The pilot would see the social enterprise set up in Portsmouth Olympic Harbor

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KINGSTON — City Council is considering approving a food sustainability pilot project in a space vacated by a restaurant closing in November.

The Harbor Restaurant at Portsmouth Olympic Harbor closed permanently in November after around 45 years in business.

His departure left vacant a fully equipped commercial kitchen and catering facilities, a 210 square meter snack bar on the ground floor and nearly 1,000 square meters of banquet space on the second floor.

In its place, the city is looking to partner with the KEYS Job Center to operate the YourWay program in the space.

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The YourWay program, a partnership between the city, KEYS and St. Lawrence College, is funded by $500,000 from the WE-CAN women’s entrepreneurship project led by Queen’s University.

The program is designed to “provide individual and group support to women entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs who are racialized, newcomer, or have a disability.”

“Over the past two years, the YourWay project has served over 40 local women who are all newcomer, racialized, Indigenous and/or disabled. All participants were in the early stages of launching their businesses when they joined the project,” said a report to the board from Peter Huigenbos, Commissioner for Business, Environment and Projects.

“Participants often cited motivation, clarity of a journey, in-depth learning, confidence building and peer support as key to launching or expanding their business.”

Program activities include college-level business training from St. Lawrence College leading to a micro-credential; culinary training, including access to a commercial kitchen at St Lawrence College; business training and mentoring.

The pilot program would also help the city cover some of the building’s maintenance costs.

The Harbor Restaurant paid the city about $80,000 annually in rent and about $50,000 in taxes.

The operating costs for the space are approximately $70,000 per year.

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The pilot project could provide the City between $40,000 and $70,000 to cover operating costs in 2022.

The Harbor Restaurant was closed between March 2020 and July 2021 when it officially closed. The restaurant generated no revenue during those months, but paid the city $75,000 of the $95,000 in rent and taxes.

City staff recommended the city spend $225,000 to buy the kitchen and restaurant equipment, and forgo nearly half of the rent paid by the restaurant — $20,000 — in 2021.

The restaurant’s liquor license must also be transferred to the city in case a future tenant needs it.

City Council is due to review the plan at its Tuesday evening meeting.

About Erick Miles

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