Who Will Win?
Last May we ran a poll that asked who should become the next Mayor of the Limestone City. Based solely on the rumours of the day, we guessed as to who would be in the running, and sadly you’ll only see one of the names from our initial poll on the ballot later this month. A lot has changed since last May.
For starters, the winner of our poll, Rick Downes, dropped out of the Mayoral race due to a pending surgical procedure, but yet he’s in the running as a councillor? Greg Soucie showed up out of nowhere on YouTube with some rants about Kingston, but as quickly as he rose to fame, he faded away in the rear view mirror. The other Gerretsen ran as expected, while Matheson and Chalmers stepped up to the plate with some compelling and progressive ideas. And then there’s Last, Lavalley and Wilson, a trio of candidates who are joined by a shared goal to increase voter turnout amongst Kingston’s youth.
The big day is almost here, and accordingly this week’s poll asks the question that’s on everyone’s mind:
Who will win Kingston's Mayoral race?
- Rob Matheson (43%, 46 Votes)
- Mark Gerretsen (42%, 44 Votes)
- Barrie Chalmers (11%, 12 Votes)
- Kevin Lavalley (2%, 2 Votes)
- John Last (1%, 1 Votes)
- Nathan Wilson (1%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 106
The purpose of this week’s poll isn’t to determine who you’ll be voting for, rather we want to know who you think will emerge victorious on the morning of October 26th. That is to say, the guy who will be getting my vote on the 25th isn’t the same person who I think will win. While that’s a difficult pill to swallow, it’s also got me energized and talking politics with a lot more people than usual.
I am not sure if I’ve actually convinced anyone to vote for my guy, but it feels good to try and help motivate folks who may not normally make time to get to a polling station. Will it be a down to the wire photo finish? Have you made up your mind yet? Are you attending the all candidates meeting hosted by the Arts Council tonight? Regardless of the results of this week’s poll, Kingston will have a new leader in less than two weeks.
Special thanks to ….Tim for today’s photo.
41 thoughts on “Who Will Win?”
Thanks to all those who pointed out the Gerretsen faux pas. It really wasn't intended as a jab. In any case, crisis averted. Happy polling!
politics is the passion of men without talent
And how does that contribute to the conversation? What are your thoughts on who's going to win?
Not sure how many of our readers attended the all candidates meeting last night, but it was a packed house. Matheson was really the only Mayoral candidate to answer the question, and he left me with a genuine feeling that he would do his best to further develop Kingston's draft Arts and Culture Plan. The trio from Run this Town all got up and did the same song and dance about more art in the street, while none had read the plan. I guess no one told them about Music in the Park, Movies in the Square etc… Chalmers spoke first, but not for long. He, like many others, admitted that he hadn't had time to read the draft plan, but he stressed that the arts were important to him. So important he didn't read the policy. Gerretsen was m'eh, barely touching on the question, using it moreso to talk about his campaign while sprinkling in the arts here and there. And then there were the councillors… I really wish they had been excluded so we could here more from the Mayoral hopefuls. Anyway, in my opinion, Matheson came away looking the best last night, but my mind isn't made up yet.
I was quite surprised by the number of candidates who stood up and announced that they hadn't had time to read the Cultural Policy Plan. It's been out for over 4 months now and the candidates have had at least 3 weeks (according to when the invite came out on facebook) to prepare. The document is dry but, seriously, it's only 104 pages. Not that demanding. Garretsen and Matheson were the only mayoral candidates who had a clue about the plan. I found Garretsen's grandstanding a bit annoying though. He spent most of his time at the mic promoting his overall campaign with very little focus on the arts. Matheson seemed to know the plan well and stuck with the questions at hand.
As for the councillor candidates, they seemed more informed than the mayoral candidates but to be honest, I don't care as much about what they have to say. I know they vote and their say is very important but having them there (all of them…over 25) made everyone blur into one after a while, leaving me to make an early exit. I think the meeting would have been far more effective with just the mayoral candidates.
I am so, so pleased to see how many people came out. We filled two rooms with artists and art lovers. It was incredible to see the support we have in this town for the arts.
I still haven't made up my mind, because clearly there are other issues that need to be considered, but for last night's meeting, I would say Matheson came out on top for me.
Unfortunately I think Gerretsen will win. Money, a name and connections go a long way.
It's the money, the name and the connections that worry me most.
They worry me because the money, the name and the connection don't disappear after the election.
Those who donated money don't forget that they gave money, and they don't let the candidate forget that. When we're talking about businesses – who are free to donate in municipal elections – that can create conflicts.
The name, too: who is going to deal with the provincial government on behalf of the city? I mean, can we reasonably expect a potential-Mayor-Gerretsen to stand in front of a CKWS News camera and call out his own father or his own father's party for an unresponsive provincial government?
