Archive for April, 2012

Trail Update

posted for Mary and Ed Farrar

Dear Friends of the Trail,

It has been a while since we sent you an update. We do try to limit the number of updates.

There are a few important developments to report however:

1) Because of complaints from the Cataraqui Trail people, we have changed the name of our trail to Kingston’s “RIVER HERITAGE TRAIL”.  It was actually becoming confusing as people were referring to our trail as the Cataraqui Trail rather than the Great Cataraqui River Trail.

2) Work continues with Don Curtis of the “RELIK”s (Retired Entrepreneurs Living in Kingston) to create a trail brochure.

3) In the fall of 2012, WORK WILL BEGIN ON OUR TRAIL!  The fences at the pumping station immediately north of the Rowing Club will come down and the trail will be constructed in that small space.  This will mean that it will be possible to walk/cycle along the waterfront from the Anglin Parking lot to River Street so we are happy about that.  We are hoping to involve volunteers in some capacity to help out with this section of trail development. More details will follow in the summer.

4) A COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION is revived – the  FRIENDS OF KINGSTON INNER HARBOUR.
Originally this organization had been formed to block the LVEC from taking over Metalcraft Marine.  Following the decision to build what is now the KROCK Centre in its present location, the Friends became somewhat dormant.  We have revived it for the purposes of having an Inner Harbour Community Organization but with membership open to anyone interested in issues concerning Kingston’s waterfront and its preservation. Currently, the organization has both non-profit and corporate status and we are applying for Charitable Status with help from the Queen’s Business Law Clinic.  At this point, the main purpose of the organization is to enliven Douglas R. Fluhrer Park so that more citizens of Kingston will actually come and enjoy this wonderful waterfront park.

5) The Friends are planning EVENTS FOR DOUG FLUHRER PARK THIS SPRING AND SUMMER.

Events planned so far include:

a) FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 9 am – 12:30 pm: INNER HARBOUR CLEAN-UP DAY with a rain date of Saturday. April 28. Jolene Cheryl Simko is organizing this in conjunction with the City’s Pitch-In Day.  She has done a wonderful job of getting a variety of community groups to participate including so far: Hearthmaker’s Energy Cooperative, Transition Kingston, Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour, Society for Conservation Biology, NDPs Community Action Network, McBurney Park Neighbourhood Association, and the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty.  Lunch and supplies will be provided by Scottie’s Street Eats, Quattrocchi’s Specialty Foods, Main Street Market, Living Rooms and Transition Kingston.  WELL DONE JOLENE  !!!!!!!!!  To sign up go to http://www.hearthmakers.org/node/151 or contact Jolene at csr@hearthmakers.org.  She would like to know how much food to plan for!

b) SUNDAY, MAY 6, 1-3 pm:  JANES’ WALK.  In conjunction with walks all over the country celebrating the contributions of Jane Jacobs, we will be leading a River Heritage Trail Walk starting and ending in Doug Fluhrer Park  You will soon be able to find info about this online.

c) SUNDAY, MAY 27, 1 pm: RIVER HERITAGE TRAIL WALK for members of KINGSTON ROTARY.
Contact: Dave Hallett of the Cataraqui-Kingston branch at  dave.hallett@stantive.com

d) WED. JULY 4 AND WED., JULY 25 in the afternoon the BAREFOOT PLAYERS from Queen’s will be performing a play for families.  Mark it on your calendar.  Their plays are fun for all ages.

e) SATURDAY, JULY 14, 2 pm:  RIVER HERITAGE TRAIL WALK in partnership with the
FRONTENAC HERITAGE FOUNDATION.  All are welcome!  We will be showing photos of what the area looked like in the past and comparing them with what we see today.

f) SATURDAY, JULY 21, all day: KINGSTON DRAGON BOAT RACES (organized by others)

g) WEEKEND: FRIDAY, SEPT. 14 – SUNDAY, SEPT. 15:
METALCRAFT MARINE’S 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION in partnership with the
Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour.  The celebration will include events such a tour of their facilities, a wooden boat building competition for community teams and, hopefully, some fireworks!  More news to follow in the summer.

We are currently in the process of organizing the following:

a)  DOG DAYS IN THE PARK in collaboration with the new URBAN PAWS store that is opening this spring at the old S&R building.  Dates requested are Sunday July 15 or Sunday July 29.  We are waiting to hear back from the city on which date it will be held.  Fun agility events for dogs and possibly a doggy fashion show?

b) SNAKE AND TURTLE DAYS:  times to be arranged with MATT ELLERBECK, Kingston’s Snake Man. Come and see some of the creatures native to this shoreline

c)) THE SECOND ANNUAL COMMUNITY BOCCE BALL TOURNAMENT in cooperation with the KINGSTON COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRES.  Date to be arranged.  It was fun last year.  Do consider coming out.

