On Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, Kingston City Council sat for meeting number 18-2019 (Agenda) where they debated and worked on a By-Law regarding air condition, started a two-year driveway pilot project in Greenwood Park, and discussed a potential new deep water cruise dock in the downtown core.
We began the evening with a number of delegations. First was from Fridays for Future who had two representatives, aged 16 and 7, who spoke to why they felt that the proposed By-Law prohibiting open doors and windows while air conditioners are in operation is important to them and their future. We next heard from Mabyn Armstrong of Turtles Kingston who provided some context and statistics regarding the turtle population along Highway 2 where a proposed change to make the road a no-passing area was on the agenda. Two additional delegations were added: One who spoke about and provided photos to explain the context of the proposed driveway parking pilot project, and one more with regards to the air conditioning proposal.
Council worked rapidly through the staff reports. As they did, they offered their congratulations to longtime local resident and philanthropist A. Britton Smith on his appointment to the Order of Canada, approved a patio for the new Grocery Basket location on Ontario Street, expanded the Secondary School Transit Program through 2022, removed green bin fees for schools, approved the new development charges which were presented in July, and received a report from their Integrity Commissioner with regards to a complaint filed against Councillor Neill. A complaint had been filed in May against Councillor Neill, alleging that he had violated council’s Code of Conduct and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Following its research, the city’s Integrity Commissioner, an outside agency appointed by council, found no violations had occurred.
During discussion of the CAO Report, staff sought and received direction from Council to advance discussions regarding the potential development of a deep water dock. Staff is already in discussion about the potential of the property at 1 Queen Street, but were approached by the new owner of 55 Ontario Street and 5 Lower Union Street, which was confirmed during the meeting to be A. Britton Smith, about the potential of having this property be the location for the dock and include public access, a public waterfront project, and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. This direct, staff confirmed, would not mean 1 Queen Street would not be considered, but is being requested so that they can consider this site as a second potential location for comparison.
An intense debate was had during a motion asking staff to prepare a By-Law to discourage open doors and windows when air conditioning is in operation. Council discussed the impact of this proposal primarily in two aspects: first, they acknowledged that this item was going to make a very small difference to the environment as a whole, but that any step is a step in the right direction during the climate emergency they have declared. Second, council discussed the potential impact to businesses who choose to leave their doors open through the summer to entice customers to enter. Councillors were generally in support of the intention of the motion, but not this particular implementation. After much discussion and some heated comments, a motion to defer this item to Council’s Climate Change Working Group for discussion was defeated (8-5; Mayor Patterson, Councillors Doherty, Hill, Hutchison, Oosterhoff in support). After further debate, the item carried 8-5 with Mayor Patterson and Councillors Boehme, Chapelle, Hill, and Ooserthoff voting in opposition. Staff will next go through the process to create the new regulation, and council will have final decision on implementation in Q2, 2020.
Finally, Council also passed a number of other new motions from members of council, including: the creation of a pilot project of up to 24 months that will allow residents on Bluffwood, Cottonwood and Cyprus Streets partial obstruction of the sidewalk with their vehicles; a request of staff to review and propose a replacement for a By-Law regarding allowing people to enter a neighbouring property without notice to complete work on their own property, and; the creation of a double-yellow line, fully signed “no passing” area in Westbrook between Baxter Avenue and Collins Bay Road to help protect turtles.
Council remains on their summer schedule through the end of August, with reduced meetings for both council and its committees. The next regular meeting of Council is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 at 7:00pm.
Born and raised in Kingston, Tommy Vallier bleeds limestone. An avid council watcher since 2004, he first began reporting on municipal affairs in 2011, helping to modernize meetings and make them more accessible through social media and live video. When he isn’t focused on City Hall, he’s an avid gamer, theatre supporter, and Disney fan.