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Kingston looking to boost tourism with proposed deep-water dock for cruise ships

Click to play video 'City of Kingston officials eye deep water dock options' City of Kingston officials eye deep water dock options
WATCH ABOVE: City staff want to boost tourism in Kingston by creating a deep-water dock in the downtown core that could accommodate large cruise ships – Nov 5, 2017

Kingston city staff are proposing a deep-water dock to accommodate cruise ships to help boost tourism and economic development.

The concept was first brought forward at city council in 2015 as part of the city’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan.

READ MORE: At 61 metres, the Lions Gate Bridge is too low for new cruise ships to fit under

For the last few months, city staff have been working with local partners to pinpoint feasible locations for a new dock. One of the options is the Crawford Wharf, just across from city hall.

Currently, smaller cruise ships carrying up to 66 passengers dock at the wharf, but the city is setting its sights on docking much larger ships, which the wharf currently cannot readily accommodate.

According to city officials, the best option for a new dock that can accommodate large cruise ships is at the wharf at 1 Queen Street.

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The privately-run wharf is in a prime downtown location and meets water depth and structural length requirements.

Chris Whyman, manager of visitor services with Tourism Kingston, is on board with the idea for a new deep-water dock.

“Tourism doesn’t only benefit the visitors, it also benefits the locals,” Whyman said. “Anything we can do to boost the economy [is positive], because tourism is a huge part of the economy in the city of Kingston.”

Some tourists feel a new dock could bring a new wave of visitors to the Limestone City.

“I think it would be really good for Kingston to drive more people into the city,” said Anjeli Karuytbosch, visiting from Toronto.

Others weren’t so sure about the proposal.

“I think it’s going to affect not just here, but the Gananoque area. If you have all the tourists come here, they don’t get to enjoy the Thousand Islands and the Great Lakes and stuff like that,” said Daniel McKay, who was visiting the city from Ottawa.

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“This is a jewel and shouldn’t be abused. We love the openness of this waterfront… so if they’re going to create big docks and bring big ships in, this is going to be lost,” said Burlington resident Teresa Barry.

On Nov. 7, city staff will ask council to approve a plan that includes spending $80,000 to continue an in-depth analysis on a potential deep-water dock at the 1 Queen Street wharf.