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April Newsletter 2021

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,
Great news that the Capitol Condo Project’s latest design is a mediated solution of 9 storeys with the same number of units originally proposed. Truly uplifting that citizen activism can sometimes end really well. We truly hope that something similar might be possible with the 19 and 23 storey towers currently being proposed by Homestead on Queen Street.  Hearings are currently taking place on those proposals.  For more information visit the Vision for Kingston Facebook page –  Vicki Schmolka is posting excellent daily summaries. 

1.  Great news!  Mediated Solution for the Capitol Condo Project!  Now it’s on to Homestead!
2. Serious Concerns re Inner Harbour Contamination Clean-Up proposed by Transport Canada
3. Turtle Hatchlings coming out.  Please be on the look-out!
4. Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour Receives International Award.
5. This Year’s Park and Trail Clean-Ups – Apr 17 and Apr 24.  Come join us!
6. City Launches One of Ontario’s First Municipal Podcasts
7. Hazardous Waste Depot Opens for the Season
8. Sad Loss to Community of Quarry off Hwy 15.
9. Excellent Zero Waste Tips for Everyone

10. From South Frontenac – Draft Shoreline Protection By-Law
11. Invasive Species in the Great Lakes
12. How Shipping Ports Can Become More Sustainable
13. Disease Outbreaks More Likely in Deforested Areas
14. Forest Protection as Carbon Capture Strategy
15. Buildings Made with Fungi
16. How to Make Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs
17. Beautiful Feature on the Frontenac Arch Biosphere
18. Fun Otter Video

1. Great news!  Mediated Solution for the Capitol Condo Project!
Now it’s on to Homestead!

Congratulations to the Frontenac Heritage Foundation and Building Kingston’s Future, as well as the developer, for this mediated resolution to the new building at the old Capitol theatre site.  The building, originally proposed for 20 storeys, then reduced to 16, then 12 and now 9, has the same number of units as in the original design – 192.  Darryl Firsten, the developer says “The units are perfect. Just because the building got shorter doesn’t mean that it changes the functionality, usefulness and efficiency of the units.”  If only the developer had followed the OP guidelines (put together with so much effort and community consultation) and suggested this in the first place they could have been built by now and Kingston tax payers could have been saved the ton of money spent on lawyers’ fees.  In addition, so many local citizens concerned about downtown heritage wouldn’t have had to contribute thousands of dollars! 
Here’s hoping the same thing can happen with the proposed Homestead developments on Queen. 
Link to Global News feature –
Link to the Vision for Kingston Facebook page account that includes more details about the building that is now going to Council for final approval this Tuesday, April 6 –
Contacts: Darryl Firsten, President, IN8,416-880-7310 and Samantha King, President, Building Kingston’s Future Inc., 613-929-5998
One thing not listed in the media release is a walkthrough from Queen Street through the laneway onto Princess for the public. Some permeability will really help with the building’s sense of place and life.

Hearings are currently underway concerning the proposed Homestead 19 and 23 storey towers on Queen St. 
More information available on the Vision for Kingston Facebook page.  

If you would like to subscribe to daily reports from the hearings put together so well by Vicki Schmolka, here is the link –

2. Serious concerns re Inner Harbour Contamination Clean-Up proposed by Transport Canada and Parks Canada in collaboration with the City.
Transport Canada and Parks Canada are proposing dredging and capping sections of the Inner Harbour shoreline.  The problem appears to be a disconnect between the science and the proposed solutions.
The Environmental Sciences Group at RMC produced an excellent report in 2014 based on the prior ten to fifteen years of work on the Inner Harbour.  Based on this work, recommendations were put forward suggesting that dredging was the solution.  We are not clear on why dredging was chosen as an appropriate solution for a number of reasons:
First, where do you take the dredged contaminated materials without causing further damage? 
Second, Nature is doing an amazing job of burying the contaminated heavy metals.  The heavy metals combine with acid from rotting vegetation and sink.  These materials are gradually being buried.  Local citizens have certainly noticed a resurgence in wildlife especially over the last ten years that may well be linked to the burial of these materials.  Why destroy Nature’s work by dredging?  According to Jeffrey Giacomin, Queen’s Chemical Engineering Professor and Canada Research Chair, dredging here is dangerous.  It would re-suspend contaminated particles into the water where they will float both upstream and downstream in the Inner Harbour as well as Lake Ontario and potentially as far downstream as Montreal causing untold damage to fish populations etc. 
Third, Transport Canada wants to spend 71 million of tax payer dollars on this proposed clean-up with the City contributing 1-2 million for revetement on parts of the Inner Harbour shoreline.  As Jeffrey Giacomin points out revetement actually causes erosion when water flows around cracks in the rocks dislodging soil. Clearly more consultation is needed.
A city report will be presented to Council this Tuesday, April 6.  We have been informed that several people plan on doing delegations.  City Council meetings are live-streamed starting at 7 pm.
Watch Council meetings on live stream or Twitter. Archived meeting videos are available in the Council meeting calendar (search by date for the meeting you wish to watch).

3. Turtle Hatchlings are coming out.  Please be on the look-out!

Turtle hatchlings have been observed for about a week now.  Please keep your eyes open.  Walk and cycle carefully all along the K&P Trail from the Trailhead to Belle Park.   If you see any please take a picture and send it to with a description of where they were seen.  Hugely helpful.  Thanks so much.

4. Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour Receives International Award
We were truly delighted to receive an award from Freshwater Future based in Michigan for being a “Freshwater Hero.” Here is the commentary in their most recent mailing:
“Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour in Ontario have been using telemetry research on Northern Map turtles by attaching antennae to the turtles and tracking movements with a receiver.  The data was used to identify habitat along the harbour shoreline for the turtles.  Northern Map Turtles are considered Species of Special Concern in Canada, as well as being considered Specially Protected Reptiles under the Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.  By mapping the habits and habitats of these turtles, Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour has been able to work with city officials and other partners to ensure shorelines remain natural in areas important to the turtles…Freshwater Future commends the great work to ensure that development activities do not remove the habitats of the turtles, and bring relief to both turtles and humans who appreciate the natural spaces in our urban areas.”

5.This Year’s Park and Trail Clean-Ups – Apr 17 and Apr 24.  Come join us!
The Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour are doing our own Trail Clean-Up on Saturday April 17.
Meet at 9 am at River and Rideau Streets.  Thanks to Troy Stubinski of Public Works Kingston, the fence will be removed so that we can access that section.  We are always hugely grateful to Public Works for their help and cooperation. As the trail is quite long, there will be no problem with each person (or family group) limiting themselves to one section of the trail – following COVID restrictions.
Coffee and assorted goodies will be available (while maintaining social distancing) thanks to the Main Street Market, Quattrocchi’s and the Bread and Butter Bakery.  Thanks so very much!

On Saturday April 24, we are participating in a shoreline clean-up, one organized by Kingston Rotary and the other by Pitch-In Kingston with Sustainable Kingston.
Several locations are included in addition to Doug Fluhrer Park.Their entire event extends from April 21-25.
Two ways to register:
a) With Pitch-In Kingston/Sustainable Kingston:  Click here to register! All of the information can be found on the Sustainable Kingston website:  
“Sustainable Kingston, in partnership with the City of Kingston, invites you to take part in Pitch-In Kingston 2021, being held April 18-25, and clean up the green spaces that have given us so much. To participate: register at, pick up your Pitch-In bags, and at the end of your cleanup, drop them off at one of the designated drop-off locations. All participants are advised to follow KFL&A Public Health Measures. Participants are also asked to respect the Section 22 Class Order to limit social gatherings, which restricts gatherings, inside and out, to five (5) people.”
b) With Kingston Rotary, April 24: 
Registration link:
Email account:
Rotary event link:

6. City Launches One of Ontario’s First Municipal Podcasts
Received from the City, March 31, 2021
“Today, the City has launched its first podcast, Tell Me More: the City of Kingston Podcast, aimed at offering a more in-depth look at municipal operations through conversations with City leadership and staff.
The first episode – Tell Me More About…the Budget – features an interview with the City’s Chief Financial Officer Desiree Kennedy. Listen and subscribe wherever you get podcasts, or go to
“Whether you want a broader perspective on local issues and initiatives, or just to meet the people who help run your municipality, this podcast is for you. It offers time and space for City leaders and staff to move beyond headlines and bullet points to offer more context around the current issues, initiatives and decisions that shape our community,” says JC Kenny, the City’s Director of Communications & Customer Experience. 
Kenny notes the City has been looking for new ways to connect with residents who are not necessarily at a computer – such as commuters and rural residents – and with those who may prefer to listen rather than read about their municipality.
The podcasts are being produced and hosted in house by the Communications & Customer Experience team. Tell Me More episodes will be released on the final Friday of every month.”

