After repeated concessions, developer proposes 65 story megatower


“Deal with that, turds.”

After repeatedly trying to appease citizen groups, city working groups, and town council members, a downtown developer has submitted his final revision of a plan for new downtown building development with the above snarled derision.

Initially proposed at 21 stories, concerns ranging from skyline maintenance to waste handling had whittled the initial development plan down to 70% of it’s initially planned size and was deemed a reasonable adjustment by all sides. However, those changes were still not enough to appease a committee advising city council, who were deadlocked at 3-3 in votes for and against the project, so the developer took a different tack.

The revised tower includes radical bylaw variance, reduced aesthetic appeal, the removal of subsidized housing, and a 15-foot mirror ball at the pinnacle. When asked about the last point, the developer laughed. “You want historic charm? How about a disco-ball homage to the last time this city had any reasonable growth.”

Other developers were quick to line up in support of the new tower, seeing it as a shining example of passive-aggressive sarcasm. Some went so far as saying that they would make their own proposals denser, shittier, and uglier “purely in solidarity.”

The downtown developer shook his head in disbelief when asked if he would leave the plan as-is, or withdraw it after the obvious message had sunk in.

“You know what’s crazy about you guys? You don’t even understand that you’re the butt of the joke.” He explained, indicating that he meant the entire city. “When I have lunch with friends developing in the GTA, Ottawa, hell almost anyone, I’m the life of the party! I have all of these stories about trying to make you happy, and my friends just laugh and laugh at all the bullshit I have to go through to try and do anything here.”

The developer mood darkened, as he continued.

“So take it or leave it. Eventually nobody is going to want to deal with this circus, and I’m sick of making my friends pay for lunch.”

Citizens worry downtown density could make city appealing to young people.


Proposals for 20-storey high-rise housing in the downtown area are being met with criticism from local residents who fear the developments might ruin the current aesthetic appeal of the region.

“Kingston needs to retain the heritage and low density that today keeps it from retaining anyone below 23,” explained one history buff. “These buildings could create some kind of critical mass event where people actually started to live and work in the downtown core.”

Other residents were concerned about student populations. “We run the risk of making this an attractive city for young graduates to live in,” explained a store owner. “If downtown is worth staying for, we might run into a situation where all age groups are equally represented, crippling the ‘small-town’ feeling we have desperately clung to for the past 25 years.”

Not everyone is against the proposed development. Many of the local pan-handlers interviewed were positive about the opportunity to have 20 storeys worth of additional local residents to crowd-fund their existence. While some drug dealers felt that the reduction in overhead from being able to operate without delivery vehicles would be a boon to their bottom line.

Potentially hardest hit would be owners of the many small apartment and student housing options, affectionately known as slumlords to their tennants, who could see a drastic challenge to their business model.

“If they suddenly start putting new and dense development reasonably close to campus, that’s the beginning of the end for me,” explained one landlord as he covered a broken window with cardboard. “There’s no way I can compete with these guys and still charge my exorbitant rates. I’d have to actually renovate and upgrade these places, which is totally not what I signed up for.”

Sadly, even the Mayor seems to be buying into the long slow downhill slide toward “density” and has tied his ship to the anchor of downtown development. Our only hope will be that our city actually has enough character to define itself not by the makeup of our buildings, but instead the substance of the the people who live in them.



Syrian refugees eager to face problems plaguing local residents


Vetted by the United Nations and screened by Canadian Immigration authorities, refugees of the long conflict in Syria are finally being given the opportunity to look forward at the glorious prospect of first-world problems they will face in their new lives in Kingston.

“We have been given information about our host cities,” remarked a mother of three bound for air transport. “and from what I’m reading, I can’t wait to embrace all the petty and menial arguments that seem to make life unbearable for those living there. It’s going to be wonderful!”

When pressed, she elaborated one some of her favourite items.

“I understand that retail vacancy is a problem, with empty store-fronts and vacated property. But at home, often this was because the family had fled for safety. Perhaps a racketeering ring was demanding safety payment, or the risk of bombing was too great, but here in Kingston it seems people just leave if the rent is too high.”

Her son, nearly 15, remarked on some geography he’d learned.

