Wright Crescent residents pen petition to City of Kingston to ‘right planning wrongs’

The residents of Wright Crescent in Kingston’s Calvin Park neighbourhood are disappointed with the City of Kingston’s planning process when it comes to a couple of buildings proposed for the plot of land at the south-east corner of Sir John A Macdonald Boulevard and Bath Road. 

After six years of public engagement and development, the final draft of the new Kingston Zoning Bylaw is ready. It incorporates the zoning framework developed through the Central Kingston Growth Strategy (CKGS) and addresses all public feedback. 

The CKGS Final Recommendations Report identified the Wright Crescent neighbourhood as suitable for intensification, however, the residents in the area are concerned about how that will work. 

Two images from the Central Kingston Growth Strategy report that are included in the Wright Crescent Residents’ Petition.

“Property owners and renters along Wright Crescent have only just learned of the City’s proposed intensification of their neighbourhood,” the group of residents said in a press release.

“The proposal includes/envisions a three-fold increase in traffic, wiping out all green/park space/community gardens, and the construction of five 6-storey and five 12-storey complexes in a space characterized by one, two and three-storey homes.”

In a document and petition submitted to the City in April 2022, the group of residents of Wright Crescent say they were not notified or consulted. They are now petitioning the City Planning Committee to re-think their plan for the site and revise a number of issues they say will dramatically reduce the quality of life for current and new residents. 

“Despite the lack of direct consultation with residents, the proposal will be presented by planning staff at the April 7th Planning Committee meeting,” the Wright Crescent residents said in an email.

“Wright Crescent residents are organizing and plan to voice their concerns.”

According to the ‘Wright Crescent Residents’ Petition,’ the residents are requesting a reduction in the height, type, and number of buildings allowed in the area, with a height of no more than four storeys for those buildings. They are also asking for diversity in the types of buildings to meet the needs of people in different living circumstances, as well as the allocation of sufficient land to provide a playground for children, an exercise area for pets and owners, and a community garden. 

The residents are also asking for a solution to the anticipated increase in traffic that will come as a result of the new builds. The Residents’ Petition estimates the current neighbourhood population to be roughly 875 residents and suggests the population will increase by 200 per cent with the addition of the new apartment buildings.

Screenshot of a table within the Wright Crescent Residents’ Petition, which shows the area population increase calculations the residents’ group has made based on the current plans within the CKGS report.

Current plans for the property say it can accommodate a total of five 12-storey and five 6-story apartment buildings, however the CKGS report includes a mockup of the potential development and misrepresents the 6-storey buildings as 4-storey, the residents assert in the petition.

Screenshot from the Wright Crescent Residents’ Petition, which includes an image contained in the CKGS report.

The Residents’ Petition says the City’s plan for the site is severely lacking in consideration for “the missing middle,” a term coined by author Daniel Parolek, which describes the walkable, desirable, yet attainable housing that many people across the country are struggling to find, such as duplexes, fourplexes, and bungalow courts.

“The intensification proposal sees only one tool in the toolbox — the apartment building. This provides no opportunity for a diversity of housing types,” the petition reads.

The petition goes on to suggest that City planners have failed to take into account the mix of housing types and people at different stages in life already situated in the area and says, “all of the developments involve the replacement of community-oriented organizations, such as churches, day-care, and gym facilities, with apartment buildings.” 

The petition will be submitted tonight at the City of Kingston Planning Meeting tonight, Thursday, April 7, 2022 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (link: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/city-calendar-events/-/calendar/QUmzuR567ExT/event/39089584

Tonight, City staff will present the final draft of the New Kingston Zoning Bylaw and the Official Plan amendment, and will prepare a supplementary report that captures any minor changes that need to be made as a result of the final round of public feedback prior to Council’s final consideration, according to a release from the City. 

If approved at the Planning Committee meeting, the documents will then be presented at a special meeting of Council on Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2022.

One thought on “Wright Crescent residents pen petition to City of Kingston to ‘right planning wrongs’

  • Who really runs the city—the Planning Department (who work with profit-oriented developers), or City Council, ( who represent the citizens) ? The residents of this neighbourhood, including 2 pastors, insist no one told them of these shocking plans to tear down a daycare, a gym, a pool, churches, greenspace and community gardens— and replace them with 10 tall apartment buildings. The staff member stated at that public meeting that she had posted the plans on the city’s website and social media. Is that really engaging the neighbours in a discussion of how to rebuild their neighbourhood? This could happen to any neighbourhood next. Mixed affordable housing, with reasonable parkland and many trees is what is needed.

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