In response to requests for information about what happened with the Kingston Transportation Master Plan and other motions at Council last week, we hereby attempt to satisfy the public hunger for knowledge!
There were several items on council’s December 1 agenda of interest to WellingtonX. First up was a discussion of the terms of reference for the community visioning exercise and preliminary market analysis for the North King’s Town secondary plan. (This secondary plan is for the lands surrounding both the north and south sections of the WSE.) Only Mary Rita Holland and Rob Hutchison had anything to say about this, as their districts are most affected. Councillor Holland would like to see the strategic priorities realized, including the redevelopment of the Montreal St corridor as a series of hubs, rather than having it continue as just a thoroughfare. Councillor Hutchison expressed excitement about the future employment area and the improvements and amenities that may come with it.
It was the amendment proposed by Jeff McLaren, and the mayor’s amendment to that amendment, which generated most of the discussion on the secondary planning process:
That an additional public meeting be held to confirm the draft report’s compilation of the community visioning exercise after the draft is prepared but before it is officially received and such that the draft could be improved to best reflect the visioning exercise of the community; and
That #2 of the evaluation proposals “Experience and qualification of the project team” include but not be limited to include language indicating preference for a. expertise in community engagement, b. experience revitalizing old industrial zones, c. experience with integrated active transportation, d. expertise with great public spaces, e. expertise in environmental sustainability, f. experience with international city visions.
The first clause was supported by all, but the second was amended to indicate preference for certain expertise, there being concern among some councillors and members of staff that the original wording might make it difficult to find qualified applicants.
Later in the meeting the KTMP once again reared its ugly head, having been deferred from the last council meeting although with a long amendment. This time, Rob Hutchison proposed an additional amendment:
That, given the City of Kingston’s vision of being “Canada’s Most Sustainable City”, for the purposes of the next 2017-2018 KTMP That:
(1) Staff from the departments of Planning, Transportation, Engineering and Environment and Sustainable Initiatives utilize a fully co-ordinated and shared responsibility approach in developing the KTMP with the intention of fully informing the KTMP with the principles and conditions of the Official Plan, Sustainability Plan, Climate Action Plan and the City’s transportation needs;
(2) The RFP process begin with a consultation with recognized experts in, for example, transit and transportation full cost analysis, and transportation energy use and GHG emissions in the form of a public conference, smaller public meetings and expert-staff meetings so that a free exchange of cutting edge ideas and public engagement may create a peer review context and basis for the scope of the RFP to be issued for the next KTMP with the underlying principle of effective sustainability in a manner similar to what was utilized in Colorado;
(3) As part of the transportation and sustainability public conference process, a public visioning exercise on transportation alternatives and synergies be conducted to which the public and interested stakeholders will be invited.
As one can imagine, there was a lot of discussion about this amendment. Some councillors saw this as a good way to make sure that the consultants working on the next transportation master plan were armed with the desired background, and prioritized sustainability and community consultation right from the start. The mistakes in this KTMP could be avoided with everything spelled out. Council’s pledge of open government was mentioned more than once.
Others were concerned about added costs and time, possible inefficiency, and some “handcuffing” of staff. Was there some redundancy in the new amendment? And what the heck is going on in Colorado?
Eventually, after the Mayor separated the clauses, the first carried unanimously and the second and third carried 7-5 ( against – Allen, Boehme, Candon, Paterson, Turner; George absent).
In other business, the K&P Trail was also approved, which may have some implications for the WSE as the routes are partly overlapping; the proposal also reduces parkland in Doug Fluhrer Park by adding a second paved trail through it. Later, Councillors McLaren & Allen proposed to have staff provide information to the Kingston Environment Action Forum so that KEAF could research and report back on “the benefits and methodologies of how the City might create and utilize a ‘cost of carbon’ to monetize costs and guide program and project planning so that our future work is better aligned with our stated goals for carbon reduction.” This motion, which passed, ties in with the WSE decision in that the city’s eagerness to build new roads does not currently take ‘carbon costs’ into account; if it did, we might be pushed to look harder at alternatives.
The implications of all these decisions will be apparent in due course. The KTMP amendments, along with those incorporated into the motion last meeting, certainly will show for the record that Council was not very happy about either the report or the process by which it was devised. It will be up to the public, as usual, to continue to hold this and the next Council accountable for the motions passed.
— Anne Lougheed