Other possibilities include:
Zumba, Dance, Yoga,  Aboriginal Shii drumming, Aboriginal water ceremony, 5 km run possibly organized by Kingston Road Runners, Art Installations, making small gardens, Medieval Children’s Games Day, Girl Guides Sing-along, Concerts in the park, Experimental Music in the park, something to involve the special Olympics, Naval Reserve race – Jolly boats, Neighbourhood Water Filtration demonstration, possible Skill Sharing workshop with Transition Kingston, Kids Biking Event,  Bike Lessons for Seniors, Community BBQ’s with markers for kids to design future park, a Fund-Raising jewellery sale, something involving the Rowing Club, Chalk in the Park (creating interesting designs on the pathway).

In addition, Hank Doornekamp of the Woolen Mill is organizing a few events over the summer on the Woolen Mill property.  As yet, we are not quite sure what these will be.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE INVOLVED WITH ANY OF THIS, PLEASE EMAIL inverarymary@yahoo.com.
IT WOULD BE A HUGE HELP TO HAVE MORE PEOPLE INVOLVED!

All the best,
Mary and Edward

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ARTILLERY PARK POOL -RENOVATION

 by Rose DeShaw

April 11, the fourth of a series of updates on this vital city of Kingston facility was held to collaborate again with the public on how it will be revamped and revised during a renovation scheduled to take a year and a half. Opening a sparkling rejuvenated pool is scheduled for January 2014.
Heroes of the evening were Lanie Hurdle, Commissioner of Community Services and Wally Ferris, City Department Director of Recreation & Leisure, Community Services.
Someone hiring personnel at City Hall had the wisdom to seek out and hire these two individuals uniquely suited to guide us through this exasperating renovation which everyone,( certainly they), wish could be finished tomorrow.
Why is the closing of the facility such a devastating blow? Certainly because it is a breaking up of long-established community that will never come back together again in quite the same way. Just as seriously, it forces out not only our Blue Marlins but our Master’s Swim Group, from whose ranks contenders have and will come to compete at provincial, national and even international levels. Having their facility unavailable for perhaps two years is a blow from which both are reeling. Leaders from both groups spoke persuasively of postponing or even curtailing these renovations altogether.
To the credit of both Hurdle and Ferris, their concerns were taken so seriously you would think it was a personal loss to both employees.
There were no handouts, one of the few large errors in what was otherwise a useful presentation that enabled a great many questions to be asked and answered. Unfortunately, most of the audience were in the market for facts, figures and specifics.
Amanda Airov, representing concerns of the aqua fit class pointed out the group numbers at least 40 so the therapy pool that only handles 12 at a time would not be practical for classes, “unless they were held every ten minutes, so another portion of the class could get in and out.” Another questioner referred to it as ‘the wading pool,’ whereupon the architects insisted it was a ‘leisure pool,’ somewhat warmer than the larger tank but after a few more attempts to defend the indefendable, dropped the topic.
As far as figures go: City Councilor Jim Neil successfully lobbied for continuing to grandfather anyone who has to drop their membership during this time, for a cutback on fees to use the outdoor pool at the Memorial Centre, for lower fees than planned (due to the inconvenience) when the facility reopens.
The evening’s biggest stumbling block was the still missing place for customers to swim while the renovations take place. Jim Hanley suggested making the memorial centre facility into an all-weather pool with the addition of a few walls. Kaaren Brown pointed out that the scheduled hours there, (11-4) were completely useless to customers needing to continue their 7AM swim time. Linda Breen, Director of Scheduling said that she would work out a more acceptable morning swim time if sufficient numbers warranted it.
Judy Wilson had some succinct comments: Cutback of showers from 8 to 6. The architects pointed out they expected us to use those in the Family change room. Only 6 new parking spaces, though a drop off lane will be installed to make parking less congested. Margaret Hughes asked that working with the Staples lot be looked into.
“But how could you even present these plans without giving us a n alternate place to swim?” Judy Wilson and then Gail Langly asked again. “Why hasn’t that been put in place?” That question echoed hollowly throughout the evening but it was apparent from the looks of resignation on the faces of Hurdle and Ferris, that they were on the brink of just such negotiations as the meeting date approached.
Actually, just watching the reactions of these two capable civil servants, I felt more than confident that they have something good in the works that will justify our faith in this renovation working for the best for all concerned. But as negotiations hadn’t yet been concluded, nothing could be said.
They listened, Ferris and Hurdle took copious notes, responded with gentleness and understanding which by far was an approach to win over the hardest heart.
As Lanie Hurdle pointed out towards the end of the meeting:”When it is done, we will have such a great facility. No more band-aids patching up an increasingly aging structure. We will have a pool that will last and last and last.”
It will cost 11 million dollars if there are no overruns. The architects estimate that delaying the renovation could cost at least 5% of that for every month of delay, possibly more.
The meeting ended at 9pm. Tempers were kept, innovative suggestions were broached and a feeling of anticipation of new community wafted over me as I left the dimly-lit and acoustically-challenged room with its great gilt portraits and red plush carpeting.

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Clarifications re. the PARC process from Councillor Rob Hutchison.

Letter from Councillor Rob Hutchison to McBurney Park Neighbourhood Association Coordinator Anne Lougheed,

Regarding the current elementary and secondary PARC process that is ongoing would you please circulate the following and/or post it on the Skeleton Park website/blog. I have been receiving communications that appear to be based on a misperception of the powers of the City and City councillors regarding the PARC issue.

* The unfortunate fact of the matter is this: the City cannot tell the school board what to do; the school board operates under the province in its own jurisdiction. Technically then, the City has no more standing in front of the PARC than any other citizen or organization. Hopefully, the City’s intangible resources of having responsibility for municipal governance and public opinion will have a positive effect on the decisions of the PARC and the school board.

* Nevertheless, as your Councillor I have been working on this issue for a long time. About three years ago, as a member of KEDCO, I saw this issue of potential school closings coming and the potential effect on neighbourhoods and downtown economic development and I had KEDCO send a letter to the school boards pointing out how important this issue was. The letter was not as strong as I would have wanted, but, frankly, it was difficult to interest KEDCO and, in general, people in the issue at the time.

* Last July, 2011 I helped initiate and volunteered to be Council’s appointment to the elementary PARC. (Please note: Some councillors think that the City should not be involved in the PARC process even at the level of advocacy; I disagreed then and I do now.) Fortunately, the motion still passed.

* What Council and I did not understand was that the PARC meetings are held almost without exception on Tuesday nights. With other meeting conflicts, this has made it difficult for myself in particularly and a number of other councillors to attend meetings.

* I asked the PARC if any of the meeting dates could be moved, but Wednesdays and Thursdays are heavy dates for school trustees and such changes were deemed not workable.

* On more than one occasion I have raised this scheduling problem with Council and asked if another Councillor could attend meetings. No one volunteered – perhaps because of similar scheduling issues as above. Coun. Jeff Scott has volunteered to be the secondary school PARC rep.

* Nevertheless, I read all the material available and, at the request of the Central Public School parent representatives, I skipped most of a Council Budget meeting on November 22/12 to present the City’s position to the PARC. The PARC report stated that the Central parents’ claim that closing the school would harm the neighbourhood and businesses in the area and downtown was (in the report’s words) “anecdotal”. I pointed out that the City had invested a great deal of time and money in the Official Plan and its Sustainability Plan and the need for intensification, densification and sustainable downtown neighbourhoods and businesses and that this position was not “anecdotal” but supported by a great deal of research and strategic planning. Interestingly, the DBIA has recently made a very similarly argued report to the PARC, as have a number of citizens.

* Since then I have worked with Coun. Glover [Sydenham] on a motion coming out of the Near Campus Neighbourhood Advisory Committee to have the City report on its concerns about the issue of school closings in the downtown to the elementary and secondary PARCs. Although there was some councillor opposition (primarily as being outside the City’s jurisdiction or being unnecessary), those councillors like myself who argued that this issue was too important to take a ‘hands-off’ approach managed to carry the day. Hopefully, the report will be forthcoming in May or June in time for submission.

* I believe I can say with some confidence that, along with Coun. Glover, and the more recent support of a couple of downtown councillors, the issue of downtown school closings would not have been on the City’s radar without my efforts and, without my support along with others including the egging on of parents and citizens, the City would probably not be involved to any degree.

* It is the school trustees who need to be lobbied; they are the local representatives who have the actual power along with the provincial government to effect changes on this issue or not. Our local district trustee is Helen Chadwick and she can be reached at 613-549-4238 and at (the Board tells me) chadwickh@limestone.on.ca  As it happens, she is a trustee member of the elementary PARC.

* In addition, people should be contacting their provincial representative, John Gerretsen MPP at 613-547-2385 or jgerretsen.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org Through the Education Act the province sets the policies under which the Boards of Education must conduct their PARC processes. One of the more difficult aspects of the PARC process for the Boards of Education is that the province only allows them $3 million a year for capital replacement, which is clearly inadequate, and one of the elements that forces them to consider school closures and the opening of new schools (for which capital is available). Through the Provincial Policy Statement and other legislation, the province sets the framework for the City’s Official Plan and many sustainability issues; many citizens have pointed out the oddity of promoting sustainability, densification, infrastructure affordability etc. and closing downtown schools.

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