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Myth vs. Reality (Posted On: Wednesday, November 25, 2009)

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There have been lots of myths floating around regarding the revitalization project in Downtown Collingwood.  Here are the details, straight from the BIA office.

Myth #1
The Main Street is perfect the way it is.

Reality: The municipality’s engineers analyzed the condition of Hurontario Street, including lighting and the sidewalks.  They determined $3 million of work was required to address issues of safety and liability.

That $3 million would have left us with a patchwork of improvements.  With the support of the provincial and federal governments, and the municipality, the cost to the Collingwood taxpayers is only $2 million to do what was estimated to be a $7 million project.  Because the contract came in lower than anticipated, the majority of the second phase of the project – including work along St Marie and Pine – can be undertaken. 

Myth #2
The main street will be narrower.

Reality: The main street will not be narrowed; from building front to 
building front, the width of Hurontario Street will remain 99 feet. 
To make it narrower, well, that would be the greatest engineering 
feat since the Egyptians built the Pyramids!
Also, the travelled portion of the main street will remain the same 
it was before the reconstruction. The only element that will be 
narrowed is the area for parking — and in that case, it’s because the 
angle of parking will be made more acute.

Myth#3
Downtown Business owners face a tax hike to pay for the project.

Reality: Downtown Collingwood’s $1 million commitment is coming from a reserve fund that has been set aside for several years especially for this project. There will not be an increase to the BIA’s budget for this project, nor will it have an affect on the annual levy applied to the taxes of downtown businesses.

Myth # 4
The Main Street will be closed off all winter.

Reality: The intent is to complete the underground work necessary for the section of Hurontario Street between Second and Third by the end of November.  The fences will be removed, and a temporary base of asphalt will be used so the sidewalk can be used by pedestrians.  The road will be open in time for the arrival of Santa Claus on December 6.

Myth #5
There will be a significant loss of parking spaces.

Reality: Actually, even with the angle of parking being made more 
acute, there will be only eight fewer spaces. And, with some of the 
recommendations for downtown parking now under consideration by 
council, there will actually be more spaces available for both 
downtown employees and customers in the future.

Myth #6
There will no longer be angled parking.

Reality: Angled parking is as much a part of the main street as town 
hall. Angled parking stays; only, the angle will be made more acute, 
which will actually make it easier and safer for drivers backing out 
of a spot.

Myth #7
Council is introducing back-in angled parking on Hurontario 
Street.

Reality: False. There is too much traffic travelling up and down 
Hurontario Street to make back-in parking viable.

Myth #8
You’re getting rid of most of the trees.

Reality: While it’s true some of the trees had to be removed, it was 
done so on the advice of a professional arbourist; trees that were 
removed were either dead or dying, or were ones that would not have 
survived the stress of construction. Those trees will be replaced 
with trees that are more suited to the environment.
More than 20 of the trees planted during the 1979 redevelopment of 
the downtown will remain, and steps are being taken to ensure their 
long-term health and happiness. Also, as part of the redevelopment, a 
unique network of cells is being installed to ensure the new trees 
being planted thrive.

Myth #9
There will be bike lanes on Hurontario Street

Reality: There will not be bike lanes on the main street; there will be an extensive network of bike lanes on Pine, St. Marie and the connecting streets.  Clear access points for cyclists will be developed so they can get from the back lanes to the main street. To encourage bicycle use, secure bike shelters are being installed as part of the project on Hurontario Street.

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