Thursday, April 23, 2015

Another Example Where Reginal Planning Is Needed

  As a candidate in last fall's Municipal election, I advocated that many of the issues facing this area are not simply relative to individual municipal interests but are in fact "regional" in nature.  Economic development, including job creation, transportation, environmental and many other issues are widespread in nature that need broad, regional based or thought out solutions to be effective for long term planning and growth.

  One of the issues that was discussed and for which there was a deputation at this week's Collingwood Council meeting was a development proposal for land at the northwest corner of Mountain and Osler Bluff Roads.  Development of the subject lands are already underway with a project known as Windfall.  The initial concept was essentially based on several phases of single family homes, detached and semi-detached with some town-homes.  The latest proposal (see the adjoining photo from the public meeting) before the Municipality of the Blue Mountains is a medium density project that would see approximately 242 condos built in buildings ranging from 2 to 4 storeys in height.

 A contingent of area residents attended Collingwood Council this past Monday night, looking to garner Collingwood's support in addressing public concerns that have been taken to Blue Mountain Council.  For the most part, their concerns fell on deaf ears of Collingwood's Council members with Councillor Lloyd being the only person to voice a concern.. Collingwood's planning department was quick to point out that (a) the project is outside their jurisdiction and (b) Collingwood itself has approved similar projects over the years so how could they stand in the way of this one?  I think the big issue being missed or shrugged off here is not the height of the condos proposed or even the density, it's traffic.

  Have you seen what Mountain Road is like late on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when visitors to Blue Mountain are heading home?  It's not uncommon for traffic to be stop and go from the roundabout at Blue Mountain all the way to the intersection of First and High Streets.  Arterial roads running through and around Collingwood which include Highway 26, First Street, Sixth Street, Mountain Road, Osler Bluff Road and others will all be impacted by this and other future development(s) near the base of Blue Mountain and it's a classic example where a regional approach needs to be taken with our neighbouring municipality in order to be effectively addressed.  Collingwood's Planning Department and Council can not simply throw up their hands on the basis it's outside of our municipal boundary.  To take a position such on this an other matters is short-sighted thinking and will surely lead to much greater problems, traffic and otherwise down the road.

As a REALTOR I am obviously not anti-development and that is not the point of this blog post.  I am however a proponent of managing growth and development in such a way that it preserves the very reason why people come here in the first place including addressing environmental issues.  In my opinion, one local area Council alone cannot meet those challenges hence my advocacy for a more regional approach to local governance.  I am hopeful that the new Councils now in place in Collingwood, the Blue Mountains, Clearview and Wasaga Beach will adopt this approach, only time will tell  

What are your thoughts?

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.