Wellington Street Extension

Wellington Street Extension, Wellington X, Douglas Fluhrer parkWhat sort of city to you want to live in? That fundamental question is at the core of an ongoing debate concerning the necessity of the Wellington Street extension. On one side, opponents primarily organized through Wellington X contend that the extension will unnecessarily erode the greenspace at Douglas Fluhrer Park, negatively impact the Inner Harbour’s naturalized shoreline, and serve to promote car culture.  Conversely, developers and select City officials contest that the project has been on the books for years, and that the extension plays a crucial role in Kingston’s Transportation Master Plan as a corridor between downtown Kingston and John Counter Boulevard.  Of course, those summations oversimplify the arguments for and against, and suffice it to say, there’s much more at stake than saving a park or potentially shaving a few minutes off of your daily commute.

For decades, developers have longed for the opportunity to unlock the potential of the underutilized environs of the Inner Harbour.  As recently as 2014, Council decided the fate of four such projects, each possessing tremendous capacity to transform the neighbourhood and brownfields throughout the King’s Town district.  An overview of those projects, and a recap of their disposition is as follows:

  • April 2014: Council approves BPE Development’s proposal to transform eight-acres of derelict property on Montreal Street (less than 1 km away from Douglas Fluhrer Park) into an industrial/commercial incubator complex that could employ upwards of 300 people.
  • June 2014: opponents protest of the planned demolition of the The Bailey Broom factory on the corner of Cataraqui and Rideau.  City Council holds off on demolition, in support of finding a buyer for the building.
  • September 2014: Patry Inc. Developments’ vision for a 1,500 apartment unit complex on the 14-acre Davis Tannery site (1/2 km away from Douglas Fluhrer Park) was rejected by council and area residents.
  • November 2014: ABNA Investments submits a plan to buy the outer train station on Montreal Street, and relocate it to Douglas Fluhrer Park across from a limestone building (9 North Street), which ABNA already owns.

City Council has since withdrawn a motion to cancel the extension, and agreed to conduct a “community visioning exercise” to yield a secondary plan.  While that exercise isn’t set to start until this Spring and will take a long time to produce a possible alternative, it’s important to note that the secondary plan may or may not include the controversial road extension.  With that in mind, this week’s poll asks:

[poll id=”296″]

Which side of this issue are you on, and why?  Do you think that the Wellington Street corridor is needed to alleviate traffic on side streets, and otherwise to stimulate investment in and development of the Inner Harbour?  Or would you prefer a reinvigorated park that includes an actual waterfront trail?  Perhaps we can have both, and what the City should be considering is transforming the Wellington Street extension into a bikeway or green belt. Drop off your comments and ideas below.

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...

11 thoughts on “Wellington Street Extension

  • Why not make this area the most 'bicycle friendly' area of the City?

    • I think this idea deserves serious consideration. Let's explore the possibility of pursuing a Wellington Street extension that take the form of a recreational path slash bike lane to augment the current network in place. That approach would deter the erosion of greenspace at the park, while at the same time promote cycling and active transportation, thereby minimizing the number cars transiting to/from downtown. This project has the potential to serve as a glowing example of what Kingston's waterfront pathway should look like in contrast to other areas.

  • I love going to this park, it's one of my favourite places to go because it's so relaxing and QUIET. When I first saw the sprayed on "road" signs I thought "Oh god, please no." There is already a parking lot in that area and no NEED to extend it.
    The city has already cut down loads of trees and bushes that wildlife used to nest in. Which was GREAT for photographers and meditators alike.

    I don't really understand why a road is needed. There are already roads to get the Boiler Room which aren't all that busy, it's more of a walk-in-park. It will be more dangerous for wildlife, dogs not on leashes and children in the park if there will be a road slammed in there. Not to mention, isn't Kingston STILL number #1 in the province for terrible road conditions? Fix the roads we have now before even considering building more.

    I get the idea of building more infrastructure and getting more jobs available but may I point out the number of empty business slots on Princess street downtown? Lower the rent and taxes on the DT roads allowing for small business to fluorous instead of dying out after a year because they can't afford to stay.

    Put in a circle path and you'll make a lot more people happy rather than spending all the money on a bleeding road which will be ripped up in 3 years for a better one.

    Will Kingston officials not be happy until the entirety, 100% of kingston is COVERED in pavement?

    Ignore what the people want, put a road in and see (hopefully) a lot of protest and unhappy people.

    PS. How about we organize a cleaning project. That park is FILTHY. Pop cans, water bottles, plastic bags, plastic anti-freeze bottles for your car are thick in the water and in the wooded areas near-by off Rideau street.
    Stop the constant pollution of wildlifes homes and do something about it!

    • I know that there was a widespread shoreline cleanup effort that used to take place in Kingston in the early Fall. Not sure if it's still going on, but would be surprised if it had ceased. It would be a good idea to look into this, ensuring that the park is part of the area that participating groups target. Otherwise, there's nothing stopping the rest of us from wandering the park with a garbage bag and tackling the mess.

  • Fully support it, its good for the environment to enable intensification that will be able to take place. It will end up similar to Breakwater park, the most used piece of parkland in Kingston. Which certainly isn't "ruined" by having King st go by.

    It certainly makes one wonder about the real agenda of the Wellington X people when they were against having the K&P trail extension paved (so it can be cleared in winter and more intensively used). There could be so much more there then a "backyard" for the existing condo owners with the tannery developed with public waterfront access, and Belle Park repurposed form a 48 member golf course.

    • The "real agenda of the WellingtonX people" is to stop an unnecessary road, the WSE. We haven't stated a position on whether or not the trail surface should be paved.

      • ???

        "However, it has become clear now that what is proposed for the Fluhrer Park section is a THREE METRE WIDE asphalt pathway to replace the current more narrow path. See the report here.

        The WellingtonX core folks have no time or energy to go to EITP tonight to fight this (we are still in the throes of the Transportation Master Plan coming to Council next week), so we hand it off to you: do you think this is a good idea? How will you feel when those bulldozers come along? Is this what the greening of Kingston should look like? "

  • Having grown up down town,yes right downtown ,I would be so happy to see both a green space park and a Wellington St extension.Clean it up and make a safer space for the public to enjoy. We have had so many changes in this city Center since I was young .Most do not know what Ontario St. was like 50 years ago.Yes it’s time for some north end improvements.Take some pressure off Montreal St. Are you aware that this area has been the night hangout for Johns to take their hookers. Time to open eyes and clean it up!

  • I am for the wellington street extension. We still live in a primarily automotive world. Until we can beam people from place to place like emails and radio waves. We shouldn't be thinking about extending an underused park into our last option for a transportation corridor. I believe an arterial route from downtown to John Counter Boulevard will enhance the use of our inner harbour park land and enhance the cities tax base by providing development opportunities along the west side of the Wellington St. extension and into the former Davis Tannery brown fields.We need the development to sustain the parks. Compare the usage of Confederation Park and the Waterfront Walkway, Richardson Beach, and Breakwater Park to the usage of Doug Flurher Park. You need to bring the people to create a beautiful space. This being said lets keep in mind that nothing is forever. As time changes transportation needs ( not in my life time) the needs for the area can be revisited.

    • We are on the cusp of some big changes with autonomous cars, sharing, and evs rapidly converging. Tesla out today saying they may have a fully autonomous car in only 2 years, ahead of others who have said 2020.

      Predictions for what that will mean are a much lower rate of car ownership, far less need for parking, but many more passenger vehicle trips made as driving barriers to personal car use (license, age, disability) and economic barriers are removed. They will likely all be evs, so that won't even be considered a problem. But we'll still need roads.

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