1. Not just a full house tonight, people were crammed into the media room and the hallway. I didn’t get a seat in chambers even though I arrived 10 minutes early. Scoop very kindly allowed me to sit at the media table. It’s OK don’t panic, I won’t make a habit of it.
If we’re talking extra density, maybe we need a bigger council chamber, or weekly council meetings.
2. The first public meeting on tonight’s agenda is regarding the Bridgewater on Georgian Bay development, which is on Highway 26 over in the west side of town Trevor Houghton and Colin Travis both made very credible presentations. A civil engineer from Crozier and Associates told us that water main and sewer has excess capacity for this development. New traffic lights installed where development enters 26. Improved access to existing roads. New flood relief channel. Paul Neil environmental review. Vegetation, birds amphibians all studied no impact expected, to me this looks like a well planned and thought out development.
3. Then it was time for the public portion of this meeting. The locals are some very well heeled home owners. Behind this development are some of the most expensive water front homes in Collingwood, so obviously local residents don’t want this development to go ahead, they are angry that the density has increased from 320 to 655 units and will lower the price of their water front homes. Local bartender Angus McAlpine who rents a house on High St, seemed to be for the development or affordable housing, I think, but their was lots of clapping after he finished his spiel, I was confused. Lots of nimbys on this file tonight.
4. A guy named John Shadwell informed us he had a 100 day cold. Brian quipped “What day are you on now?” He’s been in Collingwood since 2014 he made a good point; very little of the actual construction work benefits the local economy, then he started to ramble and wants council to charge higher property taxes.
5. Pretty River Estates. Another public meeting. 178 townhouses proposed. Change in density required to be approved by council. Lee Hill and Blair Beaty, a couple of local residents, had legitimate concerns, parking, local environment, flooding, construction timing. Will they be looking at construction for another 10 yrs, these guys didn’t seem like a nimby’s.
6. Then tonight’s main event phase 4 of Living Waters Resort. Larry Law was present for this one. It seems like this item is the reason most of the people were there.
7. Don Brommel from Mariners Haven (that’s some expensive real estate). This is an professional presentation and didn’t come cheap. They had surveys and had even hired Tatham’s to do a bunch of studies, this guy was against the development.
8. Then Jeff Newton from Save our Shoreline did his thing. His group has 800 signatures (must have all been there tonight) that are against the development. Parking. Proximity to residential areas. Kept talking about “regularity of certainty” code for Nimbyism me thinks.
9. Colin Travis site planner working for Larry Law addressed town council again (this man seems to get around). He says phase 4 complies with all zoning bylaw standards, including parking and the towns official plan. A staff report approved the site plan, but the problems started when the Strategic Initiatives Committee voted not to approve the development.
10. Larry Law addressed town council. This is actually the first time I’ve ever heard him speak. I was actually quite surprised at how bad his English is, he sounded like a Saturday Night Live skit doing a really bad impression of a Chinese person. But he made some good points for which I clapped, much to the chagrin of Scoop who said media isn’t supposed to clap. I’m not really media Scoop, just pretending to be for a seat.
11. A Mountain Rd industrial developer wanted a tree cutting permit prior to a building permit, because bird nesting season is from April 15th to August and god forbid if a starling built a nest in one of the trees. This was Yvonne Hamlin’s cue to take us on one of those Marx Brothers “Who’s on first” skits. After some frustrating talking around in circles the developer finally got his permit with a $25k bond. In case he doesn’t start building and decides to chop a bunch of trees down for a lark.
12. Finally we came to the moment everyone had been waiting for, the vote to deny phase 4 of Living Water property. Deb and Yvonne were pretty hung up about Phase 5 which they were told umpteen times “isn’t before council tonight”. Tina Comi didn’t say a word, but it was pretty obvious the pink block was going to hold firm again. Keith and Kathy decided to flip from their committee votes and council voted 6 to 3 to overturn the committees decision. Then phase 4 was voted approved to proceed by the same margin
13. Council voted to approve themselves an extra wage to partially make up for what the provs removed from municipal council members last year. Bob Madigan was the only dissenting vote.
14.Then at 9.45 pm came my reason for being their tonight: The budget vote, which was approved Steve Berman being the only dissenting vote this time.
15. With council meetings continually dragging on for 4 or 5 hours and the obvious engagement by the local populace, it might be time to consider going back to weekly council meetings again. Just saying.