Kingston

Accelerating Local Climate Action

On this page you’ll find information about existing City plans that include actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are also links to all councillors and the mayor so you can contact them with your ideas and concerns.

We've reviewed the Kingston Climate Action Plan (KCAP), the Active Transportation Master Plan (ATMP), Official Plan (OP), Sustainable Kingston Plan (SKP), and Municipal Energy Study (MES).

Be sure to check out the Calendar page to stay up-to-date on local climate activities including council and committee meetings.

The Actions page gives you specific climate actions you can take.

Kingston Climate Action Plan

Goal: 30% Emissions Reduction by 2030

The Kingston Climate Action Plan builds on the third goal of the Sustainable Kingston Plan by looking at reducing GHG emissions through: transportation, energy, resources and natural systems, agriculture and food security, and climate resilience. 

Examples of the plan’s goals and objectives are:

  • To reduce GHG emissions from transportation p. 41
  • Increase the number of passengers using public transit and reduce single occupancy vehicles and short distance motor use. p. 41
  • Determine if smaller investments can be made to have greater impact through active transportation, transit and carpooling. Determine the GHG impacts of the road plan (i.e. integrate GHG modeling scenarios into Transportation Master Plan decision making). p. 44
  • Establish Kingston as a leader in green technology (wind, solar and bio-fuel) and build on the community’s core strength and assets in this area. p. 52
  • Conduct a feasibility study to determine the most promising areas in Kingston that could benefit from the efficiency, cost savings and fuel flexibility of a District Energy and Cogeneration System. This study could also include potential ownership and operational models as well as implementation plans. District energy systems provide space heating and cooling as well as water heating from a centralized plant through buried pipes to multiple users. This removes the need for each individual building to have a furnace, boiler or A/C unit. This offers the opportunity for fuel flexibility since a district energy system can transition from conventional fuels to renewable fuels. District energy systems allow for cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) where energy that would have been rejected can be used.
  • Reduce GHG emissions released from the heating, cooling and powering of our homes and workplaces and produce enough renewable energy to meet our needs. p. 52
    • Design and construct new buildings and renovate existing buildings (homes and workplaces) to minimize their energy consumption and release of GHG emissions.
    • Be a leader in the development and use of sustainable building standards for design, construction and operation.
  • Increase the number of trees in park areas and in the City. p. 63
  • Give priority treatment to projects that offer significant energy efficiency, water efficiency and/or incorporate renewables. p. 57
  • Require higher energy efficiency than code for projects that are requesting rezoning. p. 57
  • Minimize the amount of waste going to landfill. p. 63
  • The ICI (industry, commercial, institution) sector needs to expand its uptake of recycling and organics management. p. 66
  • Kingston’s food system contributes to the reduction of GHG emissions and the increase in food security. p. 71
    • Develop local food production, processing, distribution and retailing businesses and facilities. 
  • The policy requires that all large municipal building and retrofit projects undertake an assessment of Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) as a design goal for Council's consideration before the finalization of a project's design. p. 51

Our Take

Kingston Climate Action Plan

This plan was adopted by city council in June 2014 and contains actions that would greatly reduce Kingston’s GHG emissions. In 2017, Kingston's Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory found that emissions in the City had reduced 32% from 2011 levels, technically exceeding the Kingston Climate Action Plan's 30% goal 12 years early. Unfortunately, this was an error in a calculation. Instead, the city is on track to meet its 2020 goal of a 15% reduction. This reduction is largely due to the province's decision to close all Ontario coal plants, shifting to less emissions-intensive electricity generation and therefore decreasing the emissions from electricity used in every home.The Climate Hub will be reaching out to the City for an update of the implementation of the plan. 

Active Transportation Master Plan

 Walk 'n' Roll Kingston is the City's first comprehensive Active Transportation Master Plan.   

