Chamber of Commerce keeps `yellow' grade for city council
Kingston's chamber of commerce maintained its yellow rating for city council's direction on business-related issues.
In its report card for the third quarter of this year, the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce judged council's voting on five issues that directly affect the local business community.
Of those issues, the chamber approved of two of the voting results, had concerns about two others and criticized one other.
“Our council, which is just about a year into this new term, has displayed an increased focus on working towards progressive policies, although much work remains to be done,” chamber chief executive officer Karen Cross said.
The chamber approved of council's vote last week to pursue federal funding thought the housing accelerator fund and its vote against a proposal to study the potential promotion of a plant-based food treaty in local restaurants.
The chamber was opposed to council's approval of a $100,000 study of vacant homes tax.
The organization also expressed concern about a proposal to eliminate tax discounts on commercial and industrial vacant lands and a plan to include a special tax to support housing in the 2024 budget discussions.
“There are many areas of focus that we will continue to monitor and push forward on, such as the zoning bylaws that directly impact the ability to build more housing as well as allow for Industrial developments,” Cross added, “(and) patio bylaw changes that are pending for 2024 and that directly impact our restauranteurs and their ability to do business.
“These are just a few areas of concern, and we understand that many of the challenges are intertwined, such as the need for the right jobs that match the type of skills available in our market which is also impacted by housing limitations and is then compounded with the severe shortage of family physicians,” she said.
“These are all complex issues, but a sustained level of focus and attention needs to be applied, and we will do the work necessary in concert with our members and advocacy group to highlight and bring forward areas of concern to ensure accountability and transparency.”