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Mid-January Update 2017

FKIH mid Jan 2017 update

1) Save Our Station
2) City’s lack of Openness and Transparency
3) Exciting Canada 150th initiatives so far: K&P Opening + ON THE WALL
4) New Indigenous Inner Harbour Initiative
5) Froid Art 2017
6) Interesting waterfront artifacts
7) Winter Sports
1) Save our Station –
FYI: A group of concerned community members has gathered together in opposition to moving the Outer Station from its current site on Montreal St.  “Kingston’s passenger station on Montreal St. was the Kingston stop on the coast-to-coast CN railway network.  It is a key part of the economic, spatial, and social history of Kingston’s north end.  To relocate it to be a mere ornament beside the Woolen Mill is to destroy it.”  Do read on and see what you think.
So much fascinating history abounds. Did you know, for example, that in 1947 two railway workers were killed when a diesel train went around the curved track too quickly?  The train fell off the tracks and killed them instantly. The track, originally designed for steam engines, had to stop in Kingston for water.  With the change from steam to diesel, the trains no longer needed to stop and took that curve too fast.  This danger resulted in the new station being built off John Counter Blvd..
With the North King’s Town Visioning exercise in full swing and the possibility of the Outer Station becoming an iconic keystone for a new commercial/industrial hub, it seems criminal to dismantle it and move it to a location removed from its history. In addition, it could be the centrepiece for a great new network of cycling trails. Deadline for writing letters is mid February.  Letters matter.  Bullet point details at the end of this update.
2) City’s Lack of Openness and Transparency
Alan Gummo, retired land use, strategic and corporate planner, has written a scathing indictment of the City’s lack of openness and transparency concerning the St. Joseph/St.  Mary Catholic School property at 671 Brock St.  It appeared online in the Kingston Whig Standard Jan 12, 2017.
FYI:  Full feature included at the end of this update.
3) Exciting Canada 150th Initiatives so far:
K&P Opening and ON THE WALL

Thanks so very much to City Staff Colin Wiginton, Luke Folwell, Nancy Ruel and Jaclyn Grimmon for coming on board to be chief organizers for these two great upcoming events:
To celebrate Canada’s 150th, the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour (along with artists Josh Vrooman, Jean Jamieson-Hanes, Yessi Rivera Belsham, Shane Goudreau, Mat Poirier, Aaron Forsythe and H’Art Studios teacher Anita Boldt), are collaborating with the City of Kingston to organize a second iteration of ON THE WALL with a theme of Canada’s 150th.”  The event is scheduled for the week of August 21-27 with the Celebration of the Arts scheduled for Sat, Aug 26. More anon…
Again with huge thanks to the City Staff mentioned above, the Kingston Outdoor Adventure Club with the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour and in collaboration with the City of Kingston are planning a grand opening of the K&P Trail on June 10, 2017. Participants will receive passports at Binnington Court and then (on their way to Doug Fluhrer Park on foot, by bike, running, by wheelchair, roller blades etc)  get their passports stamped at various sites of interest on the way to a late afternoon cake-cutting ceremony in Douglas R. Fluhrer Park. More anon…
Provided we receive grants from the Community Foundation, we are also hoping to have a couple of students act as Turtle Ambassadors in association with our Turtle Tally, run a Wheelchair Rally with Easter Seals Ontario, and plant a community Kale Garden in cooperation with Loving Spoonful.  More anon….
4) New Indigenous Inner Harbour Initiative
A wonderful new group has emerged with the aim of healing the land and establishing peace. Indspiring!
See for yourself:
5) Froid Art 2017
David Dossett and the artists of Martello Alley have begun the creative process for Froid’Art 2017. This is their third year for this free public art exhibit. Froid’Art is the event that has their artists paint on large pieces of plastic and have the imagery frozen into 300 pound blocks of ice for exhibition in collaboration with other downtown businesses and homes.  The Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour feel very proud that our 2014 ON THE WALL was the instigator for David to set up Martello Alley in the first place.  What a great contribution to the downtown – at times THE most visited tourist attraction in the city!  Well done David!
More info?  – Martello Alley
6) Interesting Waterfront Artifacts
Found when digging at the Pump House Museum recently.

7) Winter Sports
Of course – BE CAREFUL!!!  But FYI here is what is happening at Colonel By Lake
Bikes with thick tires on the ice and ice sailing:

“If we value Kingston’s heritage and its future, we must leave the station in place, and find ways to honour and enliven this important building where it was built.”  Considerations:

  • The federal designation of the station states that “The site of the station retains much of its railway function and character. The station’s heritage value would be supported by protecting its important relationship with the yards of what was once a bustling railway complex.”
  • Federal “Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places” instruct: “Do not move a part of an historic place if its current location is a character-defining element.”
  • Moving the main Grand Trunk/CN station away from its tracks and to a location in the former K&P railway yard is historically nonsensical and confusing. It also threatens the heritage value of the historically-designated Woolen Mill, which would not have been built next to a passenger station. Federal Standards & Guidelines state that we must “recognize each historic place as a physical record of its time, place and use. Do not create a false sense of historical development by adding elements from other historic places or other properties.”
  • Even though the stone part of the station is the oldest, dividing the three parts of the station is contrary to the federal Standards & Guidelines that require that we “conserve changes to an historic place that, over time, have become character-defining elements in their own right.” The station’s federal designation states that “The heritage character of the CNR station at Kingston resides in the physical relationships among its component structures, in the design and materials of the stone and brick station buildings, and in the character of the site. Comprised of two station buildings linked by a sheltered platform that has recently been enclosed, the complex’s linear massing follows the curved line of the tracks.” Leaving the other two sections stranded without the stone section will make an even uglier eyesore than we have at present and will not, in the terms of the public notice, “facilitate the long-term revitalization of the Railway Station Buildings.”
  • Not only do the federal documents cited above govern the station according to the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, but the City of Kingston has committed to following federal, provincial, and indeed international protocols. The fifth draft of the updated Kingston Official Plan states that “The City will protect and conserve cultural heritage resources in accordance with the best available cultural resource management protocols and Charters including, but not limited to, the following: a. UNESCO and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Conventions and Charters; b. the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada, as amended from time to time; and, c. the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s eight guiding principles in the conservation of built heritage properties.” All of these documents take a very dim view of relocating heritage buildings.


