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December Newsletter 2023

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,

Wear something blue! And/or include something to do with the water!
Something fishy? Something boaty? 

Groups involved: Turtles Kingston; Swim,Drink,Fish; Marine Museum, FKIH
Silent Flight Tickets, Thu, 14 Dec 2023 at 6:00 PM | Eventbrite

What: Olde English Pub Carols. 
Four part singing but join whatever group you like.
Where: Something in the Water Pub, 275 Princess (between Clergy and Sydenham)
When:  Sunday, Dec 10 & Sunday, Dec 17, 7-9 pm
NOTES: Join us for a bite to eat beforehand between 5 and 7. 

NOTE: Most of the pieces in LOCAL EVENTS AND ISSUES are taken directly from the Kingstonist.
We are very grateful for their cooperation in helping us keep you informed.

1. Oak Street Food Forest Expansion
2. Downtown Kingston Gets Festive with 2023 Holiday Shopping Events
3. Feasibility Study to Inform on Redevelopment of Providence Manor Building
4. Climate Action Fund project will support All Our Relations Land Trust
5. Superior Court Rules Against Kingston on Encampment Case
6. Kingston Community Legal Clinic Responds to Encampment Ruling
7. Kingston Council Approves Community Standards By-Law
8. COVID-19, RSV, tick activity and more: KFLA MOH shares update
9. Minister of Transport Announces Green Shipping Corridor Program
10. Shipping Leaders and Green Hydrogen Producers Attempts at Net Zero
11. ON Hospital Emergency Closures Soar to New Record: ON Health Coalition Demands
12. International Joint Commission Update
13. Analyzing Fish Blood Can Show Us How Healthy They Are
14. Excellent Feature on Forever Chemicals
15. Video of me with my new love being interviewed about Successful Aging on YOURTV
Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about aging.
16. DIY Wax Paper and Ice Lanterns

1. Oak Street Food Forest Expansion

Received from the City of Kingston, end-November
“The Oak Street Food Forest has been growing for three years.  
The proposed expansion aims to increase the diversity of fruit grown and the eventual yield available to share with the community.
The expansion would:

  • Offer a wider variety of fruits
  • Give the ability to propagate plants in order to increase local food security in Kingston
  • Include a gradual addition of fruit trees
  • Help grow and contribute more food to the local community
  • Increase the size by 200 square metres.

Survey closes Dec 12 at 4 pm
All information received will be compiled and considered by staff for use under the purposes of this site. Information will be collected and used in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and other relevant privacy legislation.  All comments made on this site are available to the public and may form part of the public records.
2. Downtown Kingston Gets Festive with 2023 Holiday Shopping Events
Received from the Kingstonist, Dec 1, 2023 – Jessica Foley
Downtown Kingston gets festive with 2023 holiday shopping events (

3. Feasibility Study to Inform on Redevelopment of Providence Manor Building
Received from the Kingstonist, Dec 6, 2023 – Jessica Foley

“Providence Village Inc. (PVI) is exploring the possibility of redeveloping the existing 220,000-square-foot Providence Manor building into a community hub that will support the critical needs of affordable housing and community services for vulnerable populations in Kingston and the surrounding area.
The prospective Providence Commons project will possibly see the building at 275 Sydenham Street be repurposed, with a specific focus on supporting women and women-led households, according to a release from PVI. The organization is advancing the feasibility work on behalf of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, the owners of the Providence Manor property. This possible project would align with the redevelopment and relocation of Providence Manor to its new home at Providence Village as the Sisters determine the future use of the property.

Readers may remember that the concept for Providence Commons went before Kingston City Council in September 2022, where Council supported a feasibility study on the potential project
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, PVI announced the successful bid of Tim Welch Consulting Inc. (TWC), with partner Shoalts and Zaback Architects Ltd. (SZA), for the Request for Proposal (RFP) aimed at conducting a feasibility business case and engaging potential housing and community service providers and/or developers for the prospective Providence Commons project.

Full article?

4. Climate Action Fund project will support All Our Relations Land Trust
Received from the Kingstonist, Dec 1, 2023 – Jessica Foley

“The 2024 Kingston Community Climate Action Fund (KCCAF) project has been selected by Kingston City Council. The recipient, All Our Relations Land Trust, is set to lead a project aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions through the installation of solar panels and a new rainwater collection structure. 
Now entering its fourth year, the KCCAF raises awareness and support for community climate action projects, according to a release from the City of Kingston.”
Full article?