The plan is being developed in response to Council approved policies and plans that outline the need to increase opportunities and investment for active transportation. Walk 'n' Roll Kingston is a strategy supported by key objectives to guide the implementation of active transportation programs, initiatives and infrastructure, while complementing current Council approved policies such as the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Waterfront Master Plan, and other on-going initiatives (e.g. Vision Zero: Kingston's Road Safety Plan, etc.).” Walk ‘n’ Roll Kingston

Goals:

  • Kingston will be a City that embraces active modes of transportation and where residents and visitors can walk, cycle and wheel using a network of accessible, safe, connected and well-maintained trails, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and pathways which will lead to 20% of all travel occurring via active modes of transportation.
  • It is recommended that City staff identify an annual budget to undertake Transportation Focus Area Plans to determine specific intersection improvements and that improvements required as part of the City-wide AT network be budgeted as part of the four year capital plan.

Our Take

Active Transportation Master Plan

Active transportation is an admirable goal. The plan, however, does not include the resulting emissions reductions from increasing active transportation to 20% at a cost of $127 million over ten years. An assessment of costs vs reductions (ROI) should be undertaken to ensure that finite municipal budgets achieve the highest reductions possible. If we look at the targets set out in the Municipal Energy Study to meet the City emissions reduction target of 30%, we see that vehicular traffic must drop to below 50% of today’s usage. How do these numbers align? Does the ATMP have enough impact for its cost?

Official Plan

The Official Plan is the blueprint for how Kingston will grow over the next 20 years and helps to make Kingston the most sustainable city in Canada.  

“The Official Plan is a key part of the planning policy structure that will guide land use decisions in the City. The aim of the Official Plan is to reflect the City’s vision for the future based on the shared views of its citizens and the policy framework established by the Province. The City’s goal of making itself the most sustainable municipality in Canada is reflected throughout the document as is the desire to generate and sustain cultural vitality. In addition, the Plan allows the City to evolve in a way that will contribute to the City’s prosperity and provide a range of opportunities for housing, recreation, arts, culture and employment.” - Taken from the Official Plan.

Examples of goals or approaches set out in the Official Plan.

  • The City strongly promotes construction techniques and infrastructure that allow development to accommodate more affordable renewable energy technologies in the future. p. 324
  • The City supports net-zero building, district, or neighbourhood development (i.e., the total amount of energy used annually is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site). p. 324
  • The City encourages the retrofitting of existing residential and commercial building stock through consideration of incentives, planning and financial instruments that it may choose to implement and the City supports partnerships with utilities and other levels of governments to that end. p. 324
  • The City may give priority to development applications that incorporate renewable energy and district energy infrastructure. p. 324
  • The City supports public education, pilot projects and demonstration programs that explore ways to use renewable energy systems for development. p. 324
  • Trees will be protected in accordance with the City’s Tree By-law. p. 321
  • The City intends to cooperate with adjacent municipalities, senior government agencies and private enterprises in investigating and developing alternative methods and technologies for solid waste disposal. p. 297
  • The City promotes the inclusion of charging stations for electric vehicles as part of the development or redevelopment of a site. P. 324

Our Take

Official Plan

The Climate Hub supports these goals, but would like to see stronger language that commits the City to these actions. To achieve UN climate targets, Kingston has to focus on reducing emissions from the transportation sector and buildings. This requires new buildings to have zero emissions and to retrofit existing buildings for heating and cooling efficiency. It also means increasing access to affordable, green energy. 

Sustainable Kingston Plan

The Sustainable Kingston Plan sets out goals and actions to enhance the cultural, economic, environmental, and social pillars of sustainability.  

“Kingston is capable of producing all of the energy that residents and industry consume, and is responsible for offsetting all GHG emissions created by the community. Kingston has clean, fresh, and breathable air because the community has minimized emissions harmful to the health of the community, the environment, or the atmosphere. Kingston is a resilient community and is able to mitigate the risks and benefit from the opportunities presented by a changing climate.” p. 30

Three of SK’s goals are to:

  • Develop a long-term plan that defines the guiding principles, themes, theme statements, indicators, and goals that will help Kingston work towards the vision: Kingston – Canada’s Most Sustainable City
  • Provide a framework for aligning, building on and integrating municipal and community actions (plans, policies, programs, processes, and initiatives) that are currently underway or being planned
  • Provide strategic guidance for current and future municipal decision-making that leads towards a cleaner, more attractive, more sustainable future for the community of Kingston

Examples of actions set out in the plan include:

  • Reducing the amount of energy that residents, businesses and industry consume.
  • Generating enough local renewable energy to meet all of our needs.
  • Reducing and/or mitigating our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to become carbon neutral.
  • Minimizing aerial emissions including volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Our Take

Sustainable Kingston Plan

Ultimately, Kingston has to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Sustainable Kingston Plan sets the stage for other plans that also aim to reduce GHG emissions and is supposed to provide guidance for municipal decision-making. The only thing missing seems to be the political will to take real action.

