Menu Close

June Newsletter 2020

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,
Strange times.  Hope you are not suffering too much from Zoom Fatigue!
First, thanks so much to Hilbert Buist for this photo reflectiing the calm but motionful beauty of June rain.
We can also be most grateful to Dr. Kieran Moore and Kingston Public Health for saving us from the worst – so far! Two related issues seem of real importance at the moment: Belle Park, and a broader network of streets for pedestrians and cyclists given COVID-19.  Other wonderful and informative June info too.

1. Belle Park Camp Issues
2. Active Transportation Suggestions for City’s COVID-19 Response
3. Words from the Wild: KFL&A Library videos for kids during Pandemic
4. Kingston Transit News
5. Central Kingston Growth Strategy Update – comments welcome til June 12
6. “Treasured Memories Brushed with Love”
7. Fascinating piece on the American Eel that once was common in the Inner Harbour
8. Citizens Invited to do Online Delegations at City Meetings
9. Public Works: Park and Trail Clean-Ups during COVID
10. New City Pulse Point App
11. Water Messages from Utilities Kingston
12. Investing in Great Lakes Restoration Paying Off
13. Water Level Updates
14. Great News from Turtles Kingston
15. Just Recovery Community Outreach

1. Belle Park Camp Issues
Originally a small encampment was in Confederation Basin and the city suggested to the campers that they go to Belle Park where the encampment now has up to 40 people.  In the meantime the city has tried to find alternative housing in the east and west ends.  These options have not been well received due to regulations.  Dr. Kieren Moore has health concerns with the Belle Park site and would like the campsite relocated for health reasons.  The city has been reaching out to individuals to try and accommodate.  Homeless people have rights enshrined by the UN that should be respected.  This is a complex issue. 

Councillor Robert Kiley has written an excellent piece in the Kingstonist outlining the problem well.
The city has also put out a short video outlining their perspective.
And the city also reached out to the campers personally:
In addition, a group of citizens has organized a petition on behalf of the campers stating that eviction violates their rights.

The situation is further complicated by the closeness of the Belle Park encampment to Belle Island, the sacred ground of an Indigenous burial site. Concerns exist within the urban Indigenous community about campers spilling over to the island.  The island has had increasing problems with campers, fires, meth equipment, trails slashed through the site, dogs let loose that scare wildlife, garbage, and recently the cutting down of some nearby trees.  The Caretakers of Belle Island  are a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous members who look after the island, protect the wildlife, clean up garbage, and try to ensure that the city abides by its legal agreement  to manage the island in a respectful way that allows it to return to nature.  For several years now the Caretakers have monitored the island on a daily basis.  Warnings are issued to campers.  Attempts are made by the city and organizations like Street Health to help them find alternatives.  If the warnings go unheeded, the tents are removed by the city.
Friday June 5 is the date the city has set for trying to move the campers to better locations.  It appears now that the deadline may be extended. A group of Caretakers plan to be at the bridge to Belle Island that day drumming to heal and also to inform any campers who might want to relocate there that the island is sacred ground, off limits to campers, and that dogs should be on leashes to protect wildlife.

2. Active Transportation Suggestions for City’s COVID-19 Response.
At a May 20 special meeting of Council, CAO Lanie Hurdle presented Report Number 20-128 entitled “COVID-19 Response Update” – a truly amazing well considered response to the virus put together by Ms. Hurdle and City Staff.  The only thing missing was a strong Active Transportation component that would see more streets opened for pedestrians and cyclists during the emergency – as many other cities are doing.
Given this perceived lack, Janette Leroux of the Facebook group “Kingston Beyond COVID: Response & Recovery Network for a Just Future” and I both did delegations.  I was suggesting an option Roger Healey and I have been working at (on and off for the past 5 years or so) called “Cycle Priority Routes” where speed limits would be reduced and signs put up indicating the presence of bikes to alert car drivers.  These routes would provide safe options for grandparents and grandchildren to connect neighbourhoods with one another and with the downtown and the K&P Trail.  It should also provide safe routes for students to the new high school.  Given the excellent collaboration between city staff and the Downtown Business Improvement Association to open up some downtown streets, I was suggesting that the city could collaborate in a similar way with the Kingston Coalition for Active Transportation to come up with suggested safe corridors. 
Janette focused on “Quiet Streets”.  Theses are blocks closed to all but local traffic where families can get exercise while maintining social distancing.
As a follow-up to this meeting, Janette has been working with her group and with members of KCAT to come up with suggestions, hoping for a motion to  Council with help from Councillors Bridget Dougherty and Robert Kiley.
More Info:

3. Words from the Wild: KFLA Library Nature Videos for Kids during Pandemic
KFPL has been making a series of wildlife videos for kids during the pandemic closure.
This week’s “Words from the Wild” features snapping turtles.
Here is the turtle video:
There will be another in June about dragonflies and damselflies.
Families can also follow their Youtube channel to make sure they don’t miss any new content such as Meredith’ Maker Lab with crafting projects on Wednesdays, and a Storytime Express sent out by email on Mondays that they can sign up for on the library website –
In other library news, book returns are now openand they will soon be launching curbside pickup so patrons can reserve books and other library materials.

4. Kingston Transit News
Received May 20
Kingston Transit has adjusted service beginning Monday, May 25 to better support the needs of riders making essential trips. Service changes include:
Expanded service hours from approximately 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on select routes including routes 501, 502, 601, 602, 701, 702, 1, and 7.
– Increased service frequency from approximately 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on select routes including 501, 502, 701, 702, 801, 802, 1, 4, and 7.
Addition of two temporary routes, routes 1A and 3A, to provide additional service in areas with higher passenger demand.
Updated schedules are available online at Riders can also plan their trips using Google Maps, TransitApp, or Moovit.

Kingston Transit reminds riders that bus capacity remains limited and transit should be used for essential trips only. To limit the spread of COVID-19, Kingston Transit continues to ensure increased sanitizing practices on all common touch points aboard buses. ask riders, whenever possible, to board and exit buses using the back doors. and assist passengers with lost and found and trip planning service by phone at 613-546-0000 or online at

5. Central Kingston Growth Strategy Update – comments welcome til June 12.
This presentation includes preliminary recommendations for proposed changes to the City’s Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw, and urban design guidelines, based on proposed intensification and infill areas.
The study area for the strategy includes the residential areas of central Kingston except for the area covered by the North King’s Town Secondary Plan, the Kingston Provincial Campus Secondary Plan, and the downtown core and the Princess Street corridor, including Williamsville Main Street. 
Learn more about the Central Kingston Growth Strategy and make comments on the City’s website and by visiting the Get Involved Kingston project page.

Thanks so very much to Mattnew Gventer and the Kingscourt Community Association for the following useful personal assessment

The Youtube presentation on the Central Kingston Growth Strategy is very interesting. 
Here is what I (Matthew) think the study is recommending. This also represents a bare minimum of its message.  There is much more detail to it than what follows. (Note that this is a work in progress, not City policy.). 
The Official Plan and Zoning bylaw will protect neighbourhoods from oversized building in stable neighbourhoods by making development consistent with the existing size of properties on lots and the design of developments consistent with the character of the nieighbourhood..
Intensification through duplexing, triplexing and secondary suites will be OK as long as the previous condition is met.
Inclusion of commercial options and multipurpose housing will be encouraged to add to the urban life.
Intensificatiion through multiunit and higher buildings will be directed to corridors along stable neighbourhoods and have to be designed so there is transition to the adjacent neighbourhood

The study staff are seeking your input to the report via a question and answer process. until June 12 at 4 p.m. Questions can be shared through the Get Involved Kingston Q&A tool and comments can be emailed to Planning staff and project consultants will be addressing all resident feedback.
The recommended policies and guidelines are intended to:
– Foster compatibility and adaptability
– Maintain the character of the neighbourhood
– Integrate sustainability and accessibility
– Preserve cultural and natural resources 

Link to the written presentation

Link to the background report (quite large)

Link to the strategic directions report

6. “Treasured Memories Brushed with Love”
Shirley Gibson-Langille’s 2nd book is now out “Treasured Memories Brushed with Love.” 71 stories and paintings that go with them of Kingston and area. ex. The Bailey Broom Factory, Tea for two (Hield Brother’s Woolen Mill). Vandervoort Hardware Store, Morrison’s Restaurant,, Cornerstone, A-One Clothing Store, Cooke’s Fine Food, The Rocking Horse and many more of Downtown Kingston, Perseverance Soup. Rosemary’s Bathroom, Hermit’s Haven, Max the Turtle, Zorbas…  143 pages $25. Contact: Shirley Gibson-Langille 613 549 8360.
7. Fascinating piece on the American Eel that once was common in the Inner Harbour

8. Citizens Invited to do Online Delegations at City Meetings
The City of Kingston has put a process in place to allow those wishing to address Council or a committee to appear as a delegation during virtual meetings.
“This allows us to continue to offer residents and stakeholders the ability to speak directly to these decision-makers about items on their agendas as they meet electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says John Bolognone, City Clerk.
Delegations must pre-register by noon on the day of the meeting to provide time for them and staff to ensure their technology is functioning properly. City Council and committee meetings are conducted using Zoom and YouTube and both platforms are free to access without downloading. The video function for delegations will not be turned on, ensuring that the inside of a delegation’s home will not be shown to members of the public.
Review the agenda and reports for the next Council meeting, then apply to appear before Council or Committees and speak to the issues that matter to you most on the delegations page.
All residents can stay engaged with Council and committees by watching the live-stream or archived of meetings on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel
You can also watch live on YourTV, Channel 13. 7 pm is the typical start time.

9. Public Works: Park and Trail Clean-Ups during COVID
Have you noticed a public place in need of some TLC? Let the City’s Public Works team know.

Have you noticed private property that could use cleaning up? The standard of cleanliness for private property is regulated by City bylaws. Contact the Bylaw Enforcement Officer for your area by clicking on the map on the bottom of the Bylaw Enforcement page or call 613-546-0000.

“Safety is our number one priority and this year it’s more important than ever. We want to ensure our crews are protected while working to keep our city safe and beautiful for everyone to enjoy,” says Bill Linnen, Director, Public Works. “Kingston has over 200 parks and over 40 kilometres of trails to maintain, so work will take some time. If you notice an area that needs attention, let us know and our crews will get to it.”

11.  New City Pulse Point App
Received May 20
Kingston Fire & Rescue (KFR) is introducing an upgraded version of PulsePoint to Kingston – a free mobile app that alerts its users when someone within 500m is experiencing a cardiac event and needs life-saving help. 
“We’re happy to continue to work with PulsePoint to provide residents with a tool that supports their health and safety,” says Fire Chief Shawn Armstrong.
Are you CPR-trained? The free app is available for download on Apple or Android devices (via your app store). You can also go to for more information.

“Cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of preventable death, with 40,000 sudden cardiac arrests occurring in Canada each year. That’s one every 13 minutes. PulsePoint is intended to help save lives by quickly connecting those who are CPR-trained with those who have suffered a cardiac arrest in a public place,” says Richard Price, the PulsePoint Foundation president.

Kingston was the first community in Canada to introduce the app in 2015. KFR discontinued its use last fall and has been working with PulsePoint to address public safety and privacy concerns. 
This new version of PulsePoint provides all the previously enjoyed functionalities of the app, however, details that could lead to privacy concerns have been removed when a medical event occurs in a private place such as a personal dwelling. In these cases the street, not the specific location, is pinpointed on the PulsePoint map.    

During the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Heart & Stroke Foundation Canada, more than 80 per cent of heart attacks occur in the home. For incidents that happen in a public space during COVID-19, the agency has created this resource that outlines steps you might take in order to safely help someone experiencing cardiac arrest. 

