Collingwood considers restricting development amid potential water shortage
COLLINGWOOD, ONT. -- Explosive growth in Collingwood over the past two decades has raised concerns about the town's water treatment capacity.
The town reports a 53 per cent population increase, much of that growth in the last five years.
Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson said the town's council is considering an Interim Control Bylaw to help ease the pressure. "We've discovered that we may not, at our current growth rate, have the ability to supply new demand as it comes online."
The mayor said easing the pressure could mean hitting the pause button on any new development, except for work that doesn't use more water, such as residential renovations.
In a release, the township said the bylaw comes with serious implications and "was not recommended lightly and without consideration of ramifications."
The town said mitigating demands on the potable water supply, such as reducing lawn watering and promoting water conservation, aren't impactful enough.
The development freeze could potentially last one to two years. "We will look through our framework at creating some exemptions on projects," Saunderson said.
If the council passes the bylaw, a land study will take place and focus on any required changes to the town's land-use planning policies and regulatory framework resulting from water and wastewater servicing capacity limitations.
Meanwhile, the mayor wants residents to rest assured there is no issue with the quality of the town's drinking water. "This is a capacity issue, and the question is whether demand for water will exceed the Water Treatment Plant's current capacity before the planned expansion is completed in the next four years."
The mayor said residents would have the chance to voice their opinions at the virtual town meeting on Monday.