The final piece in the series in CollingwoodToday begins with an egregious error: “Collingwood’s Town Council, elected one year ago on Oct. 24, 2022, is celebrating their first year in office as a group.” Council’s first year in office began with their inauguration on Nov. 15, 2022. Before that, they had no official status. But local media, eh? Maybe I’m being too picayune to expect accuracy from them, but where TF is the editor? The final part of the series … click below for more!
The third part of the series in Collingwood Today asked members of council what “surprises they’ve experienced so far in their terms.” As a former councillor, I appreciate how stepping into the role for the first time is a bit of a shock; it takes a while to learn everything, everyone, all those policies, bylaws, processes, reports. And, most importantly: how to stand up to staff and represent the residents. Being on council is far more demanding, complex, and challenging … click below for more!
Let me start with a few basic, uncomfortable truths about housing. It’s a myth that municipal politicians can, without a coordinated and regional approach that includes private developers and upper-tier levels as well as stakeholders and advocates, solve anything related to housing. And even then, it requires the involvement of provincial and sometimes the federal governments (as well as possible funding from them). Affordable housing is one of the biggest and most challenging issues for municipalities across Canada. A lot … click below for more!
The proposal for a 24-storey waterfront tower with condos, sticking like the proverbial sore thumb above the skyline, well higher than any building permitted by the town’s height bylaw, simply doesn’t fit. And, frankly, it’s big-city ugly. Boxy. Style-less. Drab. Collingwood deserves better. This is our historic waterfront, after all, and the building will be seen from the hills and Blue Mountain, as well as from many places in town. As a former councilor and newspaper editor/reporter, over the past … click below for more!
You may have learned from our local media that the new water treatment plant costs have doubled to almost $121 million — suggesting massive increases in your water bill and likely your property taxes are coming. The flaccid media coverage of this outrage didn’t explore the consequences of the increase, of course. As the story in CollingwoodToday notes, the egregious increase was sprung at the March 7 strategic initiatives standing committee meeting: Community benefit changes also being added include adding … click below for more!
NB. This post was first published on Dec. 9, 2021 If I sometimes seem to complain in a picayune manner, harping on the same signs of scruffiness and neglect that we seem to see more often around town these days, there’s a reason for it. Mostly it’s because I care about my community and it deeply bothers me when others — especially those elected to do so — don’t. But it’s also because I believe that even small signs of … click below for more!
A November story in CollingwoodToday about a new homeowner who got caught in the quagmire of our heritage district rules underscores the need for a thorough overhaul of the rules, a review of how the district is managed, and serious improvements in how the town and the heritage committee communicate information about the zone to both new and existing property owners. And how they treat homeowners. According to the story in CollingwoodToday, the new owners of a 1930 house on Fourth Street, renovated and painted … click below for more!
In a story on CollingwoodToday, this week council again discussed their job-growth-and revenue-killing interim control bylaw (ICBL) that has stopped the town from issuing new home building permits for the next four or more years, until a new water treatment plant is built. Of course, none of the developers or the construction industry, or anyone in the water treatment plant business, were consulted about the ICBL before it was passed. Why would council want to set a precedent and actually engage … click below for more!
Whether you want to restore them or tear them down, you would probably like council to do SOMETHING about the decaying, century-old icon*on our waterfront. Anything, in fact. But as usual, council’s approach to actually doing something has been instead to do defer, delay, hire consultants, bloviate, ignore, pretend it doesn’t matter, and then pretend to want public input. The town’s website says: The Town of Collingwood is taking another step forward in determining the future of the Grain Terminals … click below for more!
Speaking to some long-time Collingwood residents, I’ve learned a bit more about the dump that lies under the soil at Harbourview Park and is now proposed as the site of a children’s splash pad. As far as I have been able to determine, this is being done without a proper environmental assessment having been done to ensure its safety. An EA is required by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks for former dump sites. The dump was meant for … click below for more!
First Street was so attractive when it was first rebuilt, about 15 years ago: all new and shiny infrastructure. But since then, it has been basically neglected and the inevitable effects of snow, moisture, salt, sand, and pollution have played their role in corroding the once-proud, beautiful lampposts that line our highway through town. Walk along First Street between Hurontario and High Streets. Look at the bases of lampposts on both sides of the street. They are rotting away and … click below for more!
By now you’re aware that our council has approved a plan to destroy a large open, public space in Harbourview Park, and replace healthy grass and trees with an asphalt parking lot so that people will drive instead of bicycling or walking to use the $1.55 million splash pad that will also be built there. This is the same council that is hiring a “climate change specialist” for $80,000 a year. You think that this “climate change specialist” would advise … click below for more!
James Madison, one of the US’s Founding Fathers said that a government “…without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a tragedy or a farce, or perhaps both.” Sure reads like someone describing our own council and their refusal to listen to the public during their discussion on the recent interim control bylaw (ICBL) that killed growth, development, and jobs in Collingwood: both a farce and a tragedy.* Thomas Vincent, developer of the Balmoral … click below for more!
A blunder of epic proportions? A sobering display of supreme incompetence and ineptitude? A total failure of communications, direction, and leadership? An underhanded excuse to hand our municipal water services over to a private corporation without public consultation? A rudderless municipal government fumbling from one crisis to the next with no future planning? An unprecedented assault against our neighbouring municipalities? Another attack on the construction industry by an anti-development council? Or all of the above? Whatever your view, this debacle … click below for more!