How Bill 23 impacts Kingston; climate action in your community; and the new Waaban Crossing!

In this edition of City Matters: 

Feature stories 

A multi-colour sunrise in orange, pink and purple hues. A bridge and river are visible in the foreground.
Photo by Nathan (Instagram: @sky_shot_kingston)

The Waaban Crossing marks a new dawn in Kingston 

After decades of community conversation, we proudly opened the new Waaban Crossing on Dec. 13! The opening is the result of many years of preparation including environmental assessments, transportation planning, population growth projections, public engagement, information sharing with Indigenous Nations, and partnerships with local, provincial and federal organizations and agencies.  

To our community: thank you! Your participation in public meetings and open houses, questions and comments shared through various stages of the project, and excitement for each construction milestone were an integral part of building the bridge. 

After the name was confirmed in March, a visual identity was developed to connect the physical Waaban Crossing with Indigenous and other community stories that will be shared in relation to the bridge.

Waaban Crossing logo. A large, multi-coloured ‘W’ next to the words: Waaban Crossing. In smaller type below: Reflect. Connect. Flow.

The visual identity, seen above, reflects feedback from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people gathered through information sharing and public engagement earlier this year. It encompasses a sense of place, movement, history and the natural environment. 

It is inspired by the shapes of the Waaban Crossing arches and its relationship to the water, the land and the people who will use it. The swooping shapes look like two birds flying together and light reflecting off water. The colours are reminiscent of a sunrise over water. The green on the far left represents the green wall on the west side of the Waaban Crossing. 

What does the name mean?

Waaban: Waaban is an Anishnaabemowin (Ojibwe) word that has several meanings and interpretations relating to the eastern direction where the sun comes up, the dawn of a new day or the morning light. This word was put forward to represent both the natural environment that the bridge crosses, and as a hopeful metaphor, with Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians working together toward a better world for future generations. 

The Waaban Crossing visual identity includes a tagline, “Reflect. Connect. Flow.”, that helps to tell the story of the bridge, the history of the land around us, the people and animals that are here now, those who have come before, and those who will come after us. Here’s a closer look at what it means: 

Reflect: As we move along the crossing and take in its natural setting, whether on foot, by bike, by bus, or by car, we are reminded that many people share this land. We must also acknowledge our collective responsibility to care for it.  

Connect: The crossing helps us come together on a deeper level as we learn a more complete version of our area’s history. It opens the door to understanding, respect, and stronger relationships – between communities, individuals and the environment.  

Flow: Just as the water flows under the bridge and through our region, the crossing encourages us to move together. When we work together, we are powerful and healing. We can build a better, more sustainable future for everyone. 

The visual identity will be used in the creation of interpretive and directional signage, planning for future artistic installations and continued development of educational, community-based programming. 

“We want to extend our thanks to Nations, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members who shared their lived experience and offered guidance during the naming and visual identity processes," says Jennifer Campbell, Director, Heritage Services. “Your valuable input ensured that the name, meaning, and visual elements of the identity honour the bridge as a symbol of community connection, learning and the path of reconciliation. We are looking forward to reaching out to the community in 2023 to continue to gather stories and shared knowledge that will be represented in future interpretive signage and programming.” 

Driving on the new bridge 

We know there has been lots of excitement to drive across the Waaban Crossing! We anticipate it will take some time for 'normal' traffic patterns to become established on the bridge, especially with residents eager to visit it for the first time and the holiday season in full swing. We will continue to monitor traffic volumes over the coming months and make traffic signal timing adjustments that may be needed. 

We appreciate your patience as everyone enjoys their first walk, ride or drive across the bridge in the coming days and weeks. Even though it is exciting to see new views of the city and the amazing Cataraqui River, please drive safely! 

Three things to know about Bill 23

On Oct. 25, the Ontario government tabled Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, which passed into law on Nov. 28. This transformative bill includes significant changes to the Planning Act, Ontario Heritage Act, Conservation Authorities Act, Development Charges Act and several other laws. 