And Mark Gerretsen has an announced and seen pecuniary (financial) conflict of interest when dealing with issues regarding student housing. Each year for at least a few months, the Queens-Kingston relationship becomes a big issue. Kingston and Queens, moving foward, have a lot of work to do on building a working relationship – is a potential-Mayor-Gerretsen going to be able to work without conflict on behalf of the city in many of these issues? This is potentially yet another service to the people that the mayor's 84,500$ salary will not be covering with an elected Gerretsen.
So yes, I believe that you're correct that money, a name and connections will go a long way to get him elected I'm afraid that they'll be the same things that will leave the city of Kingston short changed if he is elected.
Rob Matheson (and it's no secret that I support his bid for mayor) has no pecuniary interests in the city, no conflicts when dealing with other officials in the city, province or federal government, is not taking ANY donations from businesses or unions. Entering the mayor's office an elected Rob Matheson would be beholden only to the citizens of Kingston and be ready, willing and able to work full time (unlike the other candidates who have jobs/school to which they are also committed) on the citizens' behalf.
The Whig didn't have a story about the meeting until Page 6 this morning. Which I thought would've been a bit more prominent.
That helps and is certainly advantage Gerretsen but I think it has more to do with voting records. Issues that seemed like a common sense decisions (eg rejecting Barriefield) had Matheson on the wrong side of the majority a lot more often then Gerretsen was.
Granted most people won't do it, but a critical look at the platform doesn't help Matheson. Eg I would challenge anyone to read the consultant report on the aquatic center then make a rational argument in favour of Matheson wanting to spend $10m extra for 50m length. Or explain how you would have both a campground (that was a money loser when the amusements attracted families) and a noisy dog park coexisting at LOP. There is just too much that doesn't make sense in an effort to promise something for everyone.
Lake Ontario Park is quite a large place, there is plenty of space for the dog park and the campground to peacefully coexist. Dog parks aren't any more noisy than backyard dogs are; in part because by-laws regarding noise are enforced there, too, so they *can't* be any more noisy than backyard dogs. The campground at the park, according to financial records and budget reports, was actually a money maker for the city, so I'm not sure where you're getting your figures, or perhaps you're look at numbers that are very old.
It also offered a space, within the city, for those who couldn't afford to travel to take their families and experience our beautiful waterfront, and also to put visitors to the city front-and-centre of our greatest asset: the lake. Furthermore, as the recommendations for the park show (and they are also available on the city's website) a large number of the citizens of Kingston (as represented by those who responded to the public survey) wanted the park to include a campground.
The notion of the pool is another matter. I personally don't see a need for the "extra" 50m pool either, because I don't think that we need 75m of pool space when we're located on the shores of Lake Ontario. But what you're, I think, missing when you read Rob's website is the line that's located at the very, very top of every single page – and should be seen to supersede all other points – "building a stronger community together". So, yes, Rob's vision is of an Aquatic Centre with a 25m and a 50m pool, but that's Rob's vision. The future of the city is, as he has said before, something that we will build and shape together – in his words: "every citizen has a voice, an idea and a vision for our city, and we would be remiss to ignore them."
Barriefield, whether you believe it was fiscally responsible or not, was something that a huge number of the residents of the city wanted to see moved forward. As I wrote in the Whig Standard in the aftermath of the debate: "Sometimes doing the right thing, and working within the framework and policies that we have established for ourselves, is going to be more expensive than we'd prefer, but that doesn't mean that we should abandoned those ideas entirely." And I firmly believe that.
The Barriefield project was an opportunity for the city of Kingston to become a leader in integrated affordable housing. It gave us a chance to show to all those other cities in the province and the country who are dealing with urban sprawl and heritage districts that it is possible to integrate affordable housing and heritage and that both community will be made better by it. Instead we took the view that the "haves and have-nots" (as they were referred to by another leading mayoral candidate) should not associate, in fact they should be physically separated by a river for heaven's sake.
No, Barriefield was more than just a spending project and that is, I think, what got overlooked by too many of those involved.
Also, in general, being in minority does not necessarily put you on the "wrong side" of anything. If city council in Kingston has proven anything it's that the majority isn't always right.
Based on the link that you provided further down this thread – the Kingston Taxpayers' Association link – which lists a number of votes and how the mayoral candidates voted on them, I would like to point out the following:
Voted on the "wrote side" (against) the majority:
Absent for these votes:
Sorry, I meant "against the majority of the population". Most citizens were against Barriefield (different reasons, but against), Matheson voted against what the majority of people wanted. S&R, bottled water in arenas, and many others similar. The extreme left had the numbers on council so frequently the wrong vote was with the majority of council/against the majority of people.
Against the majority of the people is, well, impossible to gauge, really. You can say that it's against the majority of the people but I ask you where your stats are? What's your sampling data? What's the plus/minus? Of course you don't have any of that, none of us does.
I say that because I know a huge constituency of people who were in favour of Barriefield. And not just family and friends, people I've met on the street, even. I'm the person who asks you probing questions while we're waiting in line at Wal-Mart. I actually do like to know what "the people" are thinking.
