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V.O.T.E. Collingwood
Box 464
Collingwood, ON
L9Y 4B2

November 4th, 2005
V.O.T.E. Collingwood is happy to bring you this – our 4th e-newsletter. Your interim executive and many of our new members have been very busy over the past few months.
First Public Meeting:
For those of you who were unable to attend our first general meeting held on September 27th, we are happy to report that it was a great success – we had about 150 people in attendance and a substantial proportion of these joined V.O.T.E. that very night. Many people expressed interest not only in being kept informed of V.O.T.E. activities and meetings, but also signed up to become involved on some of our ten new sub-committees as well (see further details below). Minutes of that first meeting can be found on the V.O.T.E. Collingwood website at www.votecollingwood.net.
In the last month, your interim executive has struck the ten sub-committees with various members agreeing to take on the task of getting them started. We have a large workload ahead of us that only becomes manageable when many people work together, so, if you are interested in joining a committee, please let us know! Our committees and contact people are as follows:

• Transportation – Deb Doherty
• Membership – Elaine Blythe
• Heritage – Rick Lex
• Administration – Michele Dunglinson
• Marketing Communication – Steph McLarty
• Smart Growth - Sonny Foley
• Council – Phyl Redding
• Taxation – Karen Poshtar
• Election – Marg Scheben-Edey
• Fundraising – Paulette Gateson
Admiral School Redevelopment: V.O.T.E. Collingwood attended both public meetings which were very well attended. We made presentations articulating that we favour a combination of commercial and residential redevelopment in the downtown core however our primary concern continues to be the six-storey height of the building. Based on other comments we heard at those meetings, it is apparent that a very large proportion of Collingwood residents share the same concern.
“Minor” variance?: We have filed a letter of objection to the Ontario Municipal Board in regard to the permit granted to locate a big box retail store on prime industrial land, with only a minor variance. Not only was the process of granting the permit to Home Depot grossly inappropriate, but, based on the shortage of industrial land in Collingwood, it, in our opinion, reflects poor strategic planning. Let us be clear; V.O.T.E. has taken the position that we do not oppose Home Depot locating in our community, however, we do object to the process and manner in which they were approved. Are we ready to give up industrial land (and jobs) to retail? Or should retailers either locate elsewhere or, rezone so the community can have their say?
The Shipyards: The issue of building heights in new developments will continue to be of concern to us. We have recently been reviewing the proposed amendments to the Official Plan amendments for this site which would permit several more five- and six-storey buildings than the original plan that was previously proposed. We have to say that we recently met with a representative of the Fram/Slokker group who was most open and forthcoming with the current plans and reasoning behind the amendments. Despite the official heights for which they have requested approval, they do not appear to be proceeding in that manner. Nonetheless, their latest proposal is certainly far removed from the concepts that were provided at the Public consultation 2 years ago. The last copy of the proposed land use plan that was made available to us can be found on our website in the current issues section.
We also have concerns about the Master Development Agreement that is being negotiated between the Town and the proponents. In particular, we are concerned about the massive berm that has been constructed which contains “impacted” (contaminated) soils and the Town’s proposed ownership of this “mountain.” We also have some concerns about the Town’s agreement to take on the costs and responsibility for certain other aspects of the project and have addressed our concerns to the County as they review the Official Plan Amendment, and with Council.
Smart Growth: To date, we have still not received any response to our list of questions relating to the rapid growth in the community (see current issues on our website); a process that started this past summer. On October 11th, we sent a letter to the acting CAO asking for a response but have not had a reply.
Other: Other items that we are actively pursuing at this time include the Fisher Field Park and the questions members have raised surrounding the costs associated with it and, the Affordable Housing situation, following Council’s decision not to permit the low cost housing to be located at Legion Park, as the land had been originally zoned. We also continue to have members present at every Town Council meeting.
Last but not least, our second General Public meeting has been set for February 7th. We expect to have a draft set of by-laws ready for our members to vote on and, in the coming months, we will keep you posted as to the agenda – what we can say now is that there will be a very important and exciting speaker that night, one who has drawn crowds with every visit to Collingwood, and you will not want to miss it!
Please forward this Newsletter to friends and others who may be interested. We are actively accepting new members and donations, so please keep this in mind as a means also of being involved. If you can donate a little time to any of our sub-committees, it would be so appreciated.
It is OUR TOWN, OUR VOICE, OUR FUTURE. We do have the power to effect change – let’s exercise it and truly become “Voices of the Electorate!”

V.O.T.E. Collingwood
Voices of the Electorate

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