Concerns over future water treatment plant demand has Collingwood council mulling a freeze on some developments

"An ICBL is a serious measure, with serious implications, and was not recommended lightly."

The Town of Collingwood is considering pushing the pause button on further growth after seeing a swell in population.

According to Collingwood Town Hall, the population has increased by about 53 per cent since 2001; much of that growth occurring in the past five years. Despite the benefits that come with that, the town says population growth has put a strain on its infrastructure, notably water treatment capacity. There is concern the town’s water treatment plant will not be able to meet the forecast demand of ongoing development.

As a result of this increased demand on town infrastructure, council will consider approving an interim by-law that would temporarily freeze specific types or locations of development. This type of by-law, called an Interim Control By-law (ICBL), is generally used to give a municipality time to study or review its land-use policies. Collingwood’s draft ICBL would put a hold on any development that does not already have a building permit application submitted. However, work that does place more demand on town water, like housing renovation, would be allowed to continue. “An ICBL is a serious measure, with serious implications, and was not recommended lightly and without consideration of the ramifications,” reads a statement issued by Collingwood Town Hall late Thursday afternoon.

“The water supply is safe and available for current residents, industry, commercial uses, and current part-time residents and temporary visitors. Drinking water treatment capacity planning has been in progress for some time, including the successful completion of an Environmental Assessment to expand the water treatment plant by 2025,” continues the statement. “The Water and Wastewater Master Servicing Study, as presented in January 2020, supports the decision to initiate this expansion. However, the Town has recently identified immediate drinking water capacity concerns relating to the accelerated pace of development proposals and the disinfection of the drinking water.”

Town council will consider the ICBL during its Monday, April 26, 2021 meeting. Residents will have a chance to weigh in during the Monday evening meeting. Pre-registration is not required.