Town of Collingwood - First Half of 2021 in Review

June 27, 2021
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Despite 2021 being a challenging year for many reasons, including the continuation of COVID19 pandemic, water supply shortage affecting future development, the tragic discoveries of lives lost and the harms inflicted by the Residential School System in Canada, your Council and staff, who are fellow members of the Collingwood community, continue to work to ensure we are meeting the needs of Collingwood residents.  We thank you for your patience while we have had to alter some of our operations and hours open to the public to ensure COVID19 protocols are managed. 

Council and staff have been driving toward our Community Based Strategic Plan (CBSP) vision and goals. The CBSP was approved by Council on June 15, 2020, formed through extensive community engagement. 

Collingwood's Vision - Collingwood offers residents and visitors a healthy lifestyle of activities in beautiful and safe settings, including an active transportation network, an inclusive multi-generational artful community with strong civic pride, an animated waterfront and boating facilities, and is a hub of successful entrepreneurs and businesses offering rewarding jobs. Leading-edge staff support Council and community decisions that are progressive, accountable and sustainable, protecting and leveraging Collingwood’s core strengths: a vibrant downtown and community, a healthy natural environment attractive in all seasons, an extensive waterfront interconnected with the town, and our strong cultural and built heritage.

Based on the public's input, 5 key goals were set that act as pillars of the CBSP and these are: 

Transparent & Accountable Local GovernmentPublic Connections to a Revitalized World-Class WaterfrontSupport & Manage Growth & ProsperityEnhance Community Well-being & SustainabilityEncourage Diverse Culture & Arts Offerings

2021 Progress
Some of the accomplishments to date this year include:

CBSP GoalHighlighted Accomplishments
Transparent & Accountable Local Government

Judicial Inquiry Follow Up - In addition to troubling findings about actions that harmed the people of Collingwood and eroded public trust, Justice Marrocco’s report covers strengthening the professionalism and independence of the civil service, improving procurement, and advancing the identification and management of conflicts of interest.  Council thanks the public for their input at the public meeting on April 7th and via EngageCollingwood and is continuing to ensure that it is taken into consideration in legal review of accountability options, and in our submissions to the province.  Collingwood is already at the forefront of towns our size in accountability and transparency, including our adoption of a Lobbyist Registry.

Learn more:

Transparent & Accountable Local Government

Asset Sale Proceeds - Council made the decisions to put the funds from the sale of the hydro utility and the airport to work for the betterment of our community.  Based on public input, the following are proceeding: 
• $4.0 M for a Land Acquisition Reserve Fund to meet Community needs; 
• $3.0 M for the enhancement of Heritage Drive including the extension of water and wastewater services out to the Grain Terminals and Harbourview Park; 
• Just over $2.5 M to put us on stronger financial footing, repaying internal loans and adding to Capital Reserves;
• A strong commitment to our hospital redevelopment, with a $1.0 M commitment of support;
• $885K to enable a significant waterfront project to proceed, and help us realize our Waterfront Master Plan vision; and
• Approximately $6.5 M to a Collingwood Legacy Fund to invest for future projects such as the terminals redevelopment; art and culture needs and/or asset management once feasibility studies are completed.

Read more: Staff Report T2021-03 Asset Sale Proceeds  

Public Connections to a Revitalized World-Class Waterfront

Advance Decisions on Collingwood Grain Terminals - Council’s decision to transparently engage developers and others through seeking a Public Private Partnership continues.  The initial step of hiring an expert for a Built Heritage Assessment has closed, and it will be followed by a procurement of a Public Private Partnership consultant advisor.  The Public Private Partnership RFP will follow and the public are being encouraged to continue to participate in the calls for engagement.

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Support & Manage Growth & Prosperity

Official Plan Update - Your official plan sets out how land is used in Collingwood and is one of our strongest tools to ensure the uses meets our community vision.  The Options and Directions phase of the project is now complete, with the input from family and youth specific workshops held in January. The next steps, which are expected in the fall will be the most exciting, with the draft plan coming out for the public’s input. Keep an eye out for calls for public engagement. 

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Support & Manage Growth & Prosperity

New Tecumseth Water Supply and Pipeline Agreements - Staff have worked with a consultant to fairly price the water supply rate and continue finalizing the supply agreement renewal.  Discussions with New Tecumseth continue on a priority basis for a reduction of supply until the water treatment plan expansion is delivered; and review of pipeline opportunities in the context of agreement terms to ensure mutual benefits and the best position for Collingwood are underway.  

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Support & Manage Growth & Prosperity

Water Treatment Plant Expansion - Proposals for Engineering Services for Design and construction of the WTP are being evaluated, including options that will bring additional capacity on quickly as the project progresses. Updates are provided regularly at Standing Committee and Council meetings and on EngageCollingwood.

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Enhance Community Well-bring & Sustainability

Advance Green and Climate Change Agendas - Following Council’s approval in the 2021 budget, the competition is now underway with a closing date of July 5th to hire a Climate Change resource to continue developing a plan of action, including community engagement/updates and working with stakeholder group(s). Staff have been developing an internal plan following Council’s desire to see grant writing incorporated into staff’s capacity. The Town has been participating with (and promoting the) Collingwood Climate Action Team climate change initiatives. Very successful community cleanup projects (safely) happened in the midst of the Stay-at-Home orders. Sea cans to clean harbour surface water and gutter bins to collect garbage and debris from entering the bay are being installed by July 1st. 

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Encourage Diverse Culture & Arts OfferingsAdvance Diversity and Inclusion - Proving that one small community can make a difference by speaking up and advocating for change, at the Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) 2021 Annual Conference the FCM membership passed the Town of Collingwood’s resolution to petition the Canadian Government to build on Parliament’s 2019 Report Taking Action to End Online Hate and engage in the development of legislation that would clarify and strengthen the definition of hate speech, including explicit recognition of the psychological harm that can be caused by hateful symbols, and work with all levels of government in addressing the root causes of hate speech. Locally, the Unity Collective continues to meet every two weeks working on: guiding staff initiatives, implementing a grant program based on a private donation, assisting with the development and support of Youth Centre initiatives, discussions regarding a “small communities roundtable” on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Council and Staff receive Cultural Competency training from Indigenous speaker, Michael Etherington. Staff have begun participating in Safer Spaces Training. The Rainbow Crosswalk was installed overnight June 9th in plenty of time for the Pride Festival in July to the delight of the community as seen in many pictures taken and shared on social media.

This is not a complete description of the leadership by Council or the work completed by Town staff. In addition to the Town’s ongoing Programs and Services 43 operational items were delivered in the first quarter of the year, along with an additional 30 operational items from the second quarter already accomplished. 

Read more: CAO2021-09 2021 Operational Plan – Q1 Progress Report