In their regular meeting on Thursday, Jun. 16, 2022, the Planning Committee of the City of Kingston received a new report on the Kingston Waterfront Development Ltd. for the property on a pier in Elevator Bay, the former site of Kingston’s Grain Elevator built in the 1930s. The site, now known as 1110 King West (or Cataraqui Bay), has been controversial since its original purchase for development over 40 years ago.
City Staff recommended that the application for Site Plan Control (File Number D11-011-2018) submitted by IBI Group Incorporated, on behalf of Kingston Waterfront Development Ltd., for the property municipally known as 1102, 1106, and 1110 King Street West, be approved in principle; and That the application be referred back to the Director of Planning Services and that the Director of Planning Services be authorized to issue final approval subject to: a) All outstanding technical issues being resolved to the satisfaction of the City; The Owner entering into a Site Plan Control Agreement with the City which shall list the approved plans and any special municipal conditions pertaining to the development; and c) The Owner submitting the required financial security.
At the outset of the committee’s question and answer period, Councillor Wayne Hill addressed some of that controversy, when he made it clear to the public viewership that “this has already been approved by a former council, so the project itself, in terms of approval, that’s not something we can discuss tonight. We’re talking about the site plan… a lot of the commentary that came in was about approving or not approving this project; that happened back in 2007 and it can’t be revisited by this committee.”
Councillor Jim Neill also said he had received much public feedback on the project asking him not to support its approval, and noted for the public, “We aren’t being asked to support this as a project. The reality is there is no sunset clause on previous councils’ decisions… the Council of the day approved this. Would it be approved today under our current zoning and current Official Plan? Quite possibly, some would say probably not, but that’s outside of our powers.”
With that, the committee began its discussion on the recommendation before them.
Mike Szilagyi, City Planner, noted in his report that, due to technical review and based on feedback received from members of the public through this process, several changes have been made that he felt were noteworthy to discuss. These included: the removal of the accessory parking structure as well as retention of all but four of the existing trees, the addition of an elevator, as well as additional access to ramps, added on the west side of the pier which allow for accessibility throughout the walkway along the pier. The parking area above the parking structure, which was initially left open, will now be enclosed to comply with zoning, improve visual aesthetic, and reduce external impacts such as light spillover and noise.
Initially, aerial hydro wires were proposed to cross King Street to connect with Hydro One infrastructure on the north side of King Street. Those will now be buried. In addition, bird-friendly glass will be employed following the guidelines of the City of Toronto (The City of Kingston does not yet have its own guidelines for bird-friendly glass). Finally, a maintenance and monitoring plan will be developed as part of this Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) conditional permit and as part of the building permit phase in order to ensure that proper maintenance is done on the infrastructure for the foundation of the building.
Szilagyi concluded that the application complies with the applicable zoning requirements and that City staff are satisfied that the proposal meets the technical standards and requirements which apply, and recommend that the committee approve the application in principle with any outstanding matters directed back to the Director of Planning Services.
The structure is designed to have a one-hundred-year service life. Councillor Lisa Osanic asked how often maintenance would occur to assure that life span. Stu Seabrook, a hydrotechnical engineer with Riggs Engineering in Kingston, answered that there would be a program in place to ensure a review of the structure’s maintenance every five years, and that recommendations and maintenance would be ongoing.
Osanic also established through questioning that any damages sustained by neighbouring homes as a result of the construction would not be at the expense or responsibility of the City, but would instead be considered under a civil case between the homeowner and the developer.
Councillor Doherty was present at the meeting as the build will occur in her district of the City (Portsmouth District). She addressed concerns about the site in terms of extreme weather events and emergency evacuation of the site in the event of a fire or other threat.
Similarly, members of the public raised concerns about the accessibility of the pathway along the waterfront, accessibility to the site by emergency vehicles, snow removal ,and stormwater management.
Both Councillors Doherty and Hill thanked the public for their astute questions and contributions, and for sticking to site plan issues, “I was really impressed with the residents’ comments,” said Hill, “And they also raised some really good questions.”
Ultimately, the committee voted to uphold the recommendation of City staff with a vote of three to two, councillors Osanic and Neill opposed. View the full Planning Committee meeting on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.