Vertical farming. Condominiums. A casino.
All these options and more are on the table when it comes to the redevelopment of the Collingwood Grain Terminals.
As part of a special council meeting held on Thursday (Feb. 10), council was introduced to representatives with KPMG Consulting, who have been hired by the town to advise on the redevelopment of the Terminals.
KPMG will advise the town on procurement planning and project implementation of the future of the Terminals and the surrounding spit, and will be working to seek out interested developers to transform the Collingwood landmark into something new.
Once a developer is selected, KPMG will also assist the town in negotiations with that developer.
“We’ll be going to the market to look for interested parties that have the capability, have the experience, and perhaps more interestingly, share the same vision of the town in terms of what could happen with the project,” said Shawn Oakley, engagement lead with KPMG in his presentation to council.
Oakley said KPMG is anticipating approval to release a request for proposals (RFP) by April, with plans to select a preferred proponent by August 2022.
Coun. Deb Doherty asked whether developers who had reached out to the town in the past with ideas for the Terminals would be contacted again to see if they still had interest.
Oakley said groups that have been identified over the years as interested parties in the Terminals will be alerted.
Coun. Mariane McLeod asked about the current interest expressed by the development community.
“Are you expecting 20 proponents to come forward with plans to save this thing?” she asked.
Oakley referenced the growth in Collingwood and Wasaga Beach through a StatsCan report released yesterday.
“We see that in the demand. We’ve seen some of the nice projects being built through shipyards. It’s not a secret that there’s less housing than there is demand for in the Collingwood market right now, and it’s a very unique site,” said Oakley.
“For a developer looking for a legacy project... I think the development community is going to be pretty interested in this project,” he said.
“So everything is on the table, at this point?” asked McLeod.
“We’ve heard some creative ideas, whether that’s vertical farming, condos or a casino,” said Oakley. “That’s the whole point of going through this process.”
Oakley said KPMG will be asking interested developers to have a good understanding of the town’s vision, while also sharing their own visions for the site.
“Through that, I think we’re going to see some pretty interesting ideas,” he said. “We’re not going to look to limit the marketplace in terms of their creativity.”
Margaret Mooy, who sits on the board of the Collingwood Terminals and Harbour Action Group, spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting to share her thoughts on the length of the process.
“While I’m happy that progress is happening, I’m also concerned with how long this has taken to get to this point,” said Mooy. “I’m really concerned that the town itself is not keeping up property standards on this building.”
“It’s in the heritage district but nothing has been done for years. It’s demolition by neglect, in my personal opinion,” she said.
Coun. Yvonne Hamlin asked the consultant if they would be making recommendations on preventative work that should be done on the Terminals while a selected developer works their way through the planning process.
“Yes, absolutely. Part of the negotiation process and detailed design work will be to identify the areas of the building that should be retained and in what sort of form, and who is going to pay for what,” said Oakley, noting that after a proponent is chosen, it could take 12 months or longer before design plans are approved and shovels could be in the ground.
According to the staff report received as part of the special meeting, KPMG was retained through a competitive bid process which was reviewed by the town’s Fairness Monitor.
Amanda Pegg, executive director of corporate and customer service, confirmed to CollingwoodToday.ca that the town will be paying $301,610 excluding HST to KPMG Consulting for their work on the file.
For more on the engineer reports, white paper, public engagement process and heritage reports regarding the future of the Collingwood Terminals, visit the town website here.