Town Council approves needless destruction of prized urban forest including majestic
decades-old willow trees!
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On March 25th Collingwood Town Council approved the so-called Phase 4 addition to the Living Waters development at the Bear Estate. While the Phase 4 development only represents a small portion of the original development plan proposed last June and withdrawn by the developer following a groundswell of local opposition, the Town of Collingwood still permitted the developer to cut down virtually all the remaining trees located on the site. Even trees located nowhere near where the Phase 4 construction will occur have been needlessly destroyed.
This serene urban forest was clearly destroyed by the developer to pave the way for the future construction of another larger hotel wing, a new 5-storey 890 person conference centre and Collingwood's first mulit-level parking lot -- all future phases that Council hasn't even approved yet! In fact, at its March 25th meeting, Council made it explicitly clear that their approval of Phase 4 did not in any way constitute an endorsement or tacit approval of these future phases. Despite these explicit statements Council still let the developer destroy all these trees ravaging the urban forest on the site.
On Wednesday April 24th the Town of Collingwood is holding a public meeting on its proposed Urban Forest Management Plan. Meeting details are as follows:
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Location: Central Park Arena
2nd floor meeting room
85 Patterson Street
We encourage you to attend this meeting and express your concerns with what is happening in our town.
We also encourage you to send an e-mail to the entire Town Council and tell them what you think about their decision to approve the destruction of all these trees. Click on the button below for a list on Councillor e-mail addresses.
Collingwood's environmentally protected shore lines are under threat. Town Council is poised to approve the construction of a new 5 story 889-person conference centre a mere 1.2 meters from an Environmentally Protected shoreline area on Georgian Bay. A 6-story hotel and Collingwood’s first above-ground multi-level parking lot for 225 cars will be attached.
It’s proposed for the Living Waters/Bear Estate Resort property at the corner of Harbour and Balsam Streets.
The Environmentally Protected area contains pristine ecological habitat that has been designated as “Provincially Sensitive Wetlands”. It is home to numerous species of birds, fish, turtles and mammals, some of which are either protected or endangered. Constructing and operating such a major commercial development less than 2 steps from such ecologically sensitive habitat cannot be done without risking significant permanent damage to these areas and the wildlife within them.
Collingwood’s own Official Plan states that these areas have been designated this way:
“… in order to provide a heightened level of protection to Collingwood’s most sensitive natural resources."
Collingwood’s Official Plan states that these lands:
“… by virtue of their significant functions, attributes and linkages, are those considered to make the greatest contributions to the natural heritage of the Town of Collingwood.”
The natural heritage of Collingwood is not only an important cultural and historical asset for the Town, it is perhaps our most important economic asset. If we allow these types of areas to be exploited and damaged, the economic life blood of Collingwood’s vital tourist economy will be harmed.
If one developer is allowed to build right next to these protected areas the precedent will be set. Others will follow and our pristine and ecologically rich shorelines will forever suffer.
The land adjacent to the Provincially Sensitive Wetlands was re-zoned to “Resort Commercial” back in 2008. At the time this occurred there was a small cottage on the property known as the Bear Estate. Because that cottage was built before Collingwood had modern land-use controls, it was located extremely close to the water. To accommodate this pre-existing structure when the property was re-zoned the “set-back” from the Environmentally Protected area was set at 1.2 meters. No other Resort Commercial property in Collingwood that abuts an Environmentally Protected zone has such a narrow set-back. In fact, all other property that abuts this particular wetland has a setback of 7.5 meters – 5 times greater!
1. Join our petition to the Town. Download the petition (see Downloads page below) print it, sign it and e-mail it back to us at : SOSCwood2018@gmail.com.
2. Send an email to Collingwood Town Council and the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority telling them you oppose this development and want to see strong action taken to protect our shorelines.
Their email addresses are:
3. Subscribe below and we'll send you e-mail updates to keep you aware of future developments.
SOS Collingwood is a grassroots group of resident volunteers who want to preserve our threatened wetlands and resident wildlife. We are working to ensure the broader community is aware of the threats and has an opportunity to make their views known. Help save our shorelines in Collingwood.
We can be reached at SOSCwood2018@gmail.com or subscribe below.
