The following is a list of reasons why we support residential intensification in downtown Kingston.
Studies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and information from Statistics Canada have shown that high rise apartment and condo buildings consume 65% less energy, use less water and produce less waste than suburban, single family homes, on a per resident basis. Intensification will also result in less dependence on the automobile, and more transit use.
We already have an intensified downtown employment zone – 700 businesses in the Central Business District, plus Queen’s, CFB Kingston, the hospitals, and RMC. And we have the required commercial intensification for high “walkability scores” eliminating chances of “reverse commute”.
Health, Wellness, Inclusion, Safety:
A densified community encourages more walking and cycling. Close proximity to multiple amenities downtown such as Artillery Park, fitness clubs, and yoga studios naturally promote health and wellness. Various free festivals, concerts, and skating in Springer Market Square allow for residents to be actively engaged in the downtown community. Multiple social agencies make downtown Kingston their home. This increases both access to support and awareness of social issues. Jane Jacobs believed that dense populations create safer environments for the public, what she referred to as, “Eyes on the street”.
During the “construction phase” money is spent on permits, design and engineering services, marketing and sales, financing, legal, insurance etc. And, of course, land acquisition, site preparation and construction itself create many hours of work for many different professions.
In the “occupancy phase” the new residents spend money weekly on groceries, household supplies, entertainment, their accommodation (rent or mortgage, taxes) and in shops and restaurants, pharmacies and fitness clubs etc.
Downtown offers the full range of personal and professional services and businesses of all kind within walking distance. As the closest supplier, downtown businesses will receive a high percentage of sales.
Kingston’s $100 million investment in infrastructure (Big Digs, etc.) and $100 million investment in amenities (Rogers K-Rock Centre, Grand Theatre, Springer Market Square & Rink, Artillery Park etc.) has created this opportunity.
Densification downtown will encourage more artists, musicians, and young professionals to reside in the area, promoting Kingston as an Entertainment and Arts Hub in Eastern Ontario.
Higher residential population grows audience and market for the Grand Theatre, Rogers K-Rock Centre, festivals, events, and clubs, bars, and restaurants that feature live performance. Art galleries, craft shops, the Public Market, and specialty food stores featuring local product will also benefit.
Downtown Look and Feel:
All ages of architecture can be celebrated in a densified downtown. A vibrant community is not a museum, rather a living, changing, authentic and vibrant place to live, work, and enjoy. Modern structures can balance, frame, and act as backdrop to heritage buildings to showcase the city in a dramatic way. Podium building height at the sidewalk will preserve existing scale for pedestrians. High rise towers maximize the number of new residents.
Positive Housing Market Impacts:
High rises in the downtown area will provide a large number of residential units. This will slightly increase Kingston’s vacancy rate, creating a more competitive housing market place. This keeps rents down, and improves the quality of housing.
A new supply of residential units downtown and mid-town will cause some student rentals in Sydenham District and Williamsville to be converted back to single family homes.
Downtown condos and apartments are the preferred housing of many young professionals and will make it easier for existing and new Kingston businesses to attract them to our community as employees.