shine…

        “Now the elite in larger cities vie for spaces in urban developments, close to the city core and it’s vibrancy”… You just scuppered your own argument. The “elite” are the only ones who can afford to live there. Any new residential development in the middle of the city is going to be outrageously expensive, both in purchase price, and property taxes. What average person is going to pay almost half a million dollars for a tiny condo like we see on Kingston’s waterfront, when they can buy a house for half the price? What is your solution to that? As for Kingston thinking like a big city, I would say that it thinks like a little city, but spends like a big city. Hence we are so far in the hole we can’t see daylight any more… On a side note, I wish this guy would run for mayor. He seems to make a lot of sense.

        • “Any new residential development in the middle of the city is going to be outrageously expensive, both in purchase price, and property taxes.”

          I live 5 blocks from Princess st and only a block and a half from the water yet my cost of living is less than that of my parents who live in the west end suburbs. Go figure. The going rate for houses in my area is actually lower than the going rate in my parents neighbourhood. Go figure. That certainly puts a dent in your theory. If I was going to pay cash for my row house or a house in the west or east end of town I would be saving a lot of money by picking the place I am already residing in.

          “What average person is going to pay almost half a million dollars for a tiny condo like we see on Kingston’s waterfront, when they can buy a house for half the price? What is your solution to that?”

          My solution? Not everything needs to be a condo. There are many row houses in Kingston that use up far less land than suburban homes and they share walls which reduces heat loss. I live in a 3 unit row house that takes up less land than most houses in the suburbs. Ta-da! Solution! Higher density doesn’t mean everything needs to be a skyscraper. (PS Most houses downtown don’t cost half a million dollars.)

      • The city has a development plan for upper princess – 6 story high, retail required on the ground floor, parking at the rear or underground. WIth small lots under different ownership, not a lot of demand for retail at the moment, existing tenants and the requirements that aren't the most economic, its going to take a long time to transition. Its not like the city can force property owners to build, it will happen when it makes economic sesne

        The norhblock and other inner harbour sites have the coal tar cleanup to deal with. The city would like a hotel with the conference rooms that wouldn't fit in the lvec to go there, and a parking garage among others. Kincore had big plans but with them abandoning their hole in the ground that doesn't seem likely anytime soon.

        But they aren't comparable to the possibilities of green field development on the huge prison property. Using that IS smart growth. The farm numbers would just be absurd if a return had to be calculated taking the value of the property into account as it would in private hands.

        • Mr. Rectifier,

          The plan for upper Princess actually makes a lot of sense, with the caveat that the residences are affordable. Combined with the (self supporting, please) community garden, some small businesses and shops, and maybe a small park, it could be made into a pleasant place for seniors/and or students to live.

          As for the hotel plan, fill yer boots; maybe it would prevent more of these monstrosities being built on the waterfront…

          I just can't get with the idea of leaving the prison property empty, or creating a park, though. I honestly think it would make more sense to zone it residential, both in providing people with somewhere to live, and bringing in tax revenue…

  • I'd hold off on booking a tee time at Frontenac Institution, once they completely dismantle the building(s) and foundation; it's still crown land and they're not selling it, at least not to the public's knowledge.

    Kevin Page (Parliamentary Budget Officer) strongly implied last month that up to a dozen new prisons, mostly medium security, will be built by 2016. Locations: on a need-to-know basis.

    I'd like to see that land become green-space, parkland, or a 9 to 18 hole golf course but it's no secret a pressing movement within the union all the way up to a few MPs that Collins Bay is past it's expiry date and what better way to save a few dollars (our dollars, which we have no say in the matter) than build new state-of-the-art correctional facility, right next to "Disneyland". At best, it will provide short term employment in the construction industries.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!