The Kingston City council deserves at least five brickbats for:
(1) their failure to create a welcoming entrance to Kingston.
Does anyone think that driving down Division Street from the 401 to the hub represents a ‘gateway’ to Kingston to be proud of? Between the 401 and CN track is about a kilometre of bland fast food and boring retail – from the CN tracks south to Railway Street, Division is a combination of abandoned buildings, a new police bunker, and drab houses – finally from Railway St to the Hub at Princess, the streetscape signals that Kingston is a poor, rundown city with little to offer. Yet signs on the 401 direct potential tourists to use Division to access the downtown area. I suggest that the initial impression left by the neglect of Division St is that the city doesn’t care much about its citizenry, nor tourists for that matter. There has been absolutely no effort whatsoever to beautify Division street, to create a welcoming streetscape, rather it has all the look of an escape route;
(2) throwing bags of money to finish the downtown arena which so far has turned in a third of the profit anticipated. Does anyone think 2009 will be any better?
(3) their failure to sort out Brock Street.
Brock St is a major one way arterial road funneling traffic from downtown to the western suburbs. It is in terrible shape, with suspension destroying potholes, frost heaves and crumbling intersections. However, council thinks that $40mil plus for an arena is a better investment than improving infrastructure. I’ve driven the national route 1 in Romania – it’s in better condition than Brock Street and many arterial roads around this town. Failure to deal with this whilst considering other capricious capital spending on items such as Olympic sized swimming pools just demonstrates contempt for Kingston rate payers;
(4) the failure to create a walkable, enjoyable public downtown waterfront.
One of the more annoying aspects of the mismanagement of Kingston is the absolute disregard the city has for its downtown waterfront. Centennial park directly in front of City Hall doesn’t cut it. Nor does the little bit of pathway/public space between City Park west beyond KGH. The absolute lack of interest in providing a walkable inviting downtown waterfront from Belle Isle down to the foot of Ontario St is an embarrassment and should shame each and every councillor. It’s not difficult – just takes some leadership – see Victoria. BTW would Kingstonians please refrain from comparing themselves to Victoria – it will take a lot more effort to come even close to the sheer amount and variety of waterfront public spaces which grace the BC capital.
(5) their inability to attract significant employment to the Kingston area.
One is tempted to believe that the city council has no serious intentions to diversify the employment base beyond the institutional big three. A few years ago lots of noise was made about how KEDCO was to be made more directly responsible to council – high profile firings etc. Yet it would seem very little has been done since then to make this city an attractive alternative for employers….
All of the long term ‘action’ plans don’t amount to anything as they seem to be pushed off indefinitely since council lacks the leadership and vision to implement any of it…….
Lastly, lest anyone think I have only negative things to say about Kingston, tomorrow – Bouquets….