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Renowned city planner critical of Kingston’s past planning decisions

Kingston City Planners seek advice from one of the best
Vancouver's former chief planner and award-winning consultant, Brent Toderian, is visiting Kingston this week, giving advice as the city nears a turning point in its history.

With a number of highrise and high-density residential projects in the works, many of them in the downtown core, the City of Kingston may be at a critical point in its history.

“There has been momentum building to the point where we are right now as a city,” Kingston’s director of planning, Paige Agnew said. “There’s a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for Kingston specifically.”

READ MORE: Kingston community members vow to fight several proposed high-rise developments

To help turn that page, the city has sought the advice from one of the world’s foremost urban planners, Brent Toderian.

Toderian is an award-winning planning consultant, who was once Vancouver’s chief city planner. He’s been critical of some of the buildings on Ontario Street in Kingston’s downtown.

“Right now, what I’m seeing, is the result of squashing, badly-designed, slightly-less-tall buildings,” Toderian said. “That’s no way to build a great city.”

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Height is the big issue with new developments currently being debated, such as the Capitol Condo project, or the pair of Homestead highrises slated to be built on Queen Street. Both of which have seen the developers concede on the height of their buildings, but are still far taller than the six storeys current city bylaws allow for.

READ MORE: Kingston’s newest proposed development could be tallest building on the waterfront

“The conversation [should] be less about how many floors the building is, and more about its overall design,” Toderian said. “How it lands in a way that strengthens the street and the block and the neighbourhood.”

But overall, Toderian is confident Kingston’s planning department is on the right track.