Have your say – Yay or nay: Council requesting flexibility to provincial orders

Kingstonist file photo of Kingston City Hall.

On Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2020, Kingston City Council met to discuss a number of items, but those items concerning the current COVID-19 pandemic dominated most of the discussion.

A new motion, brought forward by Councillor Robert Kiley and seconded by Deputy Mayor Jim Neill, sought to see Council request that the province to consider “local flexibility” to provincial orders when it reassesses the current emergency declaration on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. The entire text of the motion can be found here (Page 6).

While the wording of the motion remains open ended, Council did elect to add a paragraph stating that the City would work in partnership with Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health to ensure any changes made locally would comply with Public Health guidelines, and include messaging about physical-distancing. It should be noted that the motion specifically pointed to community gardens and local conservation areas as items Kingston would be able to open up, even if the province hadn’t done so. Since then, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority has re-opened many of its conservation areas, and the provincial government has approved the opening of community gardens. The motion, which passed by a vote of 9-3, also made mention of the fact that the KFL&A region has a remarkably low number of COVID-19 cases when compared to the regions around it, and those across the province.

So, we want to know what you think, Kingston! Have your say in the poll below, and let us know your reasoning in the comments.

[poll id=”455″]

34 thoughts on “Have your say – Yay or nay: Council requesting flexibility to provincial orders

  • When will transit service be restored for essential workers like doctors nurses and even grocery store night workers?

  • Please consider allowing access to boat ramps. Boating and fishing are activities that can easily accommodate social distancing. And, please allow golf courses to open as well. Golfers can easily maintain social distancing. People need to have ways to get out of the house and de-stress.

    • Yes – Reopen golf courses – we Kingstonions are responsible people & can handle whatever rules are put in place! Many seniors use this as recreation!! Thank you!

    • I agree getting out on the water be a great de-stresser . It be good to go out in the boat.

    • Please consider the two bubble family option that New Brunswick has implemented.

  • Kingston is only testing a certain demographic of people. We will never know the true numbers until Kingston starts testing more people. Secondly, if Kingston starts opening things up and becomes complacent regarding the virus, the city is essentially putting out an invitation to others living in neiboring cities/towns to come here. This is a really bad and ignorant decision…one that comes from the Trump and CONServative playbook.

    • Yes! Start opening everything! Start with parks and recreation. The collateral damage this lockdown has had and will continue to have in regards to mental stability and anxiety will be felt for a while.
      Especially in children. I have 3 young children who need to run and play. The changes in our kids are becoming a concern. Many people live in condo’s and apartments and do not have properties to run and play. The healing powers of nature and exercise are profound. The risk of contracting this or any virus is low while out in the sun and fresh air.
      Thank you!

    • As far as golf courses are concerend they should be opened for members only I am sure members would be able to keep distance requirements

    • We are low with number of cases because of the order in place, travel is limited, release that and it invites possibly an increase of cases, just today Ontario saw another 459 new cases, everyday it’s around that number,…..let’s keep it safe for little bit longer, better to be safe then sorry,…….

  • Wondering when local groomers can open for emergency grooms? We have safe distance protocols set in place and are looking to do emergency grooms like some other places have been granted to do. The grooming salons that have been allowed to re-open have been asked to document with photos and document why they believe the groom was necessary. We also have it set up so that there is no interaction within 6ft and e-transfer only. We need to be looking after dogs and cats as well. Some dogs develop hot spots and skin conditions if they aren’t groomed On a regular basis. Not to mention nails not being cut, because owners have never done it before and are afraid. We are going to get into trouble here soon. Owners will soon try and cut nails/and or hair which is going to result in bites to them or cuts to the animals.

    • Yes to this!! Our dog’s nails are getting so long and our vet will not book us in for a trim because it is not considered urgent. We are YouTubing and googling how to cut them ourselves but I’m very apprehensive about it.

      • The problem with giving “local flexibility” is that people will travel to Kingston. Although we have few cases here we may be exposing ourselves from outside carriers. This is a dangerous precedent. Stick with the guidelines that the provincial and federal governments have outlined. We will open up eventually, when we can be guaranteed our safety. Opening up the city too soon will be detrimental.

        • Especially like to see my lawn carer and my gardener be able to start work again, as they are outside and I am inside. Can’t see that they would be causing a rise in the number of Covid-19 patients. Supermarkets are worse than an individual working on their own outside?

  • While I am comfortable with the City asking the Province to consider “local flexibility”, I would want the City to be guided by Provincial standards in all individual cases. The response to this pandemic requires coordination on all levels, from local to global.

  • Doctor’s and Hospital services should be considered, the already huge backlog is getting ridiculous… all within social distancing guidelines.

  • Also see about letting us have our stat holidays and vacation days, which we earned, back, do we can have a break.

  • I think we are all concerned about the long term economics effects of the Staying at Home edict but it uncharted waters your safest position is a conservative one.That being said Kingstonians have been demostrating an attitude that emplifies a dedication to care and concern that has had good results,compared to many other areas.Recreation is a key component in a families well being so walking, hiking, parks, golf courses and even marina launches should be considered for amended status-not deviation from protocols ,but users should be trusted to follow safe protocols in using these facilities.Directly related individuals should be allowed to decide to visit each other in their respective homes unless there is a previous Covid related recovery evident or in the case of a high risk individual in that family being potentially impacted.The problem still exists of possible infection but much less so in those practicing what they have to date.