Further, I didn't agree with Rob's stance on S&R at first, either. I believed that the city should be in control of that building – and you can read our disagreements on the Whig website. But I see his rationale. It would have been more expensive, as subsequent action on the building has proved, for the city to have bought it. I believe, as Rob's stance on his website states, that if we're going to go forward with an administrative centre that it should be done with all areas of the city taken into consideration.
Moving the bulk of city staff out of the downtown core would free up 120-ish parking spaces down there.
I was at the Arts Council meeting and I was one of several who had a different take on the outcome of the meeting. Chalmers doesn’t seem to be willing to connect to the issues (i.e. he hadn’t read the Plan) as much as the top elected official needs to be. While I admire Rob Matheson, I believe Mark Gerretsen will be the better Mayor as exemplified by his discussions of late. He won me over last night because he has explained HOW he is going to do what he says he will. Matheson speaks well but ultimately says nothing of substantial value. For example, Rob regurgitated the merits plan – which have already been endorsed by Council. What I got from Mark was that he voted for the plan but further to that he told us HOW he plans to work with Council and City staff to find the money to activate it (through revamping the way the budget is presented to Council by staff) while avoiding the critical issue of a tax increase. For my money, that was the only positive AND insightful explanation given.
I also agree with the above comment that Matheson is on the wrong side of the cited vote on common sense issues. The reason he appears in the minority from time to time may be because Matheson doesn’t relate the individual issues to the big picture of running the City. I would argue that Gerretsen has done a better job explaining his command of that concept.
I wish to say that some of the other comments about Gerresten in this thread seem ill-informed at the least, definitely presumptuous and inappropriate. I’m directing this primarily at MadHacktress. I wish not to enter into a fruitless debate – only to point to inaccuracies in statements. Firstly, on the issue of campaign donations – under provincial law the maximum donation by any one entity (defined as an individual, a company or combination thereof) is $750. Although that is a lot of money for you and me surely it isn’t an amount significant enough to create conflicts in the mind of a reasonable and responsible public figure. It is entirely possible that a Mayor can take donations from businesses and organized labour groups without owing them for the privilege.
MadHactress, you also claim that Matheson is not taking any money from any businesses or Unions. Do you speak for him? Has he confirmed that publicly? Does that also mean Matheson is REFUSING donations from INDIVIDUALS who are businesses owners or members of a union who may exert the same type of pressure? I guess the required disclosure after the election will tell us for certain. If one is to be as presumptuous as you, one might glean that Rob “would be beholden only to the citizens” because he lacks the ability to create relationships and there isn’t any interest amongst business owners, etc. to support Rob financially. Within that frame of reference, it would be worrisome that our citizens would elect a Mayor who cannot relate to business nor gain support from business on important public issues that arise during his/her term. We have heard countless times that we need an administration that is “business friendly” and I would like to think that our Mayor is able to create and maintain such relationships.
Secondly, if you question whether Mark Gerretsen will “call out” the Liberal provincial government, have you asked him that question directly? Is it “reasonable expect him” to act in the best interest of the City? I say yes – just as I would expect of any public official who seeks longevity. If you’re making and implication otherwise give us evidence or cease…!
Thirdly, you reference the “Queens-Kingston relationship” of which we all are aware needs work. The issue goes WAY beyond the student housing issue you cite. As far as the opinions of many are concerned, the Town-Gown committee proposed through Mark’s leadership will create a working relationship with the Queen’s administration, the faculty and all students (most of whom live in residence or non-Gerretsen Properties housing) to solve a variety of issues such as “Homecoming”, transportation, the “inclusion” of students into the municipal culture and the retention of graduating students by our City amongst others. Although I can’t speak for Mark, I don’t see any conflict regarding those issues.
MadHacktress, what puts you in a position of knowledge about whether Matheson is the only candidate willing or capable of being a “full-time” Mayor? I’m not certain if public statements have been made as to the ability of the Run This town candidates to make a traditional “full-time” commitment or whether Chalmers may be able to leave his shop to his associates, but Gerretsen has gone on record as saying that his business will be run substantially by his associates leaving him able to concentrate on Mayoral duties at least as much as would be expected of any candidate.
So, 'ktowncanadian', would you like to reveal what your connection to Gerretsen is? It is pretty clear that you have a close relationship of some kind, yet you've chosen complete anonymity – which MadHacktress, who you are both criticising and demanding more from, has not. I think it would help us all to know who we are talking to in this particular case.
All of my instincts are telling me not to engage… but I must. My very nature demands it.
Barrie Chalmers freely admitted that he hadn't read the plan. That's a rather bold statement to make in the face of the Arts Council. You can judge him on that one performance if you like but I believe that for someone with no political acumen he is doing exceptionally well.
