KINGSTON – “We have to change the culture in our thinking and move to the future.”
After debating the issue for more than an hour – Kingston city council finally gave the green light to the controversial high rise “Capitol Condominium”.
The decision came down to one vote.
Councillor Adam Candon who was under fire for a possible conflict of interest… sought legal advice and decided to take part in the vote… In the end the decision to intensify the downtown beat out the desire to preserve its heritage.
Adam Candon/City Councillor:
“I feel that Kingston is in dire need of an uplifter in our downtown. Let’s fill it with people. Let’s get rid of our vacancy signs. Let’s rejuvenate these abandoned buildings and turn them into place where people live and places for the arts.”
Bryan Paterson/Mayor of Kingston:
“If we cling too hard to the status quo — if we cling too hard to what we have we will lose it. We have an opportunity to invest in change. I believe this is the right kind of change.”
But not everyone agrees with that statement.
Peter Stroud/City Councillor:
“I really encourage you to not turn your back on the people of the downtown that are looking for leadership on this. They need us to stick by our by-laws. Our by-laws are what give the public trust in their elected officials. We’re about to turn out back on them for some kind of quick fix that may or may not be there.”
Rob Hutchison/City Councillor:
“One building will not solve that. Two buildings, three buildings, four buildings will not solve that. So there are other ways ”
Community members flooded council chambers to hear the decision in person… many were upset and stormed out once the vote was made.
Many feel this will encourage more sky high developments in the downtown.
Christine Sypnowich, Concerned Resident
“We have rules. We should follow them. We risk killing the goose that lays the golden the egg if we go for any development of any kind and precedents for future developments which will be equally high if not higher.”
While business owners feel it will drive more customers to the area.
Ed Smith/Chair, Downtown BIA:
“You know what’s going to happen downtown Kingston is no different than what’s happening in cities around the world. Heritage and new buildings fit quiet nicely together.”
Meantime developer Darryl Firsten with In8 Developments was pleased to finally get council’s approval…
After going back to the drawing board multiple times… Firsten had announced that 15 storeys was as low as he would go.
Darryl Firsten/In8 Developments
“There’s an appeal period that we have to get through and then we’ll immediately start on working drawings to head toward construction hopefully in relatively early 2017.”
Interest is growing to live in the Capitol Condos as two thirds have already been sold — and now that the project has been approved the developer anticipates the rest of the units will be snatched up in no time.
Heather Senoran CKWS Newswatch, Kingston.