“I understand your city is only accessible from the east via two small bridges,” he explained. “When I learned this I assumed it was for some kind of strategic advantage in case of invasion. However, I now know that this is just because the discussions about further bridges have been ongoing for nearly 50 years. how remarkable!”

While the fatigue of travel has hardened their spirits, they also expressed sympathy that some problems were truly universal.

“I understand you also face the chaos and violence of student uprising,” the woman offered. “We have known this trouble for many years, since to so-called ‘Arab spring’ and I can only hope, as I do for our own students, that yours will find the justice and freedom they are fighting for.”

Parents worry their tight-lipped silence may not be getting through


Throughout Queens campus this weekend, hundreds of parents tried valiantly to convey life-lessons and advice through the age-old tradition of assumed mutual understanding.

Flanked by signs indicating students would drink to the whims of traffic, pulsing music drowned out the unsaid words of concerned patents while pursed lips and thinly veiled expressions of worry showed the true depth of their concerns.

“I think I got the point across,” offered one father while looking in despair at the front lawn beers pong game forming beside his sons new residence. “We spent some really great time not talking about alcohol and drug use, and then completely avoided discussing financial responsibility and the importance of working hard.”

Lessons like this can be difficult, but crucial to the success of young students. “There was even a point where I stood with my hands on my hips, starting at his bedside table where I had placed a box of condoms,” the father continued. “I think I really got through to him.”

Other students weren’t fortunate enough to benefit from their parents awkward attempts to relay crucial information through subtext, and instead had to participate in actual reasoned conversations with predictably horrible results.

“Ugh, it was the worst” explained one student. “My mom and I have one of those relationships where we talk about everything, which apparently meant that today she wanted to relive all of her college experimentation by telling me about it.”

“But I tuned out about halfway through after a guy matched with me on tinder and we’d stated trying to organize a Netflix and Chill date.”

By days end, most parents had swallowed their feelings sufficiently enough to avoid total alienation, but many all felt that silence was their best ally.

“I guess he’s old enough now that I just have to trust him to make his own decisions,” said a father carefully out of earshot. “I just hope that the words I was to uncomfortable to say will stay in the back of his mind, and help him through any hard times.”

Kingston region tests positive for major climate change indicator


Sunny skies and melting snowbanks throughout the region this afternoon tell the story of a far more troubling trend. One of the leading indicators of climate change, “temperature” has tested positive for the first time in recent memory.

“We’re way up into the positive territory today,” remarked a local climatologist. “Nearly a full degree as of two o’clock.”

Indeed, while some believe it to be a brief anomaly, others fear that there is a growing trend of warming set to engulf the region.

“A while back, you’d have low temperatures you couldn’t even fathom,” remarked a local farmer. “But now’days you’re seein’ nights that are only a few degrees below, and days are getting even warmer! I can’t remember the last time I felt heat like that during the day, but it feels like a lifetime. I might have to buy a lighter jacket to keep from sweating.”

Far worse implications are foreseen for local infrastructure if the trend isn’t reversed.

“We’re talking major critical breakdowns and significant impact to traffic and quality of travel for many roads, sidewalks, and parking lots,” explained a local engineer. “Much of this infrastructure is based on the frozen substrate, or using it to account for damage or neglect underneath. With rising temperatures you’ll lose the ice filling out potholes, the smooth snowpack sidewalks, and traffic-directing snowbanks that are currently in place. It quickly devolves into anarchy with only a few degrees change.”

Experts agree that without major changes, these trends will continue for the foreseeable future, with longer and more intense stretches of positive temperature forecasted to become the norm.

“At this point, it might be too late,” the climatologist offered. “We may be past the tipping point, and nobody knows what to expect after that.”

Returning student relieved to find home in same shambles he left it.


A local student was pleased to see that, despite leaving his rented room in a six-room dwelling empty for the last four months, not a single thing had been fixed or repaired by the landlord.

“What a relief!” exclaimed the male after a rousing game of front-lawn flip-cup. “You never know what can happen when you leave for the summer without a sublet. They could come in and make all kinds of changes, but thankfully we avoided that.”

