Kingston council to create a working group to improve student-community relations

July 23, 2023

At city council, with unanimous support, it was decided that steps will be taken to create a working group aimed towards fostering a positive relationship between students and the greater Kingston community.

With Kingston having three large educational institutions, there is a large population of post-secondary students which is also expected to increase in the future. As stated by Coun. Conny Glenn when she brought the proposal before council, “the population of students is so large, it's like having a small city in our own city.”

In the motion put forward by Glenn, it was stated that the student population has created challenges within certain neighbourhoods. Challenges listed included the city spending “a small fortune on policing” and bylaw being “stretched thin” when there are major events. However, these challenges are just part of the reasoning behind the creation of this working group.

In addition to improving students’ experience in Kingston and the overall relationship between students and community members, the working group also aims to consider strategies to keep students in Kingston after they graduate.

“We have students come here, they train, they're well-educated, they're bright, and they leave,” states Glenn, “and we need to have those people stay, and we need to give them reason to stay here.”

In pursuit of these goals, it was resolved that a working group be created for the City of Kingston, St. Lawrence College, the Royal Military College of Canada, and Queen’s University to collaborate.

The working group is set to have representation from two city councillors; city administration; by-law enforcement; the university and colleges (non-student); the Alma Mater Society who represent undergraduate students at Queen’s University; the Graduate Society of Queen’s University; the student governing body of St. Lawrence College known as SA (Student Association); the student governing body from the Royal Military College of Canada; and one landlord or property manager.

As for next steps, city staff will now start the process of building the working group. It is expected that a working group structure with a mandate, reporting structure, and representation from the previously listed groups will be presented by the last quarter of 2023.

Story by Christena Lawrie, CFRC News, for the Local Journalism Initiative