Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour
President’s Report for AGM, Nov 24, 2016
Thanks to Ben Kelly, the president’s monthly updates have been put up on the web-page in a timely manner and act as a thorough ongoing account of what our organization has been up to for the past year. Thanks so much to Janet Burgess for her ongoing and excellent management of the web-page. And thanks to Audrey Helmstaedt for doing a great job of uploading events on the calendar of our web-page. As a result, a detailed account is really not necessary here. Instead a quick summary of some of the highlights will suffice.
Following Councillors Peter Stroud and Jeff McLaren’s motion (that was unanimously supported by Council) construction of the K&P Trail began this past spring with the plan for it to be completed by July 1, 2017 in time for Canada’s 150th birthday. Work is ongoing.
North King’s Town Visioning Visioning Exercise
As a result of the concerns of many about the Wellington Street Extension, the city hired DIALOG Design consultants to conduct a Visioning and Preliminary Marketing Analysis of the Inner Harbour and Old Industrial Areas to see what citizens as well as developers thought was important in the area. After extensive consultation with the public and with businesses, a first draft was presented earlier this month. Huge public outcry against the lack of accurate betrayal of opposition to both the Wellington St. Extension and the Third Crossing, as well as lack of integrating the vision with other city visions ( e.g. Sustainable Kingston, Climate Action Plan, Downtown and Harbour Area Architectural Guidelines Study etc) has resulted in a second round of consultations to be conducted in the new year. We are looking forward to the second draft. Many thanks to all those who have come out to the various pubic meetings and who have submitted excellent comments.
Toonies for Turtles was our major campaign this past summer. A dedicated group of volunteers went out morning and afternoon/evening during the nesting season (May – mid July). Special thanks to Kathleen, Diane, Dorothy, Vicki, Susan, Audrey, Laurel – and so many others who really helped make a difference. Over 115 nests were protected with mesh. The mesh was subsequently removed to allow the turtles to hatch. We collected contributions from collection jars where people paid toonies for turtle bookmarks, kindly created by Anne Powers. Thanks to Anne and Vicki for creating window displays for Minotaur and Novel Idea. Thanks to Kathleen and Mary for volunteering at the Skeleton Park Arts Festival and at the Kingscourt Community Event where we had turtles tables. And thanks to Anne of the Kingston Field Naturalists and Michael from Yellow Bike Action for contributing so many interesting samples of turtles and turtle shells. Many many thanks to all involved and to Dave for his great video of the Chairs for Turtles celebration event. We are now earnestly hoping to continue the project next year, hopefully with money from some grant applications.
Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project
The Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour agreed to sponsor Laura Murray, Prof. of English and Cultural Studies to undertake an oral history project over two years. Ten thousand dollars in grant money was awarded as a Sesqucentennial Grant from the City of Kingston’s Heritage Fun and we have agreed to look after the finances under our umbrella as a charitable organization. To date, no monies have been paid out. Work is ongoing and the monies will be spent in the 2017 fiscal year.
Life and Labour in the Inner Harbour – inspired by our original Inner Harbour Heritage Tour
(Conducted by Laura this year as part of the Jane’s Walk community walks in Kingston)
Thanks to Laura Murray and her Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project, this dream has become a reality. From the original rough notes of the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour that drew attention to over 30 sites of Aboriginal, French, British, Industrial and Natural Heritage, Laura and her group have created an app that is now available on the City’s web-page. Well done!
In Partnership with the City’s Indigenous Communities
This past summer we held two events in partnership with our Indigenous friends. The first was a “Turtle Awareness Evening” where Georgina Riel and Jolie Brant from the National Aboriginal Day Committee came to teach us about the importance of the turtle in four different Indigenous cultures. We also painted rounded rocks to make turtles. Lots of fun for all ages
The second event was a “Blanket Exercise” done in cooperation with Four Directions, Queen’s University. This very powerful consciousness-raising exercise helped the over 50 participants better understand the grounds for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work.
Coalition of Kingston Communities
We are one of approximately 20 community organizations who have come together because of unhappiness with city processes. Openness and Transparency is an issue. In addition each organization has their own specific worries: KEDCO, Third Crossing, Heritage Conservation, Neighbourhood Integrity, High Rises, Conflict of Interest issues etc. It is important that cities run properly with effective cooperation between the mayor, CEO, staff, Council and citizens.
In our monthly updates, we have tried to keep our membership up to date with a variety of city surveys that have a bearing on the Inner Harbour – especially those concerned with Active Transportation, Brownfields, Parking, the Third Crossing and Public Engagement.
Inner Harbour Heritage Buildings
Bailey Broom Company
We are happy to have been involved in the community effort to save the Bailey Broom Company at the corner of Rideau and Cataraqui Streets. Happily the city has sold the property to Raw Design from Toronto who plan on making it an Eastern Ontario centre for their development business. Well done Laura Murray and friends.
9 North St.
There has been no development of this property this past year. It was bought by ABNA Associates. We are hoping to see re-purposing next year. The plan is to create 8 apartments.
At this point, Hank Doornekamp is putting in an application for CN to allow him to move the Outer Station, stone by stone to an Inner Harbour location. The announcement in the Whig Standard said the address the stones were to be moved to was 2 North St. but Councillor Rob Hutchison says he has received word from City Staff that the stated address should have been 2 Cataraqui St on his Woolen Mill property. This is disconcerting as 2 North St is a legitimate city address and there has been no retraction to date. Most local citizens and those concerned about the city’s built heritage are against the Outer Station being moved from its historic site to be transported and rebuilt in Douglas. R. Fluhrer Park.
Re-purposing of the Capitol Movie Theatre downtown
The group “Vision for Kingston” has taken on this project with huge energy. Sammi King of Queen’s University has taken the lead role here. Opposition to a plan to create a 20 story condo in this location has been fierce as the proposed building flies in the face of the city’s Official Plan and by-laws and would set an unhappy precedent. As heritage conservation is part of our mandate we have tried to keep the membership informed about this issue and other Heritage Committee issues. There are currently 4 Ontario Municipal Board challenges filed against the Capitol project, one by the Frontenac Heritage Foundation and the 3 others by concerned local citizens: Sammi King, Annette Burfoot a Vicki Schmolka.
Once again we participated in the Commuter Challenge. This year it was a ride with MPP Sophie Kiwala celebrating the work being done on the K&P Trail.
Inner Harbour Community Clean-ups, Tours and Talks
Park and Trail Clean-ups
Once again, thanks so much to Kendra, Harriet and Sarah, the Park and Trail Clean-ups were so very well run.
Spring Wildlife Tour
Thanks to Wellingtonx, the Kingston Field Naturalists, and especially Lesley Rudy, for an excellent Spring Wildlife Tour.
North King’s Town Talk
Thanks to City Planners, Greg Newman and Paige Agnew for coming to speak informally about the upcoming North King’s Town Visioning Exercise.
History of the K&P Trail
And thanks to Steve Manders for his really interesting talk on the History of the K&P Trail.
Community Events and Groups we helped publicize
Dragon Boat Festival, Paddle and Pint, Woolen Mill Experience, Loving Spoonful’s Edible Food in the Urban Setting, Loving Spoonful’s Garden Party Cycle Tour, Artsperience, Really Really Free Market, Streets Alive, Cycle Kingston events, Friends of the Phoebe, Marine Museum.
Other Issues we have been concerned with in an ongoing way
Noise By-laws, Water Policy for Urban Gardeners, What to do with school properties when they close, Edible Forests, Community Gardens, Kingston Mills upgrade, Friends of the Phoebe, continuing drafts of the city’s Official Plan, Pump House Museum, Water Access Group seminars and events, migratory bird policy, affordable housing, urban design and planning, complete streets, pedestrianized downtown.
Now we are looking forward to applying for grant money from the Community Foundation to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday and the Opening of the K&P Trail. Due date Dec 22. Possibilities?
ON THE WALL? Wheelchair Parade? Cycling and running activities, small craft activities? Community Kale Garden? Turtles? Demonstration Planting of Native Species along the K&P Trail. Other?