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LETTER: Quicker action needed to save grain terminals, says resident

Collingwood Terminal and Harbour Action Group says it gets frustrated as years pass with 'very little done' to preserve terminals
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Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

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Editor,

The Collingwood Terminal and Harbour Action Group continues to make every effort to preserve and protect the terminals. We work together toward our aim of restoration and adaptive reuse.

Over 8,300 supporters have signed a petition to make it clear to us and the town that they want this historic icon to stay as a part of our history.

Although we have continued to advocate, we are frustrated with the length of time the town is taking to develop a process to make a decision on the future of the terminals. 

In 1997, a concept of a waterfront development proposal entitled “Port of Collingwood” was presented as proposed land and water uses for the terminals.

In 1999, when the Town of Collingwood took over ownership of the terminals, they requested residents to give public input and ideas for the potential use of the structure. More than 96 per cent of the responses supported maintaining this important landmark.

Since that time there have been engineering reports and underwater surveys, resulting in what is known as the “white paper” which is a 2019 staff report entitled, “Grain Terminals Next Steps."

After all these favourable tests and reports, and the terminals’ inclusion in the Waterfront Master Plan, the town felt it necessary to commission yet another study.  A “Heritage Impact Assessment.” 

The work on this has been initiated and part of the process is to ask for public feedback through the town’s Engage Collingwood website. This report will potentially share the architectural significance; as well as the cultural importance of the terminals. All these reports provide good information but take so much time.

While all this is happening, the town continues to lose money on the expenditures they incur for the harbour and the yacht club, Heritage Drive, Millennium Park and for maintaining safe access for the communication devices on the roof of the terminals.

The provincial group, the Architectural Conservation of Ontario, has placed the Collingwood Terminals on their list of properties to preserve and protect.

We have had conversations with interested investors for the adaptive reuse of the terminals. We have heard plans for adaptive reuse with all costs to restore buildings assumed by the developer. Conversations include maintaining Millennium Park and the harbour for public use. With the length of time this is taking; investors are beginning to walk away.

We, as a group appreciate that the town listens to our concerns, but our frustration continues as the years pass, with very little done to preserve their own significant heritage property within the Heritage Conservation District.

Margaret Mooy,
Part of the Board of Directors for the Collingwood Terminal and Harbour Action Group and member of the Heritage Committee and Architecture Conservancy of Ontario