Mayor Meets Premier: We Have Questions

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In a municipal announcement, led with a screaming all-caps headline like a toddler in a toy store tantrum, the Town of Collingwood published a short statement from Mayor Hamlin about her recent meeting with Premier Doug Ford. Wait, you didn’t know about that meeting? Apparently, few in Collingwood did (and as of this writing, it has not appeared in any local media outlet). Read on. While normally a meeting with the head of the provincial government would be a good thing and worthy of a … click below for more ↓

Council’s Abject Failure Over Water

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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 park washrooms to the property, … click below for more ↓

Harbourview Dump Splash Pad Already Over Budget

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Local residents recently confirmed to me the dump that is under Harbourview Park occupied all the land from the wastewater treatment plant (WTP) on the east, to the Arboretum (Hickory Street) on the west, and all the land north of the rail line (now the Georgian Trail), right to the water’s edge. And that it was never properly decommissioned, merely covered with a thin layer of topsoil. And, they said, the garbage is right below the surface everywhere you dig. Including, I was again told, … click below for more ↓

Engineers Disagree With Water “Crisis” Report

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In a letter dated July 2, 2021 to the CAO and the mayor, in response to staff report CAO 2021-10, two of Collingwood’s most respected engineering firms took exception to the town’s claim there was a “water crisis” and offered solutions to the alleged problems. In responding to the report’s recommendations about releasing some capacity for development, the engineers said the recommendations fell “considerably short of what is appropriate.” It adds, Further the report makes little mention to the dialogue and solutions discussed with the … click below for more ↓

More on the Harbourview Park Dump

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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 industrial waste but was quickly … click below for more ↓

They’re Paving Paradise to Put Up a Parking Lot

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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 them to take a pedestrian-and-family … click below for more ↓

More Secrecy, More Deception, More Conflicts

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Once again our council scurried behind closed doors to discuss town business that should have been discussed in the open. But openness was never a watchword for this council. However, secretive and deceptive seem appropriate adjectives. Two of the three items on Friday’s (June 11) “special” council meeting were about or related to the job-and-revenue-killing interim control bylaw (ICBL) that was passed in late April without even the pretense of consultation with the public, with water companies, with developers, or with the municipalities affected by … click below for more ↓

Ignoring the Potential Conflicts of Interest

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A story in CollingwoodToday notes that council will hold a meeting on May 31 to consider exceptions to their job-and-revenue-killing interim control bylaw (ICBL). That bylaw abruptly ended all growth, building, and development because our inept council had failed to pay attention ever since they were elected to the water issue and the pipeline contract, despite staff reports about both. I wrote about this last month, pointing out how in 2015 the previous council killed the negotiations that began in 2014 under an earlier council. … click below for more ↓

As Important as Clean Drinking Water? Part 2

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Remember last December, when the town’s CAO announced that the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (aka the SVJI) was “equivalent with the top priorities we have, like providing clean drinking water”? Today, that statement would seem to be egg on her face, given more recent events (and the public’s utter lack of interest in the SVJI). Priorities like “clean drinking water” certainly take on a new light, when you consider how long council ignored our drinking water until it suddenly became a “crisis” that required a … click below for more ↓

Water Crisis? What Crisis?

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You’d think that a town with a supposed water crisis so acute it had to pass a job-killing, revenue-depleting bylaw to stop all new construction for the next two (or four or more) years, would rush to fix a leak that lets treated water run into the storm sewers. But for three weeks, the town has let this leak on Sproule Ave. run away, doing nothing more than placing safety cones around it. You also might wonder why no one on council asked staff if … click below for more ↓

Saunderson’s Epic Blunder

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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 falls on the shoulders of … click below for more ↓

Time of Use Billing is an Assault

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By returning to the money-grabbing time-of-use (TOU) billing, Ontario’s Hydro One continues its unrelenting assault on the province’s seniors, stay-at-home parents, the unemployed, night shift workers, those under lockdown, and every business and industry here. Time-of-use billing has always been nothing more than an egregious money grab by the service provider. This customer-hostile practice had been briefly halted during part of the pandemic because so many of us had to stay at home as the result of provincial lockdown orders. It’s tough to pay your … click below for more ↓

Water: Our most precious resource

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Did you know there were water restrictions in Collingwood this summer? No? Well, there were. And that underscores the vulnerability of our community to climate change when a community situated on the Great Lakes has water restrictions. The notice on the town’s web page said we were “experiencing drier than usual conditions” this summer – without explaining what “usual” conditions means, and whether the condition still applies. Well, the failure of communications this term and the need to communicate better and more effectively next term … click below for more ↓

A few answers

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I was surprised that only ten people stood at the lectern to speak in the Judicial Inquiry’s first public meeting, last Monday.  I had expected that at least Brian Saunderson or one of his minions would have the courage to stand up in public to explain why they wanted to spend so many millions of your tax dollars pursuing their private vendettas. Explain why they launched an inquiry a few weeks before the municipal elections opened, instead of three and a half years ago, when … click below for more ↓

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