Kingston City Council held meeting number 27-2019 (Agenda) on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2019. During the meeting, they endorsed a new housing benefit program, heard remarks from the new Queen’s University principal, and began work into new climate project funding ideas.
The evening opened with a presentation from Jan MacDonald of Downtown Kingston, who announced their 2019 ornament collection. We also heard from Patrick Deane, the recently appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University. Deane was addressing Council for his first time since taking office and touched on community projects, Homecoming events and his plans to engage more conversations around the future and direction of Queen’s before being dotted with questions from Council on a variety of university-focused topics.
Council also received a briefing from Steven Silver, Chief Administrative Officer of Loyalist Township, who is looking to work with the city on a grant application for an expansion of the community centre in Amherstview by adding a full aquatic centre. The new grant program that the Township is hoping to take advantage of gives additional consideration when two municipalities work together on projects.
Council spent some time discussing the portable housing benefit program, with a price tag of $250,000 annually. Unlike other housing options through the city, this program is tied not to addresses, but rather to specific residents who receive the supplement for housing costs, so long as they continue to qualify, even if they move. Though there was some discussion of if this should be a permanent program, the item did carry with an 11-1 vote, with Councillor Simon Chappelle voting in opposition and Councillor Wayne Hill absent.
Council did discuss a pair of community projects seeking grants, including the one presented by Loyalist Township. Questions about how the new projects would impact the current strategic plan were tabled, but staff noted that the projects will not be started for several more years and that the city’s contribution could be spread over several years. The item also included an application for funding for a potential large-scale project at the Memorial Centre and a land sharing partnership in West Village. The item passed 12-0.
A pair of motions from Councillor Jim Neill were tabled and approved (12-0 and 10-1 with Councillor Chappelle opposed and Councillor Ryan Boheme not present for the vote) sought to have staff look into options of a municipal ‘Green Fund’ that residents could donate to in place of carbon offset purchases to help fund local environmental projects, as well as research an investment option for residents to purchase bonds, again with a focus on funds being used on local projects helping to fight climate change. Staff will report back on these items in early 2020, though the Mayor noted during discussion that he is beginning to be concerned about adding too much to staff workload.
Council also confirmed that the city respects the original LPAT decision for the potential new apartment complexes downtown, approved a grant submission in hopes to renovate the Memorial Centre, wrote off close to $25,000.00 in uncollectible taxes, awarded a contract for Reddendale flood management, approved the winter maintenance policy, discussed the operational change in parking removal at City Park, and approved a change in the governance model at the Tett Centre.
There are meetings of both the Planning Committee and the Rural Advisory Committee before Council next meets on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7:00 p.m. November is also budget month for the city with meetings scheduled through the last week of the month.
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.