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Mid-November Newsletter 2020

Dear Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour,
I’m beginning this update on a personal note.  As some of you know, my husband died last Sunday and we had a green burial ceremony for him this past Tuesday – totally blessed with that beautiful sunny warm November day.  Thanks so much Rob Langridge for this great picture with Edward in the shroud on the left, little grandson Aidan centered, the force of new life above the dark shadows, Heather, the minister, brother John with his sax, attendees in jeans and sturdy footware for the rough terrain, and the promise of blue skies. I’m including this not for sympathy but because I want to introduce you to the concept of green burials and how beautiful they can be – if you are not already familiar with the concept. Cremation is not environmentally friendly. A lot of CO2 is produced and mercury from fillings is released into the atmosphere. Embalming releases toxins into the earth.  Why not consider giving back to the earth at the end of life?  If you are interested in learning more, contact me at and/or check out this link if you haven’t already – Sue Lyon is currently working on plans to create a green burial site somewhere in the Kingston region as well.
This update is shorter, and less informative than most, for obvious reasons.
Exciting things on the horizon for the next Spring/Summer season.  More anon in Dec…
1. Let’s Help the Screening Room Stay Alive
2. John Counter Blvd Overpass Completed
3. Mayor Reacts to Provincial Budget
4. Broadband Promises Welcomed
5. Gov of Canada Contributing to new Marine Acoustic Research in St. Lawrence Estuary
6. Canada Invests 5.1 Million in Great Lakes Protection
7. Capturing Carbon – Two Minute Read

1. Let’s Help the Screening Room Stay Alive
Received from the Kingstonist Nov 4, 2020 – Samantha Butler-Hassan

Council moves ahead with motion of support for The Screening Room
Kingston City Council votes during a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night in favour of a motion from Councillor Rob Hutchiston, put forth on behalf of The Screening Room theatre.
The theatre’s operations have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many constituents have reportedly reached out to their councillors in concern. But it’s not just individuals that could lose out if the theatre shutters, Hutchison said.
“When we had a Cineplex close [downtown] a few years back, businesses were very concerned,” Hutchison said at Council’s meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. “Theatres attract people, and those people may go out for dinner, and they may go shopping before or after… There’s a multiplier effect going on here.”
Hutchison’s bill calls on the Federal Government to ensure movie theatres have access to the Canada Emergency Rental Subsidy Program (CERS), and to rework the financial assistance available to theatres through Heritage Canada. It also asked the provincial government to extend their commercial eviction ban for six more months.
The motion will be sent to Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Provincial Finance Minister Rod Phillips, Federal Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole, Provincial Leader of the Opposition Andrea Howarth, MP Mark Gerretsen, MPP Ian Arthur, MPP Randy Hillier, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).
Hutchison noted that movie theatres directly employ over 15,000 Canadians, and called them integral to the social, cultural and economic life of communities.
‘There’s no precedent’ in the movie business
Wendy Huot, The Screening Room’s owner, made a delegation to council Tuesday night, as well. She pointed out that when a movie theatre goes out of business, it’s uncommon for a new owner to take over.
“If a cinema space goes out of business, often it doesn’t come back,” Huot said. She noted that in the early 20th century, there were as many as five movie houses on Princess Street in Kingston. Trailhead, Ale House and Stages Night Club have all at one point been movie theatres, she said.
Having leveraged as many financial assistance programs as she could to this point, Huot said the theatre is still losing thousands of dollars a month.
She has plans to launch a “Friends of The Screening Room” fundraising campaign this month, so that people can sponsor a movie seat even if they’re not comfortable attending. She’s also planning a “free movies for three years” gold card campaign. She said she expects the initiatives to do well, and potentially offset her 2020 losses.
The uncertainty for 2021, however, remains.
“This is totally new for movie theatres,” she told Council, describing how the impact is being felt at all levels of the industry. Rumors are circulating that highly anticipated 2021 films will be sold to Netflix for release, rather than sent to theatres, she said. “There’s no precedent for the bottom just dropping out on the movie business.”
Greg Tilson, a local film producer and Artistic Director of the Skeleton Park Arts Festival, also addressed Council on behalf of The Screening Room. He spoke to its value as a mainstay venue for film festivals and other cultural events. “What The Screening Room offers Kingston… is something that could never be achieved through an online experience like Netflix,” he said, noting that a large number of Kingston-based festivals depend on The Screening Room as a popular festival venue.
Councillor Jim Neill, who seconded Hutchison’s motion, added that The Screening Room’s survival is important “not just to the core of the city, but to all of the city.”
While Council has not discussed providing any direct funding relief to the theatre, Neill said he believes that by tabling the issue and expressing concern, Council has helped raise critical public awareness and support.
“I plan to go to two movies this week, myself,” he said.

