Admiral Collingwood Place – The Timeline:


1975 – The Ontario Heritage Act comes into force:
• Its purpose: to give municipalities and the provincial government powers to preserve the heritage of Ontario.
• Its primary focus: to protect heritage properties and archaeological sites.
• Important provisions. It also mandates a Crown agency — Ontario Heritage Trust and the Conservation Review Board — a tribunal that hears objections to municipal and provincial decisions under the Act.

Summer 2002 – Steve Assaff was member of the Heritage District Steering Committee when the Heritage District Study and Plan was established. Along with others, including Rick Lloyd, he proposed and voted for expanding the District boundaries to include the Admiral Collingwood School Site. This would limit anything within that zone to a maximum height of 42ft. 3 or 4 stories depending on the height of the floors, i.e 1st floor commercial could be 18 to 20 feet in height.

Spring/Summer 2005 – Simcoe Board of Education put the property up for sale. The town did not opt to purchase it. Steve Assaff bought the property, knowing that there were Heritage District Guidelines in place (he was part of the committee that put them there) and that this property fell within the District. There were also 4 different zoning designations in place on the property.
Summer 2005 – Steve Assaff filed an application with the Town to change both the Official Plan designation for the lands as well as change the zoning to an exception zone or, new category that would allow them to build a retirement facility and a six story, mixed uses, residential/commercial building.

Summer 2006 – Geddes Council gives permission to demolish the Admiral Collingwood School over community protest and over Heritage Committee’s advice and over Ontario Heritage Act Amendments. No site plan had been approved before issuing this demolition permit. Many members of the Heritage Committee resign over this issue.

September2006– Geddes Council approved new zoning for the site, with a Holding Zone.
Council also passed Resolution #389 accepting the developer’s Heritage Impact Assessment.

October 2006 – Local ratepayers groups files Notice of Appeal to OMB (hearing to be held March 2007)
November 2006 – One of the last orders of business of the Geddes Council is to conditionally approve the site plan agreement of a 4 storey building on the E. side of the property and a 6 storey building on the W side. Before swearing in newly elected council, several attempts were made to finalize the development deal. Staff and legal advice, found the various financing requirements as proposed by the developers, to secure their obligations under the site plan could not be supported.

January 2007 – Carrier Council approves a resolution to repeal the decision of the previous Council to authorize the execution of the Site Plan Agreement in the absence of a satisfactory Heritage Impact Assessment.

January 2007 – Local ratepayers group VOTE withdraws appeal.

January 2007 – Development group files an appeal to the OMB (hearing to be held July 2007).

February 2007– Development group agrees to meet with senior staff to negotiate a mediated settlement.

July 2007– OMB mediated settlement of 5 and 4 story’s accepted.

Spring-Summer 2008 – Agreements are signed and securities posted.

Summer 2008 – Construction contracts are awarded and construction starts, blasting is done, hole is dug.
November 2008 – Construction is stopped.

November 2009 – An anonymous pro-developer blogger named “The Admiral” posts a picture online of the abandoned site with a hand written sign on the fence saying “Carriers Pond”!!!

October 2011 – Cooper council takes on the role of the applicant and unanimously approves heritage bylaw amendments and zoning bylaw and official plan amendments. Approves 6 stories. Basically bends over backwards to get this development started. Part of this agreement was a site remediation agreement that included a provision that if the site is not developed by April 2014 the site must be leveled off and made presentable.

April 2013 – Steve Assaff announces he will now build a 2 story commercial development.

April 2014 – Steve Assaff applies for a 2 year extension on site remediation agreement and in a public letter to Collingwood Town Council states “A residential project will occur on this site due to it’s location and the strong demand for Downtown living”.

April 28th 2014 – Council votes 5 – 4 to approve 2 year extension on site remediation agreement. Ensuring that for another 2 years the gateway to our downtown continues to have the appeal of post bankrupt Detroit.

April 2015 – Steve Assaff makes another announcement that development of the site is imminent, developers are lined up at his door to get a piece of the action, VOTE ruined his life, Carrier was always out to get him, market conditions improving……… blah, blah, blah.

Summer 2015 – David Suzuki does a Nature of Things special on the “Wonders of Urban Wilderness” prominently featuring The Admiral Collingwood site.

Summer 2016 – Rod and Tackle Magazine names the sites pond, one of the premier trout fishing locations in Ontario.

Note: Last 5 entries brought to you directly from the Chrystal Ball I borrowed from Berman and never returned last year.

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7 thoughts on “Admiral Collingwood Place – The Timeline:

  1. On April 7 it will be approve unless >>> Someone can give council a better alternative. Put our head together everyone come up some ideas. Otherwise it’s a done deal no question asked.

    1) After 2 year no extensions shall be granted
    2) Extended for 1 year vs 2 years as proposed – Steve Berman
    3) Build a cement footings and basement within two year with a cap it
    4) Billboard redone
    5) Trout pond
    6) ???

    Look at bright side Toronto had the Adelaide Centre cement block for over 16 years

    • Scott Standholt has sent a letter to council. You can find it on the town website, under this coming Monday’s consent agenda. He has asked the town for a 1 year extension, while the parties involved try to sell the land.

      Under the circumstances, I think this is the best solution.

  2. Summer 2015 – David Suzuki does a Nature of Things special on the “Wonders of Urban Wilderness” prominently featuring The Admiral Collingwood site.

    Summer 2016 – Rod and Tackle Magazine names the sites pond, one of the premier trout fishing locations in Ontario

    Late Summer 2016 – Experts confirm that debris spotted in the pond is a Sobeys shopping cart, and not part of the undercarriage from missing flight Malaysia 370.

  3. Thats not a bad summary. Its not very important, but I think it was the EB or EEU that posted the picture of the ‘Carrier’s Pond’ sign. Difficult to say, because all that stuff has disappeared now. I do recall the Admiral had a great captioned photo of the ground breaking ceremony. One of the guys with a shovel was leaning over and shouting (to the Mayor); “Hey Chris, is there any restriction on how deep this hole can be?”. Anyway, I’m not sure the Admiral was pro developer so much as anti Carrier. I think the latter (and Guergis too of course).

    Anyway, when it comes to the development timeline I think one of your sentences stands out for me:
    January 2007 – Carrier Council approves a resolution to repeal the decision of the previous Council to authorize the execution of the Site Plan Agreement in the absence of a satisfactory Heritage Impact Assessment.

    Whether the ‘Heritage Impact Assessment’ was satisfactory is entirely a matter of opinion. And this whole debate probably revolves around that. Personally I thought the 6-storey design was a bit much. I wasn’t a fan. Just my opinion. But certainly there are valid arguments on both sides.

  4. thank you for the history lesson Nobody. I for one remembered some of it but not all. It would be my wish that people reading this will finally direct their opinions/animosity to the right individuals. Can you imagine if you or I had gone and demolished a heritage building without permits???????

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