  • The City of Kingston is in the process of a Secondary Planning process for North King’s Town that will guide future development of both the station’s current site and its proposed site. The station is a unique heritage gem that could be part of commercial, social, or recreational enhancement of its current site; a decision about its relocation should not take place until the planning process is complete.
  • Turning a train station into offices represents a transformation from public to private space. There are many other potential uses that ought to be considered. For example, a stabilized and well-interpreted ruin can be part of a vibrant mixed-use space. 
  • It is not at all clear if or how the station would fit on the land indicated, and also respect zoning regulations (90 m setback from Cataraqui Street) and UNESCO, provincial, and Official Plan requirements of a 30 m setback from the waterfront.
  • Contrary to the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act, the public has not been provided with “a feasibility study or plans describing all planned alterations.”

SOS organizers state that variety among the letters shows the extent of public concern. SHORT IS FINE! 

Feel free to chose from the above and write to:
The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard
Gatineau, Québec, K1A 0H3
Fax: 819-938-9431
Mr. Yannick Landry,Counsel, CN
935 de la Gauchetière Street West, Floor 15
Montréal, Québec, H3B 2M9
Fax: 514-399-4296
Letters must be received by February 24.
If you are snail-mailing, send it a week ahead!             

Also consider sending a copy to both local and provincial politicians for their information.
More info, updates and photos?
Save our Station Facebook page
Thursday, January 12, 2017 3:58:59 EST PM
Citizens of Kingston who support open and accountable government are experiencing a lot of frustration lately. The reason is the city’s failure to provide transparent processes for its decisions.
The controversy surrounding the 671 Brock St. land purchase (former St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s School near Churchill Park) is the latest example. Between late 2015 and September 2016, the city proceeded to buy this property and, it would appear, make decisions about what to use it for. These decisions occurred behind closed doors, that is, in camera. Because they were made in camera, information explaining them is being withheld from public scrutiny.
The problem is that decisions about what to do with land, whether in private or public ownership, must be made in a public process. This is required by the Planning Act. The city failed to engage in this fundamentally open and democratic process when it should have. It is now back-stopping its actions through a public rezoning process affecting only part of the property. The rest of the property will not be dealt with until sometime in the future.
There has not been a coherent and transparent approach to the many decisions involved in this unusually complex exercise. Citizens are being forced to file under the province’s freedom of information legislation to get an understanding of what went on behind closed doors. There has not been an open process to prepare a master plan for the use of the property. Citizens are left wondering what else is on the table, or under the table as the case may be.
City initiatives of this complexity, which typically require work and sequential decisions over an extended period, warrant the use of project management and decision support tools such as work plans or project charters. The point is to provide a methodical guide through the process so that everyone can see and engage in the thinking that precedes the decision and in the process as it unfolds.
Suggestions to improve the transparency of the Brock Street exercise were provided to council by Our Neighbourhood on Oct. 18. The centrepiece of these suggestions was a request to provide a work plan indicating the nature and timing of the sequential decisions required of council and highlighting opportunities for public involvement. The city has not responded to these suggestions.
The absence of a methodical approach to council’s decisions regarding 671 Brock St. is remarkable because this exercise involves not only complex land use decisions but also direct investment of city funds and possible disposition of public assets. This has created multiple layers of concern among citizens.
But this exercise is not unique.
The official plan review, the zoning bylaw review, the North King’s Town secondary plan, and the Active Transportation Master Plan can all be characterized by lack of procedural transparency. A visit to the city’s website during the last week of December confirmed the absence of any visible work plans for any of these projects. Their absence creates the appearance of default to make-it-up-on-the-go process and ad hoc decision-making. This creates frustration for those wishing to participate.
If there are work plans, they are buried in the city website. Unfortunately, things that are buried are soon forgotten by city council, municipal staff and the community.
It is time for the city to start making better use of management tools like work plans and project charters. These tools are used routinely by government organizations at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. They should be used consistently by the City of Kingston.
Failure to deliver transparent decision processes defeats efforts to achieve open government. It complicates the ability of decision-makers to follow multi-faceted and sequential decision processes over extended periods. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, for citizens to understand and participate in the work of their local government. It makes it impossible to assign and assess accountability for results.
It is essential that council require work plans for every initiative that falls outside of routine maintenance. Council must take ownership of its initiatives and exercise control over them. The city administration should be using, and making available, management and decision support tools such as work plans as a matter of course. They should be easily accessible by the public.
There are less than two years left in the current term to institute procedural transparency. A good time to start would be right now.
Alan Gummo is a retired land use, strategic and corporate planner who worked in management roles in municipal government in Ontario. During his career, he was a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and the Institute of Public Administration.
The Kingston Whig-Standard 2017 © 

Once again, if you have managed to get to the end of this e-mail congratulations!  I do prefer to send our only one or two e-mails per month to keep you informed,  Apologies that the e-mails tend to be long.
Mary Farrar, President,
Friends of Kington Inner Harbour