Tannery Lands: Development in progress

This article appears in the Vicki New Times - coming to a mailbox near you!

Jay Patry Enterprises now owns the Tannery Lands, 15 hectares (37 acres) 1 km north of downtown Kingston, along the Great Cataraqui River. It is a contaminated property due to past lead smelting and tannery operations.

The developer’s proposal for remediation and development of the site includes applications for Official Plan, Zoning Bylaw and Brownfield Community Improvement Plan (CIP) amendments. These would remove Environmental Protection Area designations and Provincially Significant Wetland and Woodland overlays; increase the allowed density to about double what is currently allowed as well as provide exemptions from numerous other zoning bylaws; and gain eligibility for financial incentives not included in the current Brownfield CIP.

 

Proponents of the development state that it would provide needed housing, clean up a contaminated site, create jobs and tax revenue, offer a public waterfront path and provide a new facility for the Kingston Rowing Club.

 

Community concerns include the loss of woodland and wetlands, the loss of habitat for turtles that have been observed along the shoreline, the use of Kingston’s waterfront for private development instead of public parklands, and the lack of provision of lower rent apartments in the development proposal.

 

There are also concerns about erosion and run-off of contaminated soil during the clear-cutting and construction phase of the project. Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour (FKIH) believe that since so little is known about fresh water turtles and their habitat, any shoreline mitigation decisions should wait until we have further results from local studies currently in progress.

 

As part of the city’s development review process, other agencies are asked for comments. Parks Canada recommends that the paved walkway area along the waterfront be replaced by a naturalized buffer zone with native plant species including large trees. It states:  “The extent of the setback and the proposed interventions do not respect the adjacent natural landscape character for this section of the waterway, and together with the high density development, presents a development plan which is disconnected and unharmonious with the surrounding environment.”

 

The plan review by CRCA states:  "It is the opinion of CRCA staff that the submitted documentation does not adequately address the applicable natural hazard, natural heritage and environmental protection policies.”

 

Both Parks Canada and CRCA recommend that the City defer the development applications until a satisfactory submission is provided.

 

Technical studies, including the Phase II Environmental Assessment, are in progress. The developer is meeting with City staff about possible changes to the plan as a result of staff comments, public feedback and official communications from Parks Canada & CRCA.