Proposed Condo Could Throw Shade on Marine Museum

Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, Patry Inc., downtown Kingston, Sydenham Ward, Kingston, OntarioThe biggest stories in Kingston in 2016 centred on high rises and the closure of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. Conversations around how high is too high are still ongoing in 2017 and Kingstonians are still feeling a sadness over the loss of the waterfront museum. In their most recent iteration, these two discussions have come together as Patry Inc. (the company who brought us the Great Williamsville Fire slash Crane Rescue of 2013) has announced plans to build a 20-story condominium on the Marine Museum property. This, of course, has raised a lot of eyebrows in the neighbourhood due to the  Sydenham Ward’s historical significance, which are celebrated by those who choose to live there and those who enjoy the tours that meander through the neighborhood’s street.

Condos, of course, are not a new thing in the Sydenham ward. Our downtown’s waterfront has been squandered for decades by developers and city councils who couldn’t see past the dollar signs that come with large development deals. Having a historical downtown neighbourhood like the Sydenham Ward is what makes Kingston, Kingston and with every new push to increase the density of our downtown, that idea is eroded by grand schemes of towering structures that don’t really seem to belong.

And yet, maybe these structures are not so out of place considering what the city has done with the neighbouring Block D. The 4 high rises overlooking Battery Park have set an unfortunate precedent and in some respects, perhaps it’s no longer worth the fight. While there are many reasons for concerned citizens to oppose 20 story buildings in downtown Kingston (heritage, sight lines, shade effects etc.) maybe it’s time to accept the state of the waterfront and create conditions for more condos to be built.

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The idea of just “giving up” on our waterfront is a dark one, I know. It’s not my usual way to just throw my hands up, but it feels like a constant battle that just won’t go away. Intensifying the downtown population is necessary and something that I fully support, but there have to be better ways to do it. Mid-rises are an excellent option that allow  downtown dwellers and frequenters to enjoy a city that is bustling, without having to live in a dark wind tunnel. One of the things that attracts people to Kingston is our quaint, historical downtown. Why would we want to destroy that and turn ourselves into Anywhere, ON?

We’d love to know your thoughts. Should we give up? Fight the good fight or, better yet, do you have other ideas on how to handle these conflicts? Drop off your comments below.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

One thought on “Proposed Condo Could Throw Shade on Marine Museum

  • I have lived downtown, very close to the building that burned down and was later rebuilt, for 17 years.

    The building I live in is probably going to be demolished in the near future to make way for a 327 unit, 10 story condo behemoth, mainly aimed at students/parents/people who have hundreds of thousands to spend. The same developer who wants to do this is the interested party in the Capitol theatre redo. Some guy from Toronto.

    It’s a scary proposition to have to move after so long, and I have a few personal concerns that are going to make things difficult. And I think about the other people that have also rented here, be it residential or business space, for many years.

    So my point is redevelopments don’t just effect the surrounding shrubbery. I wish those making the big decisions would remember that. But I understand that nobody likes change, even if things turns out for the best.

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