If we're being honest and brusque then I've got to point out the fact that at each debate and public appearance Mr. Gerretsen points out that he was talked into the running for mayor. He consistently uses the words "I was told" or "I've been told" regarding his so-called balanced approach and I don't know whether I'm the only one who sees that as a very weak rationale for becoming mayor, or not, but I certainly do. I don't think that a leader – a *leader* – should have to be told that they have what it takes to lead.
Commonly Mr. Gerretsen spends a great deal of time speaking about his will to bring order and a balanced approach to Council – but leaves out the notion that the citizens are part of the equation, too. I mean, obviously he knows that they're going to be paying the taxes that he's going to be working with, but when he talks about things like the cultural plan, he talks about manipulating the budget process, rather than bringing arts and culture to the people.
Further, I note with sadness, that Mr. Gerretsen has made a pledge on his website and in his introductory video – footage from which originated as a speech at the opening of his campaign office, I believe – that he's aiming at seniors and planning for the future. That issue, however, gets left out of the talking points too often while in debates. It's one of his best "prepared statement" lines, but he quickly forgets it when he's talking off the top of his head. It would be nice to see, if he considers these folks to be a core constituency of his, to see him pivot questions to the seniors issues more often. If the will to do it is there, it can be done.
I support Rob Matheson in this election. I support him with my words, will support him with my vote, and I support his campaign as a volunteer, etc. These are well known facts. But I'm also a political author, blogger and strategist… and I have been for more than a decade. I come at these discussions as a strategist, an analyzer. As you can see above I am more than willing to state when I disagree with Mr. Matheson's platform – and I do on a few issues – I am not here to drink the Kool-Aid. I firmly believe that a citizen-first council is what this city requires and that Mr. Matheson is the right vote to get that result.
Mr. Gerretsen did claim to want to revamp the budget process in order to make it work better and in order to include the cultural plan – but he didn't say how he would do it. He didn't say where the money would come from. He didn't say, even, whether he had any ideas at all about where the money would come from. It's obvious that the money is going to have to come from the budget – where else would it come from? So, how is that a prescient vision by any stretch? It's not. It's platitude, it's talking like a politician. If he said that he was going to cut the roads budget by 50% then that would be something concrete (not a good something, but it would be something). He did not. He spoke instead in nebulous terms about a process, rather than the issue itself. Which is disappointing.
Mr. Gerretsen voted against EORN – the Eastern Ontario Regional Network. He claims to want to build a "hub" of green jobs around Kingston while working with our regional partners but when the practical work toward building that relationship comes to council he votes against it. Yes, EORN would carry forward with or without Kingston's money, but – talking about relating to the bigger picture – doesn't it make sense for the leaders to show up to lead? We're the largest municipality in EORN's projected coverage, we absolutely need to be there, with the rest of the municipalities, leading the way in bringing good Internet coverage to rural areas.
Creating a regional hub is laudable, but you've got, y'know, create relationships with the other municipalities in order to do it. Voting to withhold our fair share of the funds from something that we are going to benefit from, and that our regional partners are going to benefit from doesn't seem like it's good relationship building to me. Nor is it especially broad-minded. In this vote, Mr. Gerretsen, wasn't just on the wrong side of common sense – he was on the wrong side of building community, he was on the wrong side of building regional partnership and goodwill with our neighbours.
Wow, that is one hell of a response. A new record I think. Thank you very much for the detail and clarification and correction on points made by the other poster. I took the liberty to stitch your comments together. We're still not sure why Intense Debate has a character limit on comments, but rest assured we'll do our best to piece it all together whenever possible. Thanks again.
Voting record side by side http://kingstontaxpayersassociation.ca/ adds to the Kingston Life article http://www.kingstonlife.ca/sitepages/?aid=2306&am…
The "no donations from business" is really meaningless in a small city municipal election. If you don't take money from Springer corp, but take a cheque from Doug Springer does it really make any difference? Its not comparable to the feds before reform where large amounts came from huge corporations.
I disagree that it's the same thing.
Businesses who wish to use their financial voice in the political arena do so by passing along that cost to the people who pay their rates, buy their products or use their services. Doug Springer can certainly use his own money – of which he has plenty – to make a contribution; it's his money that Springer Corp paid him. It's not budgeted in as "overhead" or other expenses that the company then uses when it calculates the cost of doing business – like keeping the lights on.
It is expensive enough to rent from Springers or buy from any of the other companies who make corporate donations to the political campaigns – the people, the ratepayers and the consumers, don't need nor do they deserve to bear the burden of Springer's political whim.
Personal donations, even those from business owners, are still personal donations. If they write a cheque from their business to cover the cost that's on them – and that's not appropriate. I can tell you that Rob Matheson has turned down prospective donations from labour unions and from corporations because of his stance on the issue of donations.
That, I believe, is commendable; your mileage may vary.
Since it isn't tax deductible either way it really is the same thing whether you give from your business account or your personal account. Almost all business giving to a Kingston candidate would either be sole proprietorship or incorporated for tax or liability reason but still single person or family business. The very few larger business in the past (somewhere like empire life) have tended to give to competing candidates.
