Admiral Collingwood Place – Dick Hill vs. Rick Crouch


There was a letter writing spat in the Enterprise Bulletin this past couple of weeks regarding the Admiral Collingwood Place remediation agreement extension. Between Rick Crouch and Dick Hill. Rick Crouch posted his letter on his blog so I managed to copy and paste it from there. Dick Hills letter I had to copy it the old fashioned way and type it out long hand (or is it long type).
I honestly didn’t think any resident in town would be in favour of keeping this eye soar as is for two more years without and concrete definitive plan in place on moving forward. But leave it to Dick Hill to take everything his buddies on town council say at face value and keep propping them up. He reminds me of one of those poor saps from North Korea believing everything the party and the great leader say to him.
One thing that I will say; I attend maybe a third of town council meetings, Rich Crouch has been present at every single one that I have attended. I wouldn’t know Dick Hill from a bar of soap but you get to know the faces that are in attendance on Monday evenings on a regular basis. I can say in certain confidence that Dick Hill does not regularly attend and watch his buddies in action. If he did he could not write the stuff that he writes.

Letter singled out one developer:

Rick Crouch’s letter in the May 9th Enterprise Bulletin is misleading and it singles out only one developer in its political vitriol.
As a real estate person Mr. Crouch should be aware that Town Council has a responsibility for both fairness and consideration to all residents and business’s.
The councillors are making decisions in the open to maintain and improve living in Collingwood. They realize that there are several uncompleted projects in the community such as the Shipyards and they have a responsibility to assist in there completion rather than find ways to penalize them.
It appears that Rick Crouch’s political agenda is to stop Collingwood’s development and limit its taxation base.

The Clock is Ticking, Time for One Last Play in the Remediation Game

This letter is in response to your story titled “Remediation deadline for Admiral property delayed two weeks” pertaining to the pond at the corner of Hume and Hurontario Streets. While attending the Council meeting of Monday April 28th I could not help but recall a commitment made in the football theme “Half Time” newsletter that Council inserted into our February 2013 Collus bills. In keeping with the game context of said newsletter, let’s compare the current situation.

In last year’s four page full colour newsletter to their constituents, Council outlined their “second half game plan” which included the following statement regarding Admiral Collingwood and the Shipyards and I quote: “Encourage the developers to finish the project this term.” Fourteen months later, the playing field hasn’t changed, these sites remain untouched and team Collingwood continues to fumble the ball despite their assurances to us of the contrary.

Anyone that has followed this situation knows that the development at the corner of Hume and Hurontario Streets has gone through so many rule changes that a “time out” has now been called by the developers. With their legal counsel sitting on the sidelines and billing taxpayers by the hour, team Collingwood must now revise their second half game plan for one final play of the game late in the 4th quarter. This is yet another unfortunate delay in the game with the citizens of Collingwood (the fans) becoming increasingly restless and disenchanted. Only those fans wishing to see the game played fairly with a positive outcome remain in their seats, loyal to the cause while everyone else heads for the nearest exit.

This delay of game need never have happened for as in most games there are rules. In the development game rules consist of official plans, zoning by-laws, site plan agreements and other stipulations some of which can be amended. The rules of the game for the Corner of Hume and Hurontario Street were all very evident going in including the fact that the property resides in the Town’s Heritage Conservation district. The developer’s desire to change the rules initiated a fan revolt. Once the rules were changed in favour of the developer’s team, a cold economic wind had blown in. Further, fans didn’t like the developer team’s game plan, the cold stadium seats remained unsold and the team folded.

Since the outset, there have been so many rule and player changes that the game has now become a free-for-all. We’ve gone from a highly organized and strategically played game of football to the mayhem of dodge ball where virtually anything goes. Despite their best yet unrealistic intentions of having Admiral Collingwood and the Shipyards completed “this term,” Council has now seemingly abandoned that game plan, thrown away the rule book and adopted once again the developer’s play book which is what got us to where we are in the first place. I suspect the two week delay of game will result in team Collingwood running to their own goal line effectively scoring on themselves.

