Changes recommended for Advisory committees

With a new Council in place, Town Clerk Brent Larmer has reviewed the number and roles of the Advisory committees and recommended changes.  Most are unchanged except for minor changes in their jobs but Brent recommends dissolution of the Economic Development Advisory Committee and splitting the Environmental/Active Transportation Advisory Committee into two: a Transportation Advisory Committee and an Environmental and Climate Change Advisory Committee. Brent says that the Economic Development Advisory Committee dealt mostly with Municipal Staff updates – that implies that citizens were not actually contributing but just listening to reports from staff.  The now dead CIVIC project aimed at downtown vitalization came from this committee as did most of the other Vitalization initiatives and although it’s hard to… Read complete articleChanges recommended for Advisory committees

Winter Film Festival

In November 2003, Ken Prue asked for interested people to join him in presenting first run Movies that were aimed at movie lovers yet not shown in the Northumberland Mall theatre.  Sourcing Films from the Toronto International Film Festival’s “Film Circuit”, the group called itself Northumberland Film Sundays (NFS) and showed five or six films each Spring and Fall.  In early 2012, Ken bought the Mall theatres but continued to lead NFS. In July 2014, Ken called an end to his venture at the Mall and passed the NFS reins to others. After a painful transition, he eventually re-opened at the Loft where he stages quality documentaries, occasional classics, Royal Opera movies and live shows. NFS continued with the new… Read complete articleWinter Film Festival

Citizen Budget Requests – Part 2

Bryan Lambert gave a presentation at Monday’s Public Budget meeting that discussed “big picture” questions – he didn’t ask for anything specific to be included but instead asked questions about the budget overall.  He pointed out that the actual total budget was more than double the amount collected in taxes, he wanted reserves to be spelled out and staffing to be discussed.  He also pointed to a surplus and overspending – seemingly opposing items – and a trend in expense increases that are faster than inflation.  His information source was the publicly available Financial Information Report (FIR) from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs which covers all revenue and spending in municipalities – for example in Cobourg, that includes electricity,… Read complete articleCitizen Budget Requests – Part 2

Citizen Budget Requests – Part One

As announced in the Council meeting on Monday, there will a significant number of opportunities for taxpayers to observe the Town’s process for setting its 2019 budget (see link below) but there is only one where feedback is allowed and that has already happened at the Public Meeting held for that purpose.  It was held at 6:00 pm after the Council Meeting on Monday.  As expected, there were requests to minimize tax increases or even reduce them but one request was especially unusual:  Edgar Carman of Trinity Housing asked the Town to subsidise Low Cost Housing and the amount was not small.  This was a major issue in the recent election campaign so perhaps Edgar was hoping the Council would… Read complete articleCitizen Budget Requests – Part One

More from January 14 Council Meeting

In addition to the surprise change in vote by Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin about opting-in on Cannabis retail stores, there were some other surprising moves made – notably by Councillor Emily Chorley.  Debbie Davis submitted a petition “on behalf of concerned parents from Terry Fox Public School, regarding amendments to the No Parking Restrictions on Riddell Street and the end of White Street.”  As expected, staff recommended that Council direct the petition to Public Works Staff for a report back to Council.   But unexpectedly, Emily successfully moved that a timely report be made given that there were many items that have been on unfinished business for many months.  Her motion specified a limit of 3 months.  Another surprise was a Notice… Read complete articleMore from January 14 Council Meeting

Update on Cannabis Opt-in Decision

Tonight was the first regular council meeting of the new council and they had a full plate.  But first, they had photographer Ted Amsden (no longer Poet Laureate) take photos of the Council and a second one of Council and senior staff.  Thanks to his setup, I managed to get one of him with the council and staff – see below.  Mandy Robinson then gave a presentation on the history of Town criers and how they were important in distributing news from the monarch.  Her presentation was followed by reports on some transactions for businesses coming to Lucas Point, an agreement on the draft procedural bylaw to go to the public meeting on January 28, some routine motions and then… Read complete articleUpdate on Cannabis Opt-in Decision

Highland Games wants Town’s Money

On Monday (January 14 at 6:00 pm), the Town of Cobourg is holding a public Meeting to solicit input on the 2019 budget.  On the spot submissions will be accepted as well as written submissions in advance.  One of these is by Edgar Carman, President of the Cobourg Highland Games Society – he wants $9000 in a cash grant plus a $3984 in-kind grant.  It’s not clear to me why Edgar is going this route instead of the Community Grant process which required applications by October 31st.  He points to the big tourism benefit which brings “over 1,000 competitors and vendors plus the attendees from across Ontario and Northern United States. They fill the local hotels, motels. There is a… Read complete articleHighland Games wants Town’s Money

Councillors were Busy at their First Meeting of 2019

At their first Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, in addition to discussing a report on the election, debating and deciding on a new Council meeting procedure and on whether to have retail Cannabis stores in Cobourg (see links below), Council also heard a delegation on Christmas lights, discussed business carried over from 2018 and decided on whether to re-hire the same Integrity commissioner.  Bruce Moore made a presentation that asked to “Make Victoria Park Great Again” by restoring Christmas lights there.  He said that it was supposed to be a temporary move and it was now time to move them back [They were moved in 2015].  He said that new technology could avoid damage to trees if that… Read complete articleCouncillors were Busy at their First Meeting of 2019