Four of the six councilors on the City of Kingston's planning committee voted against the Patry Davis Tannery project last week.
They also voted against a Minister's Zoning Order which would have lead to amendments to the city's official plan and zoning by-laws to allow development on the land.
No Clearcuts Kingston held a rally outside City Hall just before the Thursday (Aug. 4) meeting.
"Patry wants to build all four blocks of his apartments, the last one being on a wetland, which is why he and the city wanted the zoning order," Kathleen O' Hara, one of the No Clearcuts Kingston founders, says. "We have shown the riverfront properties are the least contaminated and most likely could be naturally remediated, you don't have to cut down the 220 year old grandmother oak and you don't have to cut down the beautiful willows...We think he should build over near Rideau Street, but based on his inflexibility if he can't build over the whole 37 acres, he's uncompromising...I think the vote was pretty surprising for Jay Patry because he's used to getting his way with the city."
Going into the meeting, O'Hara says they were horrified because the city is on side with the project.
Environmental Specialist with the Patry development team Tatyana Zaremba says the clean up is the responsibility of the province and federal government.
"This is a provincial and federal concern to clean this site up...a lot of studies on remediation is being done...Patry's going with the greenest outlook he can possibly take to developing this...We've been trying and the city for a long time to clean this up and the supreme contamination that's on it."
O'Hara says Kingston could put itself on the map by maintaining green practices.
"We say leave the trees...let the trees do their work..sucking up toxins, and you plant other toxin absorbing vegetation. We'd like to see a phyto park..Kingston could be put on the map by saying 'No let's not do the old-fashioned way of cutting down and digging out'...They want to pave over it, that's not green. ..Those animals would not be surviving as well as they are if the toxins were that bad."
The proposal still needs to go through council, originally this was set for Tuesday, Aug. 9, but now it will wait until the Sept. 6 meeting. According to O'Hara, in order to defeat the Davis Tannery project, seven of the 12 councilors would need to oppose it.
Listen to the full CFRC interview with Kathleen O'Hara below: