City Matters – Everything you need to know about Kingston’s Strategic Plan

July 10, 2023

In this edition of City Matters:

Feature stories 

Kingston has a new Strategic Plan

Earlier this year in the beginning stages of strategic planning, we asked you: What do you want Kingston to be known for in 2026? After several months of public engagement and discussions between Council and City staff, Kingston has a Strategic Plan for 2023-2026. Scroll down as we take a closer look at the five priorities that make up the Plan and their expected impact on the community over the next four years. First, let’s cover a few basics. 

What exactly is the Strategic Plan? 

Simply put, the Strategic Plan acts like a roadmap, guiding Council decision-making and the work of City staff over a four-year period and beyond. It impacts everything from how we plan for future roads and bike lanes to addressing the housing crisis to making Kingston a top choice for employers and the workforce. The current plan includes over 150 action items across five strategic priorities. 

Why does the City have a Strategic Plan? 

Strategic planning is the first step in setting priorities for each term of Council. Every four years following a municipal election, Council engages in this process to put forward a vision for the city and establish guiding principles to achieve that vision. 

How will we cover the cost of the actions outlined in the Plan? 

Recognizing the cost of living has gone up, Council and staff have committed to keeping Kingston’s property tax increases among the lowest compared to similar-sized cities across Ontario. This involves finding ways to keep increases at or below inflation. To be successful in achieving the Plan’s ambitious goals, we will look at other means to increase revenue while also advocating for funding from the provincial and federal governments. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the five priorities and a handful of action items that will move us closer to this vision.

Support Housing Affordability

Increasing the supply and affordability of housing is a top priority. Earlier this year the City pledged to be a leader in housing innovation, targeting 8,000 new housing units by 2031 to meet the growing demand for all types of housing. Addressing these challenges will require increased investment, more private and public partnerships and adapting policies as required to suit the community’s changing needs. 

Here are a few actions aimed at targeting this goal in coming years: 

  • Increasing supply of all types of housing; 
  • Ensuring a distribution of different housing types across the City; 
  • Exploring innovative approaches to housing; 
  • Investing in affordable and supportive housing; and 
  • Improving services for vulnerable and unhoused members of the community.
Lead environmental stewardship and climate action

In 2019, Kingston was the first Ontario municipality to declare a climate emergency. Since then, we have taken steps across the City to reduce our carbon footprint as we work toward our goal of being net-zero by 2040. 

We are taking action throughout our daily work and across Kingston to become a green city and address the climate change crisis: 

  • Transitioning to electric buses and ice resurfacers (e.g., Zambonis); 
  • Protecting provincially significant woodlands for their carbon-capturing benefits; 
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from City facilities; 
  • Continuing to assist you in making your home more energy-efficient with Better Homes Kingston, the City’s home retrofit program; and 
  • Expanding the tree canopy and making sure that tree planting is done fairly and evenly across the city.
Many of these action items connect to the third priority below, offering health benefits for the planet and for community members.
Build an active and connected community

The third strategic priority is to invest in infrastructure that promotes an active community and creates vibrant public spaces. These are the places where we explore and play, to catch up with friends, family and neighbours. It will also look at enhancing how we travel: the physical roads, sidewalks and pathways that take us from Point A to Point B and everywhere in between. 

Some of the focused elements in this category include: 

  • Expanding recreational amenities; 
  • Engaging community neighbourhoods to beautify the City-owned ‘right-of-way' (i.e., portions of land along roadways and sidewalks); 
  • Improving transit frequency and connectivity; 
  • Prioritizing pedestrian connections and dedicated cycling lanes; and 
  • Investing an additional $35M over four years to repair roads in poor condition.
Foster a caring and inclusive community

Continuing to make Kingston a community where differences are celebrated and everyone feels safe, healthy, nourished and welcomed – are the basic elements of Council’s fourth strategic priority. We’re working with many community partners to enhance safety and well-being for all. 

Here are a few of the ways we’re working together to foster a caring and inclusive community: 

  • Continuing to advocate for increased provincial funding to address mental health and addictions issues; 
  • Exploring policies to address food insecurity and sustainability; 
  • Continuing community partnerships to attract healthcare professionals to Kingston; 
  • Celebrating community participation and volunteering; and 
  • Completing renovations to 610 Montreal St. in partnership with the Kingston Indigenous Languages Nest for use as a centre of Indigenous language revitalization and cultural learning.
Drive inclusive economic growth

How will Kingston become a centre for innovation, entrepreneurship and inclusive economic growth? Here are a few steps we’ll take over the next four years: 

  • Continue to advocate for more access to childcare; 
  • Explore programs to support local artists and entrepreneurs; 
  • Foster culture, history, education, arts and recreation; 
  • Expand employment lands and development opportunities; and 
  • Partner with the city’s post-secondary institutions to create more hands-on learning opportunities for students in the community.

Thank you for following along.

If you are interested in exploring the Plan and additional action items in more detail, we invite you to read Kingston’s 2023-2026 Strategic Plan on our website or tune into our podcast linked below. 

The priorities and action items will be uploaded to an online dashboard to provide updates about our progress. The dashboard and initial updates will be published in late 2023 – with more information to come in a future edition of City Matters. 

Tell Me More About... Kingston’s Strategic Plan for 2023-2026 

Tell Me More... the City of Kingston podcast. Tell Me More About... Strategic Priorities. Season 3, Episode 6, June 2023. Mayor Bryan Paterson sits at a table in front of a microphone.

Prefer to listen while you’re on the go? In this episode of the Tell Me More podcast, we sat down with Mayor Bryan Paterson to talk about Kingston’s Strategic Plan. Join us as we dive into the details of several action items, discuss how the City plans for opportunities and unknown challenges and consider what lies ahead for our community.

Subscribe and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

We can't help falling in love — with Kingston

36 questions that lead to loving Kingston. A new interactive exhibition designed to help you discover a deeper connection with your city. Text on a pink sticky note reads: Name one thing that makes Kingston unique. This exhibition was originated by Myseum of Toronto.
Dive into the heart of the city with 36 Questions that Lead to Loving Kingston, a new exhibition in the Market Wing Cultural Space in City Hall. The colourful exhibit offers a captivating exploration of self-discovery and community connection. Answer thought-provoking questions, exchange ideas and leave your mark in this free, multi-media interactive experience. The exhibit is open Mondays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m.

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