Municipal Energy Study

This City of Kingston Municipal Energy Study (MES) identified energy objectives and supporting actions that would “reduce energy emissions, increase energy efficiencies and leverage energy generation and services to enhance the local economy and prosperity of citizens and businesses.”  The study followed a framework set out by the Ontario Ministry of Energy.

Information from the study:

  • The biggest emitters of GHG emissions for Kingston are: commercial and institutional buildings (606,253 tonnes/year); food transportation (344,126 tonnes/year); private buildings (258,216 tonnes/year); commercial transportation (220,780 tonnes/year); private transportation (214,828 tonnes/year). (Total transportation creates 779,734 tonnes of CO2e per year.)
  • In 2015, the residents, businesses and institutions of the City of Kingston spent approximately $600 million on energy. More than 70% of this spending likely leaves our local economy every year. For every 1% of energy spending that stays in Kingston through conservation, local energy generation or provision of energy services, the local economy benefits up to $6 million per year.
  • Energy modelling shows that “emissions from buildings and transportation need to be significantly reduced to achieve the -30% target.” (Note that the 30% target is no longer adequate according to the 2018 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.)
  • Kingston can achieve its original target by: introducing “district energy, improvements in building efficiency, retrofits and mode shifting in cars. The major strategy that drives the emissions reductions, however, is switching from natural gas and gasoline to electricity, which is increasingly derived from renewables.”

Actions

  • Reduce the energy and carbon footprint of new and existing buildings 
  • Using organic materials to create biogas; a renewable form of natural gas that can be used to fuel transportation or heat buildings. (Reduce footprint; enhance economy.)
  • Electrifying transit
  • Growing green tech sector
  • Integrate desired energy outcomes into local urban planning 
  • Establish microgrids and district energy (Microgrids are subsets of the greater electrical grid which include generation such as photovoltaic, wind, and fuel cells, demand management and storage.)

Our Take

Municipal Energy Study

The Municipal Energy Study was released in 2018. Its findings support actions or approaches identified in City plans including the Sustainable Kingston Plan and the Kingston Climate Action Plan. As with other plans that highlight the need for climate action and the solutions to address climate change, this study along with other plans need operational plans and associated budgets to put words into action. 

Elected Officials

Do you know who your Councillor is? Click here to search by residential address and reach out to express your interest in climate action.

Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies (EITP) Committee -  Reviews policy associated with environmental issues, transportation, energy supply, engineering, sewage, parking, roads, sidewalks and signage, utilities and waste. 

Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum (KEAF) - Assists the City in preparing its environmental strategy. 

Bryan Paterson

Mayor
613-546-4291 ext. 1400

Gary Oosterhof

Councillor - Countryside

Member of EITP

Simon Chapelle

Deputy Mayor & Councillor - Loyalist Cataraqui

Lisa Osanic

Councillor - Collins-Bayridge

Member of EITP

Wayne Hill

Councillor - Lakeside

Bridget Doherty

Councillor - Portsmouth

Member of KEAF & EITP

Robert Kiley

Councillor - Trillium

Mary Rita Holland

Councillor - Kingscourt-Rideau

Member of EITP

Jeff McLaren

Councillor - Meadowbrook-Strathcona

Jim Neill

Councillor - Williamsville

Member of KEAF & EITP

Peter Stroud

Councillor - Sydenham

Member of EITP

Rob Hutchison

Councillor - King's Town

Ryan Boehme

Councillor - Pittsburgh

Donate

Please consider supporting our work

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.  

Citizens cannot rely on government alone to solve critically challenging issues. That’s why we’ve formed the Kingston Climate Hub: to provide non-partisan information on climate change, to engage with our community to take control of climate change in our own backyards, and to monitor government and industry actions and outcomes.