Deputy Mayor Tim Fryer has fond memories of the former Victoria School property, as he was part of the last class to attend the school in the late 1960s.
It was a full-circle moment for the deputy mayor as he was one of nine council votes in favour of approving a plan of subdivision, passing a bylaw to execute a subdivision agreement and approving a site plan application for the Victoria Annex development on May 15 during a committee of the whole meeting.
The development will see the former school site built up into a new subdivision while maintaining the exterior of The Annex as it’s converted into two residential dwellings.
“It’s kind of hard to imagine that after attending Victoria School for its last year in operation as a public school that I'm here, 56 years later, deciding on its redevelopment,” said Fryer, adding he was thankful that the heritage preservation rules exist in Collingwood to maintain the history of the site.
“It appears that there will be a diverse-dwellings situation here when it's established and some of which will hopefully be in an affordable range, which we can't control, but we're certainly hopeful that it comes to fruition,” he said.
The Victoria Annex, a former school site at 400 Maple St., has sat vacant since closing in 2001. The Victoria Annex project as being undertaken by Georgian Communities will see 17 residential units built on the site surrounding the existing annex, and the annex itself converted into two semi-detached units while maintaining many of the building’s exterior heritage features.
The Victoria Annex and the property it stands on were designated as protected heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act by the town in 2019.
Georgian Communities, an arm of Simcoe County developer Georgian International, purchased the property from Vogel Construction in 2019.
The developer is proposing building four single-detached dwellings, ten semi-detached units, and three townhouse units surrounding the annex. A coach house with integrated covered vehicle parking and three apartments will also be built to the south of the annex.
The Victoria Annex building itself will be converted into a semi-detached dwelling, housing two units and a detached garage next to it.
The entire plan includes an access road off Maple Street that will provide views of the heritage building from the street.
As part of the work to prepare the site, eight mature trees were removed, however the developer has agreed to plant 13 deciduous trees to replace them.
“This is all about the technical details of how this site will ultimately develop to positively enhance the public interest,” said the town’s director of planning, building and economic development Summer Valentine.
The committee voted unanimously in favour of recommending approval of the plan of subdivision, passing a bylaw to execute a subdivision agreement and approving a site plan application for the Victoria Annex. The decision will need to be ratified at the next regular meeting of council before going into effect.
To read more about the history of the Victoria Annex and future development plans for the site, click here.