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Council wants staff to look at partnerships to fund grain terminal project

Council has asked staff for a report considering options for public/private partnership and full sale of terminal buildings
Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

Council wants to weigh its options when it comes to the Collingwood grain terminal building.

Councillor Steve Berman brought forward a motion, which received unanimous support, asking staff to provide council with options for the future of the terminals building.

Specifically, Berman’s motion asked for consideration of public/private partnerships, a full sale, integration in the waterfront master plan, public consultation, and the potential for third party expertise to guide the process.

“I think we can all agree it’s time to move this forward,” said Berman.

Councillor Tina Comi pointed out there was already a staff report on the terminals pending.

“My understanding was you wanted to look at not only what needed to be done, but how we might finance that,” said Mayor Brian Saunderson.

“Absolutely,” said Berman.

Comi was referring to a report requested by council in December.

At that time, council asked staff to compile base information on the terminals and “everything that is known about the ‘spit.’”

The term spit refers to the land stretching from Heritage Drive to Millennium Park. According to a staff report delivered in December, 2018, the Harbour spit is serviced only by a one-inch water line to provide water to the Marina and the sailing school. The staff report stated there are no sanitary sewer services extending along that stretch of land, and electrical services are inadequate for most uses.

The spit land is man-made, and, according to the report, was not built with construction in mind. The report stated it would be an “uncertain endeavour” to excavate land there to extend services for any use.

“It is believed that the absence of services and the uncertainty associated with any project designed to extend the services, as well as the condition and nature of the terminal buildings themselves, have all interfered with attempts to develop over the years,” states the staff report.

In December, council also asked staff to provide recommendations for a public consultation, a framework for soliciting advice from all town departments, and a framework for decision-making by council in time for 2020 budget deliberations.

The report requested in December has not yet been delivered.

CAO Fareed Amin said staff were working to bring the information to council as soon as they could. In the meantime, he encouraged members of the public to submit comments at any time with feedback on the future of the grain terminals.

A report delivered by engineers last spring, identified environmental hazards and poor conditions at the Collingwood grain terminals building, including one tower with so much bird poop inside, it measured two feet thick in spots.

The engineer’s estimate at the time to fix and clean up the terminals was between $8 and $10 million, and that was only to bring the building up to standard for their continued “use” as a decommissioned industrial site. The environmental cleanup alone is estimated at $2 million.

The engineer’s report also included an estimate of $5 million to demolish the building, but that didn’t include removing 4,000 wood piles under the building partially submerged in the water.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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