    Longer term,If there are sufficient test kits and personnal available, a series of pre-tests could be done for those wanting to access new relaxed standard areas(outside of recreationally designated areas) and those tested supplied with an ID card that identifies their safe test date.Only those who have been tested would be allowed access under the new limited access standards and would be required to have that card on them.(similar to a work ID worn around the neck)While this may take longer and may cause a backlog in testing and while it is possible that someone may still get the virus post testing, it would set a baseline for those venturing into this new world and provide more trackable parameters for the origin of infection.-probaly a pipedream but it is a thought.It may be easier to accomplish in a smaller population base than it would be in a larger city.

  • The actual motion put before council made no mention of the local conservation areas. It spoke to community gardens and “other activities”. Other activities that were discussed included opening up golf courses and resuming some medical procedures and surgeries that have been cancelled. This motion went forward for vote even before our local health unit had consensus from all health units required in support of it. The motion should have been tabled for that reason alone.

    It is worth noting the conservation areas were closed locally by the conservation authorizes due to violation in social distancing observed over a period of time and over concern for the upcoming Easter weekend. Discussions regarding local conservation areas took place at council meeting during Dr. Moore’s presentation to council. The conservation authority met on April 22/20 and some of the conservation areas were reopened April 23/20. This took place on a municipal level before the motion was addressed by our provincial government. April 25/20 Doug Ford announced community gardens to be reopened as essential services.

    I have a major concern with golf courses being reopened. They are in no way an essential service. If surrounding cities (ie: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal…) chose not to reopen their local golf courses, ours will become a draw for golf enthusiast. Many cities surrounding Kingston have much higher cases of covid19 then Kingston. Will we be inviting disaster?

    I have no issue with conservation areas or community gardens being reopened, so long as people follow social distancing guidelines. I have observed on many occasions at grocery stores how people in our community either do not understand it or simply ignore the guidelines for social distancing. Until people comply with or police start enforcing/ticketing for not social distancing I feel reopening our city is not going to work out well and may cost lives.

    • A solution to the concern about golfers coming from other areas can easily be addressed by requiring a full membership, and restricting new memberships to people living within a certain distance of the course. They can require reservations only, no walk-ups. They can space the groups out so that there are 10 minutes between tee times. And, maybe even restrict golf carts to prevent people from being too close. Golf courses have far more space than some of the parks and conservation areas that people are flooding to, and would give people a chance to get fresh air and exercise in a safe environment.

  • Please consider allowing seasonal camping, I believe if campgrounds can open, but not open their amenities or transient rental sites, they should be able to manage them properly.

  • Open the golf courses,you can easily distance yourself,even more than walking on a trail.Plus it’s good for you physically and mentally.

  • Many people have been unable to see their dentist and those working in those offices have always followed protocols set down by their board concerning sterilization in the offices.
    I’d like to see them open again.

  • Hopefully you will consider opening Golf Courses. I also would like to see Rideau Acres opened for seasonal campers only and not to transients.
    Alot of seasoners are Seniors who are couped up in an apartment and really look forward to going to our trailers. This gives us an opportunity to. Be outside enjoying the fresh air, and enjoying a garden of flowers and some vegetables.

  • I would like to see specifics around visiting family and friends. Many of us here in Kingston have been self-isolating and physical distancing for 40+ days, but because of the limits to groups of over 5 and the public health recommendation to see only those we live with, we are unable to see our families. I’d like to be given a guideline as to when this will be possible. I’m happy for the rules to be within municipality and very strict, but the framework laid out did not address families, at all and was a bit disheartening for those of us who have been isolated for the duration of this crisis.

  • Above all, resumption of health services should be seriously considered. If there is a manageable (i.e. low risk) way to permit “essential” services such as surgeries, visits to doctors’ offices, dental services, to recommence then the risk is worth taking.

    • That’s interesting because I got a call to have my eye appointment moved up to May 4 from May 8, thought all services like that were closed??????

  • Please let the campgrounds open back up but with rules. I have NO problem just staying on my site with no gatherings or visitors. I live in an apt with nowhere to go outside having my peace back would be so helpful

  • Opening outdoor recreation would be great, I understand park/playground equipment cannot be kept clean, but soccer fields and ball courts should be accessible. Some families cannot access conservation areas without transportation, and living in an apartment, our own courtyard is technically off limits. Kids have nowhere to go play, but the sidewalk. Would love to be able to go throw a ball around!

  • Yes I believe Kingston greatly deserves local flexibility due to our low C-19 caseload. The 95% at risk continue to be >60 so conduct yourself accordingly if it applies.

  • Please allow contractors and other businesses required to build secondary suites work one at a time as they are still social distancing. Kingston needs more units now, and it will allow some people to work safely. Note: website being updated

  • Seasonal Construction like landscaping, roofing or paving is strictly outside activities. If proper distancing and sanitation protocols are followed then business should resume. These workers have a short time to qualify for EI benefits to make it through the winter months and if they miss a few weeks of a busy season it would put a load on our local social services.

  • In addition to the above suggestions, It would be helpful to have donation centres open, perhaps in july, in order to take articles we have been sorting during our stay at home.

  • The danger with opening anything in one region is that it will increase visitors to the area.
    Any function to be opened must be able to determine that the ‘user’ lives locally.
    I fully support opening the medical field ie surgeries, dental care, eye care etc but I worry that this will take PPE supplies away from frontline workers in the event Kingston starts having hospitalized cases.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!