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Inside Out
News from around the horseshoe

By Bill Hutchins Illustration by Wayne Westfall

For the first time in several years, the City of Kingston is opening the door to allow large format retailers in the downtown.

Councillors approved the latest update to the city’s Official Plan (OP), which, among other things, removes wording that currently “prohibits” large format retail in the downtown.

“We are trying to bolster the commercial strength of the city’s downtown core,” explains Greg Newman, the city’s manager of policy planning.

The revised OP now states: “Large format retail uses are permitted provided that the built form is compatible with the historic building fabric, scale, pedestrian amenity linkages with the lake and the permitted view corridors.”

While councillors approved the policy change, many grappled with the definition of “large format retail,” fearing that it could open the door to big box stores that currently dot the suburban retail landscape. They sought assurances that small independent stores won’t get crushed by the arrival of any large-scale competition.

“I’m still trying to get my head around what large retail means,” says Councillor Jim Neill. . . .

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