Ontario Construction News staff writer
Collingwood’s newly-elected council voted Thursday to pause a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) request until further negotiations are held with the developer “and an agreement is in place that provides benefits and protections to our community.”
Two days after being sworn in, Mayor Yvonne Hamlin held a special meeting to reverse a decision made last week by the outgoing council.
“Collingwood’s old Council voted late Thursday night to request an #MZO (Minister’s Zoning Order) for the proposed Poplar Health and Wellness Village,” Mayor-elect Yvonne Hamlin wrote on her social media accounts. “This MZO overrides all local zoning rules and gives away our power.
“Council issued a blank cheque to build millions of square feet without a way to ensure that the developer keeps his promises.”
The outgoing council voted at its final meeting to endorse an application for an MZO to change designation of 130 acres off Poplar Sideroad to allow for mixed-use development. Collingwood council was first asked to consider the endorsement in March 2022.
Hamlin said she has spoken to members of the incoming 2022-2026 council and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing about her concerns.
“Yesterday, I asked Minister Steve Clark to hold off on approving an MZO until the new council has time to consider this motion and provide further direction to him,” she wrote. “This is a massive development for Collingwood and I was elected to ensure responsible development that puts the needs of our community first.
Talks had been ongoing between the town and the developers Live Work Learn Play Inc. and Di Poce Management Ltd. to negotiate an agreement before council voted to officially endorse the MZO.
The Poplar Village Regional Health and Wellness Village includes seven key areas with a regional health and wellness campus, a market district, long-term care/assisted living facilities, bioscience and medical research facilities, an eco-wellness centre, a regional transit hub, student and workforce housing and sports medicine clinics.
The developers requested an MZO to change zoning from industrial to mixed-use to allow for the community-hub-style development.
According to the draft MZO, the development must designate a minimum of 10 per cent attainable/affordable housing and 60,000 sq. m. of employment land.
“This is a massive development for Collingwood and I was elected to ensure responsible development that puts the needs of our community first,” Hamlin said. “We deserve better.”