In truth, many others in the city have returned aghast to find repairs of all nature completed over the holiday months. While aesthetically pleasing initially, household repairs can shift very subtle social dynamics and make some housing nearly unlivable.

“A friend of mine had their whole bathroom redone last year,” recalls the man, wincing. “What an ordeal. We went over there and there were all these house rules about trying to keep it from getting wrecked and it really put a downer on things. Eventually they had a big house party, and someone puked cherry kool-aid vodka over everything, which put things back to normal.”

While outsiders would assume that anything less than a perfectly maintained home would be troubling to many, the small damages, imperfections, and untidy corners of their homes, bring a sort of comfort during their hectic student schedules.

“It’s like, I have so much stress at school, so why should I stress about my place too?” asks a local renter. “The peeling paint, hole in the wall, and the faucet knob we replaced with vice-grips are just ways of coping. When suddenly the landlord paints a room, or repairs the drywall, all of a sudden I have to try and care about keeping the place tidy, and I can’t handle that burden on top of my workload.”

Many landlords in the city agree.

“Yeah, no point to doin’ anything.” admits one room renter. “In one of my places I tried fixing it up, and doin’ it right you know? Next thing happens is the kids have a goddamned potluck, which turns into a food fight, which turns into a real fight that damages nearly every wall in the place. After that I just threw up my hands and only did enough to keep the walls standing.”

Others have had varying degrees of success with overcrowding, poor maintenance, or questionable renting practices to keep the places in the comfy shambles expected by the students. As the density of housing continues to increase throughout the central student core, more creative means of degradation may be required.

“Some of these new ones are gonna take some outside-the-box thinkin’ to make sure they’re happy.” explained the landlord. “Otherwise they’re gonna show up to a place that looks brand new out of a magazine, and have themselves a breakdown.”

When pressed, he gave some examples of things which he thought could be coming to rental units in future.

“Well that fire was one of em’, according to the gossip,” He accused. “What better way to make shitty units than to rush construction on a project while also having huge bills to cover? And that same guy, now he’s building a new place that’s way over variance. Dollars to doughnuts he’ll ‘revise’ his plans due to pressure, and make these tiny little places that are so cramped you can’t help busting through the sheet rock.”

While wildly speculative, the man’s feelings were steadfast. “I don’t care if you think it’s bull. What’s true or not true doesn’t matter, what matters is that there’s a race to the bottom for housing in this city, and whoever gets there first is going to line their pockets with the tears of everyone who tried to ‘do it right’ and not cut corners.”

Music Festival dangerously close to losing hipster status


After a few years of flying just below the radar and attracting only the most devoted of early-adopters, this year the Wolfe Island Music Festival is dangerously close to alienating one of their key demographics.

With camping passes quickly sold out, and headliners including some major Canadian artists, the festival has nearly achieved full on “cool” status, which could serve to deter the more dedicated fans.

“I mean, if it’s already cool, what am I doing there?” asked a conflicted hipster. “This festival used to be a place where I could come to feel better about my knowledge of the indie scene, and to name-drop artists with other like-minded musical explorers. But now, there are bands playing here that my brother even knows about, and he’s probably the most generic guy I know.”

While die-hard fans may be having a crisis of faith, the man on the street is beginning to see the appeal.

“Yeah I heard of a few of them bands,” admitted a local. “Might event have gone to see ’em, if I wasn’t already busy that weekend at my cottage. Maybe next year I’ll give it a shot.”

However, others still see the festival as the domain of a niche demographic.

“Camping? Ew” replied one girl, when asked about the festivals popularity. “The last thing I wanna do is go out, stand around a field, get all muddy and sweaty and gross, and listen to dudes with beards argue about which one of their home-brew projects tasted ‘hoppier’ while people play songs I can’t even dance to. No thanks”

Regardless of opinions, this year’s festival is already expected to be wildly successful, and should lead to even bigger and better acts for future years. The choices of who will be invited will have to be done carefully to maintain the razor’s edge balance which exists between being good and being popular.

City regrets not consulting cyclists before creating bike lanes on unridable streets.


After the much publicized removal of parking from arterial Brock and Johnson streets, city traffic engineers are backpeddling their expectations after finding out that cyclists have no intention of using their newly minted lanes. Local officials admitted that, while hindsight is 20/20, most bicycles don’t have rear-view mirrors at all.

“I guess it’s a problem of tabletop implementation,” admitted one source. “Everyone sitting around the table came up with this huge list of benefits and advantages that it would bring, so we just rolled with it.”

However, their planning failed to address one critical point. “We never asked anyone who actually cycles in the city whether it was worthwhile,” he admitted. “Once we started the process, we got feedback about how pointless it would be, and that got us worried.”

Local cyclists have admitted that the move will make little difference in their daily commutes.

“I guess it’s good to be bike friendly,” acknowledged one peddler “but I’m sure as hell not going to ride on that road. Even before you start looking at the bad pavement, potholes, uneven drainage grates, and awkward sightlines, the scariest part of the whole thing is still the way people drive along that road. Why would I put myself in that position when there are completely viable and safer alternatives?”

These concerns were echoed by other saddle-seaters.

“Why would I ride along Johnson and risk my neck, when I could go one block over to Earl street? There are lots of stop signs, minimal traffic, wide roads, and no lights. It just doesn’t make sense!”

Although sparking controversy, the eternally optimistic tourism industry believes this could be a big benefit.

“People from out of town will love it,” They beamed. “If they don’t know what dangers they’re facing, it will make for an adventure they’ll never forget. Soon we could be a hugely exciting extreme sports destination in the region!”

Local real estate agent shocked to discover they are polling third in MPP elections.


As election road signs sprout like late-blooming perennials, one local agent has seen their ‘For Sale’ signs generating an unusual response in the local electorate.

“I guess any press is good press,” laughed the agent. “But I’ll be damned if I’d know what to do if they elected me.”

Indeed, the most recent poll of local voters had the agent running a strong third behind the two frontrunners whose parties are locked in a province-wide battle. This number is even more shocking given that, in every case, his name would have to have been essentially “written in” as a response.

When questioned about their choice, most respondents seemed to think that the signs featuring his face and picture were done at a much higher quality than traditionally cheap and disposable signs, and their placement throughout the city was much more organic than the “spamlike” ways of the current contenders.

“It just seems confident, understated, and refined,” explained a resident who had been polled. “Just the kinds of things you’d want to see in leadership. The last thing I want is someone who’s all ‘me me me, look at me!’ and throwing all their money away on landfill. This guy has nice wooden poles, holding up colour printed signs. They are a feature in the landscape, not an eyesore.”

Other candidates were quick to dismiss his candidacy, saying that it was nothing more than a novelty. However, some of the smaller parties have admitted to reaching out for advice on how to generate such grass-roots interest.

Citizens begin seasonal transition from not going downtown, to avoiding downtown.


As an unusually long and aggravating winter season finally eases its headlock on the region, many residents are finally able to change the reasons for staying away from the downtown core.

Throughout the winter, piles of snow, ice, and slush remained present and made both driving and walking conditions enough to keep many locals confined to the safely plowed suburban box stores and away from the urban core. Most traffic through the region was commuter, and those who did come into the close-packed downtown streets did so with great purpose, or at least begrudgingly.

Similarly, downtown summers are filled with enough vacationing families, school groups, road-closing festivals, and road trippers for locals to write it off as frustratingly busy enough to warrant complete avoidance.

Normally this transition from winter snowbanks and ice sheets into the summer influx of out-of-towners and bus tourists happens gradually with warmer weather. However this season they are happening nearly simultaneously due to the extended cold weather which persisted well into spring.

Those who live and work the area admit that this year is a strange one, with unique situations occurring throughout. Some even report rare sightings of tour busses and snow banks side-by-side, despite traditionally animosity. These natives of downtown life maintain that nature should be allowed to run it’s course.

“All things move in cycles,” explained one urbanite. “We must allow ourselves to be moved with them, and to live with what comes.”

“The students go, and the tourists come. The tourists leave, and the students return. Every year, this great migration changes our landscape and moulds our community, and we have learned the ways in which we can live within these fluctuations.” He continued to explain.