If the allegation is it buys influence, everyone in Kingston knows who owns the property developers, construction companies etc, so what difference could it possibly make if its the company name or personal name (often the same name!) on the cheque?
I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if say someone like owner of the Power Play center who has an imminent significant issue coming to council would have donated to a candidate (we'll see after the records get released). What difference does it make if its listed as the business name or the owner's name?
Well, it does make a difference.
For one thing if the owner of the Power Play Centre decides to make a donation to the campaign she is doing so while sacrificing, say, a pair of shoes she otherwise would have bought – not charging her users an extra couple of bucks a game in order to cover that cost in the name of the Power Play Centre. So, yeah, it's different.
Whether a sole proprietorship or not personal funds and business funds are distinct under the law. But the real difference is that the consumers of a product or service shouldn't be subsidizing the political whim of the owner. It should be incumbent on the owner of the business, should they wish it, to use their own personal funds to make financial endorsements.
Personal funds and business funds of an unincorporated business are exactly the same thing. If the owner of a small business needs to raise the money by increasing prices to pay for it, they would need to do exactly the same thing if they transfer their money to their own bank account to make the donation. If you are Joe's plumbing, or Joe who works for plumbing co x…the business income is the same thing as the employment income. Hence fair vote Canada calling for a ban on *corporate* donations, as a personal business and the owner is the same entity.
The real issue is the potential perception of influence buying, which is there whether the business, or owner, is on the cheque. I don't know, but i'd guess the candidate shunning *business* money is happy to take *business owner* money. We'll see eventually
Wow is this actually Matheson policy??
"No one is denying that the city needs to hire consultants from time to time, but those consultants, whenever possible, should be residents of the city"
We rfp all those contracts that go to consulting firms, are you (or Matheson??) suggesting we just hand them out to someone that happens to live in the city without a competitive process (not that we have that kind of expertise for most of the studies that have been done here). I hardly think we want that kind of mentality, settle for whatever happens to be here…and watch other jurisdictions shun our business as they accept whatever happens to be there. Or maybe you are suggesting we should have the mayor appoint more special task forces of local "experts"…like the one that came up with the LVEC plan?
The real problem with the money spent on expert consultants is, we get quality reports…then councilors give in to local non expert lobby groups and not follow them. A good example was the arena needs and capacity report, told us exactly how many ice pads we needed. But then CAL and some others lobbied to keep more ice open then needed, and we spent hundreds of thousands on unused ice time until finally(barely) council allowed Harold Harvey to close. Now we see almost an exact repeat with Matheson wanting to ignore the experts on the 50m pool idea because of lobbying from the swim club. We can't afford that kind of "community consultation"
You are grasping at losing straws to try to put my words in Rob's mouth; it's a shamefully sad and desperate attempt to try to best me on a point that you yourself are trying to argue is semantics.
I do not indiscriminately transfer funds back and forth from my business and personal bank accounts for my own purposes. I write cheques for my business on my business account and I write personal cheques on my personal account – my business pays me a salary and that is what I spend, I do not spend from my business' money, that would be inappropriate, in my opinion. So, I guess, to each their own.
I speak to my own interpretation of Fair Vote Canada and its challenge, as you said we'll see the financial disclosures of the candidates and campaigns after the elections is over and all those who wish can draw their own conclusions therefrom. I will be doing so, too.
Again with the consultation you, I dunno, wilfully misunderstand and misrepresent what I'm saying? I never said that we don't need consultants because we do, of course we do. And there are consultants that we need for which we don't have the talent in the city and for those things we must look outside the city.
I'm not saying that we hand out the contracts to anyone – in the city or otherwise – but I'm saying that there are alternatives ways in which these things can be put forward. And to be clear we have long, long, long since stepped away from anything that I understand to be Rob's position on this issue and I'm speaking entirely for myself, but I feel that there are things that we can do to reduce the dependence we have on consultants. For example, how many times has the Royal Canadian Mint held competitions for the design of a Loonie? Umpteen times. There are competitions for the design of the mascot for the Olympics, etc, etc, etc. Why can't those same sorts of public competitions – from everyday citizens – be extended to things like the new design for Lake Ontario Park? That's my point and that's what I said.
If you look at the new Master Plan for Lake Ontario Park there is nothing there that a group of engineering students from Queens couldn't have come up with through a public competition for no more cost to the city than a few advertisements and the willingness to publicly thank those kids for their involvement in the process. It is my opinion that we pursue consultants and their "expert" opinions far too quickly and that we should look to the talent within the city before we engage in paid consultation.
I believe that Rob's position on consultants – as I said before – more closely matches my own. And Mr. Gerretsen's position is not in keeping with what I see as the best way forward for the city.
