|November 4th, 2005
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.
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
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
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.
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 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
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.
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!”
Voices of the Electorate