In response to Michael Davies' letter regarding Mayor Harvey Rosen's approval rating ("Rosen's record as mayor unparalleled for last 50 years," April 3), I would like to respond as follows.
Words can create misconceptions, I believe Davies' statement that Rosen has "overseen" major city projects implies that he initiated all of the projects mentioned.
For example, he mentions federal contributions to Fort Henry. When I was mayor, I negotiated contributions to Fort Henry with the federal and provincial ministers. Furthermore, Fort Henry staff managed this project all the way through with the endorsement and encouragement of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, to which they report.
I had the pleasure of welcoming federal minister Allan Rock to Kingston when he brought us a $25-million cheque as the first installment to kick- start upgrades to the Ravens-view sewage treatment plant. With the assistance of our provincial representative, MPP John Gerretsen, negotiations took place with the province, and a promise of further contributions was made. Please note that this promise has been fulfilled.
We were also fortunate to receive a grant from the provincial government to put the large holding tank at the River Street pumping station. This was accomplished by digging up the park at the site, placing the holding tank there and then restoring the park to its original state. Thus, the city reduced the amount of raw sewage going directly into the Cataraqui River.
At the same time, other smaller holding tanks were being installed. As well, pipes, roads and sidewalks were repaired. All of these projects were managed and overseen by the very capable staff of Utilities Kingston.
The new police building project was brought on board while I was a member of the police services board. The architects were chosen, staff were assigned to the project and a location was chosen. This project was managed and overseen by the staff at the Kingston police department.
During my tenure, there was an understanding that $5 million would be spent on Market Square and that this would be the responsibility of the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area. Also, $5 million was directed to the Grand Theatre renovations.
It should also be mentioned that the project to replace and enlarge the pipes under the Cataraqui River progressed to completion.
As far as Block D is concerned, once the information leaks at City Hall were stopped, the project seemed to win confidence and move ahead.
No mayor "oversees" projects or is expected to go around each day wearing a hard hat and ensuring that all are doing their jobs. Once city council makes a decision to pursue a project, the project is handed over to the city's very capable staff with the expectation that they will report from time to time on the progress of the project and will bring it in on time and on budget.
Every council brings something to the table that enhances the City of Kingston. Many great mayors have served Kingston in the past 50 years. There is nothing wrong with having your favourite mayor, but surely it should not be at the expense of trashing all the others.
A city is not just made up of bricks and mortar. Certainly its infrastructure is a great asset and must be kept up. However, its people are the strength of the community.
- Isabel Turner was mayor of Kingston from 2000 to 2003.