Town Hall meeting to discuss preserving character in Sydenham district

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

KINGSTON –  Sydenham Ward is one of the oldest districts in the City of Kingston.
But some residents are fed up with an influx of student renters.
Adam Butler/Concerned Resident:
“This expansion of the Queen’s ghetto into otherwise stable family neighbourhoods is cause for great concern.”
Butler took these photos of a development happening right next door to where he lives on Centre Street.
The owner of this property expanded it from 5 bedrooms to 12, leaving Butler to question whether he should stay.
Adam Butler:
“When we moved from Toronto to Kingston 3 years ago with 3 young children… this just wasn’t the environment we expected to bring them into.”
Butler’s concerns were echoed by close to 200 residents who attended a special Town Hall meeting to discuss preserving neighbourhood character in Sydenham..
Meredith McDonnell/Concerned Resident:
“I think most of Sydenham district is quite concerned with how the city is not enforcing current bylaws and how the bylaws right now basically let the destruction of the downtown core.”
Heather Senoran:
“Councillor Stroud suggests changing the way the city collects rent from landlords to a commercial rate rather than a residential rate — which would bring in more money and allow the city to hire more bylaw officers to enforce property standards.”
An idea that was brought forward by a resident at the meeting.
Stroud says the commercial rate would cost more for landlords and would only apply to properties that are being used for investment or rental income purposes.
Stroud says most of these developers are from out of town.
Peter Stroud/City Councillor:
“They don’t live in our municipality and they’re essentially profiting from our livability. They’re driving down the livability of Sydenham so that they can drive up their profits.”
Stroud, who hosted the meeting, wants to host a second one some time in the next six months as residents brought forward so many concerns that city staff were unable to complete all of the planned presentations.

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