It was a long, busy night for Kingston City Council as it sat for meeting 14-2019 (agenda available online) on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. This meeting had been deferred from its usual Tuesday date to enable council to meet for its final four-year strategic planning session (which we covered here).
The evening opened with a delegations — each about items under the new motions heading late in the meeting. First, Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health, KFL&A Public Health, talked to council regarding changes to the public health funding model being proposed by the provincial government. Following, Council heard from four members of the public regarding a motion regarding a federal bill, Bill C-71. Council also received a full briefing from Jamie Cook of Watson & Associates. Cook was welcomed by Paige Agnew, Director, Planning, Building & Licensing Services for the City, and briefed council regarding the Population, Housing and Employment Growth Forecast (2016 to 2046) which Watson & Associates had completed for the city.
Once the meeting moved into reports, things started moving along pretty quickly. After some debate, Council made the decision (12-1, Chapelle opposed) to shift the start time of meetings to 7:00 p.m. effective Monday, Jul. 1, 2019, with the hopes that an earlier start time would make the meetings more accessible to the public. Council also received an updated report on the Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release program, expanding the program to community (stray) cats in addition to feral cats.
Council also, following some debate, approved the purchase of the first electric buses for Kingston Transit, approving a price tag of $1,067,289 from the Transit Capital Reserve Fund and an additional $1,646,587 coming from grant programs. The purchase motion will align with the new strategic plan and carried 12-1 (Chapelle opposed), with staff saying that other municipalities will be watching Kingston as it’s one of the first municipalities of our size to implement electric transit.
A number of additional approvals followed, including updates to the Special Events Policy (as we reported), a number of working group appointments, a new patio for PJ Murphy’s on Ontario Street, the transfer of 13 Weller Avenue back to St. Matthews United Church and formalized the policy around illumination of First Capital Place.
As the clock ticked closer to the moment where the meeting would need to be extended (carried 10-3, Boehme/Chapelle/Oosterhof opposed), comments about what items fall within council’s control began to come from the councillors — but council forged forward into new motions anyway.
First, council reaffirmed (12-0, Osanic absent on pecuniary conflict) its support of the local health unit, requesting that the province maintain current funding levels and that they stop the reduction of 35 health units to 10. Following, council executed their ability (13-0) to request reports regarding radiocommunication facilities on Sydenham Road and Midland Avenue so that council could make a decision on if the municipality feels these building requests are appropriate for these locations. Typically, these approvals are made by the Canadian Radiocommunications Information and Notification Service on the city’s behalf, but council always has the ability to reclaim them. Earlier in the evening, Councillor Chapelle presented a 79-signature petition supporting the reconsideration of radiocommunications at one location.
Lastly, council spoke to a motion requesting the federal government to strengthen Bill C-71, which is looking at the prohibition of the private possession of assault weapons, semi-automatic weapons, and handguns, with the exception of police services or other law enforcement entities. Following discussion of gun control, local gun impacts, the timing of the motion and the jurisdiction of council, the motion was defeated in a 7-6 vote. Councillors Hill, Holland, Hutchison, Kiley, McLaren and Neill voted in favour of the motion, with Councillors Boeheme, Chapelle, Doherty, Oosterhof, Osanic, Stroud and Mayor Paterson opposed.
As the meeting wrapped up, Councillor Chapelle provided notice that he would be bringing forward a motion to amend the procedural bylaw with respect to how council handles matters that fall outside its jurisdiction.
Kingston’s City Council next meets on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
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.