Getting to Know the Neighbours

True fact: the people on your doorstep may be neither Mormons nor promoters of candidates for the federal election! It might be safe to open the door!

As part of an effort to gain insight into local awareness and knowledge of the WSE, Wellington X is currently carrying out a canvassing program throughout the area that would be affected by the road. I have assisted with the canvassing on two occasions in recent weeks. Both times our team focussed on Rideau Street and, not surprisingly, there have been a few people who do not wish to share their opinion on the WSE. Remarkably though, most of the residents we have met agree to chat with us and, whether they are for the road or against it, there is a real willingness among them to share their perspectives on the WSE, Doug Fluhrer Park, and the bike trails and footpaths in the Inner Harbour.

We have found that even those who do not use the park have strong views of the WSE. Some feel that the new road will ease the traffic and associated noise along Rideau Street, while others feel that the development will degrade the nearby natural areas. Both occasional and frequent users of Fluhrer Park indicate that they are worried because the WSE would intersect a portion of the park. A few of the participants recognize that this poses a risk to turtles and other wildlife. I was surprised to learn only recently that Fluhrer Park is the only park in Kingston that is not bounded by a road, and some residents state that the development would ruin this characteristic. So far I have learned much more about this area of Kingston and we have met some passionate people who are genuinely concerned about their neighbourhoods and the implications of WSE. Wellington X will continue its canvassing campaign in the following weeks. Our goal is to be able to better understand the range of views in the area, and to engage people in discussion so we and they can use the upcoming Secondary Planning process more effectively. We are also gathering statistics about people’s views. By participating, you can help to inform City Council and potentially influence the future of development. This is a great opportunity for getting your voice heard and I can personally promise that the average “visit” time is five minutes or less! See you tomorrow (maybe)!

— Colin Khan

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