11. Water Messages from Utilities Kingston
Received May 20
Utilities reminds community to check their online sewer overflow map
With the City of Kingston recently reopening some municipal boat launches, Utilities Kingston would like to remind boaters and other waterfront users to check its sewer overflow map after heavy rainfalls. (Note that beaches and other park amenities remain closed until further notice.)
Kingston’s waterfront is a clean, safe place to boat, fish or swim. But, bacteria levels in lakes and rivers are higher up to 48 hours after a heavy rainfall and swimming is not recommended during that time. Sewer overflows can contribute to the problem. Utilities Kingston’s online map shows where sewer overflows have occurred in real time.
“We are proud to be transparent in helping residents make more informed decisions on recreational water use, as we continue to both reduce sewer overflows and openly share information,” says Jim Keech, President and CEO of Utilities Kingston. “Water users can consider our real-time sewer overflow map before they use certain locations at Lake Ontario within 48 hours of a heavy rainfall.”
When Kingstonians or visitors plan to boat, fish or swim in Lake Ontario within 48 hours after heavy rain, they are encouraged to first check the map at  Sewer overflow locations affecting the Great Cataraqui River, the Little Cataraqui Creek, and other surrounding bodies of water are also shown.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, water users will also need to consider provincial orders and municipal information, including practicing physical distancing.
“KFL&A Public Health supports Utilities Kingston in their initiative to improve public notification of sewer overflows into recreational waters. This information is beneficial to the public’s health and we’re glad that it’s being shared. The sewer overflow map is a resource that should be considered after a heavy rain fall, before deciding to participate in recreational activities on the water,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Public Health.

How we’re reducing sewer overflows?
Utilities Kingston and the City continue to improve infrastructure to reduce sewer overflows. Over the last twenty years, they have been working to separate Kingston’s historic combined sewer system and install large holding tanks to reduce overflows and rainwater that enters the sanitary system. These activities help reduce the sewer overflows associated with heavy rainfalls. 
In 2020, Utilities Kingston will continue to separate combined sewers to further reduce combined sewer overflows. The work will take place on College Street (from Union to Hill), Napier Street (from Hill to Earl), Toronto Street (from Earl to Johnson), and Frontenac Street (from Earl to Johnson).

More information?
You can learn about projects to reduce sewer overflows and see an animated map showing where Utilities Kingston has separated sewers since 2001 at, where you can also view a brief video animation about sewer overflows in Kingston, and frequently asked health and technical questions.

Water quality considerations
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Utilities Kingston continues to operate water treatment facilities and associated systems to ensure a supply of high quality drinking water to every home and business within the urban area of Kingston.
Property owners should be aware that the potable water in unoccupied or reduced-occupancy buildings may become stagnant in interior plumbing pipes or on your property beyond the demarcation point.
Before reopening or increasing your building’s occupancy, you should take steps to help ensure the provincial drinking water quality standard is being met. These steps could be carried out in accordance with:
– Any manufacturer’s direction on internal plumbing equipment
– Applicable municipal bylaws
– The advice of a licensed plumber
– The property’s Building Water Management Plan
– Any other applicable regulations or guidelines
– Property owners may also want to consider the following:
– Flushing water lines and privately-owned fire hydrants.
– Routine maintenance on mechanical equipment, point-of-entry, and point-of-use devices.
– Routine maintenance of building plumbing, including trap seals, floor drains, sink drains and water filters.
– Abiding by the installation, maintenance, and testing of approved backflow prevention devices, in accordance with Water Bylaw No. 2006-122.
– Communicating with building occupants.
For further information, building owners may consider the following resources:
Safely Reopening Buildings: A Fact Sheet for Building Owners/Operators, Canadian Water and Wastewater Association
Building Water Systems Minimum Requirements – (COVID-19), Public Services and Procurement Canada

More Info? Utilities Kingston’s Water Quality Office at 613-546-1181, ext. 2525.
Questions about plumbing? Call City of Kingston Building Services at 613-546-4291, ext. 3234.

12. Investing in Great Lakes Restoration Paying Off
Study: 35 years of investing in Great Lakes restoration is paying off, KLBK | KAMC (Lubbock, Texas), May 25, 2020.  An international partnership over the last 35 years makes economic sense and revitalizes communities.  The United States and Canada have invested over $22.8 billion over the last 35 years to restore Areas of Concern throughout the Great Lakes, according to a study published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.  The study found that the money has been well-spent with investments in cleanups helping revitalize communities with over a 3 to 1 return on investment.  Basically, for every $1 spent, the communities received $3 worth of benefits.  One of the authors of the study Gail Krantzberg of McMaster University says that investing in pollution prevention will avoid substantial future cleanups in the long run.  The study traced the history of the Great Lakes Remedial Action Plan program from when it started in 1985 as well as identifying what has been accomplished and learned since that time.

