The Plot Thickens……….


A year ago I was at the council meeting when the airport commercial development was first presented to council. I was quite shocked at the time that there was so little engagement from council that evening. In fact Kevin Lloyd was the only councilor who asked any questions about it. I wrote the following post a few days after that council meeting:
https://viewfromanobody.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/8-questions-that-should-have-been-asked-about-the-proposed-collingwood-airport-development/

I have been following this story quite closely over the past few months. Last week I was on a bus ride from Prague to Braunschweig in central Germany with some time on my hands, so I decided to jump headlong into the middle of the fray on this issue and posted a blog about it. Unusually, I came out on the side of the developer (Paul Bonwick) and accused certain members of council (who I am usually supportive of) of being deliberately obstructionist to settle some old scores. As per usual I used some fairly blunt language in that post, and its title was quite provocative. This obviously got me some attention. I was very quickly brought up to speed on some of the back story behind this potential development.

This is speculation only and I state very clearly these are not my views or opinions, but the following is a sampling of what is being said:

1. The airport development is a sham.

2. The development is being put in place to drive up the surrounding property values. CCAC (the developer) will get all its t’s crossed and i’s dotted, then will flip the land to a  potential new developer and make a nice tidy little profit.

3. Town of Collingwood gets nothing from this deal anyway because the surrounding development land is in Clearview Township, so what is the upside for our town?

4. Clearview is a big winner along with CCAC. Clearview gets 99% of all development charges and future property taxes. CCAC gets the increased value of the property it develops. Collingwood gets its name on the airport sign.
5. If this actually is a $160 million potential deal and the only thing holding it up is Collingwood Town council not agreeing to sell a little strip of airport access land. Why doesn’t CCAC or Clearview Township, for that matter, just make an offer to buy the whole thing? Apparently its worth around $6 million so offer TOC a $1 million over the odds. But that, as far as I can see, has never been proposed. So why not? If I were talking those types of numbers, with that potential upside, that would be my first play.
6. No development at all, the land is going to be used for fracking. (Never going to happen).

7. Now Rick Crouch has chimed in below suggesting a casino is going out there. (Edited after the fact).

So there you have it folks, as per usual nothing is as clear-cut as it seems in our town. The above certainly does make sense especially with the past history of the players involved. This story has legs and has the potential of being more divisive than the Admiral Building. I would like to know what the in camera stuff about the airport are all about, there are obviously some fairly onerous legal ramifications surrounding this whole affair, what could they possibly be? Also the press release that was supposedly from the “Town” on 29th December, was apparently not sanctioned by the “proper channels” and the mayor knew nothing about it. It was signed by Brian Saunderson and Mike Edwards. Kevin Lloyd has been having a very public “hissy fit” about the whole thing.

One last thing. In my previous post I very publicly and quite unfairly attacked Steve Berman. Although I sometimes have not agreed with his methods, he has done more to bring transparency and openness to the local political scene than anyone else in our town. I unequivocally apologize to Steve for my disparaging comments about him.

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8 thoughts on “The Plot Thickens……….

  1. Gentlemen…this is more like it. Giving trust to the unworthy is public enemy number 1. We need to be sharp at all times so we don’t let history be able to repeat itself. The tables have turned and it is now up to THEM to prove US wrong in our doubt of their intentions, and only time will tell us if their intentions are good or bad. They broke trust, they must do the work to earn it back, as it is not given freely to them anymore…Until then, we just need to not be complacent and stay on top of things. Welcome back to reality, VFAN!

  2. Lot’s of theories, which is probably a combination of (a) typical small town and (b) the people involved.

    You and I are going to be accused of something, because some of your opinions here are the same as mine that will be in my E-B column this week. Either great minds think alike, or it’s another conspiracy theory 🙂

    It was interesting to read your old blog. Those were excellent questions at the time. I looked at an old one of mine on the Airport. I didn’t really ask anything, but I provided a timeline of council decision and news items, that might help any interested in this issue.

    https://allbeingmaster.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/a-look-at-the-collingwood-airport-land-purchase/

    My guess on the press release (which I don’t feel they should have issued) is that it came from Mike as he’s on the Airport board, and Brian because with the Mayor declaring a conflict, he’s the council head on this issue. I’m sure they will tell anyone that asks them about this.

    I don’t know if the Town has a PR policy in place for this type of thing, and that would show whether “process” was followed. As for Kevin Lloyd crying foul, he didn’t seem to mind when the last council was sending out glossy, inaccurate BS in our Collus bills, that had also not been approved through the proper channels, so this seems like just another red herring.

    Thanks for the clarification regarding me. I love it when people debate opinions, or challenge facts, and you do that better that pretty much anyone. You are also second to none in keeping the conversation going (you allow people to comment), and are the only active political blogger in town right now.

    I can’t wait until you get back into the local stuff. I think the next few months is going to have a boat load of debatable local issues, and this a great place to have the conversation.

  3. The following are comments that I posted on your blog back in January of last year.

    I was at the Council meeting on January 19th (2015) when the presentation about the airport development was made and was surprised that virtually no questions were asked as to the nature of the development the type of jobs to be created etc. Here are some questions to ask ourselves.

    What type of development could necessitate an $80 million investment? A casino.

    What type of development would create up to 400 jobs? A casino.

    What type of development would need lots of parking? A casino.

    What type of development would not be affected by a wind farm? A casino.

    I am surprised that until the fate of WPD wind farm adjacent to the airport is known that anyone would shell out a significant amount of money to purchase land for an aircraft related business when the airport itself may be compromised by the presence of wind turbines which leads me to believe that something else may be in the works.

    I believe the above points are all still valid and that these questions still remain unanswered one year later. Yes, I am of the opinion that there is more here than meets the eye. The rumours have included everything from a potential casino site to fracking on the subject lands. Everyone is only surmising that the closure of Buttonville Airport is going to created an opportunity for Collingwood or somewhere to be the next industrial air park. I have also heard that Oshawa has an interest in any opportunities the closure of Buttonville yields and Oshawa’s airport make’s ours look like Petticoat Junction. It is in the GTA, it has duel runways capable of handling a variety of aircraft. It’s right off the 401 and is close to rail transit and unlike Collingwood their harbour still handles a lot of freight. Perhaps most important, there is no pending threat of a wind farm.

    It will be interesting to see how all this plays out and I am sorry that I am not sitting at the Council table to help make sense of it all.

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