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Kingston’s Mayor, Bryan Patterson, elected in November to his third consecutive term in office spoke for the ninth consecutive year to the Rotary Club of Kingston as their first guest of the new year.
Patterson said the biggest change in Kingston since he first became a councillor and then Mayor is that the city has gone from a city of slow growth to rapid growth. As a result he described his vision for the next four years as "Embracing Creative Ideas and New Partnerships to Address the Challenges and Opportunities of a Growing City”. “We are in the midst of our fastest growth ever; the challenge is to manage it,” he said.
Before describing the challenges of growth, however, Patterson began with a picture of the just opened third crossing, aptly named the Waaban Crossing, an idea that was first broached over 50 years ago.  “The timing,” he said “was just right as the population on the east side of the river now equals that of the city of Brockville."  
Patterson also described an oddity of the 2022-2026 council. “It may,” he said, “Be the single largest change in its composition ever, as eight of the twelve members were elected for the first time.”  
The mayor then proceeded to describe the many challenges and opportunities the council will face in the coming term as the city's growth continues.


This is Patterson’s top priority. From an average of about 500 new houses annually, we are now building in excess of over 1,000 units annually. But he spoke of "attainable" housing, meaning townhouses, tiny houses, cohabitation units, repurposing heritage buildings (eg. Prison for Women), affordable housing (eg. Princess at Hillendale with 160 new units), and supportive housing (providing supportive services: eg. Fairfield West). But there is an emergent need for shelter in the short term (eg. Odd Fellows Hall on Concession).

Business expansion

The city no longer has difficulty attracting new businesses. They are “calling on us," he said.  Our problem is providing serviced land on which they can locate. We are at the point where we may have to develop business areas north of the 401. We are also facing a labour shortage which is slowing the pace of building and servicing new enterprises.
Another initiative to expand business is the continuation of The Mayor's Innovation Challenge. Begun in his previous term, the goal of the MIC is to stimulate post secondary students to think laterally, to offer fresh ideas on sustainable projects and to create jobs - in some cases jobs for themselves!

Energy and Sustainability

Over the next four years Patterson wants the city to move more aggressively into electric vehicles and the use of geothermal resources. The city’s first geothermal multiunit structure is already under construction. However, we need to ensure that the city has a sufficient electricity supply and the distribution infrastructure to sustain our growth and green-energy initiatives.

Regional Collaboration Initiative 

The demands of business growth and the electrification of everything has Patterson taking the lead in the creation of a Regional Mayors’ Council to meet over common concerns. As a result he has approached the communities of Greater Napanee, Gananoque, and the three Counties of Loyalist, South Frontenac, and Leeds and the Thousand Islands. All are on board and Patterson is looking forward to benefits of such collaboration.

Community Development Projects: 

With the change in work protocols brought on by the COVID pandemic Patterson expressed his concerns for the Downtown core. First he is encouraged that the long stalled residential multi-story projects will get started. He’d also like to see a downtown convention centre built, especially servicing the shoulder seasons. Enhancing our downtown street scene with more special events and the improving the Thursday and Saturday farmers' market are ideas he is encouraging. The completion of the Confederation Basin Promenade and improvements to the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour and the Memorial Centre, both the arena and perhaps the enclosure of the swimming pool are ideas on his radar. 

Physician Shortage Issue

Although the financial incentives have yielded results, still the rate of retirements is outpacing new arrivals. He's looking at innovations utilizing health services teams, walk-in clinics, and utilizing Queen's resources 

Food Security

The Mayor demonstrated he is very aware of the increase in the cost of food and how harmful this is on our vulnerable population. The Community Food Hub has been a major step forward.
Many question arose from both the in person and Zoom audiences. Topics raised were:
  • Collaboration with the other layers of government; 
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle access;
  • The Integrated Care Hub and "the unhousable”;
  • Tackling poverty through the guaranteed basic income proposal and ending the current grants that are proving to be "disincentives";
  • The danger of the cross-walk in front of City Hall;
  • The preservation of green space and "No Mow May" to help the pollinators; and on saving the trees we have;
  • The underutilization of our. Airport and air service, including the need to be serviced by Air Canada;
  • The need for more Long Term Nursing Homes to unload hospital beds; 
  • Freeing up the Prison Farm lands around Collins Bay Penitentiary for industrial, commercial and residential development. 

View and listen to Mayor Patterson's State of the City address

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