2. John Counter Blvd Overpass Completed
Received from the City, Nov 12, 2020

Construction of the rail overpass on John Counter Boulevard is complete and the stretch between Princess St. and Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevardl reopens Nov 13.. This marks a major milestone for the John Counter Boulevard Expansion Project, which will fully conclude in early 2021after more than a decade of engineering work and five phases of construction.

The overpass completes the widening of John Counter Boulevard to four lanes from Princess to Division, and improves transportation along this arterial route by eliminating delays caused by trains while enhancing options for active transportation in the area.

“The vision to expand John Counter Boulevard has been talked about in the community for years and was identified as a priority by City Council back in 2007. I know that I share the community’s enthusiasm in seeing the overpass completed,” says Mayor Bryan Paterson. “I’m grateful for all the hard work that went into getting the project delivered on time and on budget and that the finished overpass includes sustainable modes of travel. Whether you travel by car, transit, bike or another form of active transportation, this important link will make it easier for residents to move throughout Kingston.”
New AAA Intersections
Work on the overpass included improvements at the intersections of John Counter and Portsmouth, and John Counter and Old Mill. These intersections have been upgraded to AAA (all ages and abilities) cycling intersections. This new infrastructure, including crossrides, bike boxes and bicycle signals, enhances safety and connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists traveling through the intersections. Watch this short animated video to learn more about AAA intersections.
Improving walkability, roads and transportation is one of Council’s strategic priorities.
Regular transit routes to resume
Kingston Transit Routes 7 and 16 will resume their regular routes as of start-of-service Friday, Nov.13.
Project next steps
Remaining work on the John Counter Boulevard Expansion Project, including watermain and turtle-fencing installation, will progress over the coming months. This work will finish in early 2021.
3. Mayor Reacts to Provincial Budget
Received Nov 11, 2020 from The Kingstonist – Samantha Butler-Hassan
The Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce has released a statement expressing their approval of the Ontario 2020 budget, specifically highlighting some small business tax changes.“The [Chamber] is pleased with the budget and its timely supports and reliefs for small businesses,” said Chamber CEO, Karen Cross. “In particular, the programs designed to reduce taxes and utility bills are greatly appreciated.”
The budget, released by Finance Minister Rod Phillips on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 offers “municipalities the flexibility to target property tax relief to small businesses.”But Kingston’s Mayor Bryan Paterson said that more details are needed to determine how much flexibility is truly there.
For more info contact The Kingstonist.
4. Broadband Promises Welcomed
…Both Cross and Paterson welcomed the province’s promise to expand broadband in the province. The provincial government has included broadband among key infrastructure investments, in line with more traditional physical connectors such as public transit, highways, roads and bridges. The province plans to spend $143 billion over 10 years in this sector.
“Certainly the investment in broadband, I think, is critical,” Paterson said. “That’s really become a key area of focus, particularly for us. Internet connections are not up to standard in some areas, and it’s gone far beyond the point of being a luxury.”
Both the mayor and the Chamber said they are continuing to look for ways to support businesses in the sectors of the economy hit hard by the pandemic.
“Small businesses are a key lifeline in our community as they create jobs, keep money local, and support local charitable causes,” Cross said.
“In the coming weeks, we will be working to ensure our members are aware of these reliefs, as well as the relevant federal programs, and encouraging our members to partner with us to ensure policy makers know what other supports are needed.”

5. Gov of Canada Contributing to new Marine Acoustic Research in St. Lawrence Estuary
Government of Canada announces contribution to a new Marine Acoustic Research Station in the St. Lawrence EstuaryMarkets Insider – Business Insider, November 4, 2020 (also appeared at Canada NewsWire and at Yahoo! Finance).  The Government of Canada recognizes that marine species are impacted by underwater vessel noise.  Acoustic disturbances can affect their ability to find prey, navigate effectively, and communicate with each other, while also creating stress.  Through the Whales Initiative and the Quiet Vessel Initiative, the Government is taking action to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic underwater noise, protect the marine environment and foster the development of new technologies, quiet vessel designs, and operational practices that reduce underwater noise.  Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau announced $2.5M through the Quiet Vessel Initiative to help establish and operate the world-class Marine Acoustic Research Station (MARS) in the St. Lawrence Estuary.  The research station will be comprised of underwater hydrophones that are anchored to the sea bed, and connected to telecommunication buoys in the Laurentian Channel shipping corridor, near Rimouski, Quebec.

6. Canada Invests 5.1 million in Great Lakes Protection
Canada invests $5.1 million in Great Lakes protectionCanada NewsWire, November 10, 2020 (also appeared at and at Markets Insider – Business Insider).  The Great Lakes are essential to the health and well-being of millions of Canadians. The Government of Canada is delivering on our longstanding commitment to safeguard this important freshwater resource for Canadians by investing in local initiatives that drive innovation and create jobs.  Today, the Minister of International Development, the Honourable Karina Gould, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced $5.1 million in funding to support 46 new projects to protect and restore the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative in 2020–21.  The Great Lakes Protection Initiative supports projects that address key Great Lakes priorities such as restoring areas of concern, preventing toxic and nuisance algae, reducing releases of harmful chemicals, engaging Indigenous Peoples on Great Lakes issues, and increasing public engagement through citizen science.