The clock is ticking down the final few seconds, team Collingwood is trailing, time for one more play in the game. What to do? Grant the developers the one year extension (yet another delay of game) that one of them is requesting with the provision that some minor site remediation be done in the next 60 days. This is after all the southern gateway to our downturn core and we’ve endured an unkempt playing field far too long. Fans will soon be arriving in the form of the summer tourist crowd not to mention the Town’s beloved Elvis fans. A one year extension places the future of this site in the hands of the incoming Council, one in which we hope will be more effective in developing a game plan that will deliver a final product worthy of this landmark location and of an aesthetic and financial benefit to the community.

The loyal fans of team Collingwood cannot and will not take much more. In order for the game to be effectively played out, the field conditions need to improve and the established rules need to be consistently followed. The current team Collingwood is so dysfunctional; it clearly isn’t up to the task. It’s time to fire the coach, make some player trades and put others on waivers.

I do not mean to make light of this festering situation but you can’t help but put a comedic spin on this multi-year comedy of errors. How many more acts of political theatrics must we endure before either (a) the site is cleaned up while it awaits a potential new owner or (b) the current developers get on with a marketable project(s) that meets the needs and demands of commercial tenants, residential buyers or a combination of both.

Official plans, zoning by-laws and other municipally adopted policies and regulations are in place specifically to guide development in an effective and controlled manner. As I said above, the ball has and continues to be fumbled and or tossed around with no real attempt at following any rules much less successfully carrying it down the field to score a touchdown.

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One thought on “Admiral Collingwood Place – Dick Hill vs. Rick Crouch

  1. I am a great believer in free speech, open dialogue and debate between individuals or groups provided it is first and foremost fact based. These discussions can and often do lead to positive changes and actions that yield results for the common good of all parties. Conversely, those that offer an opinion based purely on rhetoric or emotional offer little if any chance for a healthy debate and as such, are not worthy of a response. In the case of Mr. Dick Hill’s critique of my letter to the Enterprise Bulletin I offer the following purely out of respect for the readers of this blog.
    Mr. Hill and I have never spoken and we have certainly never met. He knows very little if anything about me. I accept that he too has an opinion on matters affecting our community however his personal unfounded aspersions about me do nothing more than detract from his own credibility and makes one question, what’s his agenda? Contrary to what he claims, I did in fact not single out one developer. My letter was a comedic metaphor detailing the series of events that have plagued the site at the corner of Hume and Hurontario Streets for years. This summary of events I might add was taken from a report issued by Town Staff. In my letter I referred on several occasions to developers (plural). Over one year ago Council issued a newsletter in it stating they would work with the developers of Admiral Collingwood Place and the Shipyards to finish these projects this term. This was a cavalier and completely ludicrous claim for anyone to make, one that had no chance of being fulfilled and one which I pointed out to Council at the time they had absolutely no control over.
    As for my agenda “…to stop Collingwood’s development and limit its taxation base” I offer the following response. I have been a real estate Broker in the area for the past 14 years. My livelihood is derived from selling properties, why on earth would I threaten that with an anti-development mentality? Beyond my personal well being, I sat on the Board of Directors of the area’s real estate Association for many years including the position of President. Similarly I was on the Board of Directors of Collingwood’s Chamber of Commerce for many years serving a Treasurer on two occasions. These extra-curricular actives were strictly volunteer positions wherein I gave unselfishly of my time and experience with organizations aimed at advancing the community in a positive sustainable fashion for the benefit of all.
    I have no agenda political or otherwise as experience has taught me that people with agendas are self serving if not outright dangerous individuals that threaten the common good. What I will confess to having however is a strong desire to see out community governed intelligently, effectively, honestly and with a vision for its future. This can only come about via the efforts a strong Municipal Council made up of qualified and accountable leaders that will advance our community for the good of all, young or old, working or retired, those born in Collingwood or those of us that have chosen to reside here. If Mr. Hill and his like take exception to that, then God help us all.

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