It’s Official: Collingwood is Closed for Business


Close for businessAs I predicted, Collingwood Council officially closed the town to business, growth and development, last Monday night. And just for good measure, council sprinkled the ground with the salt of malice, just to further deter a particular developer from building here. Which sends a message to everyone about how this town respects and values development.

Anyone who doesn’t think this is about ideology or doesn’t know this is a personal and petty vendetta hasn’t been paying attention to local politics this past decade.

The process of closing our municipal doors to business started earlier this year when council raised our taxes and our water rates while voting themselves a pay hike – knowing full well this would hurt our businesses and seniors. But hey, they got a raise, so what do they care? And they tossed $40,000 of your money to councillor Jeffrey so she could party hearty out of town. She deserves warm camembert and caviar while cavorting around the country, doesn’t she?

Then, the development and operations standing committee voted to defer the sale of the weed-infested, near-waterfront property known as Block 9 until the end of the Age of Mammals or thereabouts. After that, all but two members of our bobblehead council agreed to the deferral.

According to the story in the Connection:

“We defer selling the property or making the decisions with regards to selling the property until the completion of the waterfront master plan and the waterfront master plan will be started in accordance with the direction from council,” said planner Nancy Farrer. “We anticipate that it will be started as soon as the strategic plan is finished.”

That strategic plan is the one Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson promised sincerely he would have in the public’s hands within the first 90 days of this term (it’s been 209 days now and counting…). The plan has nothing to do with individual property sales or micromanaging town resources. The mandate for it didn’t even mention the waterfront master plan. And don’t expect to see anything from the committee until very late 2015 at the earliest.

Since council – rather cunningly – hasn’t even raised this nebulous “waterfront master plan” as a project for 2015, it won’t even get started until mid-2016 at the soonest. If the delays in the strategic plan are any example of council’s dithering, the waterfront plan will be delayed for many more months, if not years. If it ever arrives…

There is no logical reason to assume the fabled waterfront plan will get started immediately after the strategic plan is complete. It’s far more realistic to assume any development and growth in town will be delayed until the invisible pink unicorns arrive – because council can continue to use it as an excuse to avoid making decisions and hampering growth.

Deferring the sale accomplishes several important things for those several at the table of a timid, indecisive, ideological or addle-brained nature:

  1. Council avoids making a decision which would require actually thinking about the long-term and discussing important issues;
  2. Councillors pass the blame onto the shoulders of an un-elected advisory group rather than taking on the responsibility they were elected for;
  3. Council procrastinates for an indefinite period of time in the hopes the public will forget it or be distracted by shiny baubles;
  4. Council strangles core commercial development over a piece of land the town hasn’t wanted or used for the past 150 years and which, until recently, most of council didn’t even know existed;
  5. Council punishes a local developer they’ve been told to hate;
  6. Council achieves the goals of their political mentor, who continues to pull their strings from the shadows or from the council audience.

Meanwhile, the Town of the Blue Mountains continues to encourage growth and development and Wasaga Beach bought property to expedite beachfront development. Seems other councils have long-term vision,  Just not ours.

This is what you got when you voted for a group of ideologues who take their marching orders from outsiders. I’m sure this deferral will cement ‘Saunderson’s Pond’ as the popular name of the mosquito haven on the eyesore Block 9. Enjoy the weed-infested view for the remainder of the term… but please don’t forget about it (or about the caviar expenses of Senator Kathy….)

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