A heritage group is appealing the recent decision to allow two high-rises to be built in downtown Kingston.
According to a news release from Frontenac Heritage Foundation, the appeal was filed late last week.
The group says it’s investigating whether the Ontario Land Tribunal made any “errors of law” during a Nov. 4 ruling, which allowed construction of a 19-storey building and a 23-storey building on lower Queen Street to go forward.
“We were dismayed by the tribunal decision,” said Shirley Bailey, president of the foundation.
Bailey said the decision goes against the city’s tradition of conserving “the valuable and unmatched heritage character of the downtown area.”
The foundation noted that the tribunal came to the opposite conclusion of a former tribunal decision about the project, released in August 2019. That previous decision denied the high-rise construction on the basis of height, saying they would create a “visual intrusion to the streetscape and the prevailing built context” and were “not compatible with the surrounding area.”
A rehearing of the matter was mandated this past March.
In the Nov. 4 decision, the tribunal ruled that the two high-rises supported the city’s efforts to “protect the economic viability of the downtown, meets the city’s interest regarding financial implications of costs and revenues, and will not lead to instability. ”
The Frontenac Heritage Foundation says the group is primarily opposed to the height of the two towers, and recommend other plans that include two nine-storey buildings.
The foundation suggests building up the downtown core will take away the heritage-feel experienced by visitors to the first capital of the United Province of Canada.
“In the conversation about development, we often forget the revenue generated by visitors to our city and the reason they come here, which is to see the unique built heritage of our inner core,” the foundation said.