New report illustrates shortcomings in Environmental impact study

SOS Collingwood commissions peer review of developer-funded EIS Update -- requests new EIS and public consultation process

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Protect Our Threatened Sensitive Wetlands

What's the Issue?

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.

Why is this an Issue?


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."

Why Should You Care?

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. 

S.O.S. Collingwood - Save Our Shoreline

How Did This Happen?


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!

How Can You Help?


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 :

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.

Who Is SOS Collingwood?

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 or subscribe below.

Updates & New developments

August 13, Development and Operations Committee meeting

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, 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."

Check Out Our "Change.Org" on-line petition

Important Upcoming Dates

SOS Collingwood Commissions Peer Review of "EIS Update"

A copy of the peer review report, SOS  Collingwood's letter to the new Town Council and media release can be found below:

Letter to Town Council (pdf)


EIS Peer Review Report (pdf)


Media Release (pdf)


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Review Site Plan Documents Here

If you interested in reviewing the development application documents for the site you can go this link on the Town of Collingwood website:

or you can download some of the attachments below: