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May Newsletter 2024

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour, 
Thanks so much Debbie O’Grady for the picture.  She always finds the most amazing stuff!

What a tumultuous month – what with the meeting about the Inner Harbour dredging proposal and the North King’s Town Secondary Plan public meeting.  
Hoping May will be focused on gardening and the beginnings of cottage fun!

1. Report on the $70,000,000 Dredging Project Meeting
2. North King’s Town Secondary Plan Public Meeting Update
4. Feds Announce Plan to build 250k Homes on Public Land
5. Local Youth Imagine the Future Organization Wins Award
6. Mayor for a Day – Grade 5 Students Can Apply to Share Ideas for Improving Kingston
7. Science Rendezvous Fun – Slush Puppy Place, May 11
8. Report on a Survey of Downtown Businesses
9. Great lakes Museum – Tours of Keewatin Starting in May
10. Community Foundation Day of Learning

11. Robotic Beach Cleaner Deployed to Tackle Great Lakes Plastic Pollution
12.  86% if Great Lakes Litter is Plastic – 20 year Study Shows
13. Are the Great Lakes the Key to Solving America’s Emissions Conundrum?
14. Waterloo Researchers and Plastic Pollution
15. Take Action on Salt Pollution
16. Author Shares Tips to Save Thousands of Dollars with Greener Habits
17. Transit Putting Wheels on the Bus: Public Transit Pollicy to Meet Climate Goals
18. Beautiful Belle Island Video – Old But Worth Another Look 
1. Report on the Dredging Meeting

The special meeting of the Environment, Infrastructure, and Transportation Policies Committee was held Wed, April 24.
I did a delegation on behalf of the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour outlining
1. No dredging should occur because risk to humans is negligeable and risk to habitat is great.
2. Capping should be minimized so as not to destroy habitat.
3. Timing Concerns: Storm sewer issues, the Tannery development, and ownership issues should happen first
4. Natural shorelines with mixtures of native species should be created throughout with guidance from Joyce Hostyn of Little Forests Kingston.
5. The city’s lawyers should examine possible legal ramifications should dredging contaminate the city’s drinking water.
6.The city should spend the $10,000,000 being requested from them as their contribution on more important priorities.

The following members of the public gave excellent comments at the end of the Golder presentation:

Bob Clark (Metalcraft Marine), Dan Webster (Frontenac Boaters), Marinus Sorenson (citizen with special interest in underground water flow), Lisa Cadue (Belle Island Caretakers’ Circle), Randy Cadue (Belle Island Caretakers’ Circle), Chris Hargreaves (Kingston Field Naturalists) and Kerry Hill (Queen’s Physiology).
Bob Clark mentioned the Fox River where dredging caused PCB pollution in the water. He showed a picture of the boat Metalcraft built for them to use for water monitoring required for the next 25 years – at great cost.
Dan Webster read a letter from Elmer St. Pierre, Chief of the Canadian Congress of Aboriginal Peoples expressing drinking water concerns, Marinus pointed out a number of underground rivers that run into the Great Cataraqui River that should be monitored, Lisa spoke about Indigenous concerns about the water, Randy Cadue was concerned about where the dredged material would be taken as land fill sites for contaminated material are rapidly filling up.
Chris Hargreaves pointed to the fact that six extremely knowledgeable Queen’s professors in a variety of different fields including Earth Sciences, Environmental Science, Geography, Physiology, and Chemical Engineering were all opposed to the dredging for a number of different reasons. 
Kerry Hill spoke to the lack of rational for decisions being made about proposed depths for dredging.
There were also written submissions from Peter Hodson, Prof Emeritus, Environmental Science, and co-author of “Ecotoxicology” published by the Cambridge University Press, and Laura Cameron, Professor of Geography.

Here is a recent Global news feature where the water issue is addressed.

Here is a paragraph from Wikipedia on dredging from  :
“Dredging has significant environmental impacts: it can disturb marine sediments, leading to both short- and long-term water pollution, destroy important seabed ecosystems, and can release legacy human-sourced toxins captured in the sediment. These environmental impacts can significantly hurt marine wildlife populations, contaminate sources of drinking water and interrupt economic activities such as fishing.”

And have a look at the following videos that demonstrate the real mess caused by dredging – regardless of how much the consultants say that the damage can be dealt with effectively. 
Thanks Bob Clark of Metalcraft Marine for these:
“The following Youtube videos show hand dredging (Diver) which is the least invasive way to dredge small areas, but you will see in the videos that there is still a lot of disturbed silt being added to the marine environment and Anglin Bay. I’m not sure if a Dive Company would put their divers into water to be exposed to the toxins they are supposed to remove.”
This one is my favourite. It’s called environmentally safe dredging!

