Kingston mayor comments on $750,000 contribution from Queen’s

Funds to be allocated to different city department

Funds to be paid in installments over next five years. 

On Feb. 24, Queen’s announced a contribution of $750,000 to the City of Kingston, which will be paid in installments for the next five years.

According to Mayor Bryan Paterson, the funds will be allocated at the city level annually.

“We haven't made any decisions at this point on how those funds will be used. We certainly appreciate the contribution from the University,” Paterson said in an interview with The Journal

“That's something that we would approach on an annual basis; we wouldn't even make decisions on all that funding for the next five years;. It's something that we would probably approach on an as-needed basis.”

Due to the influx of students in Kingston, Paterson said there’s added pressure on the City in several departments. 

“There's a lot of pressure on a number of different city services: policing, public works, transportation, and some of our transit networks,” Paterson said. 

Paterson said the goal is to support residents across the city. 

“We often think of the students that are living in the University District, but one of the things we see is more and more students living quite a distance away from campus,” he said.

“These are just extra residents that obviously we want to make sure overall city services are still holding up.”

After Homecoming 2021, students brought up concerns surrounding the police presence in the University District.  In response to student concerns, the AMS launched a survey.

Paterson said the current police chief is looking to work with students.

“[The Chief of Police] is very progressive and big on community policing [...] I think there is no organization more on the side [of the students] when it comes to finding ways to defuse and displace these illegal street parties,” Paterson said. 

Samara Lijiam, AMS social issues commissioner, said she’s disappointed that Queen’s isn’t establishing parameters around how the funding should be used by the City of Kingston. 

“​​After sharing the initial survey data and negative police experiences with the University, it is disappointing to see the University continue to give so much money to the city without any parameters around the services it will go to,” Lijiam said in a statement to The Journal

“We need to ensure we are choosing intersectional solutions.”

In a press release, the AMS said they will continue advocating for the money to be used towards harm reduction measures. 

“We will continue advocating for the money to be spent on harm reduction services and initiatives, not police enforcement, because we believe this is the best way to address these student safety concerns,” the press release said.

Paterson is “happy” to work with student government leaders in supporting harm reduction.

“Let's work together to end these illegal street parties. I can guarantee you that money will actually go to more constructive uses instead,” Paterson said. 

In an email sent to The Journal, Julie Brown, Queen’s media and relations, said on behalf of the University that Queen’s doesn’t direct the City how to use the funding.

“The funding comes after a Feb. 15 announcement of a municipal partners task force to be chaired by Principal Deane in an effort to address large street parties in the community. It will offer an opportunity for everyone in the community, including students, to share their feedback and thoughts on student behaviour,” Brown said. 

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