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Ted Hsu for MPP

Hall Monitor: Bumpy Road

Kingston City Council Meetings, #ygkcLast night, council members, city staff and members of the media and the public packed our bags and went on a field trip – back to school for meeting number 28-2012. Due to some construction taking place at city hall, council is embarking on a form of “road show” (as the Mayor put it), and we started at the Queen’s University School of Business. Councillors Berg and Hector were out of town for this one. As they always do, the city has posted the agenda and addeds to their website.

Though it felt like they were starting late (as all of the Councillors who were going to be present were there and ready around 7:15), we kicked off promptly at 7:30 with a thank-you gift to our hosts and a few words from the Principal. We also saw the city presented with it’s annual Pewter ornament collection and heard delegations regarding the Town and Gown Strategic Plan, about a housing development on Portsmouth Ave and about a living wage policy before we got into the real meat of the evening.

Council first cleared the bulk of one report, granting a contract for furnace oil, messing with it’s loans to Kingston Hydro and receiving the Cultural Services update. They then handed out $300,000.00 as a contribution to the seniors housing project at 247 Portsmouth Ave (for the creation of two affordable units) and another $133,917.00 for the design work on the airport expansion.

We then moved onto a staff briefing and discussion on the idea of re-dividing the current electoral boundaries. Staff has prepared 4 new options, three of which will end up as part of public meetings later – and each re-draws a number of the districts based on various factors like elector counts – but not population. Discussion centered mostly around data sources and that some population groups (post-secondary students, children, international residents) aren’t captured as the ability to count them is limited. An amendment carried 8-3 (Opposed: Paterson, Reitzel, Scott; Absent: Berg, Hector) that would ask staff to try to find ways to include these groups before the public meetings. The item to continue the process ahead passed unanimously.

We then saw a briefing from Transportation Services about parking around Hotel Dieu Hospital, confirming that there is an adequate number of spaces, but they need to be better managed and that something needed to be done about the pedestrians crossing illegally, but a skywalk wasn’t the answer. The massive item, which did pass after a number of questions, will dramatically change the parking situation by eliminating the First-Hour-Free program at the Chown and Hanson lots, increasing the maximum stay at the Robert Bruce lot to 4 hours, convert several pay-and-display spaces that are underutilized to monthly permits while increasing the permit cost to be more than a bus pass, reducing the speed limit on the stretch of Brock Street near the hospital to 40km/hr and install a number of signs and warnings in the area – with increased enforcement – for crossing, stopping and parking. Oh, and they’re installing three flat-top speed humps, with one being a raised pedestrian crosswalk.

We were starting to get pretty late into things at this point (appx 10:20pm) – and were not even done half of the agenda. Some of us were now expecting a late night. Council then edited the current agreement with SMG for the K-Rock Centre by a month – and then approved the agreement for the new terms starting in January, approved some capital budget changes and endorsed the five-year review of the Provincial Policy Statement. There were a few questions about the Block 4 and North Block progress report before they initiated the process to declare Block 4 (bordered by King St, Queen St, Ontario St and The Tragically Hip Way) as surplus land; then they declared 610 Montreal St as surplus and turned it over to an affordable housing group for development.

This is when we hit 10:45 and heard the customary motion to extend. This surprised nobody, really, given that half of the agenda was remaining including reports from Planning Committee, Heritage Committee, Administrative Policies Committee, Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Nominations Advisory Committee along with information reports and a pair of new motions (including the living wage one we heard about and saw protesters present about). What was of a bit of a surprise was that it didn’t hit it’s required 2/3rds vote count. From my seat, it looked like it got 7 – and needed 8. Guess we’ll hear these items later.

Our entire tweet stream is below. My personal thanks to the Principal’s Office and Queen’s School of Business for hosting us, and to Andrew Naples for ensuring I had solid wifi for the stream. I’d almost expect a special meeting to be called to wrap up tonight’s agenda – and I’ll try to be there if they do. Council turns it’s eyes to the budget next week, then our road trip continues for the December 4th meeting – being held at CFB Kingston. See you then!