This Article describes the solids that can be estimated in the slurry, estimated at 20%.So not only can they not dewater the hoppers because of the toxic chemicals, they will need to dispose of the water and mud. Still the disturbed bottom will release the encapsulated toxins into the water and no turbidity curtain of any kind can hold in the PCBs. “

Councillors asked some good questions, and in our opinion, got quite a lot of bafflegab in response – the main point being that answers could not be given at this point.  We will have to wait until the detailed plan is completed – possibly in the fall.
One interesting question was about proposed cost.  The response was that the city’s proposed contribution of $10,000,000 would be plus or minus 50%.  Imagine!

In the end, the six councillors on the EITP committee voted unanimously to keep the dialogue with Golder consultants (now WSP) open.

We have requested a meeting with Mark Gerretsen, MP.  He really should be informed about all of this. Here’s hoping for a meeting with Mark and some of our scientists in May or June.  More anon….

2. North King’s Town Secondary Plan Public Meeting Update – deadline for comments, May 2.
 A public meeting was held on April 10 from 6-8 at the Royal Canadian Legion on Montreal St.
It consisted of poster boards with info on a variety of aspects of the plan and it was possible for community members to speak with city staff involved and voice opinions.
If you couldn’t make it you can view the presentation boards here:

If you would like to add your voice, here is the link:
Here is the city’s projected population growth estimates taken from a Dec 5, 2023 report to Council states:
Existing 136,600 (2021)
Low Growth Estimate for 2051: 186.600
Medium Growth Estimate for 2051: 197.000
High Growth Estimate for 2051: 207,400

Population Growth for North King’s Town is estimated somewhere between 10,000 and 15.000 as far as I can make out as numbers vary according to different reports.
So the number and placement of buildings that will allow for greater density matters.
These are included in the current North King’s Town Plan.
You can comment on the NKT report until May 2.

Lots of wonderful tours! Four in the Inner Harbour!

4. Feds Announce Plan to build 250k Homes on Public Land
Received from the Kingstonist, April 24 – Michelle Dorey Forestell
As I am no longer free to copy and paste, the gist of this article is that the Kingston and Frontenac Housing Corporation housing project will include 92 units: 40 market housing units to support residents with rents ranging from rent-geared-to-income levels to 80% of the average market rent. And, Kingston Co-operative Homes Inc is going to construct a 38 unit affordable housing project.
Mark Gerretsen, MP says this marks a transformative step towards ensuring that more Kingstonians will have the opportunity to achieve home ownership.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It would be a good idea if the federal lands at the Collins Bay Pen could be accessed for housing so that the urban boundary doesn’t need extending – due to population growth projections.

5. Local Youth Imagine the Future Organization Wins Award
Received from Jerri Jerreat Apr 30, 2024
Youth Imagine the Future Festival, (YIF) has placed second in the Canadian Youth Climate Action Awards adjudicated by Pivot Green Canada. 
Youth Imagine the Future (YIF) runs an annual festival in the Kingston-Frontenac region. One of the key missions is to help combat the rise of climate anxiety among our youth by encouraging them to look toward solutions. “We give workshops to show youth inspiring solutions used around the world to combat Climate Change,” said Jerri Jerreat, Director.
“We show them rewilding cities, planting Miyawaki forests and sponge parks, small river or wave turbines, green and solar roofs, alternatives to concrete and parking lots, redesigning streets, regenerative farming, etc. Then we invite them to create a short story or artwork to show the community what a better future here could look like.”
High School and grade 7/8 Teachers are encouraged to register for a free September workshop. Please tell a teacher!  Visit:

6.. Mayor for a Day – Grade 5 Students Can Apply to Share Ideas for Improving Kingston
In the application form, interested students are asked to answer the following question in the form of a video or written responsses.
The Mayor’s schedule looks different every day. The winning student can expect to take a tour of City Hall, attend a meeting and an event, take the Mayor’s seat in Council Chambers, and enjoy lunch – all with Mayor Paterson. The day’s schedule will be designed around the student’s interests related to local government. Questions include:

  • Why do you want to be Mayor for the day?
  • What would be your first action as Mayor?
  • What would you like to learn about the City of Kingstosn?
  • Is there anywhere you would like to visit during Mayor for a Day?
  • What is your favourite thing about living in Kingston? 