Representatives of SOS Collingwood supported by about 70 Collingwood residents presented at the August 13th meeting of the Town's Development and Operations Committee. The presentations concerning the development application for the Living Waters/Bear Estate property focused on the need for a full Environmental Impact Study (EIS), the need for the development to fully conform with the Town's own zoning bylaws, Official Plan and Waterfront Plan, and the need for timely and meaningful citizen consultation in the future.
Presenters noted that the cursory developer funded EIS "update" was grossly inadequate for a development of this size so close to a protected wetland and that it did not fully conform to the Town's own guidelines for EIS's.
Presenters also noted that the size and density of the proposed development were so great that several elements of the Town's zoning bylaw and Official Plan were not being complied with. It was also noted that the site had been through three prior site plan amendments, had more than doubled in size since its first approval and was now proceeding for a fourth amendment and meaningful citizen consultation had never occurred.
SOS Collingwood argued that it was time for Town Council to require a re-design of the development so that it would comply with its laws and official plans and that a full and proper EIS then be conducted.
At the meeting, local residents and SOS Collingwood were advised by the Committee chair that the development application had been deferred until 2019 and would be considered at some time in the new year by a newly elected council.
Several individual residents also spoke and raised numerous valid and important questions from child safety, to noise issues and how the Town would ensure the developer complied with any development standards imposed upon them.
Unfortunately, no answers were provided to these questions and no comments were given in response to the various formal presentations. Committee members took the stance that because the development application had been deferred, and may change as a result, that it would be premature for them to comment.
While outcomes from this meeting were encouraging the fact remains that no final decision has been made on the proposal and no changes have yet been agreed to. As such, it remains vitally important that SOS Collingwood and its supporters remain vigilant and active on these issues in the days and weeks ahead.
“A special thank you to all citizens who signed our petitions both on-site and on-line via Change.org, posted to our Facebook page, attended the meeting and generally contributed to the dialogue on this issue. You have all made a valuable contribution and for that we thank you."
Click on this link and you can sign our new Change.Org on-line petition. We're taking our cause to a wider audience: https://www.change.org/p/scooper-collingwood-ca-prevent-the-destruction-of-georgian-bay-s-environmentally-sensitive-wetlands?recruiter=889816475&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_petition
Below is SOS Collingwood's letter to Town Council requesting a meaningful and transparent consultation on the new development proposal.
Further below are the latest development application documents.
The new application for the Living Waters site proceeded to the Development & Operations Committee this past Monday March 18th. Unfortunately the Town only notified us of this on Friday the 15th well after the deadline had passed for us to apply to make a formal deputation to the Committee like we did last August.
Despite the short notice we were able to send SOS Collingwood representatives to the meeting and they were given the opportunity to speak in front of the committee for 5 minutes each. We are pleased to report that concerns raised by Councillor Doherty and Deputy Mayor Keith Hull, combined with our deputations and prior submissions, were successful in convincing the committee to decline to support the new application.
While this development is encouraging, the battle is far from over. Despite the committee declining to support the application, it still proceeds to full Town Council on
Monday March 25th at 5 PM.
We have been able to secure an opportunity to formally depute at that meeting but still need your support. If you can attend the Council meeting on Monday the 25th to show your support that would be very helpful.
Also, if you can send an email to Councillors conveying your concerns with the proposal that would be very helpful.
Please send an e-mail to Mayor Saunderson and the other members of Town Council and tell them the following:
1.) We are not opposed to development and economic growth, but there needs to be a meaningful and transparent consultation held with the public on this development; and,
2.) Consultation needs to consider the full “end-state” development plan for the site including the proposed expansion of the Bear Estate into a 5-story, 889 person conference centre only steps from a protected wetland instead of the piece meal “Development Creep” approach that has been used in the past.
CLICK BELOW FOR A LIST OF COUNCILLOR EMAIL ADDRESSES
Sign up to hear from us about key developments on this issue.
Download the questions sent to candidates for Town Council below.
If you interested in reviewing the development application documents for the site you can go this link on the Town of Collingwood website: http://www.collingwood.ca/devcomattachments/D11518/
or you can download some of the attachments below:
The files describing latest revised site plan proposal for the property have been copied from Town of Collingwood website and can be found below:
Our questionnaire to candidates for Collingwood Town Council and their responses can be viewed below:
Our questionnaire to candidates for Collingwood Town Council and their responses can be viewed below: