Gated communities often polarize residents and politicians because they appear to represent exclusive rather than inclusive communities. Some people see them as elitist. I was recently asked by a resident what I felt about them here. This is my answer:
I personally wouldn’t want to live in a gated community, but I understand that people on private land (condominiums mostly) expect their privacy and want to discourage casual visitors and tourists from accessing it. After all, it isn’t a public park. In the case where the municipality does not provide services like snowplowing (i.e. private roads), I don’t see why a gated community should not be permitted (with some caveat that would allow emergency services access).
To that I would add that I don’t see much difference between a private home with a fence around it (and you can see many older homes in Collingwood with gated wrought-iron fences) and a condo development with a gate. I have visited condos in the GTA where a security gate has a staff person to check on arrivals and inform residents of visitors. This is not intrusive and the residents pay for such security. Why shouldn’t that be allowed here?
My wife and I chose to live on a sidestreet where we can walk to downtown restaurants and shops. But that’s our choice and I don’t believe the municipality should impose a choice of lifestyles on its residents.
Update: please also read my later post, Amending the zoning bylaw.