Students may also hand write their application and submit it at City Hall front desk, Kingston East Community Centre, Rideau Heights Community Centre, Artillery Park Aquatic Centre, or INVISTA Centre.
1. Apply by Wed, June 5 at 4 pm. One winner will be selected and contacted the week of June 10.
2. The contests is open to students in Grade 5 (or 10-11 year olds)
3. Applications must be complete to be considered.
4. The winning student must be accompanied by a family member, guardian, or caregiver at least 18 years old on the day of the visit
5. Families of Citiy of Kingston staff are eligible to apply.
More info?  Mayor@cityofkingston, or Customer Experience at 613-546-0000

7. Science Rendezvous at Slush Puppy Place, May 11, 2024
“Science Rendezvous Kingston is a free, annual science festival for Southeastern Ontario families hosted by Queen’s University. Faculty members, staff and students, together with community partners, will provide our visitors with hands-on demonstrations, awe-inspiring exhibits and fun experiments to inspire the next generation!
This year’s theme will be INNOVATE, and we’ll have 60 booths featuring topics ranging from wildlife conservation to robotics and climate change. Join us on May 11, 2024, at the Slush Puppy Place and on The Tragically Hip Way.

Special Attractions: Queen’s Department of Chemistry will perform two Chemistry Magic Shows on the main stage, at 10:30 am and 1;45 pm. The team will demonstrate visually striking experiments, including controlled explosions and colourful flames. Cover your ears as we’ll have loud bangs! 
You don’t want to miss the “elephant toothpaste” or the “barking dog”, so make sure to be there on time.

Also for the first time, Science Rendezvous Kingston will feature “The Great Canadian Invention Circus,  a live show full of astounding facts and circus acts. Learn how Canadians INNOVATE to solve problems and make our lives easier! Presentation starts at noon on the main stage.”
More Info?

8. Report on a Survey of Downtown Businesses
Received from Vicki Schmolka, Apr 25
Check it out.  Interesting info.

9. Great Lakes Museum – Tours of the Keewatin starting in May
 Two tours are being offered: the Passenger Experience and the Engine Room Experience

  • Visitors are encouraged to book in advance, we can not guarantee walk-up access
  • The ship is not physically accessible and requires visitors to walk up and down stairs. You should be comfortable standing or walking for up to 75 minutes.
  • Plan ahead and leave any large bags or knapsacks at home or in your car; they are not permitted on the ship. Limited storage will be available at the Museum
  • More info?

10. Community Foundation Day of Learning
What: An inaugural “Day of Learning” to gain behind-the-scenes glimpse into community organizations, their services, and programs.
When: May 7, 2024, 3:30 – 6:00 pm
Where: Kingston Robotics Lab178 Railway St. Kingston, On, K7K2L9


11. Robotic beach cleaner deployed to tackle Great Lakes plastic pollution, Petoskey News-Review, April 19, 2024.  Around 22 million pounds of plastic debris end up in the Great Lakes every year, according to Jennifer McKay, chief policy and government affairs director at the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.  To combat this environmental crisis, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has collaborated with the Great Lakes Plastic Clean-up Project to procure a robotic beach cleaning device aimed at removing plastic waste from Lake Michigan beaches and inland lake beaches.

12. 86% of litter in Great Lakes is plastic, 20-year study shows, Chicago Tribune, April 29, 2024.  Using data from more than 14,000 beach cleanups over 20 years, a new report from the non-profit Alliance for the Great Lakes found that 86% of litter entering the Great Lakes in a given year is either partially or fully composed of plastic.  Previous estimates and computer simulations indicated that 22 million pounds of plastic debris entered the lakes annually, at that time making up 80% of shoreline litter.

13. Are the Great Lakes the key to solving America’s emissions conundrum?, National Geographic, April 26, 2024. A single cargo ship can carry enough goods to replace nearly 3,000 semi-trucks—that’s why some are calling for a shipping boom in America’s famous lakes.

14. Waterloo Researchers on Plastic Pollution
Received from Water Canada, April 25
Waterloo, Ont. – University of Waterloo researchers have created a new technology that can remove harmful microplastics from contaminated water with 94 per cent efficiency.
The amount of plastic pollution in our ecosystem has become an increasingly alarming concern globally. Concerns have frequently been flagged about the impact that plastic pollution has on the toxicity to the environment and humans.
The impact of nanoplastics, material that is a thousand times smaller than microplastics, has been found to have a significant detrimental effect on aquatic and human life. However, the options that can eliminate nanoplastics from oceans and lakes are limited. 
A team of researchers led by Waterloo Chemical Engineering professor Tizazu Mekonnen, who specialized in polymer engineering, tackled a new method to address small plastic waste and remove nanoplastics from wastewater systems. 
“Rationally designed plastics not only can be part of the solution to reduce climate change but can have a positive impact in economic development and create jobs,” Mekonnen said. “This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the plastics industry.”
Mekonnen and his graduate student Rachel Blanchard used epoxy, a waste polymer that can’t be reused or reprocessed and often ends up in landfills or finds its way into water system networks like lakes or streams. 
Using a process called thermal decomposition, the researchers converted epoxy into activated carbon, a material capable of removing nanoplastics. 
The researchers then used the activated carbon to treat water contaminated by nanoplastics after producing nanoplastics from polyethylene terephthalate, a form of polyester often used in plastic water bottles and clothing such as fleece.
These tiny contaminants pose a greater health risk compared to microplastics as they can penetrate cells and are hard to detect. The 94 percent removal efficiency of nanoplastics was achieved by physically trapping the nanoplastics in the porous structure of the waste plastic, which generated activated carbon.
“To end the plastic waste crisis and reduce the environmental impact of plastics production, we need to implement a circular economy approach that considers every stage of the plastic journey,” Mekonnen said. 
The researchers’ next steps in their research will look to apply this clean-up process with other types of plastics and scale-up testing in municipal wastewater treatment facilities, which often contain a variety of other contaminants in addition to microplastics. 
The study, “Utilization of epoxy thermoset waste to produce activated carbon for the remediation of nano-plastic contaminated wastewater”, was recently published in the journal Separation and Purification Technology.

