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Prioritizing Captial Infrastructure Projects in Kingston

Strategic plan, Kingston, Ontario
I need you to think back to last October, during the lead up to the 2010 municipal election.  At that time, candidates of all stripes were making the rounds, touting the necessity of this aquatic centre over that road expansion, and then there’s the ongoing saga to realize a third crossing over the Cataraqui River.  Campaign promises were made, voters responded, and just over six months later, our new council has begun to prioritize capital infrastructure projects, which will arguably define their term in office.  As we reported last week, council has penned a draft list of key projects, in priority of importance, but is this list in keeping with the promises they made back in the Fall?  Regardless of any inconsistencies, this week’s poll asks:

Which capital infrastructure project is the most important?

  • Public Transit Investment (36%, 41 Votes)
  • Affordable Housing (31%, 35 Votes)
  • Third Crossing (18%, 20 Votes)
  • John Counter Bvld Expansion (12%, 14 Votes)
  • New Aquatic Centre (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Airport Expansion (1%, 1 Votes)
  • More Downtown Parking (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Wellington St Expansion (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 114

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While we all have different thoughts on what needs doing in the City of Kingston, regardless of where we differ, at the end of the day it comes down to the bottom line.  Whether we’re talking about a $32 million aquatic centre at the Invista Centre, $70 million dollar expansion of John Counter Boulevard, $5 million dollars for affordable housing, or $120 million to build another crossing over the Cataraqui River, all of these projects come at a price.  Since we’re footing the bill, council’s tough job is to weigh the necessity of projects against their respective impact on our taxes.  It’s all about getting the most bang for our collective bucks, and if that means a few of these projects have to be put on hold for the foreseeable future, so be it.

What do you think?  Does this prioritized list of capital projects line up with your needs?  Are there any obvious omissions, projects that are severely undervalued, or white elephants?  Are you seriously concerned about how the completion of all/any of these projects will impact our taxes?  As always, we’d appreciate it if you leave a few comments below.

Thanks to RobMan170 for today’s photo.

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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...

12 thoughts on “Prioritizing Captial Infrastructure Projects in Kingston

  • June 6, 2011 at 11:15 am
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    I don't think the third crossing is necessary. I cross that bridge a lot and even when traffic is heaviest it usually only means an extra couple of minutes. Is it worth our millions of dollars and disrupting nature just to cut our travel time by 3-5 minutes?

    I'd like to see more time and money put into making Kingston a more bike friendly city. The town crier made a speech yesterday during the Beat Beethoven about how Kingston is working to become more bike friendly but I don't see a lot of evidence to support that.

    • June 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm
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      I'd gladly bike to work if I felt safe on the roads. Image what $120 million could do to make the city bike friendly!

    • June 10, 2011 at 11:00 am
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      By stating that you cross the bridge "a lot", do you mean every day during morning and evening rush hour? My guess is no – anyone who has to sit in traffic on the hill and on the causeway every day all week would agree that a third crossing is necessary. I work downtown at the corner of King and Queen, and live in Greenwood Park, and I can guarantee that crossing during those times does not just add an extra couple of minutes to my commute.

      By adding a third crossing, the traffic wouldn't be nearly as heavy on the hill, causeway or the new bridge, thus making the main routes into the city safer for everyone – bikers included!!!

      • June 10, 2011 at 11:26 am
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        I cross with everyone else, first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon and I stand by what I said, it really is only an extra few minutes. The only pain is if the lift bridge goes up but in my ten years in Kingston, I've seen that happen about 4 times, and never during "rush hour". I just think affordable housing if far more important than shaving a few minutes off of commuting times.

    • June 13, 2011 at 10:16 am
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      I have friends living in Point Saint Mark; they and the neighbours they have spoken with have absolutely no use for a 3rd crossing if it's south of the 401 / they moved there to get away from the traffic and a bit of quiet while still being only minutes away from downtown

  • June 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm
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    I was amazed at the priorities on display here: 14 times as much money for the expansion of one road which delays a few people at some times of day, than more desperately needed affordable homes. And how many houses are you honestly going to get for $5 million? Not a lot, I can tell you.

    A new crossing? At a time when we've got too few ageing buses that don't go often enough or to all the places they need to go, and aren't of anything like the standard we need to attract anyone out of their car. And even the suggestion of more downtown parking???!!! There's already loads and more empty lots every month being converted to soulless open parking spaces because the stupid planning laws make parking so cheap in tax terms.

  • June 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm
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    While I've written about, and mildly supported a new aquatic centre, in comparison to the other projects, this is where it falls off of my place. Honestly, do we really need a 50m, or even another 25m pool in this city? While the idea of co-locating a pool our massive 4-ice pad centre seems smart, don't we and Queen's have enough pools already? That's an easy $32 million saved, which can go towards other projects. But to be honest, save for more affordable housing, I am not sure where I would divert these savings.

    • June 7, 2011 at 9:26 am
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      As someone who is swim training regularly at the moment, it seems that one thing the city has a lot of for its size is pools. And let's not forget it also has a rather large lake nearby!

  • June 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm
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    That $120M would put a huge dent in the City's sewage bypassing legacy.

  • June 9, 2011 at 9:45 am
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    Investment in affordable housing and public transit is badly needed in Kingston. We don't need to spend $70 million to widen John Counter– traffic will increase to fill it, and you're no further ahead. We need to get more people cycling (note that it's Cycling Week: see http://www.cyclekingston.ca/ for details) and taking the bus. There is also a huge need for affordable housing– over 1000 people are on the waitlist for social housing, and there are many more who pay way too much for housing.

  • June 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm
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    I agree with Terry. Affordable housing should definitely be the priority.

  • June 13, 2011 at 9:27 am
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    I've lived here all my life and no way I'd go swimming today along the Lake Ontario beaches (with the exception of the beach across from the ball diamond in Bath and Arrowhead Beach in Deadman's Bay). And Collins Bay Quarry was a blast until a tragic accident took the life of my friend and it closed forever, then the bulldozers came calling and created that subdivision

    Anyone I attended school with would never step foot in the water today either; as kids we'd swim at the quarry which was the cleanest plus the bottom of Crerar Blvd or bike to the Lake Ontario Park beach but the environment has changed so much since then // stats, reports, apps don't mean a thing when you see dead fish floating by your face or seeing discoloured algae clinging to rocks

    Kingston has two public swimming pools, just two / the all-season one at Artillery Park Aquatic Centre downtown that seriously needs renovating and the revamped Outdoor Aquatic Centre at the M-Centre. At one time Kingston had more seasonal pools peppered throughout the area; the former Kingston Township was mainly to thank but amalgamation stripped that away

    Not every family can afford an in-ground or above ground pool… with our brutally humid summers it doesn't take long for the kids to chant "their's nuttin' to do" // all we ant to do is hand them a couple of bucks, a towel and let them cool off for a few hours without the need of having a membership at the local fitness clubs including the Y

    happy kids usually grow up to become solid citizens / it's the little things in the big picture that truly makes the word "community" work

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