7. Capturing Carbon – Two Minute Read
Received Nov 5, 2020 from The Future Explored – Amanda Winkler Welcome to the Future Explored, your weekly guide to world-changing technology. If you haven’t subscribed, please do so here. Send feedback and tips to
We’ll have to capture more carbon dioxide that’s being emitted into the atmosphere to have any shot of meeting the world’s climate targets, the International Energy Agency declared in September.
Why it matters: We’ve got a lot of hurdles to overcome if carbon capture is going to make a dent in climate change. Carbon capture technology is still in its infancy, and it’s pretty controversial. While the benefits are clear, if it works, critics say it’s too much of a gamble — it’s egregiously expensive and therefore impractical.
How it works: There are two main ways you can capture carbon dioxide: sucking it directly out of the atmosphere or capturing it right at the emission source — power plants, factories, transportation, etc. After you capture it, you then have to store it somewhere so it won’t leak back into the atmosphere.
Direct air capture could play a long-term role in reducing the overall CO2 level already in the atmosphere, while capturing it at the source reduces the amount of CO2 that is currently being added to it.
Either way, there are several techniques to grab CO2, but they all work off the same chemistry concept: CO2 sticks to certain chemicals like glue.
For example, a coal power plant in Canada takes the byproducts of burning coal — water vapor and gas — and mixes it with a liquid similar to ammonia. The CO2 adheres to the liquid while the other gases are released into the atmosphere. Then, the liquid mixture is heated, which releases pure CO2.
That carbon dioxide is then trapped and liquified, where it can be reused or pumped underground.
What do we do with the captured carbon? This is the kicker — while the technology works (there are 19 large-scale facilities around the world that capture CO2 at the source), it hasn’t yet proven feasible because there’s not a large enough market for captured CO2 to justify the huge cost.
So far, the carbon capture industry is experimenting with different markets. Some companies are turning the CO2 into jet fuel, selling it to soda companies, or even (ironically) selling it to oil and gas companies, which can pump the CO2 back into wells to help loosen and extract more fossil fuels.
But what if instead of burying the CO2 or transforming it into jet fuel — we lived in it?
Concrete is the most ubiquitous building material in the world, but it has a massive pollution problem. The concrete industry is responsible for 8% of all carbon emissions — if the concrete industry was a country, it would rank third highest in emissions behind China and the U.S.
The problem lies in the production of the cement — a key ingredient that binds together all the materials that form concrete. Limestone and other materials for cement have to be melted together at extremely high temperatures, which means burning a ton of fossil fuels. (Electricity, whether from clean power sources or otherwise, just isn’t powerful enough to get the job done.)
The chemical process itself compounds the problem — mixing limestone with a binder material sets off a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Part of the solution: CarbonCure Technologies, a Canadian startup, is looking to make the concrete industry greener by changing the chemical makeup of concrete. Their process is simple and reduces the amount of cement in construction — while providing a market for captured carbon. Win-win.
Their innovation is to use liquid CO2 to help make concrete. The liquid CO2 reacts with calcium in cement, which produces calcium carbonate — a material that also binds together the ingredients, just like cement. The calcium carbonate basically acts like a substitute for more cement, thereby decreasing the carbon emissions — plus, calcium carbonate actually makes the concrete stronger.
If the building made with CarbonCure concrete is ever torn down, that carbon remains in a solid form — so there’s never a risk of releasing it back into the atmosphere.
CarbonCure has created a nifty system that allows existing concrete producers to easily use this method at their plants. “The whole system fits in a crate,” founder Robert Niven told Wired. “It takes a single day to set up and it’s universally applicable to any concrete plant in the world.”
Small potatoes (…right now): So far, the CarbonCure’s technology is installed in 225 concrete plants in the U.S. However, at the moment it only has a net carbon reduction of around 5-7%. Hardly enough to make a dent in the fight against climate change.
The good thing is they’re just getting started — and they’re not the only ones thinking about how to make cleaner concrete:
Blue Planet, a startup in California, is using captured carbon to make synthetic limestone to replace the sand and gravel in the concrete.  Carbon Upcycling Technologies uses gaseous CO2 combined with fly ash — a byproduct from coal power plants — to create a mixture that reduces the cement needed for concrete by 20% — and Rice University researchers are developing a fly ash mix that uses no cement at all.
The concrete industry is notoriously hard to change — after all, when the end product is a bridge or office building, you probably aren’t too keen on taking chances and trying new things. But these startups are generating a lot of interest in the industry, which hopefully points to a new market for captured carbon dioxide — and greener buildings in the future.

Thanks so much,
Mary Farrar,
President, Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour