FOR YEARS THERE HAS BEEN TENSION BETWEEN STUDENTS AND RESIDENTS IN KINGSTON. TODAY, BOTH SIDES MET ALONG WITH LANDLORDS AND CITY STAFF TO HELP FORGE A UNITED FUTURE WITH POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR HOUSING DOWNTOWN.
CALLIE WARREN EXPLAINS.
Francis Campbell/ Alma Mater Society:
“This is a step in the right direction. You know we have the opportunity now to make some significant change for the University district and the near-campus neighbourhoods, such that everyone gets… you know it’s a win-win situation for everyone”
On Saturday, the Alma Mater Society and Commission of Municipal Affairs held a University District Summit. The one of a kind meeting brought together students, landlords, local politicians, city staff, and residents.
Dave Jaworsky/Mayor, City of Waterloo:
“It’s been such a wonderful conference, to say the students took it upon themselves to do it, I’m just very impressed with what the students do. And I think that’s a lesson all of us could learn.”
The summit couldn’t have come at a better time…. as both sides are facing challenge including ‘monster homes’, all night partying, inadequate and unsafe living standards, and lack of housing.
Geoff Smith/William Street Resident:
“The residents are concerned with noise, with garbage, with behaviour. The students are concerned with the condition of their living spaces.”
In addition, the City of Kingston’s Official Plan is up for revisions, and with help from the City of Waterloo, many residents welcome any advice that could help fix some of the
“Some of the things that the City of Kingston is dealing with now, like the growth of the University, are things that we were working with about 10 years ago. And so we are able to share those ideas so that Kingston can benefit from them.”
Throughout the day, attendees were split up into groups to discuss 5 topics…Accountability, quality of life, development in the area, relationships between residents, landlords, and students, and a potential AMS landlord-approval system for students.
“So what we are trying to do after the summit itself, is develop a report going forward, which will encompass the data we have collected over the past 4 months from surveying students, residents, and landlords.”
It will also include everything that was brought to the table during the summit. Their goal is to help create positive change in Kingston, especially around Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College.
“I think a lot of people, including myself, are learning a lot about the perspectives of other people trying to learn or understand the other side of the story.”
Callie Warren, CKWS News, Kingston