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Parkbridge could start site clean up this summer

Parkbridge is aiming to build its national headquarters in Collingwood at 70 Huron Street
After several changes to the original plan - spurred by feedback from residents and neighbours - Parkbridge is one step closer to building its headquarters on Huron Street in Collingwood.

The development and operations standing committee approved a zoning bylaw application at its meeting June 17. If council also approves the application at its meeting on June 24, Parkbridge can start remediation work on the site at 70 Huron Street.

Since the location was formerly a landfill, Robert Voigt, director of planning for Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities Inc., said the remediation work is quite technical.

The process will include earth-moving equipment, soil testing, removing some earth from the site, bringing in fill and regrading the property.

“We hope to begin later this summer,” said Voigt.

When Parkbridge initially unveiled plans in May, 2018, for its head office on the site, there was backlash from neighbours who thought the four-storey building was inappropriate so close to residential homes. Residents also raised concerns over traffic, landscaping and buffering, and drainage and stormwater management.

Since then, Parkbridge has continued a dialogue with neighbouring residents and come back with a new plan for a two-storey building (35,000 square feet) and stormwater management for the water on their property, and also to help drain water from nearby properties where there has been an issue historically.

“We are assisting the Municipality with the existing stormwater management issue by collaborating on a solution that will allow them to install a new diversion pipe on our lands,” said Voigt in an email to CollingwoodToday. “We are happy that we can be a facilitator and partner with the Town for this solution. We hope to begin work on that part of the project as soon as possible after we have our final site plan approved for the project.”

The new head office will pull together the current Calgary operations and the Wasaga Beach office for approximately 130 to 150 jobs based in Collingwood, some of which will be filled at opening.

According to a staff report accompanying Parkbridge’s application for a zoning bylaw amendment, there will be 72 coniferous and deciduous trees and more than 700 coniferous and deciduous shrubs and a variety of ornamental grasses and perennials planted on the site to help establish new bird habitat that might have been lost through the cutting down of trees. Voigt also said there would be a privacy fence between the Parkbridge property and neighbouring residential homes.

Regarding traffic concerns, a left turn lane will be added at Huron Street. Parkbridge was initially planning a pedestrian and emergency vehicle access of Simcoe Street, but has since changed the plan to only a pedestrian access from Simcoe Street.

The changes, according to Voigt are a direct result of the comments and concerns expressed by members of the public after the initial plan was made public.

“As part of our extensive community engagement process we conducted for this project, we integrated the ideas and addressed the concerns of the public and town into our design revisions,” said Voigt. “This was important to us because we chose Collingwood as the new Head Office location for its wonderful sense of place and the quality of life it offers. So, we saw it as our obligation to create a building that fits within the neighbourhood, and that our 150 employees can be proud of. And it’s the right thing to do.”

Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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