13. Water Level Updates + New Great Lake Records Set
New Site – LEVELnews: monitoring Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River water levels, Government of Canada, May 2020. LEVELnews is a newsletter that provides a monthly update on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River water levels.  May 2020 is now available online.

Great Lakes Water Levels Set New Record, Keweenaw Report (Upper peninsula of Michigan), May 13, 2020.  Great Lakes water levels continue to break records, and not in a good way.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District has reported that Lakes Michigan and Huron, have set new, monthly mean water level records for April 2020.  The last time water levels were this high, was back in the mid-80’s.  Currently, all Great Lakes are either experiencing seasonal rise, or are reaching their peak, as we go into the late Spring and Summer.Despite heavy rainfall, towards the end of the month, April was quite dry for the Great Lakes region.  In the next few months, the Great Lakes, minus Ontario, are expected to reach record high water levels, with erosion and flooding continuing where water levels remain high.

Lake Ontario level begins seasonal decline, NNY360 (Watertown, New York), May 29, 2020 (also appeared in the Brockville Recorder and Times).  Lake Ontario’s level has begun its seasonal decline, well below its peak level a year ago, but still well above its long-term average for this point in the year.  The lake’s level typically does not peak until early June, but did so early this year — on May 5 at 247.38 feet.  This level is 20 inches below the peak of 2019, a year of widespread shoreline flooding on the lake and St. Lawrence River.  However, it was also just 4 inches below its general flood stage level.  The level has since dropped two more inches.  With the decline, the International Joint Commission has withdrawn the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board’s authority to deviate from Plan 2014, the basic regulation plan used to determine lake and river outflows.

14. Great News from Turtles Kingston
This is HUGE ! And sets a precedent for other communities.
TURTLES KINGSTON successfully lobbied the Public Works Department of the City of Kingston to reschedule their annual ROAD MAINTENANCE practices in all of the City’s wetland areas outside of the entire TURTLE SEASON from the end of May to the end of September except for emergency situations like road washouts which carry a liability factor for the City. All Road Maintenance activities like grading, mowing and restoration practices are rescheduled outside of the Turtle Season. The exception to mowing during the turtle season is when there is an entrance to a property located in a wetland area where both sides of the entrance must be mowed to maintain the sight lines for safety reasons. The use of pesticides and/or herbicides are completely banned in the wetland areas along with the use of ‘granular sealants’ which have serious negative impacts on nesting turtles.
Road maintenance practices are extremely invasive and generally destroy the precious nests of the turtles found on the roadsides. Vegetation management exposes a wide variety of species, including pollinators, to the use of highly toxic chemicals. These chemicals are mixed together to create compounds that have never been tested as to their impact on people or the environment. Research is showing cancers in 2nd and 3rd generations as a consequence of the use of these toxic products.
The bioaccumulation of these substances in the wetland sediments is a major concern. Spraying roadside vegetation near the wetlands guarantees that these chemicals make their way into the wetland waters. This is consequential because the wetlands are the reservoirs for our freshwater sources.
We congratulate the Public Works Department of the City of Kingston – Municipal Government
for their commitment to the preservation and protection of our wetlands and the species within, many of which are classified as ‘endangered’.

15. Just Recovery Community Outreach Zoom Info
Received May 31

“Hi! This is a message from Jeremy, your host…. Our event is now only one week away! I’m writing to ask you to do something that will make our event more successful. Could you spread the word and invite friends/family to come out? The more people we have thinking/sharing/talking, the better our ideas will be and the greater our impact.

Here’s the facebook link for the event with the Zoom info::[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22surface%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22home%22%7D%2C%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22surface%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22create_dialog%22%7D]%7D

and here’s the 350 webpage you can share with people. It also has share buttons right on the page that you can use!

I’ll be in touch again in a couple of days to preview the event a bit.
Looking forward to getting together Monday, June 8 at 7 PM!
To contact the event host, visit

So that’s a wrap for the June newsletter.  Wishing you all a wonderful month ahead.
Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,