The bill was introduced to address housing supply shortages in Ontario by reducing construction costs and timelines, and by setting targets for the number of new housing units that should be built in larger municipalities, including Kingston. For housing to reach affordable levels, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) estimates that Ontario will need 1.85 million housing units by 2030

City Council voted unanimously against Bill 23 at the Dec. 6 Council meeting, outlining several concerns after staff presented an information report with an overview of the law’s potential impacts. While the bill introduces a number of changes, here are three things to know about the impacts of Bill 23 in Kingston: 

  1. It creates significant reductions to development charges. 

The changes to the Development Charges Act as a result of Bill 23 will significantly impact on how the City recovers costs associated with growth. Development charges are fees collected by the City to pay for increased capital costs required because of increased needs for services arising from development. This will result in a reduction of about $6 million or ten per cent of development charges revenue over the next five years. Additionally, approximately $4 million of growth-related capital costs will no longer be eligible for funding from development charges. These growth-related capital costs include affordable housing capital costs and costs related to studies and plans. 

“Because municipal housing is no longer eligible for development charges, this will make it more difficult and expensive for the City to create and support affordable housing in the future,” says Paige Agnew, Commissioner, Community Services. 

  1. It removes programs and services provided by conservation authorities. 

The City relies on the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority to review natural heritage features (e.g., woodlands, species at risk, ecological impacts to wetlands, etc.) and water quality and water quantity during development applications. Changes to the Conservation Authorities Act mean that conservation authorities will no longer review these items and the City will need to explore other options, such as hiring specialized staff or working with a consultant to provide these services. This will have a significant impact on timelines for processing development applications with natural heritage components. 

“Each conservation authority has a unique understanding of the weather patterns, geology, and watersheds within their region,” says Agnew. “By creating one set of rules across the province the law doesn’t account for these differences, which could create issues at the local level.” 

  1. Kingston has been assigned a housing target of 8,000 new housing units. 

To meet the provincial housing goal, the largest and fastest-growing municipalities in southern Ontario were assigned housing targets by the Province. Since Kingston meets these criteria, the City has a target set of 8,000 new homes by 2031. 

The City’s current plan for growing the housing supply is: 

  •  Approximately 5,000 committed units (those that have already received zoning approval), and  

  • Approximately 59,000 potential new second and third housing units on existing residential lots. 

This does not include planning applications that are currently in technical review by Planning staff or units under appeal at the Ontario Land Tribunal. 

“We support working with the Province to address the housing crisis and build a mix of housing options with a range of affordability to best support residents,” says Agnew. “City staff continue to review Bill 23 to better understand the changes and we will communicate any concerns to our provincial colleagues where appropriate.” 

Bright green brushstrokes overlaid with white text, which reads: Support local projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Donate to the Kingston Community Climate Action Fund!

Now in its third year, the City of Kingston’s Community Climate Action Fund (KCCAF) is seeking to raise $112,308 to support three community climate action projects. These three projects by charitable organizations in Kingston will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the community and provide a suite of additional benefits. 

We invite you to get involved by donating to the KCCAF to support important projects by the Frontenac Club Day Care Integration Programme, Sustainable Kingston, and Ongwanada. 100 per cent of donations made go directly to these Kingston charities and you will receive a tax receipt for the full amount.  

How to donate:

  • In person at Kingston City Hall Payment Centre, 216 Ontario St. 

Learn more about the Kingston Community Climate Action Fund.

On the right, a photo of a person smiling in front of a microphone and a name on a blue background: Casie Keyes. On the left, a blue background with white text: Tell me more about... Rideaucrest Long-term Care. Season 2 episode 11. November 2022. CityofKingston.ca/Podcast. #TellMeMore

Tell Me More About... Rideaucrest Long-term Care 

Working in long-term care takes a special type of person. Dedication, teamwork, and compassion are a few of the skills required in this dynamic role. In our penultimate season two episode of Tell Me More, we chatted with Casie Keyes, Administrator at Rideacrest Long-term Care Home about what it takes to run a long-term care home successfully and how they navigated the challenges of an ongoing pandemic. 

Subscribe and listen wherever you get your podcasts!

Climate Change Symposium

On Jan. 19, join the City and Sustainable Kingston at the 2023 Kingston Climate Change Symposium and hear from an incredible line-up of speakers! This year, we welcome former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and current Chair of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitments, Catherine McKenna; anti-poverty activist and executive director of FoodShare Toronto, Paul Taylor; and artist Ali Hassan as our host. RSVP for this free virtual event

 

News to use 

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