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New Collingwood Waterfront Development Planned: A Perfect World

Posted by Sherry Rioux on February 7, 2018

Aside from the unusual name, and more on that later, have you heard about A Perfect World? Perhaps it should be called A Changing World.

People just love Collingwood and they are moving here in big numbers but the minute they arrive, they want to pull up the drawbridges.  We all love what we have at any frozen moment in time but alas, growth is a given and it is always a changing world.  Every now and then, a new development comes along that represents a seismic shift in our comfort zone and this latest, proposed new development on Collingwood’s waterfront is one of them.

The project calls for three, six-storey buildings to be built on a parcel of land just north east of the horrid looking Rexall building behind Huron St and Side Launch Way.  Here’s a map to orient you.

The new buildings would include 80 luxury residential condos, 40 hotel units, commercial and office space, public walkways and underground parking.  If you’d like to see the application filed including detailed drawings, click here. Better still, you can view the developers full presentation to council complete with photos, here.

Like many others, my first reaction was negative.  The thought of six-storey buildings at the waterfront was uncomfortable however, I have since changed my mind.  A couple of Sundays ago, hubby and I went on an exploratory mission.  We started by visiting other six-storey buildings in town (the Galleries, Bayview Terrace) to get a feel of the scale of that size and, to look at the shadowing and other impacts on neighbouring properties.  Then we went to the site of the proposed new condos and looked from every angle.

One of the first things we realized is that the one-storey buildings on Huron Street already obliterate any water views.  Go stand across from the Bank of Montreal and you’ll see what I mean.  The vacant lot beside the bank will already block the view once something is built there so, the argument doesn’t hold water.  Secondly, the shadow effects will only impact a limited number of houses to the east and only later in the evenings.  While that’s not great, it’s far less of an impact than in other locations in town where big buildings are slated.  We looked at traffic – there is already a light at Huron Street and Heritage Way plus there are two roads coming in or out if you include Side Launch Way.  Not a big concern there.  Then we thought about water and boat access.  Right now, the lot is half under water and there is no access for anyone unless they can walk on water.  The new development will give access via a promenade and seawall.  And then, there is the biggest reason of all: the proposed zoning amendments IMPROVE on what is currently allowed.

As people line up to object to this development, they should realize that all the complaining in the world will not change the fact that the land is already zoned to permit six-storey buildings and with these densities. The current zoning does not require any public access.  The current zoning does not require any commercial or public uses. This article speaks to some of the objections and this excellent post by Collingwood Living goes into much greater detail.

The developer behind this plan has proposed amendments which would expand the uses to include all of those things.  Isn’t that an improvement over the already approved zoning?  If people can get their heads around that, they may look at this differently.

So while I think A Perfect World would be to see that lot developed as parkland with a splash pad, a skating rink, some benches, some food kiosks, maybe a few buskers and frolicking children, I know that’s not going to happen.  Instead, we have growth and in my humble opinion, this plan is a good one.  Maybe walkways could be wider, some public art could be added and some heritage features incorporated into the uninspired architecture but we can’t get to that stage if we keep fighting the idea of something that is already allowed – six-storeys.

What do you think?

9 thoughts on “New Collingwood Waterfront Development Planned: A Perfect World

  • Lee. Bertouche
    on March 6, 2018

    Excellent. Comments Reality finally ! Kudos, lee

  • on March 6, 2018

    An hotel? Collingwood really needs a GOOD hotel – boutique style would be preferable not just somewhere to flop. Think of other successful lakeside tourist towns – they all have at least one good hotel. The re-vamped Beild House won’t cut it as more than an upscale b&b. Maybe the Drake could be persuaded or the owners of the Windsor Arms …..

  • Marg
    on March 6, 2018

    I think there is room for a few different levels of hotels in town and I agree, we need an excellent one. Something like the Drake would be perfect!

  • Marg
    on March 6, 2018

    Thanks for your comment Lee

  • Mike
    on March 6, 2018

    What is lacking in Collingwood are bars/restaurants on the water.
    Collingwood is a waterfront community but there is no place to sit and have a drink or meal on the waterfront

  • Marg
    on March 6, 2018

    That’s so true! The hotel planned for this project will have a waterfront restaurant and patio. Also, there is one now called Lakeside Bar and Grill in the west end at the back of the Living Waters building. We indeed need more and there is a plan for one on the Shipyard property too in future. Thanks for your comment Mike.

  • Ron MacRae
    on March 7, 2018

    If these are six story buildings, why does one appear to be 2 stories taller? The architecture appears to be similar to the mind-numbing conglomerates that grace the Toronto waterfront area. Let’s look at some colour and style!

  • Marg
    on March 7, 2018

    Artist renderings? The building closest to the bay appears to have a lower section where the restaurant will be. I agree Ron – there would be such opportunity for some great styling here and this concept is boring. What a pity.

  • Mike Millington
    on June 2, 2018

    That is good to hear.
    If you look at the location of the second Iron Skillet next to the provincial court on Huron st, there is a beautiful waterfront behind it but the restaurant faces the main road.
    Behind the restaurant is a driveway with dumpsters, no view of the waterfront, the building would have to be re-designed to allow an outdoor waterfront patio.
    A restaurant/bar would do well there if it faced the opposite direction to the waterfront.

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