15. Take Action on Salt Pollution

Received from Ontario Fivers Alliance, Apr 17, 2024

16. Author Shares Tips to Save Thousands of Dollars with Greener Habits.

Received from cbc what on earth, April 18, 2024Toronto author and environmentalist Candice Batista gives tips on how to save thousands of dollars a year by making small changes around your home.Candice Batista is founder and editor-in-chief of The Eco Hub, a green lifestyle website, and the author of a new book, Sustained: Creating a Sustainable House Through Small Changes, Money-Saving Habits, and Natural Solutions. She spoke to us from her home in Toronto, where she lives with her husband and their cat, about ways to save money and cut waste through small changes at home. 
This interview has been edited and condensed.

Why don’t you start by telling me what inspired your new book?
I wanted to give people the tools to navigate sustainable living. I wanted to dispel that misconception that going green is much more expensive. It absolutely isn’t.
I’m giving you tangible, practical things that you can do starting in your kitchen, which is one area where we create a great deal of waste. It’s also one area where we can have a really big impact individually.

Why was that your focus?
Well, I think because it’s very difficult for people to wrap their heads around, you know, going out and investing $25,000 in solar panels, for example. Or, you know, buying an electric car.
But I think that right now with inflation and grocery prices, I really wanted to give people options as to how to reduce waste. And it starts, you know, again with looking at what you have in your home and starting there.

Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean by that?

[For example] you know, a lot of people have trouble breaking up with the paper towel habit. It’s one of the cleverest marketing strategies because we’re buying something that we know we’re going to throw out.
But paper towels are not as effective as regular cleaning cloths. See what you have in your home. Most people have lots of dish towels lying around stashed in drawers. Do you have old T-shirts that you can cut up? Do you have old pillowcases? Old socks? I know it sounds very out there, but why would you buy that product when you already have it in your home?

You mentioned that you saved a lot of money following the tips that you give in your book. Can you tell me how much you saved?
It would be easy to save at least $7,000 when you look at the volume of paper towels that we buy, the volume of plastic baggies that we buy, and you take it from the kitchen, even into the bathroom, for example.
You know pads cost women thousands of dollars. When you switch those out to period panties, again, you’re going to see substantial savings.  Where do the biggest savings come from?
In Canada, the average family is throwing away almost $1,100 every single year in food waste
I was throwing money in the garbage, literally. So I started to rethink my grocery habits. I started to really plan out what I was going to eat in a week, utilized recipes that didn’t ask for ingredients where you couldn’t buy just what you needed. And that’s when I started bulk shopping. I also eventually realized, OK, when I shop, I need to make sure that I’m putting all of the older food in the front, not in the back [of the fridge, freezer and cupboards].

What would you say is the biggest lesson that you learn from, you know, going through all this and writing this book?
Don’t be discouraged. Try try again and just keep doing it. Habits take time to break and habits take time to make. So keep that in the back of your head and understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect environmentalist.
— Emily Chung

17. Transit Putting Wheels on the Bus Public Transit policy to meet Climate Goals
Received from TVO Aor 29
18. Belle Island YouTube.
Old but worth another look. So lovely!
This 11-minute video acknowledges the sacred nature of Belle Island in the Cataraqui River flowing through Kingston, Ontario. The Island was inhabited as much as 1,100 years ago and the ancestors of Canada’s Indigenous peoples lie buried there. Today, a group known as the Caretakers of Belle Island monitor activity, work to maintain it as a special place and advocate for its protection and the respect it deserves. They were present for Earth Day and this video records the nature of the Island on that day in April 2023.

So that’s it for now.
Hope to see some of you out and about on the Jane’s Walk tours.
Mary Farrar, President, Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour