Archive for January, 2014
from the Downtown Action Revitalization Network
January 27th, 2014
Within a month, the Ontario Ministry of Education will decide the fate of KCVI. We, the Downtown Action Revitalization Network (DARN!), are writing to add our voice to the growing opposition against the closure of this school. DARN! promotes and advocates a liveable, dynamic and inclusive downtown. We envision Kingston’s core as a place to live, work, shop and play, and believe that schools are essential to this vision.
The downtowns in almost all Canadian medium-sized cities are in trouble, including (perhaps) Kingston. With too many suburban malls and power centres, it is hard to keep a downtown main street going, as we see in Brantford, St. Catherine’s, Belleville and Hamilton. In 2004, the exceptions to this rule were Halifax, Victoria and Kingston, according to an article in the Journal of the American Planning Association. The Kingston BIA is widely admired for re-positioning the central business district to serve both residents and students in the winter and provide programming for tourists in the summer. The renovation of the Grand, the Market Square and the KRock Centre were all positive additions. However, Kingston’s downtown has taken some significant blows in the last couple of years, with the loss of the movie theatre, Indigo and many other locally owned businesses. Walking below Barrie Street on a Saturday is now too quiet for comfort.
The loss of KCVI would be another major blow and we are left to wonder at what point the balance might shift completely and leave a deserted downtown. Most directly, the loss would affect the downtown residents and employees whose children go to school at KCVI. If this city wants families to live downtown, there must be schools. But it would also affect the downtown businesses. Closing KCVI would remove 1000 students from the downtown streets, as well as the parents, teachers and staff that go with them. We believe the loss of downtown spending would be significant.
Most municipalities dream of having a high school on a downtown university campus. We have a full, vibrant and successful one. Let’s keep it.
The Downtown Action Revitalization Network (DARN!)
On Sunday December 29th a bunch of local folks got together to clean up the branches scattered throughout McBurney Park. These are photos of the resulting piles plus the hockey netting that was extricated from the ice. Thanks to everyone!