By all means, carry on trying to put my words in Rob's mouth, continue to twist around and contort the actions of council – after I've already said, about 800 times, that I don't agree with his stance on the pool (although his position has nothing to do with swim clubs but rather with the, y'know, reported need for the full 75m of pool space) – and blame it on Matheson.
I continue to maintain that when measured on the whole Rob Matheson will make a better mayor than Mark Gerretsen will. He will take the will of the people more seriously into consideration, he has a better, broader view for the future of the city, he has shown himself to be more engaged during the course of this election than any other candidate (check out which candidates have and have not interacted with the public, in public on Twitter, Facebook and through blogs, for example). He has a vision for the city but as I said in one of the earliest comments I made on this article he also recognizes that everyone else has a vision, too. And he knows that his is but one vision amongst 120,000 visions and that we all, together, must work to decide the future of our city – call that rhetoric if you want to but believe me, and I say this without an iota of politicking in my voice: I believe him 100%. He is genuine, he cares and he will do what this city feels is best for its future.
The whole business versus personal money must be thrown out the window for small businesses. Lets use your web design business as an example. If you do not contribute through your business but personally but the influcence is still there and the mayor could decide to use your web design business to redesign the city’s website and you are personally still to gain, it does not matter that you or the company contributed. The same argument can be made for any owner managed business. It only is an issue when you start look at donations from larger corporations like Empire Life.
As for Consultants, the new mayor, who ever it will be, must be careful about hiring consultants within the city due to possible conflict of interest or influence from the big players in the City. Hiring outside consultants helps relieve some of this.
As for eliminating the need for consultants by using some sort of ad to solicit help, can be downright sketchy. Comparing the design on a loonie (which means almost nothing except it will be different having minimal impact on the vast majority of people) versus a master plan for Lake Ontario Park which actually might impact individuals and a City revenue base is like comparing apples to oranges. Sure the City can request public input or as part of the consulting agreement get a consultant to request public input but to get the public to design it will result in some crazy ideas which the City will have to hire someone just to go through and remove the ones which clearly have no bearing on reality, which probally will cost just as much as having the consultant do the report in the first place. A group of engineering students could have come up with the same plan as the consultants for Lake Ontario Park, but who is to say that a group of engineering students would want to actually do that, they have other things on their agenda like school work and exams and if you ask in the summer they will more than likely be out of town.
Again I disagree regarding the issue of business money – but again that's just my opinion. I guess the difference is in the way that I run my business, I don't interchangeably use my business' funds with my own. As I stated before we've gone a long, long way away from talking about anything that even closely resembles anything that I've talked about with Mr. Matheson, these are strictly my opinions.
I don't understand how hiring local consultants is a potential conflict. I mean, I recognize how it *can* be a conflict, but so can hiring outside consultants assuming anyone has ever placed a long-distance phone call in their life. Kingston doesn't exist in a vacuum and it's reasonable to assume that people have relationships that extend beyond our borders. We use KEDCO, the DBIA, etc, etc, to work to better and to expand local businesses. Almost all of the candidates have talked about wanting to bring new businesses to the city and to try to incentivize the process of bringing businesses here… how is that any different?
I would also like to say again, again and again that I don't believe that we should nor that we can eliminate consultants entirely. I also didn't say that in the first place. But, you see, I do believe that there are ways that we can use local talent in the future of this city and I am flabbergasted that some people don't seem to think that our local talent is worth using.
For the business versus personal money, if your business is more prosperous you can then afford to pay yourself more etc. therefore it is one and the same. Lets agree to disagree.
The local talent is worth using, but the council is right to use them with caution as it seems that people will cry outrage over if the report recommends that a councillor's former business associate's cousin will befit from the recommendation. Conflicts can arise much easier in a smaller town like Kingston.
I dont believe the City can eliminate consultants but the ways to reduce them are to act in a more timely manner on their recommendations, we do not need 6 environmental studies about the 3rd crossing, one will be fine as long as it does not sit for a couple of years while the council takes action on it.
I guess I look at the consultants the same way that I am in my personal life. I shop at Loblaws and Rona because they're Canadian rather than shopping at their, probably, less costly not-Canadian competition. I support Canadian businesses and I feel that's important. So, too, I guess I feel that local talent needs our support.
We talk about supporting local businesses through KEDCO and such, we talk about supporting local artists through the Kingston Arts Council fund, and other such endeavours, government advocates supporting local farmers by buying local food, etc, etc.. So I get lost when local consultants are shunned because they're experts who happen to live within the city limits.
We actually do require a number of studies regarding the 3rd crossing. To the best of my knowledge none of the studies that have been done to this point have been redundant. The studies are mandated for a project of this size by the province and the federal government to ensure that the bridge won't fall down once it's built there nor will it eradicate some poor endangered beaver. Yes, the studies seem to be a pain the butt, but they're necessary. This council has moved forward more on the bridge issue than any council before it. And the EA that is taking place right now will be good for a decade after its completion and its validity can be extended beyond that if that is the will of the city (and if the bridge hasn't been built by then).
I should be clear, too, when I talk about local consultants and consultation that I'm actually referring to a great deal of this stuff – such as the suggestion of the Queens students coming up with a plan for Lake Ontario Park – to be done cost free to the city. There are people in this city who are willing to work with the city as experts for the sake of working for the betterment of the community. Shocking, I know, but there are people who put the community ahead of their pocketbook.
I think that we can, in a number of these situations, put forward a competition for things like the design of Lake Ontario Park that can be undertaken by private citizens with the know-how to create such things at no cost to the city beyond, as I said before, the recognition of the hard work if their design is chosen. And, yes, someone has to review those things but the city has a staff that does that for the professional RFPs, so what's the difference if they do it with citizen generated thing? Seriously, do we think that our citizenry isn't adult enough, isn't capable enough to take something like that seriously?
I do. I really, really do. Call me overly optimistic, naive or whatever you want, but I firmly believe that.
Today's Whig has the explanation for why the election result will be as its going to be. Matheson quoted on Barriefield "disagreed with the high-priced, rent-to-own concept for the townhouses"…the same townhouses he voted to proceed with. Its been the same thing and over again, NOT listening to staff, experts or the public (and apparently himself in that case) resulting in votes that don't make any sense.
Actually, he voted to proceed with acquiring the land. The feasibility of the houses to be placed on the land hadn't been determined yet. As the consultant said at the last Barriefield meeting, the options presented were just a test, not a final recommendation.
The vote was to approve the concept plan, submit the concept for funding for the land, and approve $650k for more study and zoning. It wouldn't have ended up exactly as presented (eg time spent questioning a curve vs a corner int the road), but it was going to be that type of housing at similar cost. It couldn't have been say an apartment building for singles where the bulk of demand on the affordable housing waiting list is. So I don't see how one could have voted for it if they were against that type of housing.
Let's get this right by actually reading the minute of the meeting and, y'know, reading the motion, not just what we think it says:
THAT Council commit City funding to this project as a special circumstance project; and,
i. THAT the Concept plan developed by MHBC be approved for Parcels 1, 2 and 3 on Federal surplus lands in Barriefield for the purpose of proceeding to Phase 2; and,
ii. THAT $650,000 be approved from the DOOR Reserve for the purpose of proceeding to Phase 2 of the process to support the rezoning and all other development approval studies, reports, and contingency; and,
iii. THAT the award of Phase 2 in RFP #F31-CDS-CFS-2010-1 be awarded to MHBC to a maximum upset of $380,000 of the $650,000 budget funded from the DOOR Reserve; and,
iv. THAT a formal application be prepared to the Federal government with the MHBC concept plans and documentation to support the city proposal for SRPFHI funding in October 2010 with an anticipated substantial completion of the affordable housing project by March 2013; and,
v. THAT a budget of $5.7M be established for this project, with funding of:
a. $2.46 M from the Provincial DOORS program
b. $1.1 M value of Federal Lands, and
c. $2.14M in City funding from the Municipal Capital Reserve Fund, as a “one-time” allocation.
Note: the vote was to approve the concept plan for the purposes of proceeding to Phase 2, which included site studies and other projects that did not preclude changing the land usage plan in the future. If you read the staff report it states the Phase 2 will "address the work required to implement the approved recommendation, bringing the lands to rezoned and site plan ready state, complete with the preparation of the documentation necessary to proceed with the acquisition and identification of development proponents for the properties."
The cost break down for Phase 2 included the following: Grading Plans, Servicing Brief, Stormwater Management Plan, Visual Impact Analysis, Noise Impact Analysis, Traffic Impact Analysis, Planning Rationale Report, Application for Alteration under the Heritage Act, Heritage Impact Statement, Cultural Heritage Landscape Analysis and Conservation Plan Analysis, Conservation Landscape Plan, Archaeological/Environmental and other contingency, Project Control and Support, City Project Control and Support, City Contingency and Peer Reviews. Nowhere in that list does it include, y'know, building the thing.
If nothing else the archaeological study could have vastly changed the plans, so approval of the concept plan was by no stretch of the imagination approval of the building of the thing. But it was moving forward, toward the eventual purpose of building integrated affordable housing.
Kayakchk, you were, of course, correct. It wasn't concrete approval of the concept plan – it was approval of the concept plan as far as the concept plan could be approved "for the purpose of proceeding to Phase 2".
Seems 'mr_rectifier' has been rectified…
Er, no. "Phase 2 will "address the work required to implement the approved recommendation" , Hence even the affordable housing committee was against the project based only on it being completely the wrong type of housing (which was on top of the poor economics , the risk the feds not approving it, resident appeal of the zoning scuttling the whole thing after another 650K was wasted)
The approved recommendation being "Concept plan developed by MHBC "
The rezoning needed being for the town houses, not for low cost apartments for (non senior) singles where the demand is. There is no way it was ever going to be zoned for more intense development there, or have lower quality construction. The "for" councilors were in favour of meeting the heritage aspects (eg see piles of comments by Matheson on the whig)
As can be seen in iv…to even apply for the land(which would have been done in OCT) they had to submit THAT plan. There is no possibility to acquire the land and decide later what to do with it, the project gets assessed for its merits. If you want to learn whats involved in receiving funding have a ball .
