Council Considers Implementation of an Interim Control By-Law

April 21, 2021
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The Town of Collingwood has been growing exponentially for several years. Since 2001, the population has increased by approximately 53% with much of that growth occurring in the past 5 years. While the growth has had benefits, it has also applied pressure to community infrastructure and, most recently, to the capacity for the water treatment plant to meet the forecasted demands of ongoing development.

On Monday, April 26, 2021 Collingwood Town Council will be considering approval of an Interim Control By-Law (ICBL). An ICBL is a tool available to Ontario municipalities as part of the Planning Act. An ICBL places a temporary “freeze” on specified types or locations of development while a municipality is studying or reviewing its land-use policies.   Collingwood’s draft ICBL generally restricts development that does not already have a building permit application submitted, however work that does not use more water, such as most residential renovations, can continue.

The need for an ICBL relates to modelling of the capacity of the Town’s drinking water treatment plant. This modelling shows that the rapid growth of the community, and the Town’s growth targets within the Province’s Places to Grow Act, will compromise the water treatment plant’s ability to meet projected drinking water supply requirements prior to the completion of a plant expansion.  An ICBL is a serious measure, with serious implications, and was not recommended lightly and without consideration of the ramifications.  

The water supply is safe and available for current residents, industry, commercial uses, and current part-time residents and temporary visitors. Drinking water treatment capacity planning has been in progress for some time, including the successful completion of an Environmental Assessment to expand the water treatment plant by 2025.  The Water and Wastewater Master Servicing Study, as presented in January 2020, supports the decision to initiate this expansion.  However, the Town has recently identified immediate drinking water capacity concerns relating to the accelerated pace of development proposals and the disinfection of the drinking water.  

Efforts to mitigate demands on the potable water supply, including lawn watering reduction and the promotion of water conservation through the Town’s water rates structure, have not had a measurable impact on water supply demands.

The strategy recommended to Council, beyond implementation of the ICBL, is to immediately launch a Land Use Planning Policy Study to inform the community and Council on options to manage any remaining available drinking water supply capacity. Concurrently, the Town is exploring interim methods to increase the available drinking water capacity and is fully engaged in the process of a full-scale expansion of the Town’s water treatment plant.

If Council approves the Interim Control By-Law, staff will immediately begin the process of engaging a Planning Consultant to carry out a Land Use Planning Policy Study, which will include background research, further analysis of issues and challenges, public consultation, options analysis, and recommendations. The study focus will include any required changes to the Town’s land use planning policies and/or regulatory framework resulting from water and wastewater servicing capacity limitations. Further, it will cover the Town’s role in the Provincial growth planning framework including (but not limited to): the implications of water and wastewater servicing constraints for growth management within the Town, servicing and implementing policies both within the Official Plan and as they relate to the Town’s land-use planning policies, and reinforcing a regulatory framework and delivering upon the Town’s Community-based Strategic Plan.

An Interim Control By-Law is a severe measure that should never be entered into lightly. There are implications that will have long lasting effects on the community, however it is necessary to protect residents and ensure longer term stability.

An ICBL is also a complicated concept. Should Council approve this recommendation on Monday, the Town is committed to open communication, providing clarity ensuring that all stakeholders are provided opportunities to understand how this may impact them. The Town is committed to transparency and making every effort to enhance confidence amongst community members.

Quote from Mayor Saunderson
“I want to assure residents there is no issue with the quality of the Town’s drinking water. It is completely safe and exceeds the Provincial drinking water standards. This is a capacity issue, and the question is whether demand for water will exceed the Water Treatment Plant’s current capacity before the planned expansion is completed in the next 4 years. The best information suggests that demand will exceed capacity and Council must consider how to proactively and responsibly, address this issue, in an equitable and sustainable way. This is a difficult situation that requires immediate action and Council will be addressing this on Monday April 26,” Says Mayor Brian Saunderson.

Open Public Forum
If any member of the public wishes to speak to Council on this matter, an open public forum for the consideration of the ICBL will occur during the Council meeting of April 26, 2021, and no pre-registration is required. Instructions to join the meeting will be included in the agenda at the following link:

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If you are an individual who represents a business or financial interest and are communicating with a public office holder with the intent of influencing a decision on governmental matters outside of normal processes, including the development, introduction, passage, amendment or repeal of a by-law, motion, resolution or the outcome of a decision on any matter before Council, a Committee of Council or local board of the Town, or Councillor or staff member acting under delegated authority, then you are required to register your activity with the Lobbyist Registry. Lobbying is a legitimate activity that is part of an individual’s, group’s, or company’s right to communicate with their elected officials and municipal staff. The purpose of the Registry is to provide accountability and transparency around lobbying activities that serve to benefit an individual or group of individuals with a business or financial interest. For further information and to register, visit:


For more information:

Adam Farr
Director, Planning & 
Building Services
Town of Collingwood
705-445-1290 Ext. 3284    

Peggy Slama
Director, Public Works, Engineering, and Environmental Services
Town of Collingwood
705-445-1292 ext. 4201

Christa Carter
Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Town of Collingwood
705-445-1030 Ext. 3274