5. Superior Court Rules Against Kingston on Encampment Case
Received from the Kingstonist, Nov 24, 2023 – Tori Stafford
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled that the removal of the encampment at Belle Park would be a violation of the rights afforded to those living in the encampment by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In June of this year, the City of Kingston applied for an order through the Ontario Superior Court to remove the encampment at Belle Park, which has existed in different formats and sizes since 2020. Since then, Kingston Legal Clinic, which represented those living at the encampment, has publicly made known its objections to the City’s position, and rallies took place outside the courthouse as the parties began the court action on the hearings in July. Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, was the first of two days scheduled for the parties to present their arguments and supportive case law. The following day, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association was granted intervenor status in the matter.
As the hearing closed out at the beginning of November, it was left to Justice Ian Carter to decide on the matter — with the City arguing its right to maintain safe public space for all by way of its encampment protocol through Bylaw Number 2009-76, and John Done and William Florence of Kingston Legal Clinic arguing on behalf of encampment residents that the bylaw is in breach of the Charter. Today, Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, Justice Carter’s decision was made public, with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association applauding the development.
In writing out his decision, Carter made the matter before him clear and concise.
Full article?
Superior Court rules against City of Kingston on encampment case (

6. Kingston Community Legal Clinic Responds to Encampment Ruling
Received from the Kingstonist, Nov 27, 2023 – Dylan Chenier
“Members of the legal team representing residents of the encampment at Belle Park are speaking out after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled against the City of Kingston’s application for an injunction to remove the encampment. In a ruling issued on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, Justice Ian Carter found that removing the encampment would violate the rights afforded to encampment residents under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This past June, the City of Kingston officially applied to the court for an order to begin enforcing provisions of its parks bylaw, which would allow officers to remove the encampment at Belle Park near the Integrated Care Hub (ICH), an encampment which has existed in various forms since early 2020.
Justice Carter’s ruling specifically noted that a ban on “overnight” camping at the public park violated the Charter rights of those residing at the encampment. “It is not for this court to weigh the pros and cons of the encampment,” wrote the judge, “but rather to determine whether the relevant provisions of the By-Law are in breach of the Charter. I conclude that [those provisions are in breach of the Charter] to the extent they prevent homeless persons from camping overnight in public parks.”
Now, members of the Kingston Community Legal Clinic (KCLC), who were retained by 14 encampment residents to defend them against the City’s injunction request, are opening up about the case and what the ruling means for residents of the encampment. KCLC Executive Director John Done called Justice Carter’s ruling a “win,” despite the fact it was not necessarily an outright victory for his side.” 
Full article?

7. Kingston Council Approves Community Standards By-Law
Received from the Kingstonist, Nov 22, 2023 – Dylan Chenier
“At its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, Kingston City Council voted to approve a new Community Standards Bylaw, an item which has polarized local residents and community groups since it was first brought forward back in 2022. The bylaw sets sweeping standards for how residents are permitted to behave in public, covering everything from loitering to feeding wildlife and even public defecation/urination. 
While some elements of the proposed bylaw are consistent with existing municipal policies and goals, such as regulations on how excess building materials can be sold and new limits on how long motorists can leave their vehicles idling, the bylaw also clamps down on those loitering on public sidewalks, something that has become a common occurrence throughout the city’s downtown core in recent years. 
The notion of a community standards bylaw first came about in June of 2022. At that time Kingston City Council directed staff to explore options for a “nuisance bylaw” after officials had reportedly received complaints from residents regarding the behaviours of certain unhoused people. After months of public engagement and committee meetings, the proposed bylaw was presented to councillors for consideration on Tuesday night. 
Before councillors were able to debate the document, a number of delegations appeared before Council to share their thoughts on the proposed bylaw — of those delegations, eight spoke against the proposed bylaw, and three spoke in favour of it. First to speak was Peter Kingston, chair of SPEAKingston, a volunteer-run organization focused on “creating a vision for Kingston.” Kingston shared his thoughts in favour of the community standards bylaw, saying, “Our city is in the middle of a crisis, and although this crisis is not unique to Kingston, the impact on our community is far-reaching and perhaps even more potentially devastating than it may be for other communities.”
Kingston claimed that downtown business owners have been negatively impacted by incidents of “theft, violence, physical threats to staff and customers, [and] public defecation,” among other issues. “At a recent meeting hosted by the [Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA)], we also heard descriptions of the downtown as a place where anything goes and where either the police have given up responding… or business owners and community members have given up even reporting [the incidents],” added Kingston, urging councillors to support the new bylaw.”
Full article?

8. COVID-19, RSV, tick activity and more: KFLA MOH shares update
Received from the Kingstonist, Nov 24, 2023 – Michelle Dorey-Forestell
“COVID-19 activity is high in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) region, according to the Medical Officer of Health, and other respiratory illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinoviruses are on the rise. 
Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for KFL&A Public Health, made his monthly report to the Board of Health on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. The update included an overview of virus activity, vaccine rollout, tick seasons, and some new language programming.” 
Full article?

9Minister of Transport announces the Green Shipping Corridor Program to help cut pollution in marine shipping,Yahoo Finance, December 1, 2023. The Minister of Transport, the Honorable Pablo Rodriguez, announced the creation of the Green Shipping Corridor Program, an investment of $165.4 million, and launched a call for proposals under this program. The program will establish green shipping corridors and help decarbonize the marine sector in major shipping areas along the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and Canada’s east and west coasts.
10.Shipping leaders and green hydrogen producers agree on ambitious uptake targets for 2030 to enable a net zero maritime sector, Climate Champions, December 6, 2023. Thirty leaders in the shipping sectors – including cargo owners, ship operators, ports, bunkering companies, and equipment manufacturers – signed a Joint Commitment, organized by the UN High Level Champions and RMI, today at COP28 to enable the use of renewable hydrogen-derived shipping fuel this decade to meet maritime industry decarbonization targets. The Commitment includes important targets for fuel use, fleet development, and port infrastructure needed to get the nascent green hydrogen industry to scale.  

11. ON Hospital Emergency Closures Soar to New Record:
Health Coalition demands Ford government finally take action
Received Dec 5, 2023 from the Ontario Health Coalition
“Toronto – A new report, Unprecedented and Worsening: Ontario’s Local Hospital Closures 2023 released by the Ontario Health Coalition at Queen’s Park this morning, paints a stark picture of a health care system that has tipped into collapse.

Across Ontario, vital hospital services, such as emergency departments, maternity and obstetrics, outpatient laboratories and intensive care units, have been subject to repeated closures in the last three years. Those closures were unprecedented. Now, the Coalition found that the number of emergency department closures has increased even more. Not only are emergency departments shuttered for evenings, overnights, weekends or weeks and months at a time, but so too are labour and delivery units, obstetrics, outpatient laboratories, urgent care centres and intensive care units. The duration of closures is getting longer. Multiple towns across regions are closing vital services at the same time. Public notice is often last minute.

In its report released today, the Ontario Health Coalition tracked the closures of these urgent hospital services and found the following closures to date in 2023:
·        868 temporary or permanent emergency department closures (one is permanent);
·        316 urgent care centre closures;
·        two outpatient laboratory closures;
·        eleven obstetrics unit closures;
·        one ICU closure, and;
·        one labour and delivery unit closure (long-term).
In total, there have been 1,199 closures of vital hospital services this year up until November 24, meaning these services have temporarily or permanently closed in 1,199 instances. Consequently, 31,055 hours of care (equivalent to 3.44 years) have been lost to local communities this year so far.

A growing number of local hospitals are at risk of permanently losing services.
·        The local emergency department in Chesley has been closing evenings, overnight and on weekends since December 5, 2022.
·        Clinton’s emergency department has been closed from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. since December 2019.
·        The town of Durham in Western Ontario has had at least 51 emergency department closures in 2023 to date.
·        Seaforth has had 17 temporary emergency department closures this year, Walkerton has had 20 and Wingham has had 31.
·        The Fort Erie and Port Colborne urgent care centres permanently closed overnight on July 5, and;
·        The Minden hospital’s emergency department permanently closed on June 1.
·        In Hearst, more than an hour away from the nearest hospital, labour and delivery has been closed for months.
·        Communities as remote as Red Lake and Manitoulin Island have warned they are on the brink of closures.

