Here is what we sent in to firstname.lastname@example.org — the address for comments on the draft, which can be found here. You can send in comments until November 5: Wednesday. Feel free to draw from ours — they were laboriously compiled by Anne Lougheed with assistance from Julian Scala and Mike Cole-Hamilton.
Below please find WellingtonX’s responses to the second draft of Kingston’s Official Plan. While we recognize that some elements of the Plan have been improved, we have grave concerns with the issues listed below.
1. In response to many complaints from Kingston residents, city planners have removed the word “generally” in the second draft of the OP where references to the 30 metre setback occur, but we are concerned that it has been replaced with something worse. The (new) phrase in bold seems to be weakening the protection of waterfront.
The City recognizes its waterfront areas along Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, the Great Cataraqui River and the Rideau Canal as important public resources and will acquire waterfront lands wherever and whenever it is feasible. The City seeks to protect the shoreline ecology by way of a natural area setback buffer of 30 metres or a “ribbon of life” adjacent to the water; however, this policy is not intended to prevent any development on existing lots of record that can be legally developed, nor is it intended to prevent any existing development from legally expanding or improving.
Maintaining or adding natural vegetation along lakes, rivers and streams helps to protect water quality, minimize soil erosion, provide fish habitat and wildlife habitat and contribute to the aesthetic of the City. Natural shorelines are often referred to as a “Ribbon of Life” along the water.
Public and private agencies, as well as residents, are encouraged to protect the “Ribbon of Life” along waterbodies and watercourses. New development must be set back a minimum of 30 meters from all waterbodies and watercourses; however, this policy is not intended to prevent any development on existing lots of record that can be legally developed, nor is it intended to prevent any existing development from legally expanding or improving. In some cases a greater setback may be required to address water quality, natural hazards or natural heritage requirements.
It may be that the word “legally” here refers to already approved development projects. That’s what would normally be grandfathered and maybe it would be acceptable to specify that. However, we worry that “legally” could cover anything that Council approves so that there would be, in effect, no ribbon of life protection at all.
To city planners we ask, what is an example of the kind of activity that would be prevented within the setback, given this wording?
Why can we not have a more direct wording: “this policy does not apply to projects already approved or built”?
2. In section 3.10.1, the Environmentally Protected Area designation no longer includes the habitat of endangered and threatened species, nor habitat of species tracked by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Why have these been removed?
3. We appreciate that a new section 22.214.171.124 has been added (after 4.6.35 Major Road Extensions, in which the WSE, north and south sections, are still listed) which identifies that
“The proposed Wellington Street Extension, listed in Section 4.6.35 (e) and (g), will be examined through a future Secondary Planning process.”
However, with respect to the secondary planning process we would like to propose a change to section 126.96.36.199.
The following locations are prioritized for the preparation of secondary plans in accordance with the policies of Section 9.7.2. The City will pro-actively approach the owners of these lands to encourage and work with them to complete secondary plans…
b. the North King’s Town area, which includes the Old Industrial and Inner Harbour areas…
It is crucial that residents/ tenants and users of these lands are consulted too (not just owners), especially given that the North King’s Town secondary plan will affect industrial land and parkland.
4. In Section 3.18.17.b (site specific policy for 8 Cataraqui St.) there are two references to the Wellington St. Extension:
•that the site design incorporates appropriate streetscaping treatment along the proposed Wellington Street extension. This treatment is to include hard and soft landscaping elements, in keeping with the importance of the Wellington Street extension being a major pedestrian and vehicular access to downtown.
Pedestrian links from the pathway must connect through the site to any pedestrian systems built along Wellington Street.
We would like to see these references to the WSE removed.
5. If the Rideau Canal site extends north from the LaSalle Causeway (section 3.10.A) and has UNESCO World Heritage Designation, then why does the Environmental Protection Area (described in section 3.10.A.1) extend north from Belle Island rather than the causeway? Shouldn’t the EPA cover the entire canal?
6. In Sections 6.1.21 thru 6.1.24, MNRF and CRCA roles in assessing the appropriateness of development/site alteration/EIAs within sensitive areas (Natural Heritage areas A & B) (or even the deletion of Heritage B areas from the schedule) are reduced from approval to consultation. Why?
7. In Section 3.8.2 there is a new permitted use within an Open Space:
(f) adaptive re-use of built heritage resources.
Why has this been added? Does it mean that buildings can be moved into green space?
We have a few more items not included here that we look forward to discussing with you in person. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this second draft of the OP.
Sayyida Jaffer, Anne Lougheed and Laura Murray