City of Kingston and Williamsville residents at loggerheads over proposed development

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

The pending redevelopment of a former school site on Brock street continues to put area residents at loggerheads with city hall.
The city bought the school last year for over 2 million dollars… with plans to build a mix of public and private housing, plus park space, on the site.
But many residents feel the process was rushed …. and public input wasn’t taken into consideration.
Darryn Davis has more.

The city’s plan to build mixed housing on nearly half of this former school property isn’t sitting well with neighbourhood residents…. as witnessed at this public meeting last October.
” It’s going to dwarf the beautiful Churchill park and I think we’ll see the end of our beautiful little neighbourhood.”
“People have used words like sneaky, underhanded, there’s a lot of frustration and can change actually occur as a result of this consultation, people feel like it’s hopeless that the decision’s already been made.”
“This whole process was sprung upon councillors just before the labour day weekend they made a rapid decision there was no planning rational provided at the time.”
And those feelings haven’t changed heading into the new year.
In addition to a one-thousand name petition, residents have sent an open letter to the mayor.
It speaks to what residents consider a secretive process without real consultation.
The letter claims councillors may have violated provincial law by discussing land use issues behind closed doors for several months.
It goes on to say — “…the ensuing consultation on oct. 3 was just an opportunity for staff to sell the city’s agenda.”
“What we disagree with is a building that comes in much higher than any other building or proposed building that comes in much higher than any building in the area. ”
The current plan calls for the public housing development to be four stories tall …. in a community dominated by 1 and 2 story homes.
“Some of the concerned residents say they would be satisfied if the city got rid of the private development, the market rate apartments, which would then allow the municipality to reduce the scale of the buildings here on the property. ”
“That was met with a sort of pregnant silence.
They weren’t going to say absolutely not but this simply wasn’t what they felt was the way they should go. ”
Kingston’s mayor says money from the private development will be needed to replenish the city’s park land fund.
“We saw some value in having parkland not only on this site but also to raise some additional money to acquire parkland elsewhere in the downtown and that’s really what it came down to. ”
More discussions between residents and the city are set for the middle of the month.
Darryn Davis CKWS News Kingston.

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