It is indisputable that these closures are endangering the health of Ontario residents,” warned Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. “There is no excess hospital capacity to be closed. Ontario has well-documented levels of hospital overcrowding and consequential emergency department backups that are extreme by all standards, national and international. The hospitals to which patients must drive — or to which they must somehow find transportation when their local hospital services are closed – are already overburdened and understaffed.”

“In the North, the distances between hospitals that are experiencing service closures are huge. Some hospitals have had services closed when they are an hour to four hours away from the next open service,” she added. “In the counties of Midwestern Ontario – Perth, Huron, Wellington, Dufferin, Bruce and Grey – we are seeing multiple hospital emergency departments closed at the same time with little to no notice. Patients in medical crises have to confirm on their own that the next hospital emergency isn’t also closed.”

The immediate cause of the closures is staff shortages including nurse, health professional and physician shortages. Staffing shortages that were emerging prior to the pandemic have grown over the last three years into the worst crisis anyone has seen. The staffing crisis has been compounded by public policy choices by the Ford government that have actively undermined staffing efforts, including wage suppression legislation (Bill 124), privatization of staffing through for-profit staffing agencies, the government’s decision to end emergency COVID funding for locums and other funding, and extremely short-term funding arrangements announced after short staffing has become critical.

Ms. Mehra also blamed the worsening situation on an unprecedented failure of leadership:

“The Ford government has not stepped in and set a standard of expectation that these vital services remain open,” she said, noting that historically the Health Minister has intervened to halt closures. However, in response to the permanent closure of the Minden hospital emergency department, in existence since 1956, the Minister said it is a local decision.

“The failure of the provincial government to take responsibility for planning, recruiting and retaining needed health care staff, dealing with crises and setting standards for access to the most urgent of health care services is at odds with the approach of Ontario’s governments dating back at least forty years.”

Long term policies of underfunding hospitals in order to downsize them meant that Ontario had no surge capacity left by the beginning of the pandemic. Ontario has the fewest hospital beds per person left of any province in Canada and funds hospitals at the lowest rate in the country. Despite promises to end hallway medicine and not to cut public services, the Ford government imposed a new round of austerity and real-dollar cuts to public hospitals when it took power. While the government provided extra funding during the early years of the pandemic, it cancelled  COVID funding in the most recent budget, imposing austerity again.

This year, hospital funding in Ontario is increasing by only 0.5% while health care inflation increased by 5.65%, a real-dollar cut, forcing hospitals to downsize their services and continuing downward pressure on wages for staff that are already in crisis-levels of short supply. At the same time, they have vastly increased funding for for-profit clinics and hospitals, and for for-profit staffing agencies.

There can be no solution to the staffing crisis without retaining and attracting back staff into the regular workforce of our public hospitals. Instead, the provincial government is making public policy choices to impose budget austerity on public hospitals while funding private staffing agencies, not taking leadership, attempting to impose further wage suppression, and providing only short-term and belated emergency funding. The Health Coalition demanded the Ford government take real action to address the crisis.

We are proud of the difference we make and we hope you are too. This work is only made possible by people who care like you. Please do become a member or donate. It matters!
To donate or become a member? 

12. International Joint Commission Update, Nov, 2023

Diplomacy and Cooperation under International Watersheds Initiative

Full update?

13. Analyzing Fish Blood Can Show Us How Healthy Fish Are
Received from The Conversation Nov 14, 2023

14. Excellent Feature on Forever Chemicals
Received Dec 4, 2023 from James Brown.  Thanks so much.
NOTE: We at FKIH are very concerned about PAHs and PCBs as they are contained in the legacy contaminants in the buried sediments of the Inner Harbour.  Our major concern with the proposed Transport Canada dredging is that these chemicals will be exposed and become pollutants rather than remain buried contaminants. Also we wonder what the differences in concentrations are between these forever chemicals already in Lake Ontario and those in the Inner Harbour. We have yet to receive any answers about this.

15. Video of me with my new love being interviewed about Successful Aging on YOURTV –
Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about older people

16. DIY Wax Paper Lanterns and Ice Lanterns
How to Make Ice Lanterns • Little Pine Learners

So that’s it for December,
Wishing you all a wonderful time of connection with family and friends

Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour