Queen’s summit brainstorms how to build a better Kingston for all
Queen’s University’s Alma Mater Society (AMS) held a Community Development Summit on Saturday at the Delta Hotel in downtown Kingston to discuss urban planning in the university district.
Bringing together students, alumni, community members, Queen’s administration, City of Kingston staff and politicians with landlords and local developers, the event held four workshops on urban planning, street design and transportation, economic development and student-community relations.
With Kingston’s large student population of young people coming from across the province and other parts of Canada to attend Queen’s and St. Lawrence College, the university felt it was important to bring stakeholders together to discuss the needs of both long-term residents and students living in the city.
“What we’re trying to achieve today is to have students and residents and professors and developers all think about how you make great neighbourhoods,” said David Gordon, director of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s.
Student street parties have been a recent local concern, with the city looking to pass a nuisance bylaw that would impose a hefty fine.
Speakers at the summit said key is to balance the needs and desires of both longtime local homeowners but also short-term renters in the city.
“Students don’t want to live in the slums, they don’t want to live in squalor, and they do have rights,” said keynote speaker Michael Fox, professor of community planning at Mount Allison University.
“What can we do to deal with property standards, garbage and noise?” asked longtime Kingston resident Neil Donnelly. “[And] what can all of us stakeholders do to [alleviate] the problems being caused?”
“The most incredible thing about today’s event is that we have so many different unique stakeholders gathered around a table to discuss these issues,” said AMS commissioner Stefano Hollands, who organized the summit.
The society plans to compile all the ideas from Saturday’s summit and share the information with the community.
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