I wanted to give you a graphic comparison for your consideration. It’s one you can do for yourself with very little effort – so little in fact, that even The Block could do it. If, that is, they had any interest in doing something that might challenge their rigid ideology. Or take their attention away from their witch hunts for even a nanosecond.

But you, dear reader, are smarter than they are, and I can sense you are already intrigued. So let’s get started. Open your web browser and go over to Simcoe County’s map site at and zoom in on the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. Get close enough so you can see the property outline.

General and Marine HospitalNow use the site’s measurement tool (click the ‘advanced’ tab on the left or the word ‘advanced’ on the upper right of the status bar). When the advanced toolkit flies out, click tools at the top, then measure. The third item on the toolbar allows you to draw a polygon on the map. Use your mouse to trace around the G&M property. It should look like the image on the right of this column. More or less – it really shouldn’t include the road allowance at the top of the property as I did, but you can leave it out.

Double click to complete your drawing and the property will be shown as a blue overlay. By the way, you can click on my small maps to see a full-size version.

The area of the property is shown on the toolbar to the left. It should read about 12.8 acres or 5.2 hectares, give or take, depending on the accuracy of your lines (you can improve the accuracy by zooming in closer).

Now clear the overlay (the red “x” on the toolbar). This time, try to figure out where the property lines would be if the hospital/town expropriated enough land to equal the 12 hectare (ha) site that is the hospital’s preferred location for its redevelopment, on Poplar Sideroad.

General and Marine HospitalHere’s my best guess. I didn’t extend east into Raglan Village or Matthew Way, but did extend north to Erie Street. using my lines, I could only get about 11.62 ha – more than an acre short of the proposed site.

And here’s the next part of the challenge: look at the Simcoe County map and count the number of businesses, homes and apartments that will have to be expropriated if the Block gets its way and the hospital is forced to redevelop on the current site, assuming similar amounts of land. How many people will be affected?

Imagine the families that live there, the people who work in that area, the kids who will go to the nearby school – all of whom will have to be evicted. Imagine the old homes – maybe even a heritage property or two – that will have to be razed to satisfy The Block’s personal agendas.

Imagine how you would feel if you lived there and were forced out of your home – a fate that will happen to some only after a lengthy legal battle that might leave them broke and bitter. Consider the human cost in The Block’s misguided ideas. And you should, since they never do themselves. The deputy mayor’s comments on Monday night implied he would rather expropriate homes than change his mind. To me, that’s a pretty selfish outlook, but at least it’s consistent with his actions this term.

Of course, the hospital might not need quite as much land if they build up instead of out, but they will need more, a lot more than they have, so someone will get the boot. Would you like to choose whose lives will be upset, who will be torn from their roots, forced out of their home? And who will get to live in the shadow of a tall building, towering perhaps eight or ten storeys over them? Or with views of the greatly increased parking lot and its oceans of asphalt?

And isn’t it an awkward piece of property? It is harder to design an efficient building on such a piece, because no matter where you put things, there are odd corners and sections that are simply not located in the best place.

Play around with the tool and see what you can come up with. You can imagine all sorts of scenarios, sizes and, of course, expropriations. Just don’t be like The Block and lose sight of the fact that real people live and work in the places under those overlays. In their scenario, someone gets hurt, gets evicted, has their lives upended.

Then pan the map down to the Poplar Sideroad area for the proposed redevelopment and see what it affects. No homes razed, no businesses closed, no lives shattered and disrupted. Makes more sense to me to build it there, how about you?

Collingwood deserves better.


PS. GIS stands for “geographic information system.” From Wikipedia:

…any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations.

Collingwood used to get its GIS data through the shared services agreement with Collus-PowerStream. However, since The Block and the administration killed that agreement, the town doesn’t have those services in-house. As a result has to either contract them from an outside source at great expense or hire someone to do it. Just more wasted tax dollars thanks to the grossly inefficient financial management this term.

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