For years now, this property located next to the new library (now under construction in the downtown core), has been the subject of much controversy. After having been for sale for an extended period of time, it went off the market and was later purchased by the Town of Collingwood for a significant price that led to an investigation and uproar. That’s old news and water under the bridge but either way, the purpose was to tear it down and create a parking lot.
Soon after, the new Ontario Heritage Act came into effect and a new council was also elected. The building is situated in the Collingwood Heritage District and it cannot easily be torn down. As a result of public pressure raised primarily from heritage preservation enthusiasts, the decision to create a parking lot was reversed and the property went for sale. No offers acceptable to the Town came forward.
Last year, there was a proposal to create affordable housing on the site which ultimately went elsewhere. Then, there was also a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Town and Theatre Collingwood to pursue the idea of creating a Cultural Centre on the site. The MOU contained a requirement to keep just two exterior walls. Again, politics and emotion stepped it causing that deal to be abandoned.
Currently, it’s subject to an RFP (Request for Proposals) to sell the property. In the meantime, the building sits vacant and abandoned. Is this demolition by neglect?
The Tremont has a rich history. It was built in 1889 and is the last remaining hotel of 16 that were once located in the downtown core. According to Richard Lex, President of the Collingwood Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, the building is rated as “exceptional,” the highest rating in the heritage district. He points out that it represents typical brick work of the late 1800’s with many interesting embellishments and is essentially an unaltered example of the classic three-storey stand–alone hotel in Collingwood.
For very many reasons, I think it should be preserved at all costs. What do you think?
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