Nina Bifolchi

Newsroom – Shipyards in Collingwood – Update

Update to my previous article titled “Shipyards in Collingwood posted June 27, 2017.”
Posted July 27, 2017

At the request of Mayor Smith correspondence from Fram Building Group’s president, Frank Giannone was added to our July 25, 2017 council agenda. At the meeting I made comments and provided the Clerk, for the record, a copy of the letter I sent to Mr. Giannone in response to his. Below I have attached my letter.

During the Council meeting of July 25, 2017, Councillor Bonnie Smith called into question my comments regarding the current state of the Fram Shipyards Development in Collingwood. More specifically, following her comments I asked “are you calling me a liar” of which she responded, “yes” which she herself has written and confirmed in an email to me dated July 26, 2017.

To be clear, the photographs taken to go along with my comments on my website post of June 27 were current and not old pictures of the site. They were taken on the afternoon of June 22nd, 2017.

I decided to update the photographs today, Thursday July 27, 2017. You can see that nothing has changed at the foot of Collingwood’s main street.


Photo of empty space at main entrance to development between Pine Street and Hurontario Street in downtown Collingwood


Photos of what was to be the continuation of downtown Hurontario Street retail space/condominium/waterfront restaurant/people space at the entrance to the waterfront. Not a pleasant site for visitors and residents to see year after year



Photos of undeveloped land at what was to be retail space/condominium/waterfront restaurant/people space that was to link the downtown Collingwood retail community to the waterfront


Looking back at downtown Collingwood – undeveloped site that was to be a waterfront restaurant

These photos were taken along the main entrance to the Shipyards Development. This connects to Collingwood’s main street (Hurontario Street). Visitors immediately see the fenced off area hiding undeveloped retail lands to the east, and the large boarded up section hiding undeveloped land to the west.




Further down the way is another boarded up section of the trail that hides more undeveloped waterfront land that was to see a high rise condominium building constructed. You can see that the grounds are poorly maintained as weeds grow extensively along the waterfront walkway



Response to Mr. Giannone emailed on Saturday July 22, 2017

Good morning Frank and Fred,

I would like to thank you for the time you spent yesterday showing members of council and staff your Port Credit development.

Fred, I had the pleasure of speaking with you quite a bit yesterday.
Hopefully this gave you a better understanding as to why I ask questions and where my concerns are stemming from. As a third term elected official I have found asking questions is part of the job to ensure the best interests of the community are considered.

Frank, approximately 20 minutes prior to leaving for yesterday’s tour, I received a letter (copy attached) dated July 12, 2017 from the Mayor’s assistant, addressed to the Mayor from you. I won’t speculate as to why it was shared with me moments before leaving for Port Credit but it certainly did not allow me the time to review it properly in order to address some comments you made during our visit.

As the Deputy Mayor I have an obligation to work in the best interests of the community and residents and that includes looking at all sides of every issue and sharing my opinion which I will continue to do. I’m sure that you, in your position also consider all aspects of proposals.

Your letter indicated that you have been following the social media activity. While I find it intriguing that you have the time for this I wanted to make sure you read my entire article that these comments may have been based on. You can find it on my website at www.ninabifolchi.ca

I expect that we may have years of working together, and as professionals, would ask that in the future, if you have issues, concerns or want to address something with me, please feel free to contact me directly as opposed to going through a third party. This will ensure clarity for both of us.

The Mayor has directed staff to have your letter on Tuesday’s council agenda as correspondence. I will address my concerns with it publicly at that time since your letter is being made public by the Mayor.

I look forward to working with you.

Regards,
Nina Bifolchi
Deputy Mayor, Town of Wasaga Beach




Letter to Mayor Smith from Frank Giannone – Fram Building Group Ltd.

Fram Building Group Ltd & Slokker Canada Corp 141 Lakeshore Road East Mississauga, Ontario L5G 1E8
July 12, 2017

Brian Smith, Mayor Town of Wasaga Beach
30 Lewis Street,
Wasaga Beach ON L9Z 1A1

Re: Wasaga Beach Downtown Redevelopment

Dear Mayor Smith:

Firstly, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work with the Town on this project that is so important to the Town’s evolution.

Having had the opportunity to follow the social media activity since the announcement, I would like to make sure that the Town fully understands our Shipyards Development status. Of note, it is interesting that the Deputy Mayor highlights what is yet to be completed but hasn’t identified what is complete neither in quality, nor in the demographic that we serve on behalf of the Town. However, admittedly, we are behind our projected schedule; which can be attributed to two major causes. The initial delay was caused by the failure of the Vendor to deliver a clean site as contracted, but more significant was the effect of the international banking crisis on our financing.

The land purchase and sale agreement with Canada Steamship lines was signed in 2003. The first phase construction did not start until 2006, with the next phased delayed by the Vendor. The first few phases of the project were sold and constructed quite quickly. As Fram/Slokker had a previous and successful working relationship with SNS Bank of Holland for development and construction financing of past projects in Canada and the United States, they were selected to be our lender.

In 2008, as a result of the global recession, SNS found itself in significant stress due to the falling real estate values around the world. They aggressively worked to repatriate their outstanding loans, and unfortunately that included our Collingwood Shipyards project. Although their North American office was shuttered and our contact team was let go, we worked together with their adviser to sell remaining unsold inventory.

Although, in general, the Canadian real estate market was not affected significantly, the Canadian second home market was more affected by the global real estate market worries.

Fram/Slokker attempted to bring a more stable bank to finance the remainder of the project; however, they were not permitted to do so by SNS Holland; there was nobody to approve the partial releases of future phases. This put the project in limbo, but Fram/Slokker continued to care for its customers, cut the grass, plow the snow and generally maintain the Shipyards project even though they had no legal obligation to do so during the period of time when control of the project was being resolved.

With SNS unable to fulfill their funding obligations, and to avoid lengthy litigation to compel cooperation of a foreign bank, Fram reluctantly worked with the US-based SNS adviser to attempt to sell the property. Fortunately, it went unsold.

In 2013, the Dutch federal government nationalized SNS. Eventually, in 2015, the bank’s reorganization led to the opportunity for Fram/Slokker to replace SNS by repaying its outstanding debt while gaining the necessary release. Immediately after gaining control, Fram/Slokker began selling units, and we are once again moving quickly to build units at the Shipyards. Furthermore, to expedite the commercial connection from the waterfront to the downtown, we facilitated the sale and transfer of commercial lands to combine with lands owned by other commercial developers to create feasible developable blocks.The project is currently back on track.

I hope this summary helps to explain the situation we faced. We are proud of the work we are doing in Collingwood, and we know it is having a positive effect on its downtown. We encourage you to speak to Mayor Sandra Cooper.

Yours truly,

Frank Giannone Fram Building Group Ltd.




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