Two Letters to the Whig against the WSE, February 17

Street extension would be poor decision

If Doug Fluhrer Park isn’t the entire grassy area between the Cataraqui River and the Wall that was adorned with murals last summer, it should be. It is only about 90 to 110 feet wide from MetalCraft Marine Inc. at the south end to just south of Cataraqui Street where it widens a bit more. It is a park not only adjacent to the downtown core of the city, but a park along a river, and together, the park and river provide a huge potential for outdoor activities. One could argue that the intensification of the downtown core of the city is greatly enhanced by these two amenities.

Any extension of Wellington Street northerly would almost completely wipe out the majority of Doug Fluhrer Park and its many potential positive influences on city life. The new roadway right-of-way width is estimated at about 86 feet. How could one envision any semblance of a “park” area with the noise and smell of diesel fuel from trucks and transports rumbling through this area?

As well, an extension would likely have a negative bearing on the operations and land configurations at MetalCraft. And, an extension would surely mean that it would open the gate for re-examining the Highway 401 emergency detour route between Highway 15 and Montreal Street. Imagine vehicles crawling along, back to back, down Highway 15, across the La Salle Causeway to Place d’Armes, up to Wellington Street, then north through Doug Fluhrer Park.

The northerly part of the proposed Wellington Street extension, from Montreal and Railway northerly to John Counter Boulevard may well be a good idea to open up lands in that area for development. But the southern portion, through the Doug Fluhrer Park area is a bad idea, bad for families wishing to occupy new housing in the downtown area, bad for wiping out a park, bad for its potential negative effects on MetalCraft, bad for its negative effect on healthy lifestyles, bad for its potential to create gridlock in the downtown with its accompanying negative effects on air quality, and bad because the city can use all the money it can find to reinvigorate our existing infrastructure.

A Wellington Street Extension would promote the use of the automobile in the city. Let’s stop building new roads and start building healthy lifestyles and outdoor amenities. Let’s start recognizing a gem when we have it, not years from now when the riverside park is buried in asphalt.

Bruce Todd, Kingston

Cons outweigh pros in building extension

Firmly in favour of the proposed extension of Wellington Street, several recent correspondents made comments that included thinly veiled accusations of NIMBY behaviour by Wellington X, the Friends of the Inner Harbour and at least one named person. I’d like to move away from the emotional side of this argument.

Putting aside the impact on Doug Fluhrer Park – and it would be an impact – I’d like to pose two questions:

Do we actually need the proposed extension? I see nothing to support it save personal convictions and a nine-year-old study.

Can we afford the proposed extension? The suggested $35 million would go a long way toward fixing many of Kingston’s more pressing problems.

Does the city that aims to be Canada’s most sustainable really want to shoot itself in the foot?

Mike Cole-Hamilton, Kingston


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