7. Hazardous Waste Depot Opens for the Season
Received from the Kingstonist, March 30, 2021 – Paul  SoucyThis Thursday is not only April Fool’s day but also the opening of Kingston’s Household Hazardous Waste Depot. The Hazardous Waste Depot is located at the Kingston Area Recycling Centre, 196 Lappan’s Lane, and is open Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The depot accepts household hazardous waste items.

“Physical distancing and contactless service measures are in place, and residents are reminded to follow the directions provided by the depot attendants while visiting,” the City of Kingston said in a release dated Monday, Mar. 29, 2021.
The City asks that residents stay in their vehicles while waiting to be served by an attendant. Those who attend will be asked to either place their items into a basket provided by the attendant or stay in their vehicle while the attendant empties the items from their vehicle.
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) includes items such as adhesives, aerosol containers, antifreeze, batteries (all kinds), compact fluorescent lights and tubes, fire extinguishers, fuels, household cleaners, mercury devices (switches, thermometers and thermostats), oil, paint, propane cylinders and solvents.

Look for warning labels and instructions on products and handle any potentially hazardous materials with care, the City said. Do not mix hazardous materials and, when possible, bring items to the depot in their original containers.
The City asks residents to not bring these items to the HHW Depot:
Asbestos, incandescent light bulbs or smoke detectors (smoke detectors can go in your garbage). To dispose of explosives, flares or ammunition, contact Kingston Police for assistance at 613-549-4660.

Certain household hazardous waste items can be dropped off at other locations, according to the release.
– Expired or unused pharmaceuticals and your needles: If you find a needle, do not touch it. Contact KFL&A Public Health via the Street Health Centre at 613-549-1440 to report its location.
See or to find a list of retailers that take some household hazardous waste items.

Never put hazardous material in with regular garbage or recycling and never pour it down a drain or toilet. Store hazardous material in original containers in a cool, dry place safely away from food, children or pets until you can bring it to the household hazardous waste facility, the City said.

In addition to bringing proof of residency, residents are asked to wear a non-medical mask as well as washing or sanitizing their hands before and after visiting.

8. Sad Loss to Community of Quarry off  Hwy 15
This has been an illegal community swimming hole for years.  Many of us find filling in the quarry a truly sad loss while others see it as providing sorely needed housing.  In St. Mary’s ON, they made their old quarry into a pay-for-entry public swimming pool.

9. Excellent Zero Waste Tips for Everyone
From Monthly Blog from  Received April 1, 2021
Moving On: Using the Five Rs
While even these small starts can add up to a big difference, there’s a handy way of approaching a more advanced level of zero waste lifestyle. The Five Rs concept was devised by Bea Johnson, a leading light of the minimalist living movement, building on the original Three Rs of reduce, reuse, and recycle which were introduced in the 1970s
Adding two extra Rs of refuse and rot, the new Five Rs add up to a comprehensive approach to keeping your own waste footprint to an absolute minimum, without needing to live a spartan or self-denying life.
You can start working on your waste footprint by refusing the unneeded items which are thrust toward you almost every day. From marketing magazines, leaflets, and flyers, to promotional gifts and other freebies, there’s no reason you need to accept whatever you’re offered just because it’s free. And in any case, the vast majority of these free items are barely glanced at or used before finding their way to the trash.
Also, don’t accept single-use items or unnecessary packaging if there’s a readily available alternative. Always consider whether there’s a recyclable or reusable version of a product which you can buy instead, to stop wasteful items from entering your life at their source.
As well as refusing unnecessarily wasteful items, it’s an excellent strategy to reduce the overall amount of things you buy wherever you can. For example, plan a week’s menus in advance, and shop only for the ingredients you need, rather than buying things out of habit and wasting a proportion of them. You’ll spend less at the store, and discard less at the end of the week.
For items other than foods, decide whether any particular purchase is for something you’ll genuinely use. And if it is a justifiable buy, aim for quality so that the resources consumed to produce the product are likely to give lasting value.
Rather than throwing something in the trash when it’s no longer needed, consider ways to put it to a new use, just as with re-purposing glass jars for storage. Likewise, if an item is broken or damaged, see if it can be repaired rather than discarded.
And if an item is in good condition but simply unwanted or unused, consider donating it to a thrift shop so that it’s not wasted in the future.
Most everyday items today can be bought in recyclable packaging, so choose these whenever possible. Not only will the act of recycling preserve resources, but as you vote with your wallet recyclable materials will increasingly become the standard option.
5) ROT
Lastly, any vegetable scraps from the kitchen or trimmings from the garden can be rotted down into compost if you have the yard space. However, don’t add meat or dairy to your compost as they’ll attract pests and risk disease.
Luckily, most areas now have a drop-off point where waste food of all kinds can be left, with the collections being processed in a waste management center or biofuel production plant rather than being sent to landfill.

Specific Zero Waste Tips for Everyday Home Life
If the idea of zero waste is an attractive one to you, here are some concrete steps you can take to begin your journey toward being garbage free.
– Eat unprocessed foods wherever you can to reduce packaging and the carbon footprint of their production.
– Try to reuse leftovers, for example making broth from bones and vegetable off-cuts.
– Reduce detergent use by making an organic homemade cleaning product for your work surfaces. Combine equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water, and add a few drops of tea tree oil as a natural disinfectant.
– Buy your shampoos and soaps in bulk, refilling smaller containers for daily use.
– Leave behind expensive skincare products and use DIY personal care and makeup products. For example, a mixture of raw honey and extra virgin olive oil makes a great moisturizer that uses far less resources.
– Use a homemade toothpaste containing baking powder, a few drops of peppermint oil, and enough water to make a stiff paste.
– Use recycled toilet paper, and washable cloths instead of disposable wet wipes.
– Buy your laundry detergent in bulk, and use distilled white vinegar as a rinsing aid.
– White vinegar also makes a great organic surface and window cleaner. Simply mix one part vinegar to eight parts water, and add a little cornstarch to hold the mixture together.
– For more stubborn dirt, mix a quarter-cup of vinegar, four cups of water, and a tablespoon of baking soda to make a natural homemade cleaning product. For extra freshness, try adding a little freshly squeezed lemon juice.
– When the time comes, replace synthetic bedding with natural fiber materials like organic cotton or linen.
– Combine the clothes in your closet in new ways, rather than buying whole new outfits.
– Donate unused clothing to charity to extend its life, or use worn-out items as cleaning rags.

10. From South Frontenac – Draft Shoreline Protection By-Law
Received from Councillor Ross Sutherland,  March 29, 2021
Shoreline Protection Bylaw
A Staff looked at municipal legislation and tree cutting bylaws from three townships, Haliburton County; and, Muskoka Lakes and Georgian Bay Townships, (the links take you to those three bylaws) to analyze ways to protect trees along shorelines (item 7.c on the March 9 agenda). 
Some of the considerations are:
– How much of the shoreline should be protected?
– Should a permit be required for all shoreline tree cutting?
– Or, should certain activities be allowed as-of-right, like creating a path to the water or cutting trees to protect a legal development, with permits only required for other cutting?
– What should these “as-of-right” activities be?
Council discussed the issue and directed staff to create a draft shoreline protection bylaw and a process for broader community consultation.

11. Invasive Species in the Great Lakes

Early Detection: When it comes to Great Lakes invasives, prevention is the only cureGreat Lakes Now (Detroit, Michigan), March 24, 2021.  Of the many possible new invasive threats to the Great Lakes, 144 stand out in particular, according to a study released in 2021.  The study lists 144 fish, plants and invertebrates that could invade the Great Lakes or expand their range within them.  The species were listed by the risk of damage they pose to the Great Lakes environment or culture and the likelihood they’d be introduced by one of six pathways.  This list, part of an interstate push for surveillance and early detection, could be key in stopping new non-native species from entering the Great Lakes and slowing their spread.

12. How Shipping Ports Can Become More Sustainable

How shipping ports can become more sustainableThe Conversation CA Toronto, Ontario), March 25, 2021 (also appeared at yahoo! news).  Marine shipping drives 90 per cent of global trade, moving over 11 billion tonnes of containers, solid and liquid bulk cargo across the world’s seas annually.  Almost all consumer products we buy — or the raw materials required to make them — arrive at Canadian ports via ship.  Each year, Canadian port facilities handle about 340 million tonnes of goods, worth about $400 billion. Roughly 25 per cent of Canadian exports and imports, by value, are transported by marine shipping.  Society increasingly expects Canadian ports to balance economic growth with social and environmental impacts — and some Canadian ports are already integrating elements of sustainability into their operations.  But others could do more.

