Police Chief Frustrated with Courts

It has been called “catch and release” and that’s what it is.  Criminals are caught by the Police, then the courts release them to re-offend a short time later. Today, Police Chief VandeGraaf expressed his frustration with this in a Press Release.  He used a specific example of Cobourg resident Daniel Tyler Foden who was arrested for robbery, death threats and assault of a Police Officer.  He was then released with conditions but went straight out, ignored the conditions and offended again.  Chief VandeGraaf then personally authored a Press Release describing what happened (details below) then finished with the statement: “This is aggravating the level of frustration in our community with a system that does not meet our collective expectations.”  We… Read complete articlePolice Chief Frustrated with Courts

Another Property Declared Unsafe to Occupy

Inspection by Town staff at 821 Battell Court started September 25 and “uncovered numerous Property Standards and health and safety concerns”.  Then on September 27 a second multi-agency inspection was completed with the result that a Property Standards Order was issued to address immediate deficiencies related to the Town’s prescribed property standards for occupancy. In addition to inadequate conditions involving ventilation, lighting, plumbing, heating, and electrical services it was determined due to safety reasons, that the building be secured to prevent occupancy until the deficiencies are corrected.  These inspections were a follow-up to “a multi-agency inspection of the property (that) had previously taken place in August to evaluate fire and municipal by-law concerns.” “As a result of this inspection, the… Read complete articleAnother Property Declared Unsafe to Occupy

Short Term Rental Accommodation in Cobourg

Originally thought of as “Home-Sharing”, AirBnb, VRBO and others have turned Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) into big business where investors buy properties specifically with the intent to rent them out for short terms – less than a month and as short as a day or so.  Neighbours are usually not happy with this; they say that renters often cause problems with community safety, parking, noise and litter, as well as degrading property values and destroying the sense of community.  There have been delegations to Council asking for action – in October 2021 and at Monday’s Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.) meeting. At Monday’s C.O.W. Grant Hayes, president of Guardian/Genedco Property Management, representing a large proportion of Cobourg’s Condo Owners,… Read complete articleShort Term Rental Accommodation in Cobourg

County Releases Strategic Plan for 2023-2027

I did not know the County had a strategic plan nor was I aware that they were producing a new one.  But there is a 2019 – 2023 Strategic Plan on their web site as well as the new one. The document is 28 pages with about half devoted to describing the county and the second half to text describing goals. The goals are divided into 5 “pillars” or categories and although Key Performance Indicators are promised, it will be early 2024 before we know what they are and see progress reports using them. There are no specific cost goals or even goals with numbers  – I would use the term “Motherhood” to describe the goals.  (That is, feel good goals as… Read complete articleCounty Releases Strategic Plan for 2023-2027

New By-Law for Taxis and Uber

The Town of Cobourg currently regulates Taxis but does not explicitly include Uber, Limousines or Designated Driver services. One of the items of unfinished business on the Council’s agenda is updating the Taxi by-law to include these services and a proposed by-law which includes them will be offered to Council for approval at the next Committee of the Whole meeting on 25 September. It’s proposed to get more feedback from the Public and operators but the proposed by-law  is comprehensive and will require Uber and Designated Driver (D.D.) service drivers to be licensed with the same requirements as Taxi Drivers. Nomenclature is introduced or clearly defined (see below) and, no doubt to be in line with variable Uber fares, fares… Read complete articleNew By-Law for Taxis and Uber

Northumberland News Stops Print Edition

In an announcement today, Metroland Media said that they have “sought bankruptcy protection and will cease the print publication of its weekly community newspapers across Ontario, moving to an online-only model”.  That means that the 14 September print edition of Northumberland News was its last edition.  Distribution of flyers with the paper will also stop.  Daily newspapers like the Peterborough Examiner and the Toronto Star will continue to operate. The announcement said that “the move involves 605 layoffs, nearly two-thirds of the workforce” although there is no word on how many are affected at the Cobourg office.  Because “the Company does not have sufficient funds  … no termination or severance pay will be paid”.   Further, “according to a breakdown of… Read complete articleNorthumberland News Stops Print Edition

Update to Council on Encampment

At the end of regular Council meetings, there is a section where Councillors report on what has been happening. At Monday’s meeting (September 11), instead of giving a report, Mayor Lucas Cleveland invited Councillors to ask any questions they wanted re the encampments happening in Cobourg. He was doing that in his role as Cobourg’s representative on County Council and this would be his report back to Council. He acknowledged that he, and other councillors, were getting deluged with emails – this last week alone he received 780. Brian Darling wanted to confirm that if an email had on the address line the Mayor and all Councillors and possibly others, that it should be the Mayor who was responsible for… Read complete articleUpdate to Council on Encampment

Restoration of Mural

In 2001, a mural commemorating the Cobourg to Rochester Ferry was painted by John Mitchell on the side of a building on First street – but in time it faded and was almost lost. However, Cobourg’s Historical Society and the DBIA (Downtown Business Improvement Area) came to the rescue and commissioned restoration. Last Saturday (9 September), around 50 people attended an unveiling of the fully restored mural led by Carla Jones, President of the Cobourg Historical Society. If you didn’t know, First Street is the name given to the lane on the West side of the Dutch Oven (sorry, now called “Lalies and the Dutch”). The building was originally the Allen Hardware building but now houses 8 separate Condos –… Read complete articleRestoration of Mural

Unfinished Council Business

There has been no official tracking of “Unfinished Business” this year but there are a number of items badly overdue:  2023-2025 Strategic Plan; Governance review; Regulation of short term rentals; Taxi and Uber regulation and fares;  update to Zoning by-law. The general excuse provided is that Council has been busy with other matters like the illegal encampments and it hasn’t helped that Brent was short-staffed.  Brent has now filled the vacancy for Deputy Clerk – the new person is Kristina Lepik – but one person will take a while to make a dent in the backlog.  Meanwhile, Council is in reaction mode with no Strategic plan for guidance and no structure since the Governance issue has not been resolved. Let’s… Read complete articleUnfinished Council Business

County Acts to Evict Campers at 600 William

At a special meeting on September 5, County Council heard detailed reports from Staff on the illegal encampment on the County property at 600 William street. The location is not a public park and houses several County departments, notably the paramedics and their ambulances.  Council heard reports from Staff that emphasized the negative impact on their staff and the work that was being done to offer services to the campers. One key point was made that the campers have a hierarchy – that is, one unnamed individual wants all communication to go through him and therefore makes it difficult to have direct communication with individuals needing help. In some cases, individuals have agreed to accept help but have then been persuaded to… Read complete articleCounty Acts to Evict Campers at 600 William