Kingston Waterfront

Kingston, Ontario

Photo Credit: Thinc Design

CASE STUDY

Initial Research by: Zoe Goldman

Edited by: Samantha Miller & Nicole Brekelmans

Case study compiled in 2017

 

 

Project: Kingston Waterfront Masterplan

Type of Urban StrategyWater  

Type of ProjectMaster Plan / Waterfront revitalization 

LocationKingston, Ontario 

Date Designed/Planned: 2014-2016

Construction Completed Completion within 30 years

Designer: Thinc Design, Mehkah, Kelly & Associates Inc. MacIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers Ltd., Shoreplan Engineering Limited, Rogers Trainor Commercial Realty Inc., Cunningham, Swam, Carty Little & Bonham LLP.  

 

The Kingston Waterfront Master Plan is a comprehensive plan that encompasses 280 km of Kingston's waterfront. Focusing on connections, access and enhancements, the plan carries across the entire 280 km with 138 improvement projects and recreational opportunities that cater to both rural and urban residents, as well as visitors to the area. The plan allows unobstructed access to Kingston’s waterfront, something that was not possible before due to private ownership and industrial uses.

 

The Kingston Waterfront Master Plan promotes connections to and with the water, while also ensuring protection for the existing terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. By Adapting and integrating the many existing plans, the Kingston Waterfront Master Plan will provide visitors with full access to the waterfront over the 108 km of urban waterfront, and access at key locations in the 172 km of rural waterfront.

 

CONTEXT


The Kingston Waterfront Master Plan is the first comprehensive plan that tackles the entire 280 km of Kingston's waterfront as a whole. The project was created by Thinc Design with the assistance of Mehak, Kelly & Associates, MacIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers, Shoreplan Engineering Limited, Rogers Trainor Commercial Realty Inc., and Cunningham, Swam, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP. The plan aims at improving access to the waterfront and increasing opportunities for recreation by proposing a variety of waterfront improvement projects, development guidelines and budgets to be implemented over a 30-year period. The plan encompasses 280 km of continuous shoreline in rural and urban Kingston and includes 138 individual waterfront projects. The comprehensive plan will allow the Kingston community and visitors to engage with the entire waterfront and provide access to both land and water based recreational activities (Thinc Design, 2016).




SITE ANALYSIS


The Kingston Waterfront is comprised of 280 km of shoreline extending from Collins Bay along Lake Ontario, along the Cataraqui River to Kingston Mills and along the St. Lawrence River to Abbey Dawn Road (Thinc Design, 2016).

The Kingston Waterfront contains 16 reaches, which are “geographical areas of waterfront that have unique topographical, environmental and land use characteristics” (Thinc Design, 2016). The Kingston Waterfront stretches over 108 km in Kingston’s urban boundary and 172 km outside the urban boundary. The waterfront is divided into 6 focus areas according to similar landscape characteristics, including urban and rural. The 6 focus areas are:

Catarqui (42 km)

Rideau Canal (172 km)

Lake Ontario West (34 km)

Lake Ontario Central (10 km)

Lake Ontario Central (4 km)

St. Lawrence (18 km)




PROJECT BACKGROUND AND HISTORY


The City of Kingston’s waterfront transitioned from a natural belt that supported First Nations communities to an urban industrial port. This transition re-oriented the City’s development away from the waterfront by utilizing the water for back-door dock access.

Over the past 30 years, a variety of studies and improvement projects have been undertaken for the Kingston Waterfront, revealing the renewed public interest in reclaiming the waterfront. There have been over 40 studies addressing different waterfront areas and issues throughout Kingston, however, there had been no attempt to address the entire 280 km waterfront as a whole until 2014 (City of Kingston, 2014).

The Kingston Waterfront Master Plan assesses the entire 280 km of waterfront while considering past studies and recent waterfront improvement projects. The master plan focuses on creating and improving waterfront connections, increasing access to the waterfront for all people and enhancing terrestrial and aquatic environments. The master plan responds to these goals by proposing 138 waterfront improvement projects for the next 30 years.




THE CHALLENGE


A major challenge outlined in the Kingston Waterfront Master Plan was to address the large portion of waterfront that is privately owned and not accessible to the public. In order to ensure continuous public access to the waterfront, the master plan includes a long-term strategy for improved land access. The City of Kingston can gain land access through a variety of tools including the Parkland Dedication Process (Kingston 2010 Planning Act), purchase, option to purchase, right of first refusal, easement/right of way, lease/licence, land swap, donation, testamentary disposition/bequest, traditional land use, regulatory controls, land trust, and a conservation easement (Thinc Design, 2016).

The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) enforces provincial legislation on development, interference and alteration to the shorelines within the regional watershed. Many of the projects will require the approval of the CRCA, as stated by the Ontario Regulation 148/06.




GOAL OF THE PROJECT


The major goal of the project was to create continuous connections between Kingston and its waterfront by creating an “integrated system of exceptionally designed spaces” (Thinc Design, 2016). Creating a continuous publicly accessible waterfront will create a vibrant waterfront and encourage visitor and resident participation in both land and water-based recreational activities.




DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND DECISION MAKING PROCESS


The master plan was developed over an 18-month period, during which there were meetings with the general public, meetings with stakeholders, focus areas were identified and analyzed, and waterfront improvements were proposed.

Due to the large scale of the waterfront, the Kingston Waterfront Master Plan divided the site into 6 focus areas, allowing an in-depth investigation for each area of the waterfront. The analysis for each focus area includes defining its ecological properties, land use, key locations, opportunities and challenges.

A total of 138 waterfront projects were proposed to be implemented over a 30-year development period (120 projects located on the urban waterfront and 18 projects along the rural waterfront). The order in which the 138 projects will be implemented was determined by examining each project:

Score on the priority matrix

Category of viability (high, moderate, low, right-of-way)

Estimated budget

Land access potential

The 120 projects on the urban waterfront are intended to provide full connectivity through physical connections. The 18 projects on the rural waterfront aim to achieve nodal connectivity, providing waterfront access at key locations.




GENESIS OF THE PROJECT


The Kingston Waterfront Master Plan is a comprehensive plan that encompasses 280 km of Kingston's waterfront. Focusing on connections, access and enhancements, the plan carries across the entire 280 km with 138 improvement projects and recreational opportunities that cater to both rural and urban residents, as well as visitors to the area. The plan allows one unobstructed access to Kingston’s waterfront, something that was not possible before due to private ownership and industrial uses.

The Kingston Waterfront Master Plan promotes connections to and with the water, while also ensuring protection for the existing terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. By Adapting and integrating the many existing plans, the Kingston Waterfront Master Plan will provide visitors with full access to the waterfront over the 108 km of urban waterfront, and access at key locations in the 172 km of rural waterfront.




CITATIONS


City of Kingston. "Waterfront Master Plan Wins a CSLA 2017 Award of Excellence." City of Kingston. April 04, 2017. https://www.cityofkingston.ca/-/waterfront-master-plan-wins-a-csla-2017-award-of-excellence. Thinc Design, Mehak, Kelly & Associates Inc., MacIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers Ltd., Shoreplan Engineering Limited, Rogers Trainor Commercial Realty Inc., and Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP. "Kingston Waterfront Master Plan." City of Kingston. March 2016. https://www.cityofkingston.ca/city-hall/projects-construction/waterfront-master-plan. "Comprehensive Kingston Waterfront Master Plan." Lecture, Public Meeting #1, Kingston, June 25, 2014.




PROGRAMMED ELEMENTS


Focus area 1: Cataraqui

The 37 projects in focus area 1 concentrate on creating a fully connected waterfront pathway network, through linking a series of existing and new parks and public open spaces, and improving waterfront access, views of the river and connections to downtown Kingston.

Priority Projects: Douglas R. Fluhrer Park, Tannery Lands River Edge, and Molly Brant Park.

Focus area 2: Rideau Canal

The 18 projects in focus area 2 concentrate on creating nodal connectivity at key waterfront destinations by improving linkages and public access to waterfront development, improving existing boat launches and introducing new boat launches.

Priority Projects: Grass Creek Park, Cecil and Wilma Graham Park

Focus area 3: Lake Ontario West

The 27 projects in focus area 3 concentrate on creating a fully connected waterfront through a range of projects, including improvements to existing parks, infrastructure, and on-road connections. Additionally, a road route is being proposed to establish the sections of publicly owned waterfront.

Priority Projects: Sand Bay

Focus area 4: Lake Ontario Central

The 13 projects in focus area 4 concentrate on creating a fully connected waterfront by linking a series of existing and proposed parks and public open spaces. A large portion of the waterfront in this focus area is already publicly accessible, therefore the proposed projects aim to connect these spaces.

Priority Projects: Richardson Beach, Breakwater Park, Macdonald Park, King Street West Sidewalk, Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, Kingston Penitentiary

Focus area 5: Lake Ontario Central

The 24 projects in focus area 5 concentrate on upgrading the existing waterfront pathway. Some examples of the possible improvements include the widening of the pathway, creating a promenade and bridging the existing piers to create new connections.

Priority Projects: Confederation Basin Breakwater, Confederation Basin Marina, Crawford Wharf, Confederation Park, Delta Hotel Perimeter Walkway, Pedestrian Feature Bridge, Pump House Steam Museum Pathway Improvements, Holiday Inn

Focus area 6: St. Lawrence

The 19 projects in focus area 6 concentrate on creating a fully connected waterfront by linking existing parks and public open spaces.

Priority Projects: Fort Henry Walkways, Fort Henry Waterfront Pathway, RMC Waterfront Promenade, Deadmans’ Bay Pathway

(Thinc Design, 2016).




PROJECT IMPACT


The Kingston Waterfront Master Plan is an example of the opportunities that become possible when there is cooperation between the public and private sector, industrial landowners and the community. The benefits of this collaborative effort will be continually realized as the plan is implemented over the next 30 years. The project has been widely recognized for its large scale-vision and won the “CSLA 2017 Award of Excellence” in the Large-Scale Planning and Analysis category (City of Kingston, 2017).





 

EDITOR

 

Samantha Miller

Nicole Brekelmans

Zoe Goldman

Desiree Theriault

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