I’m loving Collingwood

Before 1988 I lived in many different cities including Montreal, Toronto, Kingston, Hamilton, Burlington and Guelph. I was born in Quebec City. But Collingwood is the only place that I have ever really felt I could call ‘home’.

For decades, I just wanted to move here so badly! I had been coming skiing here in the winter and windsurfing in the summer. I just loved the small town feel, the people, the trails and the area in general. I wanted desperately to live here. Sound familiar?

When I finally decided to make the move, I was living in Hamilton. I sold my house, packed my bags ( and my cats! ), moved up here and started Duncan’s Gourmet To Go. (Duncan was one of my cats.) I never looked back. I had made it to Collingwood!!!

After 10 years I sold my food business, which is known today as Duncan’s Cafe. After that I worked for 20 years in radio advertising sales at Corus Radio Barrie - the Peak, Fresh Radio (CHAY FM) and Big FM (B101). Now that I’m ‘retired’ (it rarely feels that way!) I have even more time to dedicate to shaping a Collingwood we’re all proud of.

I’m an avid cyclist and skier, I love my gardens and my books, and I live joyfully with my husband George and our four-legged family!

My political history with the Town

In my first venture into politics, I was elected Councillor for the Town of Collingwood in 1996. I took another run at it in 2014 and I’m still here ( thank you! ).  This will be my fourth term. I often think about why I want to be on Council. I’ve been on both sides of political issues, as an advocate and as an elected official, and I believe that, to make a difference for my neighbours, my friends, and for their children and grand children, I need the vote, not just the voice.

achievements and responsibilities

Achievements

‘What have you done for me lately?’ It’s a great question to ask. We have weathered the COVID storm and have never been busier in ensuring that our residents and our businesses are safe and thriving. We still have challenges ahead, but here are some of the things that have been achieved:
(Photo Credit: George Czerny)

Community

The Community Based Strategic Plan update gives Council a focused plan for a community in which all our residents thrive.

Managed Growth

I have advocated hard for sustainable growth and finally we have a new Official Plan that has just been released, and is ready for public comment. This delivers a road map for smart growth and represents the most significant consultation with residents since the Community Based Strategic Plan.

Development

We passed an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) to pause development and ensure that applications do not exceed our water supply until our new Water Treatment Plant is completed.  Now we have a new merit-based development approval system prioritizing the needs of the community and its residents first: not just a first-come, first-served approval process for developments that may or may not be what our Town needs.

Safety

I strongly supported implementation of the Traffic Calming Policy with Traffic Calming measures installed in school zones, and a mechanism for residents to request traffic-calming measures on their streets.

Environment

I have advocated on environmental issues and climate change mitigation over the past four years,and have been successful on many fronts:

  • Climate Emergency declared in October 2019
  • The new Cycling Plan
  • Hired a Climate Change Specialist
  • Built and passed the {Urban Forest Management Plan} and a new Parks Masterplan
  • Collingwood was recognized as a Bee City in 2021
  • Canopy Collingwood is a plan to enhance tree cover, implemented using funds generously donated by Julie Di Lorenzo, to increase the number of trees planted in Collingwood
    I continue to advocate for the establishment of a PrivateTree Bylaw and new urban design guidelines for developers that will protect and enhance our natural heritage and urban canopy

Affordable Housing

All of us should be able to live and work in our home town. An Affordable Housing Task Force was established this year, which provided numerous recommendations for a way forward. We have hired a Housing Specialist to guide the creation of an Affordable Housing Master Plan. Council set aside $350,000 to kick-start actions to address the housing priority.

Diversity & Inclusion

Council embraced Black Lives Matter and other initiatives to prioritize diversity and inclusion, including creation of the Collingwood Unity Collective (with thanks to the volunteer members). We have achieved Canada-wide support through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to empower the removal of hate symbols, including the Confederate Flag. We have installed the Pride Crosswalk and instituted Staff and Council training including: Safer Spaces, Cultural Awareness and Indigenous Relations. In 2020 and 2021 we incorporated COVID considerations and inclusion values to deliver new festivals, including On the Water We Love and On the Land We Love. This year we will host our first ever Pride Festival.

Sustainability

The Town of Collingwood has been designated a United Nations/UEF Frontrunner Town for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, and hosted the International Collingwood World Summit 2020 &2021.

Public Transportation

Starting this summer we will phase in an on-demand public transportation system that will result in huge efficiencies - better routes, better service, and fuller buses.

Grain Terminals

  • Extensive community consultation
  • Built Heritage Assessment
  • P3 Advisor retained, RFPQ Issued, 3 candidates selected to submit proposals
  • Successful developer selected and MOU with Town under development.

The Waterfront Master Plan

  • Investing in the creation of a Waterfront public realm design to augment the Waterfront Master Plan in the shipyards area
  • The long-awaited Awen Waterplay Park is under construction
  • Activating the waterfront through local businesses’ lease of space in Harbourview Park for watercraft and bike rentals

Finance and Taxes

We have allocated the proceeds of the sale of Collus and the airport toward paying down debt, and setting funds aside for a future multi-use recreation facility, affordable housing, the hospital redevelopment, enhancement of Heritage Drive and ourWaterfront Masterplan Vision, as well as a Collingwood Legacy Fund.

Culture

We completed the Collingwood Arts Centre Feasibility Study, with tremendous input from our Arts community, paving the way to refining the scope and planning for the establishment of an Arts Centre.

Current responsibilities 

Just a few of the things I have going on!

o  Member of the Small Urban Caucus and
the Waste Management Task Force

o  Vice-Chair of the Development and Operations Standing Committee  

o  Town of Collingwood Economic Support and Recovery Task Force - Council Appointee

o  Epcor Community Advisory Committee - Council Appointee

OTHER ASSOCIATIONS AND COMMUNITY

Being active in the community has always been important to me. Here are some of the highlights.

Director, Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation

2017-present 

Member, Collingwood Syrian Sponsorship Committee

2015-2018 

Founderand Chair, VOTE Collingwood Ratepayers Association

2003-2008   

President, Collingwood Chamber of Commerce

1995-1996