It came about half way through the almost three hour meeting.
"After hearing comments and concerns from people at this meeting, and after the report of TSH, is anything going to change? Are you going to do what you planned to do anyway?"
Six possibilities were presented. One of those was to do nothing. Two, alternatives C and D, certainly were the preferences of the consultant, Totten Sims Hubicki., and alternative C was their recommendation.
Alternative C is essentially the way the intersection was described in the 2003 Downtown Action Plan.
Now, we wonder: did the city just hire TSH to confirm its choice? It definitely appears that way. Give the several constraints (the city called them "principles") that the city provided to TSH, it's not hard to see how they came up with (surprise!!!) the same plan that the city had all along!!!
At a meeting at the public library several years ago, a senior staff member told me that since the DAP had been passed by council, city staff were free to execute the plan, and council would not be asked to review any of its details or comment upon any of its contents. Essentially a blank cheque. This intersection was the subject of my inquiry, and the staff person indicated that what was in the plan was what the city would get. So there. Tough.
The response to the question? A senior staff person last night said that comments would be taken into consideration. Well, everyone knows what THAT means. We've seen it for years. "Thanks for coming, but we know best, we've made up our minds, and we're going to do what WE think is best."
This attitude is passe. Look at Canadian businesses, at Canadian cities that are progressing, growing, serving their citizens. Look at the not-for-profit sector. This attitude is the downfall of any entity that continues to hold it. Let the mayor, council and city staff be on watch: Kingstonians are not going to stand for this "my way or the highway" attitude. This is our city. It's time to consult us, with honour and integrity, and with the intention of actually listening to us. There are more "experts" in this community than there are on staff at city hall, there are others preparing to take a run for the mayor's chair, there are citizens gearing up to run for council. All are watching.
The message? Consult before you make up your mind.