Well, obviously you're just confused. Very, very confused.
I know that they had to approve the plan – they had to approve the plan in as much as they *could* approve the plan at that point. No one had dug into the ground there yet, no one had checked the visual impact of the buildings on the location yet – all of which would be covered by Phase 2. Some of which may have resulted in changes to the plan. Yes, they had to *submit* the plan, but it did not, did not, *did not* set *that* plan in stone.
The rezoning, yes, the grading plan, yes, all of that was going to be studied in Phase 2, but the fact of the matter is that no foundations were going to be poured, no roads were going to built, none of Gerretsen's dreaded "have-nots" were going to be moved in by moving forward with Phase 2. You know that and yet you completely try to lie about the facts of the matter.
In order to move forward with the Phase 2 *STUDY* the city has to approve the *concept* plan. This concept plan, yes, was the one the design which some people didn't necessarily agree with, but it was a starting point for the affordable housing project in Barriefield. The study was needed in order to be able to dig around the area and look for dinosaurs, burial grounds or old pottery – any of which could have necessitated a change to the plan… so I ask how you can say "THAT plan" was the only plan they could move forward with. The date of completion of the Phase 2 study was June 2011 – moving forward with Phase 2 gave us time to perfect the plan.
It was a plan that satisfied the requirements for the federal government for the purchase of the land.
As for the Affordable Housing Development Committee on which Mr. Gerretsen sits, if you want to talk about being hypocritical, that group made the statement at the September 7th meeting that seniors are not a priority and yet Gerretsen's platform is supposed to be senior-centric. Gerretsen also spoke positively of the development at the August 19th AHDC meeting pointing out that affordable housing for seniors in Barriefield could free up other units across the city as seniors move to Barriefield and that it's beneficial – through plans like Barriefield – to increase the general "stock" of affordable housing.
…then he voted against it. One wonders how he would have voted if the rest of the AHDC had have told him to vote the other way? So much for being his own man as he supposedly claimed to be in today's paper – although I notice that he's dropped the "others have told me" crap; I'm glad he got my message on that.
Furthermore the AHDC has a history of calling plans "not enough" and pointing out that they're not the best plan for the target area; Barriefield was not, by any means, unique in that regard.
Sorry I guess I wasn't able to explain clearly enough as , you don't understand the issue.
Of course that wasn't approving building and no one could start pouring concrete…the city didn't own the land! It was approving that concept – seniors aparment/town houses to try and get funding for that plan. If that vote went ahead – with 650k spent, there is no way the city could have ever backed away from proceeding unless they were forced to by the inevitable OMB appeal by the residents or not the receiving the funding.
Perhaps you could try, you know, reading the news. The one councilor that flipped based her decision on not liking the plan of the specific housing to be built, being that was what was voted on <a href="http://www.emckingston.ca/20100916/News/Rural+councillor+flips+vote+to+help+kill+Barriefield+housing+proposal" target="_blank"> <a href="http://;http://www.emckingston.ca/20100916/News/Rural+cou…” target=”_blank”>;http://www.emckingston.ca/20100916/News/Rural+cou…
Being the choice was that or nothing. If you had watched the meeting you'd have seen the length of time questioning (including by matheson) over minutia items like whether the road by the town houses would be a curve or a corner. Minor details could have been changed, that it would be a seniors apartments and high price townhouse would not (only a minority being actually geared to income)
The affordable housing committee was against it being there are over 1000 on the waiting list with only 100 being seniors. That there are 1000s of renters in kingston with incomes under $20k in non subsidized housing while Barriefield would have spent scarce resources to subsidize those with $50k+ incomes to buy townhouses they'd eventually be able at a profit.
Granted, Matheson made an even bigger case against himself with today's Whig article where he's apparently flipped on the 50m pool being his top issue as it had been all along. And really, really strange his talk of moving it to another location despite that being the only possible location that could make sense from a cost or usage basis.
Many would interpret that differently… the motion was to approve the plan for the purpose of moving forward to Phase 2. Phase 2 would have included evaluating the financial feasibility of the concept plan, which should have made obvious the stupidity of building $250k "affordable" homes. From my experience speaking with Councillors, had the land purchase moved forward, I think you would have seen the plans change. Not one councillor that I questioned thought that building these homes helped people who were in need, including Rob.
BTW, the weekly poll doesn't include the option, 'unable to vote'. This is quite important given the emerging discussion over whether Permanent Residents should be able to vote in local elections – which I think they should.
Excellent point. Poll amended according.