Kingston City Council to consider purchase of Transport Canada lands

On Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2023, Kingston City Council will debate a plan to purchase land from Transport Canada which is currently being leased to Queen’s University for parking. Image via Google Maps.

At its meeting on Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2023, Kingston City Council will consider a plan to purchase $152,000 worth of land from Transport Canada. According to a staff report circulating in advance of Tuesday’s meeting, the land in question is located across the street from Kingston General Hospital (KGH) on King Street West, behind the Queen’s University Central Heating Plant. The land is currently being leased to Queen’s as part of a parking lot at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). 

Within the report, staff are recommending that, upon purchase of the land, the City lease it back to Queen’s for two years, with a possible land swap with the university to be considered in the future. “The City has discussed with Queen’s the potential purchase [from Transport Canada] of these lands. Queen’s would potentially seek a short-term lease for parking stalls and be open to discussion on a land swap with their adjacent lands,” notes the report. 

The report adds that, should Council approve the recommendation, the City will then conduct additional survey work on adjacent Queen’s lands to identify property for a potential land swap. While Transport Canada owns the land currently being used for parking, the City does own a small portion of waterfront pathway that passes over the lands.

The land in question surrounds a larger parking lot currently owned by Queen’s University. Image via City of Kingston.

City staff indicate the waterfront pathway may require future upgrades, which could assist in the improvement of “drainage, circulation and operational improvement around the adjacent KGH helipad.” 

In terms of the current lease agreement between Transport Canada and Queen’s University, the report notes that the rate Queen’s is currently paying is “below market value,” however, staff intend to keep the rate as is for two years to maintain “good faith” with the university. At the conclusion of the two-year lease, a new agreement would be needed, which the report indicates could include an “[alternative] land configuration.” 

As for the $152,000 price tag for the lands, the staff report states that the amount came from a professional appraisal obtained by Transport Canada. “Staff reviewed the report and can accept the approach and value provided. The appraisal came back at a value of $152,000 based on the highest and best use as [if the site] continued to be used as a parking lot.” In order to cover the costs of the acquisition, staff are recommending the use of the City’s Parking Reserve Fund.

The report goes on to note that the City of Kingston’s Environmental Division has reviewed environmental reports on the land and has deemed the purchase of the site “low risk” for “future waterfront path improvements and continued use as a parking lot.”  

During Tuesday’s meeting, councillors will be asked to approve the purchase of the parking lot lands, which would include a requirement for the City to lease the land back to Queen’s for two years. Staff are also recommending that Council direct the City to enter into negotiations for a land swap with the university once the parking lot lands have officially been transferred.

The Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2023 Kingston City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. The meeting will be open to the public and also available to stream live on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.

3 thoughts on “Kingston City Council to consider purchase of Transport Canada lands

  • City of Kingston map is hugely helpful, but how did Transport Canada end up owning this sliver of waterfront?

    • The executive summary of the staff report (linked near beginning of article) is helpful in answering that. I had wondered too!

  • ‘Maintain Good Faith with Queen’s’. We, as Kingston taxpayers, cover most of the cost of policing student parties, cover all the costs associated with the clean up after the students leave. We also allow some Sweet Heart deals on properties allowing them to be free from municipal taxes. I wish our mayor and council would realise that Queen’s is a business not a charity.

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