October 2015 Newsletter

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,

1) New Inner Harbour History and Art Projects
2) New October 25th Event: Wildlife Tour
3) New FKIH initiatives for the 2015/2016 year ahead
4) A few ongoing concerns
5) News from WellingtonX
6) Plea from Caravan Stage
7) Need for Grant Writers
8) Our AGM, Thursday, November 12

1) NEW INNER HARBOUR HISTORY AND ART PROJECTS
Sometimes life is simply so rewarding.  I am honestly thrilled that three projects related to the history of the Inner Harbour are taking on a life of their own – thanks in good measure to Laura Murray!

Life and Labour in the Inner Harbour Tour – in a sense a spin off from the Inner Harbour Heritage Tour that Edward and I had been working on for the past few years.  Laura Murray with her Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project (SWIHHP) has brought to fruition a truly wonderful walking tour adding new material and research as well as numerous oral history interviews with local residents.  SWIHHP is in the process of developing a walking tour app that will be available on the city’s website.  Those of you who came to the dry-run this past September to hear Bronwyn Jacques’ rendition will understand just how wonderful this is.

Book on the History of the Inner Harbour – Again a SWIHHP project – application for a $10,000 grant from the city’s Heritage Fund.  As SWIHHP does not have charitable status, and as we do, and as the purpose of the book fits perfectly with the objects of our corporation, the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour has partnered with SWIHHP in this grant application.  The book will be a kind of compendium of archival materials and images, oral history, historical essays, newspaper materials from the past etc.. Laura Murry was inspired here by several books including Mary Alice Downie and M.-A. Thompson’s “Written in Stone: A Kingston Reader” (Quarry, 1993).  When Laura first came to Kingston she particularly enjoyed the bit from Champlain’s journals in this book where, just outside Kingston, he got lost in the woods chasing a bizarre bird that sounded like a parrot.  A more recent model is “The Ward”, edited by John Lorinc and others (Coach House, 2015), that gathers material together about the area just north of City Hall in Toronto, an area now home to hospitals and hi-rises, but that used to be the centre of immigrant life in that city. It’s a beautifully designed book, paperback and black and white and thus affordable, but visually arresting and attractive in its varied content. So, the idea there would be to start gathering materials and have that book ready to go in a couple of years. As the grant is for a Sesquicentennial Project it must be ready by 2017 – Canada’s 150th birthday. More info?  www.swampwardhistory.com/autumn-update/
Thanks so very much to Laura Murray for her enormous energy and enthusiasm for these projects.

And then there’s the third application. In this one, SWIHHP just plays a bit part, but it’s still exciting. Nancy Douglas, a local artist whose show The Murphys of Griffintown was one of the Modern Fuel Gallery’s opening exhibits this past January in its new space at the Tett Centre, is applying to do a
Community Art Project in the Swamp Ward, and she wants it to focus on history. As many of the people who worked in industries in the Inner Harbour lived in the Swamp Ward, we feel connected to this project.  The idea is to hold a series of workshops inviting people to explore neighbourhood, family, and personal history through art. Nancy is so full of ideas and skills and talent we really hope she gets the grant, and if she does, you will hear more about opportunities to participate next spring.

2) NEW OCTOBER INNER HARBOUR WILDLIFE TOUR:
Sunday, Oct 25, 9 am, Doug Fluhrer Park  Join Lesley Rudy and Kurt Hennige of the Kingston Field Naturalists for a unique (and free!) tour of Douglas Fluhrer Park and the Inner Harbour that will leave you educated and excited about the wildlife and natural history of this area. The tour will include wildlife viewing of the many migrating waterfowl that come through this area in the fall, a free waterfowl guide, discussions (and maybe sightings!) of other wildlife in the area, points of interest of the natural history of the Inner Harbour and its historical and proposed human disturbance of the area. Bring the whole family! The walk will start at 9am at the Doug Fluhrer Parking lot (walk north on Wellington Street) and will last about an hour and a half at a leisurely pace. If you have binoculars, please bring them but if you don’t, we will share! All are welcome! More info? Lesley Rudy  lesley_rudy@hotmail.com (Note underscore between lesley and rudy in the e-mail address.)
And/or visit www.wellingtonx.wordpress.com and/or Facebook page: Save Kingston’s Waterfront!
Note: They are looking for birders with scopes to help show these birds to the attending public.

3) NEW FKIH INITIATIVES FOR THIS 2015/2016 YEAR:

Toonies for Turtles Campaign   This summer we really want to do what we can to improve turtle habitat and the likelihood of turtle eggs surviving in Doug Fluhrer Park.  This past summer there seemed to be a marked increase in turtles wanting to cross the park to lay eggs along the retaining wall.  In one hour, on one Friday evening, one local resident saw five Northern Map or Snapping turtles crossing the park to lay eggs.  Numerous other caring citizens rescued turtles wandering on nearby city streets.  Although planning is still in the very early stages, we would like to form partnerships with organizations such as the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, the Kingston Field Naturalists, Turtles Kingston, local school boards and community members to both go into local schools with an educational workshop on turtles and also provide covers for eggs that are laid. Volunteers very much needed and appreciated!  All ideas welcome!  Want to be involved – even in some small way?  It all helps.  Contact – inverarymary@yahoo.com or lesley_rudy@hotmail.com
(Again please note underscore between lesley and rudy in the e-mail address.) We would like to have a first organizational meeting sometime in November or December

ON THE WALL 2016?  Several of the artists who participated in 2014 have expressed interest in us doing this again in 2016.  If this is to happen we need help.  If you are interested in helping in any small way, please contact inverarymary@yahoo.com.  We need to get organized soon, sometime in November or December, if we are going to proceed.
www.ygkevents.com/blog/2014-on-the-wall-street-art-festival-in-pictures/ in case you have forgotten how great this 2014 event was and how it was a dream come true for so many street artists to show their work without having to worry about illegality.

ProBono Students Canada   We were introduced to this organization last spring.  And now, following discussions over the course of this past summer, an agreement is in place to work with four Queen’s Law Students and a supervising lawyer to examine legal governance in areas of the Inner Harbour.  The students will help us to understand various Municipal, Provincial and Federal policies that have a bearing on the area.

“Cycle Priority Routes”: Partnership with Sustainable Kingston and the Ad Hoc Cycling Group. Basically Cycle Priority Routes are cycle routes on the back streets of Kingston.  As we all know, there are many “reluctant cyclists” in Kingston who would feel safer using such roads.  These routes would not entail any new infrastructure other than some signs indicating “Cycle Priority Route” with a posted 30 km/hr speed limit.  Plans are in the infancy but we are hoping to have some sort of pilot project ready for the spring.   If interested in helping with this project, contact inverarymary@yahoo.com or alia@sustainablekingston.ca  More anon…..

Thanks Councillor Lisa Osanic!  A number of members of the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour had expressed concern over the dead weeds both in the Park and on the section of completed waterfront trail just north of the rowing club.  These weeds were glorious in July but in October had become very tall and brown, covering the art along the wall and reducing the useable area of the park.  Lisa had the bright idea of asking staff to issue a work order to look after this.  Thanks so much Lisa!

4) A FEW ONGOING CONCERNS:

Wild Parsnip   We had a bit of a struggle this year trying to get the city to formulate a policy to deal with the increasing infestations, especially on the K&P trail between Binnington Court and the Sydenham Road and also on Belle island.  We have been watching these areas for the last three years and have been distressed to see the problem becoming progressively worse.  Thankfully city staff cut it before it went to seed on the K&P.  Unfortunately this was not the case on Belle Island.  We have been told by Councillor Jeff McLaren that the city is working on a policy.  Hopefully something really will be in place this coming summer so that both the trail and the island will be safe for hikers and cyclists when the trail is officially opened in 2017 for Canada’s 150th birthday.

K&P Trail from the TranCanada Trail to Downtown  Yes, a consultant has been hired to cost the various options, particularly the three possibilities going from the intersection of John Counter Blvd. and Division St. to the intersection of Montreal, Rideau and Railway streets.  Of course we would like to see all three possibilities scheduled as trails in due course.  The consultant’s report should be forthcoming shortly.  Thanks so very much to Councillor Peter Stroud and City Council for agreeing to push this initiative through by 2017 and to city staff for moving ahead with it.

Secondary Plan for Kingston’s Old Industrial and Inner Harbour areas   As far as we know, this should be happening sometime early in the new  year.  There should be lots of opportunity for public input into how both citizens and developers would like to see this area transformed.

Waterfront Working Group  Consultants have completed their outreach and are preparing a first draft of their final report.  Should be forthcoming before Christmas.  As you all know, work on the Inner Harbour Heritage Trail is waiting in the wings until the Waterfront Working Group has completed their work.

Nothing recent to report on:
Bailey Broom, 9 North St. or the Outer Station Heritage Buildings.

The City’s Official Plan
This is probably the penultimate Official Plan review.
www.cityofkingston.ca/OPUpdate
Paper copies of this draft are available at all branches of the public libraries in the City. You should submit any comments by email or in writing by the end of October. The final public meeting is scheduled for the evening of Thursday November 5th at City Hall. The “Our Neighbourhood” community association is planning a meeting on Oct 21 in preparation.  See their webpage for further details. www.ourneighbourhood.ca

5) NEWS FROM WELLINGTONX  As part of an effort to gain insight into local awareness and knowledge of the proposed Wellington Street Extension, Wellington X is currently carrying out a canvassing program throughout the area that would be affected by the road.  Most of the residents they have met express a real willingness to share their perspectives on the WSE, Doug Fluhrer Park, and the bike trails and footpaths in the Inner Harbour.  WellingtonX will continue its canvassing campaign in the following weeks.  Their goal is to be able to better understand the range of views in the area, and to engage people in discussion so they can use the upcoming Secondary Planning process more effectively. They are also gathering statistics about people’s views. By participating, you can help to inform City Council and potentially influence the future of development. This is a great opportunity for getting your voice heard.  They personally promise that the average “visit” time is five minutes or less!  If interested, contact wellington.x.kingston@gmail.com    You can also visit their webpage at www.wellingtonx.com

6) PLEA FROM CARAVAN STAGE:  A week after their show in Clayton NY last August, Paul Kirby, the director went to Kingston for a check-up and found that he needed open heart surgery. While Paul was in KGH, the Amara Zee’s crew put together an Indiegogo fundraising project to raise money to get the ship and company south for the winter while Paul and his partner recoup. This small crew of 9 people is now actively moving the ship. Despite the hurricanes, they have been making good time to get the Amara Zee to Florida for the winter. If you feel so inclined CaravanStage would really appreciate your help.  The Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour is still hoping this amazing Theatre-on-a-barge troupe will be able to perform in the Inner Harbour during the summer of 2016 – despite the problems to date with the government of Canada. www.caravanstage.org

7) URGENT NEED FOR GRANT WRITERS!  We are in the position of having to pass up on grant opportunities as we have no current volunteers willing to help on this file.  You could really make a difference. Please consider helping ASAP as one grant in particular is waiting in the wings in need of a writer. This is a grant for community plantings along the waterfront. Contact:  inverarymary@yahoo.com.

8) AND FINALLY, OUR AGM WILL BE ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12 AT 7 PM  If you are interested in attending, please contact Audrey Helmstaedt – ahelmst@cogeco.ca.

Cheers,
Mary Farrar