It seems many of you are as disgusted with what we have ended up with on the old Mountainview site as I am. So I will expand on my blog from Monday and give you a look at what might have been and explain what led us to where we are today.
Firstly, I would like to show you what might have been. The following is an artist’s rendering of what we could have had on the corner of Hurontario and Huron St. The Globe Hotel which was built-in 1865 was designed by renowned Collingwood architect Fred T. Hodgson. It actually faced Hurontario St and was one of Collingwood’s first permanent structures.
Just for fun let’s compare this to what we ended up with.
The Globe actually sat completely intact behind the tacky stucco of the Mountainview, much of the original architectural components were still in place and could have been easily saved. The following is an article from the EB explaining the original ACO proposal:
Steve Redmond and his team from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario Collingwood Branch made a detailed presentation to council when acting CAO Ed Houghton was in place. This proposal would have allowed the town to widen Highway 26 to 5 lanes and also preserved what you see above on Hurontario St. The idea was to have a cafe/restaurant on the main floor and a museum celebrating this towns ship building past on the upper floors. Imagine that, being able to sit in a restaurant and look out over Collingwood harbour. Unfortunately the backroom deals had already been put in place and this proposal was never even discussed or given any serious thought by the previous council.
Series of unfortunate events:
2004 – Local Developer Larry Dunn buys the Mountainview Hotel and continues to operate it as a bar and hotel until 2009.
May 2009 – The Mountainview serves its last customer as the local fire department and Simcoe County Health Unit condemn the building. Numerous fire safety issues and the presence of mold.
August 2009 – Larry Dunn looks into provincial and Simcoe County funding options to remediate the Mountainview into a subsidized housing. Nothing materializes from this
June 2012 – Town buys 6 meter wide strip of land on Huron St from Larry Dunn for $610,000 to enable widening Highway 26.
July 2012 – ACO issues a media release and does a presentation to town council, on how to save the Globe Hotel. They were apparently unaware that the backroom deals had already been done.
August 2012 – Local Developer Steve Assaff buys L shaped piece of land stretching from Mountainview site to waterfront from Fram-Stokker for $1.165 million. This is parking lot for Rexall and Bank of Montreal land. This is now the first impression visitors get of our Collingwood waterfront when they arrive by boat.
October 2012 – Steve Assaff closes on a deal to purchase the the balance of the land from Larry Dunn. This deal is struck up between all parties involved including the Town of Collingwood which ends up paying to demolish the Mountainview.
November 2012 – Town pays Kostick Demolition $340,000 to demolish the Mountainview including the 150 year old Globe Hotel portion.
May 2013 – VFAN publishes an alternate view of how our waterfront could be here: https://viewfromanobody.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/water-front-site-could-change-whole-feel-of-downtown/
December 2013 – At a public meeting at town hall, numerous residents plead with council to hold off on any development of the Mountainview site until after the towns strategic plan is in place. These calls fall on deaf ears. Also no official site plan was available at public meeting.
May 2014 – Council approves tender for road widening. Still no site plan available.
May 2014 – Council unanimously approves current site plan agreement for the site.
July 2014 – Steve Assaff breaks ground on Mountainview Development. All his pals on the voting block plus Mike Edwards are present at the ground breaking photo-op. Steve Assaff is quoted: “I’m looking forward to putting something on the corner that will make it a great gateway to the waterfront.”
May 2015 – Rexall Pharmacy and Bank of Montreal move into new locations. Many members of the public suddenly realize what has been done to Collingwood’s downtown and waterfront.
Over the years when our mayor and other politicians have been challenged about preserving some of our towns heritage and pushing development in a certain direction, the pat answer has been “It’s private land what can we do?” Take a look at the above timeline, I suggest our last council not only allowed this blight to happen to our downtown, but actively enabled it.