13. Disease Outbreaks more likely in Deforested Areas.

14. Forest Protection as Carbon Capture Strategy

In recent years, it has become quite common to hear current and former titans of industry (see: Bill Gates) tout the importance and necessity of new technologies to sequester carbon to keep it out of the atmosphere. While many of these carbon capture and storage (CCS) concepts sound promising, they are still in their infancy and require a great deal of energy to operate. Many scientists say that more natural methods are preferable. While many have espoused the virtues of tree-planting, this essay suggests that protecting old growth forests is even more vital and effective in pulling carbon out of the air. Why? Trees that have reached maturity — from root to bark to canopy — deal better with climate variability than young trees and store more carbon on an annual basis. Some of the oldest trees around — such as the redwoods and Douglas firs of the Pacific Northwest — can live for 800 years, which makes them very effective at long-term carbon sequestration. But protecting them from clear-cutting requires constant vigilance — as activists in B.C., for example, know only too well.

15. Buildings Made with Fungi
Received from WhatonEarth, March 26, 2021

Buildings made with fungi could live, grow — and then biodegrade
There’s been buzz lately about mycelium, a material made from fungi that’s being used as a greener substitute for leather and plastic in products such as clothing and packaging.
But more than a decade ago, designers were talking about mycelium’s potential for another use — as a building material. This could lead to the construction of healthier buildings made of components that are grown instead of manufactured and can be triggered to biodegrade at the end of their life, instead of piling up as demolition waste in landfills.

Mycelium is the root network of fungi, which in nature help decompose materials like wood and leaves, recycling their nutrients and storing their carbon in the soil. 
But it can also be grown by humans from waste materials such as sawdust or agricultural residues such as plant stalks and husks, recycling them and generating a new material or product within weeks in a low-cost, low-energy process compared to traditional manufacturing. 
It can even be grown to a particular shape, similar to the way concrete is cast. 

Joe Dahmen, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture, said people first became interested in mycelium for construction about 15 years ago as a substitute for foam insulation, which isn’t biodegradable and can pose a potential health hazard.
“There’s a real tie-in here with healthy buildings,” he said, noting that he became interested in mycelium as a replacement for formaldehyde-based glues.
Mycelium can be used for a variety of building elements. For example, the Italian firm Mogu already sells flooring tiles and soundproofing wall panels made from mycelium. The British biotech firm BIOHM is working to develop mycelium-based insulation panels.

A number of projects around the world have also used mycelium bricks as a construction material. They include Hy-Fi, a pair of two-storey cylindrical towers that won MoMA’s Young Architects Program competition in 2014, and the Mycelium Martian Dome installation by Toronto artist Tosca Teran at the Ontario Science Centre in 2019.
In most such projects, the mycelium is no longer growing. But Dahmen has experimented with projects in which the fungi remained alive, fusing bricks together and even producing mushrooms. 
They include a brick wall and a set of benches created with his wife, Amber Frid-Jimenez, Canada Research Chair in Art and Design Technology at Emily Carr University, and their design studio, AFJD.

“As architects and designers, we were really interested in the idea of a material that might aggregate and continue to grow once it was in the shape or form of whatever it was we were designing to,” Dahmen said. 
He said fungi can also go dormant to get through dry spells. Indoors, mycelium tends to dry out, becoming stronger and less spongy over time. 
“But that doesn’t mean they can’t reawaken later.… What seems exciting to me is the idea that we could include these materials in a building and they would be inert and non-toxic during the life of the building. Then, in the right conditions, they might reawaken and start digesting the materials.”

Dahmen acknowledges it’s important to be able to make sure it only happens at the right time, and the challenge of designing materials for long-term investments such as buildings is bigger than designing materials for products such as clothing.
“I’m also equally confident that we will ultimately get to building components made of these materials,” he said. “It just might take a bit longer.”
— Emily Chung

16. How to Make Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs – Looks like Fun!

17. Beautiful Feature on the Frontenac Arch Biosphere

18. Fun Otter Video

Happy Easter,
Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour