City of Kingston approves restorations to City Hall steps, heritage buildings

Heritage Kingston will be restoring and repairing three heritage properties, including the stairs at Kingston City Hall. Photo by Stefan Strangman.

Kingston City Council approved applications from Heritage Kingston to alter and restore several heritage buildings, including City Hall, during their meeting Tuesday, Jun. 1, 2021.

Heritage Kingston’s application was approved by a unanimous vote to alter three buildings on the City of Kingston’s heritage register: Kingston City Hall, and the two houses at 215 Main Street and 73 Gore Street, respectively. The changes to City Hall will centre around maintenance of the north and south wing exterior staircase, which will be completely reconstructed. The interior arch and existing knee walls/abutments will also be repaired and repointed, and new metal handrails will be installed.

In a report to Heritage Kingston, Director of Planning, Building and Licensing Services for the City of Kingston, Paige Agnew, noted that the steps are in dire need of restoration.

“The City’s Facilities Management and Construction Services staff should be commended for their attention to detail and strict adherence to accepted conservation best practices; however, time and exposure has caused these structures to deteriorate past the point of repair,” said Agnew.

Councillor Peter Stroud raised concerns that similar construction at other local sites were somewhat controversial, such as at the repairs to steps of the Frontenac County Courthouse staircase, due to the desire to retain as much of the original building material as possible.

Jennifer Campbell, Manager for Cultural Heritage for the City, made assurances that much of the original limestone would be reused while still conforming to current building codes.

“The investigation as to the repair is ongoing to… assess where the cracking [is], and the kind of damage. They have found a source of local Kingston limestone to assist in the replacement, so it will be like for like replacement,” said Campbell. “Similarly, the mortar will conform with the city’s policy on on mortar and stone work, so we have assurances there that we are following the appropriate guidelines and procedures.”

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