  • 7:16 PM: Settling in at @queensu for #ygkc. Stream will be up and running shortly. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:24 PM: Webcam video and audio is up at http://t.co/8diLs9B8 – meeting will start shortly. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:30 PM: No fancy bell or anything in this room – we’re getting started! Right on time, too! #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:32 PM: Mayor is mentioning that the next few meetings all won’t be in chambers. Lots of renovations happening. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:33 PM: We’re getting a brief synopsis of Goodes Hall from @MayorOfKingston. No @councillorberg or @DorothyAHector tonight. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:34 PM: Addeds approved. No disclosures, so we’re quickly into a presentation from @MayorOfKingston to @QueensPrincipal #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:38 PM: Quick history lesson from @QueensPrincipal and an intro to the room and Goodes Hall. @queensu turns 175 in 2016. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:39 PM: My notes, for the curious, have @DorothyAHector in Ottawa with #FCM, and @councillorberg in #Haiti with @Habitat_org. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:40 PM: @MayorOfKingston mentions that he’s grateful for real milk and cream here, not “that powder stuff” from CH. #mayorjokes #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:41 PM: We’re about to get the presentation of this year’s pewter ornaments, available in @downtownktown soon. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:44 PM: This year’s set: Greek Orthodox Church on Johnson St, Medical House at Queen’s on King. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:45 PM: Also, Empire Theatre on Princess St, 37-43 Brock St (Olivea corner) and the first person: Town Crier. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:46 PM: We’re into delegations now – starting with one on the Town/Gown status report. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:48 PM: Troy Sherman, Municipal Affairs Commissioner with @QueensAMS is discussing innovation in #ygk and at @queensu. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:51 PM: We’re now hearing from Elizabeth McIver from Abbeyfield Houses Society about a development at 247 Portsmouth. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:52 PM: We’re hearing that 61% of Kingston’s seniors had an income below 30k according to latest census. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:54 PM: Tech issues – we’ll have the stream back up soon. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:57 PM: Stream is back online at http://t.co/8diLs9B8
  • 7:57 PM: @MayorOfKingston had given this delegation two warnings, then commented that the speaker never paused. #mayorjokes #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:59 PM: Question from @JimNeill3 on if the lower-income units could be extended beyond 15 yrs. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:00 PM: Last delegate is Naomi Mori from Social Issues Networking Group regarding a living wage policy. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:02 PM: Living wage in #ygk in 2011 is $16.29/hr, based on family of 4, two adults, 37.5hrs each. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:03 PM: Delegate is clarifying: Tonight’s motion is for the city’s staff to do research and feasibility study. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:04 PM: Adds that the city cannot mandate private companies, but can create a proper policy for their own staff and contractors. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:05 PM: No briefings (right now), nor any petitions. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:06 PM: The city is congratulating the Utilities Kingston crew who helped in NY to help after #Sandy to help with cleanup. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:08 PM: Also congratulates the Sisters of Notre Dame on their 170th anniv in Kingston, and to our CAO for his General’s Commendation. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:09 PM: The bulk of CAO consent report 131 has passed. A few basic reports and RFP awards. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:10 PM: @JimNeill3 is tabling an amendment to add the potential to extend the current agreement beyond the 15yrs suggested. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:10 PM: Discussion is on item a of the report, the Abbeyfield Houses project at 247 Portsmouth Av. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:11 PM: The report item passes as amended. @MayorOfKingston #mayorjokes that everyone seems to be on good behaviour. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:12 PM: Into part d, an airport expansion. Coun. Scott asking about the potential that the airport runways may not need to be extended. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:13 PM: Approval of this would award an RFP for design for the expansion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:14 PM: Coun. Hutchison is asking if there’s a better estimate for total costs. Staff says that document would come later. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:15 PM: Adds that it would be in well in advance of the budget meetings in November, 2013. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:16 PM: Airport expansion RFP item passes. Into a briefing on the review of electoral ward boundaries. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:18 PM: City Clerk is discussing the boundary review – there are five options on the table. Borders haven’t changed since ’98. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:19 PM: Review criteria: Transparent, communities of interest, respect trends, use effective representation. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:20 PM: Options 1, 2 and 3 are re-divisions for the 12 districts. Option 4 is to bring us to 7 districs. Opt 5 was no change – dismissed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:22 PM: Common to all options incl specific changes to Countryside and Pittsburgh. Both Lakeside and Portsmouth don’t change. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:23 PM: City could not properly determine the number of post secondary students. Not in census or MPAC data. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:23 PM: For the most part, major roads (401, Division, SJA Bvld and such) are used for boundaries. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:25 PM: Imbalances from growth (Like in Cataraqui North and near highway 15) will force changes again in a few years. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:26 PM: You can follow along with the suggestions at http://t.co/4eHQLyzp #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:28 PM: Options are taking into consideration taxpayer associations, potential growth and constituent-to-councillor ratios. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:29 PM: Option 4 isn’t being recommended. It’s being shown simply as a potential election cost saving option. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:31 PM: Coun. Downes is asking how staff justify not counting post-sec. students in the data. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:32 PM: Adds that age (Some students under 18) and international students (upwards of 20% at Queen’s) can’t vote, anyway. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:32 PM: Group reached out to the schools – 60% don’t list their permanent address in Kingston. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:34 PM: Adds that other cities have done some outreach to students, but turnout and results were marginal. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:34 PM: Staff is saying that MPAC once captured student data from elections, but have stopped. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:35 PM: Coun. Glover is asking about the discrepancy between the elector’s count and the projected voter counts. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:37 PM: Coun. Glover asking about the difference between “elector” and “population”, too. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:38 PM: Staff didn’t have a solid answer for the MPAC/Census data. Added that “Population” included children. Electors are just voters. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:39 PM: Staff confirms, too, that option 3 was a close second to option 1. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:39 PM: Coun. Scott asking if the elector-to-councillor ration was the key factor to pick option 1. It wasn’t. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:40 PM: @MayorOfKingston mentioning that MPAC won’t take people off their list if they’re not notified that you move. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:42 PM: Coun. Osanic asking for a better distinguishing of the maps for the public meetings. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:42 PM: Coun. Hutchison is asking about MPAC accuracy. City Clerk says there are disparities in numbers. MPAC says it’s getting better. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:43 PM: Coun. Glover asking about dwelling units. That number is used along with others to help determine potential growth. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:45 PM: We move to the item. Coun. Glover is asking for an amendment to add more information about capturing post-sec students. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:48 PM: Coun. Glover is referencing the “effective representation” terms with his amendment. Says not fair to exclude a group. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:49 PM: Coun. Glover is adding that children also turn to their representatives. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:51 PM: @JimNeill3 is agreeing with Coun. Glover. Says that anyone who’s rep’d students knows it’s irrelevant. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:53 PM: @JimNeill3 adding that all residents matter. Cnclrs shouldn’t be asking if people have voted or are on the list before helping. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:55 PM: @JimNeill3 says that students should count- they count when a neighbourhood item comes up. Their vote rcrd shouldn’t matter here. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:57 PM: @MayorOfKingston is suggesting that it should be based on all representation. Children, too – and they don’t vote. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:59 PM: Coun. Glover responds that the “effective representation” trend is to look at all popu. Amnd was on students due to rpt phrasing. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:00 PM: Coun. George (dep. mayor) clearing that @MayorOfKingston’s suggestion that ALL be counted is a friendly amendment. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:02 PM: Coun. Scott says that the students have a right to vote in their home town – not sure why they don’t go vote there. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:03 PM: Coun. Scott is also adding snowbirds, and then Coun. Glover jumps in with clarifications on where people are allowed to vote. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:04 PM: Coun. Scott adding that this is going to get quite complicated when you start adding specific populations. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:06 PM: Coun. Downes does his best Elvis; then says that it’s the politician’s job to figure out how to make sure everyone counts. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:07 PM: Coun. Downes: RMC students (‘who fight for the country’) and Queen’s students (“where the elite will go”) should count. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:09 PM: Coun. Downes: “Democracy is about the expansion of the franchise” and points to the US as examples of when people weren’t counted. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:11 PM: @BrianReitzel says we’re probably overcomplicating things. Not supporting the amendment. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:13 PM: Coun. Hutchison – student votes matter: A student was on #ygkc in recent memory. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:15 PM: Coun. Hutchison saying that the city should be a leadership here and doing more to encourage the student vote. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:16 PM: Coun. Paterson asking if population was considered as an option. Staff says no – electors was the factor. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:18 PM: Coun. Paterson asking about the timeline and if the amendment would impact effectiveness for the next election. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:20 PM: Staff says that provided council has a decision by the end of March, the new districts should be available for the 2014 vote. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:21 PM: Coun. Paterson says that the suggestion already on the table is the best doable with the types of data sets available. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:24 PM: @MayorOfKingston confirms that the population consideration would be part of the consultation process – wouldn’t slow things down #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:26 PM: Staff confirms: If amendment passes, we’d see them come back after consultation with population and elector options. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:27 PM: Coun. Glover speaking last, reminding that students and recreation prop. owners can vote in both municipalities. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:28 PM: Coun. Glover adds that Ottawa’s boundary changes were challenged successfully at OMB for failing to represent effectively. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:31 PM: Amendment Result: Pass 8-3 | REQ: JN | Yea: RD, KG, MG, BG, RH, JN, LO, LS | Nay: BP, BR, JS #rv #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:36 PM: Coun. Hutchison adding generic support for boundary changing. Some districts just aren’t fair right now. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:37 PM: Coun. Hutchison adding that students relative to the overall population is a different dynamic in #ygk than in most other cities. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:38 PM: Coun. George says that he’s only really complained about not having a weighted vote because of the population – not workload. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:38 PM: Coun. Hutchison also adds that funding allowances are based on population. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:40 PM: The item carries unanimously. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:40 PM: @MayorOfKingston also adds that Toronto has an entire youth council that mirrors their council and works with city staff. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:40 PM: @MayorOfKingston commenting that the city’s youth strategy in the spring helps promote involvement. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:41 PM: And we’re into a staff briefing on the HDH parking study. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:44 PM: @MayorOfKingston says that the first speaker used a minute already. Crickets. “That’s supposed to be a joke”. Laughs. #mayorjokes #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:46 PM: HDH currently has 1,282 employees. More than 70% of them drive to work. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:47 PM: @Chrystal_Wilson Hector isn’t present.
  • 9:47 PM: Report shows that 62 new parking spaces are needed for new clinics at HDH in 2013.
  • 9:49 PM: Briefing speaker says that there is going to be enough parking through 2022, it’s a case of managing it. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:50 PM: Also, suggesting increasing the limit at Bruce Memorial from 3 to 4 hours. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:50 PM: Suggestions include eliminating first-hour-free, Hanson parking permits, on-street permits for low-demand streets. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:52 PM: Suggests, too, that HDH re-evaluate the use and size of their lot on Montreal St, and join TransPass program. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:53 PM: 40% of HDH employees live within a walking distance of the new express route stops. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:55 PM: Suggestion is speed humps in front of hospital and reduced speed limit to 40km/hr. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:55 PM: People who cross at Montreal: 753. People who cross at Sydenham St: 118. Mid-block? 2404. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:57 PM: Coun. Downes is asking about the potential of removing parking spaces for bike racks. Staff says it’s included in rpt. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:58 PM: Specifically, staff is suggesting that HDH adds more bike lockers to increase the number of cyclists. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:00 PM: Staff: This is a unique situation. Speed humps would be flat-top. Otherwise, staff is “at a loss” for options. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:00 PM: @MayorOfKingston asking about traffic calming on Brock. Says staff prev. said calming shouldn’t be on arterial roads. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:02 PM: City Solicitor commends @MayorOfKingston’s memory. Echos the comments that this is a highly unique situation. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:02 PM: @MayorOfKingston asking legal if these measures may make city liable for accidents. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:04 PM: @MayorOfKingston, “playing the devil’s advocate” asking if a physical barrier could be installed, forcing pple to intersection. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:05 PM: Staff says barrier would be broken for the garage entrance – people would just cross there in traffic’s path. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:06 PM: Coun. Glover asking about why an elevate walkway isn’t an option, now. Staff says it was part of a pricey expansion.. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:07 PM: Staff adds that there’s no evidence people would use it. Coun. Hutchison follow-up about “quiet” signs. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:08 PM: Correction: Question about elevated walkway was from Coun. Hutchison, not Coun. Glover. Thanks, @VieiraFlyTrap. :-) #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:09 PM: Staff says signs prompting people to be quiet wouldn’t necessarily slow them down – hence the speed reduction. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:10 PM: Staff is adding that Chown needs to be protected, in part, too, for other downtown visitors – it’s not just hospital staff/guests.
  • 10:11 PM: Coun. Osanic clarifying which other humps in the city are “flat top”. Woodbine Rd and and the crossing on Rideau. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:12 PM: Coun. Osanic likes Brock St because of the coordinated lights – staff confirms they can re-sync them to the same effect. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:13 PM: Coun. Glover is asking about the pricing difference between a monthly parking pass and a monthly bus pass. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:13 PM: @NailaJ @eventsqueens We’re also streaming the meeting live to the web.
  • 10:15 PM: Staff says that parking pass needs to be more expensive than the bus pas – unless it’s not a convenient parking spot. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:16 PM: Coun. Paterson asking about accidents. 2400+ pedestrians cross not at lights. One collision in 10 years. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:17 PM: Coun. Paterson asks if the numbers dictate a need for change. Staff says numbers say no… but visual evidence says yes. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:18 PM: City Solicitor says that the city would not be encouraging it – simply making it safer because they do and will. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:18 PM: @MayorOfKingston asking legal if these methods are encouraging or condoning illegal crossings and make city liable. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:20 PM: Parking item passes. So does the the new KRC operator agreement and the Cp. Prj Status Report. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:20 PM: @MayorOfKingston asking if signs and discouragement would not be a better option. Legal says no. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:22 PM: A few quick questions from Coun. Scott about the Prov. Policy Statement review about rural settlements and home employment. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:27 PM: Coun. Osanic thanking staff for the addition/deletion markings in the report. Asks about specific ecological regions. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:28 PM: Coun. Osanic says that you’d have to be a lawyer to understand some of this. City Solicitor chimes in: “No offence”. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:30 PM: Item passes, Coun. Osanic not in support of it. Into the north block item. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:31 PM: Coun. Glover asking about a transit hub. Report says not needed in these blocks. Staff says a final location has not been settled. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:33 PM: Coun. Glover mentions that the wording eliminates the whole district. Staff says they’re still exploring options. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:34 PM: Coun. Downes asking about the definition of parallel process for a conference space with KEDCO. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:36 PM: Staff is clarifying that there isn’t a specific approval for a conference site on the north block. It’s just research now. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:37 PM: Coun. Downes is asking about the costs of the studies.Staff says it would be a joint cost between the city and KEDCO. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:38 PM: Staff confirming that they would need to come back to council before a conference ctr study would go ahead. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:39 PM: Coun. Hutchison asking about height limits on North Block and Block 4. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:42 PM: Coun. Hutchison asking about parkland dedication. Staff says it’ll be at committee meeting on Dec 6. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:44 PM: Block 4 item passes; and 610 Montreal street has been declared surplus. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:45 PM: We also move to complete agenda from Coun. Downes, which loses. No time sensitive tems – so onto by-laws. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:46 PM: Tune in for our recap and full tweet feed on the site tomorrow. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:46 PM: And we’re a wrap. 10:47pm. That’s it. #ygkc ^TV

Thanks to reneilet for today’s original photo.

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