Sunday, September 21, 2008

Canada's Top 20 Places to Live

Collingwood was recently selected as one of the top 20 places to live in Canada based on an analysis performed by the staff of . In selecting the places chosen, Relocate Canada's staff used the following as part of their selection criteria.
1. Is the community represented on the Relocate Canada website?
2. Are local residents getting involved with input and town support?
3. Does the information submitted make us want to live there?

Item #1 is a little biased perhaps although I am not sure what constitutes getting your city or town listed on the Relocate Canada website. Item #2 is interesting and certainly very timely. It's hard not to notice Collingwood's residents involvement in town input and support. The recent upheavel over Collingwood Ethanol and the arrival of the Calgary based Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB) are good or perhaps bad examples of community involvement depending on your viewpoint. Lastly, those of us that currently reside here are very conscious of the many reasons why we want to be here so it's not hard to imagine the staff of Relocate Canada after reviewing all the information on the area not wanting to live hear as well.
The Enterprise-Bulletin covered this award in their September 19th edition and prior to doing so contacted me for my opinion as President of the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board. Collingwood residents should feel proud that our town has received this recognition. The criteria used is no doubt multi-faceted but it goes without saying that the Collingwood area offers a quality of lifestyle second to none. This is all the more reason why all area municipalities must work diligently and cohesively to preserve what we have. This will not be accomplished by stopping the pending growth we are expecting but by managing it responsibly. Hopefully the Collingwood Ethanol situation will be resolved in such a manner as to alleviate the noise and odour problems that have plagued the plant and surrounding neighbours for months as well as allowing the facility to continue operating, maintaining the employment level that it generates. Perhaps a more significant issue pertaining to the plant's ongoing viability is the likelihood of ethanol enhanced gasolines becoming the fuel choice of the future. More on this in my next posting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why Now is a Great Time to Buy

Despite all of the negative media coverage pertaining to the investment world, real estate conditions in the U.S. uncertainty about our own economy and a forthcoming federal election, now more that ever is a great time to buy real estate. Here are some of the main reasons why.

1.) There is a huge selection of residential properties throughout the Georgian Triangle both resale and new for buyers to choose from.

2.) Pricing remains stable and with the odd exception there are no bidding wars to artifically drive prices higher.

3.) Buyers have time on their side. With so much to choose from and sales running at a slower pace, buyers need not jump to make an offer for fear of loosing out. Find a REALTOR® willing to spend the time to educate you about the market and prepared to afford you as much time as it takes to find what best suits your needs and budget.

4.) No pressure means you can insert conditions into your offer that protects your interests ie: a home inspection, financing condition etc.

5.) Although interest rates have risen somewhat, the lending market is still very competitive allowing you the opportunity to get some very attractive financing. A mortgage broker can shop both conventional lenders ie: the major banks as well as other sources of mortgage financing to get you a great deal!

Many buyers appear right now to be taking a what and see attitude towards purchasing. There is no reason to think that prices in our market are going to fall like in the U.S. as the mortgage meltdown south of the border has nothing to do with Canadian real estate market condtions. As I currently am advising buyer clients, the only properties out there that are coming down in price significantly are those that were over-priced to begin with and there is no inclination in our market right now where buyers are willing to over pay.

Happy house hunting!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Sweet Smell of S....

The situation surrounding the ongoing controversy involving Collingwood Ethanol took a bizarre twist this past weekend with both a staged picketing of the plant and a massive telephone campaign that included automated calls to both personal and business phones attacking Mayor Carrier for his alleged "anti-business" attitude. As reported in the media, the telephone campaign was conducted by a Calgary based organization the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB) which bills itself as a "business club."
While I am not always in agreement with Mayor Carrier and yes he has made some mis-steps in judgement, the real issue at hand is not his alleged anti-business stance. It's the fact that we have an industrial entity in our community that is exceeding Ministry of the Environment (MOE) standards for odour emissons by 115 odour units. The aceptable level is one (1) odour unit whereas MOE measurements taken back on June 11th recorded a level of 116 odour units. In its 15 months of operation, Collingwood Etahnol has embarked on a program to meet the emission requirements as set out in the Certificate of Approval. No doubt, converting an aged starch plant over to ethanol production was not as easy perhaps as everyone thought. Collingwood Ethanol have yet to reach their targeted objectives, claim they need more time above and beyond the date invoked upon them by the MOE to install and or modify their equipment and frustrations on all fronts are running high.
Two things in this ugly ongoing mess are certain. First, the time has long since past when the world can afford to ignore environmental infractions even if only involving odour. Too much environmental damage has already been created for current and future generations to clean-up. Perhaps if being a good corporate citizen were truly put to the forefront of their agenda Collingwood Ethanol would take a voluntary shutdown in order to complete the necessary improvements that will render them compliant with their Certificate of Approval. And what is installing a taller stack going to accomplish other that pushing the odour higher in altitude sending it to where Wasaga Beach or Elmvale? In launching a campaign such as last weekend's telephone extravaganza Collingwood Ethanol merely attempted to deflect the real issue at hand and is ducking their morale environmental and community responsibilities.
Secondly, you must ask yourself, is it realistic or sensible for any of us to believe that a Mayor or any politician for that matter would have an "anti-business" mandate. Hardly and that's where the hilarity in PGIB's accusations begin and end.

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330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


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