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In his annual ‘New Year’ address to the Rotary Club of Kingston, Mayor Bryan Paterson, said “housing is his number one priority” but added that it is “important that we address the whole continuum”.
“We are faced with the challenges of homeless individuals and vulnerable residents who have suffered throughout the pandemic; not only do they need a roof over their heads, but they also need support.”
Although Paterson reported that an “unprecedented” 3500 new housing units have been built each of the past three years, he also said, “Traditionally, we had a homeless population of about 200; we now have a population of about 400. Hence, we need road maps to housing and mental health and pathways to get people from where they are to where they need to be. It will require a lot of different creative thinking and solutions and isn’t something we can solve on our own. This is a provincial healthcare issue. We are trying to avoid the situation where everyone is in the same location.”
In response to the question of the homeless on Princess Street, the Mayor responded “A working group of downtown business associations and social services agencies is working together on a set of measures that we will be introducing. It’s a problem; we must make sure that the social services are there with the right support – it’s a balancing act. Everyone needs to work together.”

Supportive Housing Initiatives

Some of the projects Paterson listed as currently underway for vulnerable populations are:
  • transitional housing for at-risk and vulnerable women on the site of the former Fairfield Manor property by the Cataraqui Centre.
  • a Home Base youth services hub that will have supportive housing for young people in the former Princess St. United Church.
  • a centre for Indigenous supported housing on Lower Union St.
  • supported housing for homeless veterans (Homes for Heros Project) will be constructed over the next year at the corner of Portsmouth and King St.
  • an overnight warming centre on the site of the former Oddfellows Hall on Concession St. will be a team effort between Lionhearts for delivery of meal services.
  • Integrated care hub – offering different health care support services to the vulnerable.

Additional Topics 

Mayor Paterson dealt with many other topics during his one-hour presentation:

New Housing Developments

  • New housing developments such as the redevelopment of the former Prison for Women site to be called Union Park, the beginning of the long-awaited development of the Inner Harbour and Davis Tannery property, and to support the Downtown core: the Capitol Condo, a 9-story building and a Provincial green light for the construction of two apartment towers at the bottom of Queen Street.

Strengthening Kingston's Economy

  •  Strengthening Kingston's economy with the expansion of Frulact (fruit products) and Li-Cycle (recycling of lithium batteries), increasing the land available for industrial development, continuing to grow the city as a film production centre (e.g. Mayor of Kingstown series), growing Pascan’s air service to Montreal, creating a new deep water dock for cruise ships at the site of the former coal dock behind the old Kingston Psychiatric hospital, and the cutting of the ribbon on the “third crossing” bridge on time and on budget.

Innovation Efforts

  • The Mayor’s Innovation Challenge, where students from Queens, St. Lawrence College and RMC are encouraged to come up with creative ideas, innovations, and solutions for making the city better especially on climate change and “Smart city” initiatives (e.g. more electric buses)

Renewing & Enhancing the City's Social Dynamic

  • Enhancing the city's “social dynamic” after 2 years of pandemic lockdown by starting to create a walkway on Confederation Basin and renovations to the Richardson Bath House, construction of the Kingston East Community Centre, creation of an Indigenous cultural space where indigenous and non-indigenous people can learn together in a city-owned heritage building on Montreal St., resolving the location of the Sir John A MacDonald statute, and working with Queens University and its students to ensure celebrations occur peacefully.
Mayor Bryan concluded his presentation by recognizing that although many challenges remain he hoped “your takeaway from this presentation is that Kingston is positioned for incredible things in the months and years to come and that it has the ability to be a leader and investor in its quality of life as a smart and caring community.”